SISU: Step-by-step guide on how to tap into your sisu

Do this lesson challenge in your workbook: 

#1 List the times when you may have unknowingly used your sisu.

Those moments, when you felt like you can’t do something or had no energy to do it, but you did it anyway. Remember that these things don’t have to be huge. How did you activate your sisu?

#2 Take a closer look at the things you listed. Can you sort them into several themes or are they within one category (for example, relationships, self-awareness, sports, work, hobbies, house errands etc.)?

If you’re able to tap into your sisu in one area of life, your next step is to try to apply sisu to another category. For example, it might be natural to tap into your sisu when you’re doing sports to push yourself harder.

On the other hand, your work might involve a task you don’t like, for example, making sales calls. Using the same method you tap into your sisu when doing sports, give it a go to tap into your sisu before making those sales calls to get that extra oomph. 

I can't wait to send you a personal video review about your workbook after you have completed the course!

xx,

Varpu


Transcription of the video

In this lesson, we’re going to dive into the most powerful concept in the Finnish culture. It’s called sisu. I’m also going to help you discover how you too can tap into your sisu.


Sisu is an untranslatable Finnish word. It means a specific kind of grit, determination, and bravery in the face of obstacles and challenges. Sometimes it’s also described as the “Finnish spirit”. 


However, I really want to point out that you don’t need to be Finnish to use your sisu. Sisu lies within all of us. Having sisu allows you to keep going even when others would consider a task impossible or give up. 


In Finland, we are fortunate that we have a name for this humane feature, because a focused name makes it easier to use it. In daily life, sisu helps get things done. Furthermore, it helps achieve those things that are meaningful to you and increase your happiness. 


Anyone can tap into their sisu. It’s more of a place you visit to get energy than a regular mood you’re in. 


For example, I’m feeling happiest when I have a positive outlook on life. So, the mood I try to be in for most of the time is positive. Sisu is the extra oomph. It’s like a mental energy boost that gives you focus and determination.


The best part of sisu is that it’s always there to support you when you summon it. Nothing is too small or big for sisu. 


I can use sisu after a hard day at work to have that extra energy to clean the house or to complete a huge task like building a summer cottage, writing a book, or running a marathon. 


Whenever you feel like there’s a thing that would be good for you, but you don’t feel like doing it, that’s a wonderful opportunity to tap into your sisu. 


So how can you tap into it? I bet all Finns have their own technique. Here’s mine. 


Do you know how you literally feel like your mind is overwhelmed and about to burst because there are like 70 000 thoughts and ideas flying around there? That’s okay because thank gosh, my sisu doesn’t live in my head. 


Do you know how sometimes you feel the anxiety so strong that it’s like a huge rock sitting on your chest, and it’s hard to breathe? That is such an awful feeling. Luckily sisu doesn’t live in your heart or chest either. 


My sisu lives in my tummy. I know, it sounds weird at first but have you ever had a gut feeling? Or got super scared and felt like your tummy makes a 360 degree turn? 


Your guts are speaking to you. The word “sisu” originates from the Finnish word for guts.


So, when I need to use my sisu, I’ll pick one thing to do (and one only! It’s impossible to do two things properly at once), and focus for a second on my tummy. I usually tense my stomach muscles. It helps me shift my focus and lifts me up to be on sisu mode. 

Lesson challenge 

#1 List the times when you may have unknowingly used your sisu. Those moments, when you felt like you can’t do something or had no energy to do it, but you did it anyway. Remember that these things don’t have to be huge. How did you activate your sisu?

#2 Take a closer look at the things you listed. Can you sort them into several themes or are they within one category (for example, relationships, self-awareness, sports, work, hobbies, house errands etc.)?

If you’re able to tap into your sisu in one area of life, your next step is to try to apply sisu to another category. For example, it might be natural to tap into your sisu when you’re doing sports to push yourself harder.

On the other hand, your work might involve a task you don’t like, for example, making sales calls. Using the same method you tap into your sisu when doing sports, give it a go to tap into your sisu before making those sales calls to get that extra oomph. 

Other resources:

The Sisu Book by Joanna Nylund (affiliate link) is a marvelous and thorough deep dive into the Sisu power word.

This book covers an astonishing amount of Finnishness from letting our babies nap outside in their prams in freezing temperatures to deep discussions about sisu.