Goals versus Intentions

We hear a lot about goals: what are your goals in life? What’s your Big Hairy goal? What goal are you trying to reach?
These questions are valid as it’s productive to have a target to aim to and to keep us focused. How we get to that goal is just as relevant. Here’s comes intention. Intention is the energy, the reason for the goal.
For example, I went to a delightful party last Saturday night. My goal was to have fun, my intent was to connect. Connection is fun for me!
Intentions, just as goals, vary from one person to the next. Two individuals can have the same goal in life, for example building a successful business, and have different intentions for it. One person wants a successful business to be financially free, another may want a successful business to have a positive impact on the world. There is no right or wrong intention as long as it’s in alignment with the final goal.
If I say that I want to build a successful business to have a positive impact in the world but my intention is to pay myself as much as possible, and pay everybody else as little as possible, the intent is not in alignment with the goal. People may not take it seriously and it may hurt the business.
Intentions can be applied to everything, from doing the laundry to going to the grocery store. By checking in regularly with yourself and asking “What’s my intention? Does it serve the goal?” you’ll get in the habit of self evaluating if you’re still on track. This has been one of the most important tool I introduced to my lifestyle and has helped tremendously with my productivity, my decision making process and overall happiness.
What’s your goal today? And what’s your intention? Share it with me, I’d love to know!
Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
2016-03-07 09.55.27-1
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Talk to Me

We are blessed with many communication tools nowadays that lead us to feel more connected. Between phones, Skype, emails, texts and Facebook messages, we would think that humanity is one big happy party. Unfortunately, the latest research show that in the United States we have an average of 1.2 friends today compared to 3.8 twenty years ago. The word “friend” here is understood as a close relationship, a confident, someone we trust, that we can be open with , vulnerable and authentic.
The issue is not the tool we use, but rather how we use it.
I encourage you to block time very clearly in your life for personal and professional periods. As entrepreneurs, we’re particularly prone to work around the clock. That can lead to burn out, pretty fast. My phone has a “Do Not Disturb” setting from 8pm to 7am. The only noise my device will make is if one of my closest friend or relative calls me. Otherwise, my phone doesn’t emit a sound! My clients and my friends alike know about this. My personal time is sacred, however, I can still be reached in case of emergency.
Emails are probably the top time sucking activity! I encourage you to learn to build an email fast and effectively, it doesn’t need to take 30 minutes, 10 minutes top for something elaborate. Some emails don’t even need an answer. Chain emails are the worst. I invite you to communicate boundaries and preferences when it comes to it. It’s a matter of awareness from the senders and a matter of respect for everybody involved. I’m involved with a couple of organizations and people know to only include me in communication that is 100% relevant to me otherwise i’ll stop reading and hit the Delete button.
Emails are great, however, they can’t replace a real conversation when needed. If an email conversation leads to more than 3 emails without a clear understanding of the outcome, do pick up the phone or set up a time to talk. That will save time, frustration or possible resentment.
Texting is one of my favorite thing. It’s quick, practical, to the point. I love using it to communicate affection and gratitude. I absolutely love texting! That being said, that mode of communication doesn’t fit every situation. It’s more personal than emails so it may not be as appropriate for all situations. It can sometimes lead to confusion due to the small format and how our brain processes the information. More than 3 sentences in a text is an indication than an email or a conversation is needed. More than 3 texts in a row without a clear understanding of the outcome is a sign that a conversation is needed. I invite you to pick up the phone or schedule a talk.
I also put a time response depending on the communication. Text are returned within a few hours. Emails are returned with 24 hours during business days. Phone calls are returned the same day if received before 3pm, before noon the next business day if received after 3pm. There may be some resisteance from some people that feel the need to get an answer immediately. I encourage to stand on your sacred ground, protect your sanity and let them write their story.
Understanding my preferences and my needs for time and communication as lead me to put that system together. It has saved me so much time and aggravation. It has built stronger relationships and has made me extremely efficient! So I have more time for my personal life and self care, who wouldn’t want that?
It can be very easy to hide behind our phones, that’s a behavior that will keep us disconnected from others and make human relations more difficult. All those tools are amazing as long as they serve connection instead of fear and laziness. Connecting with others can be very hard, I know. I invite you to build awareness and check in with individuals. Everybody is different, everyone has a preferred method of communication and preferred time of day to communicate. I have never been turned down on a request when figuring out what people prefer. If anything, they were grateful I cared enough to ask!
I invite you to figure out what works for you so you can communicate it to others and be curious about what others prefer. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Connect with me on your favorite channel πŸ™‚
Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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2016-03-07-09-55-27-1
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Network Up

The company we keep is pivotal to the outcome of our professional success and personal happiness. We are the average of the top 5 influences in our lives , let it be a person or an entity/community. Who we spend time with, who and what we listen to, will influence us and we’ll eventually talk and behave much the same way. I invite you to surround yourself with influences that are the closest to who you want to become.

There is a level up in that game, and it’s ongoing. We have the opportunity to network up. That means realizing when our growth has exceeded the influence we experience from others. There comes times when some of our influences have taught us all we need to know and it’s time for us to move on and look for the next challenge, the next lesson.

This may not be easy. It’s natural to become attached, our old brain doesn’t like change and the security of what we know is very comfortable. Growth doesn’t take place in comfort. We can have the one or the other, but not at the same time. We must choose.

I completely support periods of plateau and relaxation. It’s valid to want to enjoy the product of our work and go on growth vacation for a little bit, like a couple of weeks for example. Anything longer than 3 months equates to a new lifestyle and it would be all the more difficult to get back to productive habits.

It’s an ongoing evaluation of what’s productive, what serves our growth, how do we serve others, and it seldom ever stops. It’s a big fun game, would you like to become a pro at it?

I invite you to regularly evaluate your relationships and organizations you immerse yourself in. Which ones are the top 5? Have they given you all that they have to offer? If so, start looking for new ones. It may be scary at first, however, the result we’re looking for is begging for it.

Change is part of the natural cycle of life, nothing remains. We have the choice to resist nature or we can go with the flow and be part of something greater. What do you think?

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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No Regrets

I’m often asked: “What is your ideal client?”.

My internal answer is: ME!

The answer I give is: Someone who seemingly has everything working in their life but they know there is something missing, and they quite can’t figure out what that is.

There is nothing wrong about having, seemingly, everything working in life. There is gratitude in all things, including that. There is an area of concern when we know that there is something more to have and be. There is an opportunity when we find out we want more. That we act upon that opportunity or not will have two outcomes only: regret, or satisfaction.

I figured out one day that there was something off about my life and I started working towards figuring it out. I also work at not regretting figuring it out at 39 instead of 29. That process and time was necessary not only to go through the experiences needed to build my wisdom library, also the fuel to get to work twice as fast, and eventually becoming a consultant. As much as possible, I wish for everybody to figure it out earlier rather than later, that’s why I do what I do, because I know there is a way, and most people are not aware of it.

We can be so effective at settling, at thinking small, at following cultural formats, at believing people that don’t want to witness the success they’re incapable or afraid of. There are so many things that can keep us from unfolding our true potential! I found that there is one thing, very effective at that, at motivating us to get against that trend: regret. When you have but a minute to live, will you die satisfied? Content? Curious? Or full of regrets?

I don’t think there is a perfect time for success, we can start anytime and still win. Unless we’re on our death bed. Then we loose!

I invite you to focus, not on all those built up expectations that so many institutions and influences have thrown on us, but rather to connect with what we truly desire, what sets our soul on fire, what is a source of purpose to us. It can be anything! Some activities look better on paper than others, again, it’s a cultural influence, let’s not fall prey of that.

So…. what does your heart tells you? Share below, I love to hear from you πŸ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola

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The Agreements

What’s the difference between a rule and an agreement? A rule may be dictated by another party, and we follow it, or not. An agreement is agreed upon by all parties, and more likely to be honored. I love productivity and connection, therefore, we’ll stick to the word agreement today.

I invite you to come up with, revisit or reaffirm the agreements of your life. These are not the rules we live by in our society out of respect and self preservation, these are things we believe in because they align with our persona. For example, if you drink the last bit of coffee from the pot, do you make a fresh one? Or do you just walk away? Will someone get annoyed if the coffee pot is empty? Is there an agreement about the coffee pot?

There are two types of agreements for me: agreements with myself and agreement with others.
I run my life by the agreements I set up for myself. What I do, or don’t do, is dictating on a daily basis by what I affirmed are my personal values. Some of those values took some deliberating, others were very easy to come up with, some I’m still debating on. When an occasion arises to make a decision and I’m uncertain about what action to take, I fall back on my personal agreements. If an event challenges my existing agreement, I may revisit, or reaffirm. Everything changes, and we must adapt.
Agreements with others are an investment in productive interaction. It’s an investment because we’ll have to set time to talk about certain subjects, some easy, others not so easy, so we can have as much of an idea about what to expect. We don’t always know for sure what can be a source of pain to others. Taking some time to find out is an act of kindness and generosity. Once agreements are in place, we can go about our business with peace of mind that certain things will be taken care of. It takes a village, right?
Agreements do require integrity and the investment of affirming agreements has a higher return with individuals with higher integrity, that’s an obvious one.
That being said, something wonderful happens when a person is given trust, out of the benefit of the doubt. It’s a risk, however, my personal experience is that on many occasions individuals will choose to show integrity if they are given trust rather than if they feel being tested for trust. It’s a tricky one, and it’s up to each to decide how they want to invest their time and resources. I invite you to try it from time to time and share the results with me.
Some agreements may be different from person to person: who is allowed to borrow your toothbrush?
Some agreements may apply to everybody: I don’t borrow things without asking.
Invest in those questions now and a lot of decision will be a lot easier to make in the future.
It builds a code of honor, a reputation, a consideration from others. We all want to be connected, it’s easier to connect with individuals that are non-threatening, the unknown is threatening, let’s be obvious and expected then. We can keep the wild nature and spontaneity for the people in our lives that can handle it.

What are some of your most solid agreements? Share below πŸ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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The Hurt

I have been requested to talk about individuals that are aware they are a source of pain to others but don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions. The question I received was specifically about students, however, I believe it applies to everyone.

I would like us to agree on one thing first for the following to make sense. If you don’t agree with the next statement, stop reading, this may be a waste of your time. I would like us to agree that individuals seldom, ever, want to hurt people in purpose. There is no right or wrong, there is no faults, there are only unmet needs. This can be a very difficult idea, especially considering most of us have been brought up in the fear of punishments rather than the motivation to do good to others. For example, we typically avoid speeding not because we want to be safe, rather because we don’t want a speeding ticket.

When someone is confronted with the fact their action resulted in a negative outcome several things can happen: they fear punishment, they feel shame, they feel threatened, and may retrieve. TheΒ  biological response is the desire to protect oneself: we fight, we flee, or we freeze. This can result in an additional negative impact on individuals and our environment. How many times have we done something that resulted in a negative outcome? How many times have we hurt people’s feelings in our lives, and we were unaware we did it? Does that make us cruel individuals? Of course not. We were not aware, or we were distracted, or we didn’t know that the person in front of us had been triggered. Nobody’s perfect. We can only learn from our history and try not to duplicate negative experiences. We’re all doing our best, everyday.

Secondly, how the event was pointed out to us had a lot to do with our follow up response. Shaming and blaming are counter productive, period. I believe that by shaming and blaming someone for their action, we’re creating the hurt we want to avoid in the first place.
My dance partner and I have dedicated a lot of our growth in understanding and applying non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, and studying Brene Brown’s research about shame and compassion. This exploration resulted in the method we apply in our dance classes to create a safe environment for all. By appreciating that there is an unmet need, and by responding to it in a compassionate way, we can discover why a person reacts the way they do. We can have a dialogue, we can create a connection.

One thing I’d like to point out: men in our culture may especially react in a disconnecting fashion when being pointed out counter productive behavior. It’s not because men care less than women, it’s because they’re often raised to showcase strength and force, not vulnerability and kindness. This is an unfortunate cultural issue we’re dealing with. I highly encourage you to watch ” The mask we live in” or follow their Facebook page of the same name to learn more about it.
Let’s be clear on one thing: this is not an easy-as-pie process. A lot of things get in the mix: education, personality, chemical balances, cultural and socioeconomic pressures, history, environment, etc.. That’s why I find it important to keep in mind unmet needs rather than cruelty. How we approach the situation in a compassionate and curious attitude can be a game changer in modeling what we are looking for. We can be the change we want to see by educating ourselves and modeling the behavior we are seeking in others. Keep Learning!

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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Next!

There is an upside and a downside to becoming aware, we’ll talk about the downside today: we become aware of the consequences of our actions. Why is it a downside? Become we need to own our decisions too, which is not always easy.

As long as we are unaware and we just react to what’s happening in life, we can be dismissive, we justify our actions conveniently and we disregard consequences. Becoming aware includes facing up. We’re no longer hiding behind our ego, which can be hard. We then know that the tough conversations do have to take place. We do want to live up to our full potential as a human being and we don’t want to regress. We’ve come that far after all, and going back is more painful than being there in the first place.

What I find really relevant in the state of awareness is when to call “Next”.
I’ve become in the last few years a dedicated networker. I’m all the more dedicated considering I’m a hard core introvert and I taught myself to network. Mingling requires energy and focus for me. I’ve worked hard at developing those skills and I’m all the more excited to use them often and successfully. I learnt to call “Next” after hours wasted listening to individuals showing up for themselves, meetings without the structure I was looking for or a group whose values, or food service, didn’t resonate with me. Regardless of the prestige or potential gain, I learnt to call “Next” to keep serving my authentic self, and therefore, offering to others the best version of myself at that time.
As I mentioned above, I have to own that too. I learnt to share why I no longer do business with some individuals, why I left the party, or the group, or how I felt about the food being served. And I did it in the most kind, non-judgemental and helpful way I knew at the time. That’s a lot of flipping work! And it’s so worth it!

Result? I’m the Queen of time management. I feel surrounded by love and appreciation, most, everywhere I go. And I can truly say that I’m living my purpose. I didn’t even used to give a crap about purpose 5 years ago. Comes to show anything is possible, if we reach for the stars instead of the gutter. That’s the upside of awareness: knowing anything is possible πŸ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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