Why sexual harassment training doesn’t work, and what to do about it.

I believe that the Universe talks to us, all day everyday. We’re never alone, we’re always connected to something bigger than us. Some may call it a community, the language of the world, God, whatever fits you, we’re always connected.

I also believe that if something needs to come to our attention, it will come in the form of a poke, an allusion, a passing mention. If we don’t pay attention, it will become louder, heavier, more forceful. So I try to pay attention to the pokes, it saves time πŸ™‚

Business people walking together in the cityI was in a conversation lately with a business owner looking for sexual harassment training. I promised to make a few phone calls to connect that person to a professional. I also did some quick research on the subject. I’m curious that way.

I found out that sexual harassment training doesn’t work. How did that show? 88% of women still endure sexual harassment at work and 95% of them report that the male perpetrators went unpunished.Β According to the EEOC, $52.3 million dollars in damages were received from claims in sexual harassment in 2011. That’s millions of consequences from training that doesn’t work. That’s millions of evidences that the current training are ineffective. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. Most people do not report the harassment. Reported harassment don’t always come to a resolution or settlement. Fewer men report it than women. The numbers we have are not even representative of the truth. I’ll let you think about that for a moment…

Something needs to give, something needs to change!

That’s why I’m now offering sexual harassment and sensibility training that will address what’s missing: perspective taking and cultural understanding

Sexual harassment is in most cases about micro aggression and oblivious behavior. Yes, some harassing behaviors are obvious, others are not.

Yes, HR personnel goes through the training but how many of them are qualified or inspired to actually talk about harassment and hold space for both parties, the perpetrator and the recipient? That’s a lot of shame involved and most people don’t have the communication to talk about shame. Of all the training I went through in my corporate days, very little was dedicated to the subtleties of an hostile environment and the true harm of cultural expectations between genders, races or sexual orientations.

We need to bring knowledge, compassion and perspective taking to the work place. How can we expect people to learn about how to interact with one another by sitting in front of a screen for 1 hour? That’s not training, that’s a waste of time.

If you know a small to midsize company ready to actually invest in their employees well-being and dedicate a safe space for all, call me!Β My number is at the bottom of the page πŸ™‚

I want to talk to them and change the way we interact with one another in an accepting and compassionate way.

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Reach for the Greatest Version of Yourself!

Paola

 

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Boundaries and sexual harassment

Anyone with somewhat of a presence on Facebook has seen the extent of the “#metoo” movement. I had a lovely conversation yesterday with a gentleman that reflected on all the times he may have been part of the problem and surely some times he saw a woman be mistreated and he didn’t speak up. It was a heartfelt confession and I’m grateful he felt safe telling me.

A lot of conversations went on this past week about the validity of such movement. Some people thought that there was a pressure for women, and men, to speak up about their abuse and harassment, some thought that men were being excluded from the conversation, some started to compare the level of pain and stigma per gender, some claimed their guilt, a lot of people opened up and expressed their pain. Another point of view I saw was the one of a woman demanding others to not victimize themselves, to stand in their power so they can recover from the trauma. I use the word “demanding’ very carefully and intentionally. I seldom think we can demand much of anyone really, especially not when it comes to processing painful experiences. I am a passionate supporter of inviting, modeling and being curious about others and that post wasn’t an invitation.

That campaign reopened a lot of wounds and teased people to ask themselves questions they didn’t dare to think about. At the end of the week, I see the conversation as a steady fire, burning strong, warming us up to others perspective. It’s no longer a spark or flame fighting in the patriarchal wind, this conversation, and the change with it, is here to stay.

What’s done is done, we can’t go back and rewrite hundreds of years of patriarchal culture and abuse. We can embrace the present and nurture each other and ourselves to the full extent of our ability. We can set new standards in place to build a future that is balanced, embracing and respectful. We can start today!

I spoke about boundaries before when it comes to time management and emotional productivity, it obviously would apply to sexual harassment as well. Do you think people would behave a certain way if they knew it was culturally forbidden and disconnecting?

We don’t have to speak up about our past to set ourselves up for a successful future. Setting boundaries is one of the easiest and most productive habit we can develop for ourselves. I invite you to contemplate an answer or action for each case scenario so that by the time it happens, you can be empowered and ready. Yes, it’s exhausting just thinking about it, I’m right there with you. Change is scary, and tiring, and we’ll loose friends in the process. And we don’t have to change if we’re comfortable with the Status Quo, but what if you’re not?

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Imagine somebody making an advance to you at a job interview, what would you do?

Imagine somebody catcalling you on the street, what would you do?

Imagine your friend telling you they were touched in a way that felt like a violation, what would you say?

Imagine somebody touching you in a way that you feel slimed, what would you do?

Here’s a 3 step action:

  1. Observation
  2. Expression
  3. Request
  4. Reaffirmation, as needed

What does that look like in real life?

People have been touching my hair since I was a child, without my permission nor my request, they just helped themselves. Hair is a body part, it’s connected to my nervous system and I prefer people staying away from it especially if they are touching it to give themselves pleasure.Β A gentleman touched my hair a few months ago. I’ve known him for a while, he’s a nice man, I don’t have a single bad thing to say about him. He was behind me and he yanked my ponytail, in play, I assume, the way you would a 5 year old child. I turned around immediately, called him back to me in a room full of people and said: “Hello Darling, you pulled my hair, I don’t like it, I prefer you wouldn’t.” He looked at me completely stunned so I reaffirmed: “I prefer people don’t touch my hair, it’s a boundary issue for me.” He agreed and walked away, end of story.

That’s a scenario when you can have the opportunity for a conversation. I’m not a violent person but I do believe in self defense. I invite you to decide what line is not to be crossed for you with coworkers, friends and strangers. Set your boundaries and be ready to fight for them. It may look like a loosing fight right now but I promise you it’s changing. People won’t stay on the sideline any longer, women, and men, won’t be silent as much any more.

People that abuse were abused and/or find cultural validation in their action. We have the opportunity to offer compassion as well as to model the behavior we desire from others. We change the world one small action at a time, one small step at a time. And it will take time, but we can start today. Change comes when we speak up.

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Reach for the Greatest Version of Yourself

Paola

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Perfect Timing

Perfect timing is something I came up with, and regularly affirm, with a certain dose of confidence and humor. I believe perfection is an illusion, I also believe we can get as close to it as possible.

Perfect timing is a system I put together to get as much done as possible while being as happy and content as possible. It’s part time management and part emotional productivity.

I notice that we often set ourselves up for failure building our to do list or planning our day. We may feel the pressure to accomplish certain things, or a certain amount of it, regardless of dynamics, priorities or energy available.

 

Perfect timing requires prioritizing, a lot! What are the top items of the day that will get you closer to your goal? Just pick a few, not 20. The dishes can wait until tomorrow, following up with a prospect doesn’t.

 

I encourage you to get rid of distractions. Do we really need to watch a Netflix for 4 hours each day? Do we HAVE to be on Facebook hours on end, or every 15 minutes? Focus is a big part of success and reaching our goals. Entertaining ourselves is valid, letting that stir us from our goal is not.

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I also encourage you to prioritize your human interactions. Who are your top personal and professional positive influences? Make a list and space out the time spent with the ones that don’t fit the category. We can have a vast network of wonderful individuals, there is no need to be in touch with all of them all the time, especially those that demand more energy from us than we get in return.

 

I invite you to make a precise schedule and stick to it. At what time we show up, late or on time, is a make or break in relationships. When was the last time you heard someone compliment an individual for being late? My point exactly! We want to create connection not, the opposite. I passionately encourage you to be on time to everything. For that to happen, we need to give ourselves time to get ready, get there, communicate to all parties involved what our schedule is. I closed meetings on several occasions because they were going on longer than I had planned. It was communicated and I followed up later, which let me be on time to my next appointment. We are allowed to be unapologetic about our priorities as long as it is communicated in a kind and confident manner.

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I hope this helps. I have been able to be extremely productive with this system, getting the important things done and not letting the small stuff get in the way. What’s helpful to you in your productivity? I’d love to know! Comment below πŸ™‚

 

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

 

Paola

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Give what you want to get

One misconception is that we will give something after, and only after, someone gives it to us first. That could put us in some situations where we could wait for ever.

I believe in being the influence we want to experience, I believe in modeling the behavior we wish to witness in others. Which means, we must start, we must do it first, we must give to begin with.

What I’m referring to is especially in the everyday attitude and interactions. If we want appreciation from others, we have the choice to show appreciation first. If we want kindness, we can give kindness first, etc… We can create a safe space for others to find what everybody is looking for anyway: connection.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Some days will be harder than others. I do feel we have the responsibility to be the creators of what we want to see in the world. A bad day may require more energy on our part to accomplish what we want, those victorious days are what sets apart the individuals that get what they want, and the ones who don’t.

I invite you to be confident in your determination. Hold on firmly to your good mood and good intention. Stay away from negative individuals or give them compassion if you can. We all have bad days. Somebody’s bad day is not your fault, it’s their story, let them write it.

I invite you to set the intention and tone for your day and your interactions Take a deep breath and affirm your mood and goal. Be a giver, be attentionate, show up for others. There is a compound effect of kindness and generosity that always comes back 10 folds.

The more we practice, the easier it gets, until it becomes second nature.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola

 

 

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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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Invest in Yourself

I believe that the results we get in life depend on who we are. Not where we were born, not how much money we have, not our IQ. The results will vary depending on our skills and our attitude. Some things can’t be changed. We’re given a certain hand of cards at the beginning of our lives, how we play that hand will determine the outcome.

How we get the best outcome possible is about developing the skills we need to get there.

For example, one day, we learnt to read. If we were to keep reading at the same level than our first year in school, we would only have access to that grade’s library. We wouldn’t be able to process other materials because we didn’t learn the skills. That’s very limiting!

If we want to have access to more, we must become more, we must learn more. There is no right or wrong way to do this. I just wish for everyone to be aware that we set the barre, and the limit, on our success. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is not productive. So how can we do things differently, what do we need to learn, to get the results we’re looking for?

It’s an investment. It takes a long time, it’s hard, tedious and we want to give up, often. However, if we know that this is the way to get everything our heart wishes, if we stay focused on our intentions, we will succeed!

We sometimes think that success is conditional upon intelligence, money and birth privileges. Those things can help, for sure, they are not the decisive factors though, our skills are. Our attitude and our focusΒ  determine the outcome. I’m specifically referring to soft skills: communication, empathy, emotional intelligence.

We could come up with the best product to sell, if we’re not able to connect with our clients, they will not trust us, and they will buy something else, from someone else. People don’t buy products, they buy an experience, and the experience is conditional upon the players.

It’s an investment because the process is slow, it’s a gamble at times, but it usually pays off. I’m personally more likely to invest in myself with confidence than the stock market. I know my ROI. I am so solid in my investment that I can now share valuable information and give support to others. The best thing I ever invested in is myself. I invite you to look into investing in yourself πŸ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself.

Paola
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About Relationships

I started my practice with a strong idea that I wanted to help individuals in the wellness field, empowering them to find harmony balancing all the facets in their life. At first, I refused to consult around romantic relationships. I usually referred one of the great coaches I knew were thriving in that field.

Things changed. I realized that I was passionate about the relationship with Self, which is, really, the foundation for relationships of all kind, including romantic. I dove into that department with abandon and excitement. I discovered some fascinating concepts and reaffirmed some items I already felt strongly about. We’re talking about all types of relationships here.

Let’s start with the hard, and obvious, one: If it doesn’t nurture you, and/or it hurts you, walk away!

We tend to project an idea, a dream, a perspective, on a relationship. For me, it was the married life with theΒ  white picket fenced house including cats and a rose garden. It did work for a while. But things changed, as they always do, and soon it was no longer nurturing me. I wanted something different. The hard part wasn’t the change, relocation and reorganization of my life. The hard part was letting go of my original projection, of what happiness is supposed to look like.

Another wonderful concept is the idea of the relationship itself as an entity rather than the sum of two, or three or more. By focusing on either party at any given time, we tend to loose focus of the big picture. The same way we grow a flower considering seasons and various exposures, feedings, trimmings, we can look at the relationship in periods, what feeds it, what may hurt it. We don’t pay attention just to the water or the sun that feeds the plant, so we don’t just pay attention to one member of the relationship or another, we pay attention to the relationship itself.

A very rewarding and exciting concept is the co-creation. It can be many hings: children, art, country house, business, just something that each party can participate with their gift and witness a result that would have been impossible otherwise by oneself. Aside from the excitement of the experience, it’s about creating bonds, stories, connections that go beyond what takes place with the usual grabbing coffee, taking a vacation, watching a movie sort of activity. They are all valid, however, they won’t generate the same kind of bonding.

My favorite concept of all is the growth. We may have focused on a different meaning when we said “we want to grow old together”. Again we’re projecting the idea of time spent as a success. It’s very well anchored in our culture, many cultures actually. It would be a whole different blog on that alone. I’d like to focus here on the word “grow”. The relationship will thrive by all participants growing in the same direction at a relatively equal pace. There can be plateaus and catch up periods, naturally. In my opinion, if individuals in a group or couple, loose track of each others growth, or a gap is created, the relationship will weaken and possibly dissipate.

Relationships are hard, they are precious and worth the work though. What’s your favorite part about connecting with yourself and others? Comment below πŸ™‚

Reach for the greatest part of yourself!

Paola

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