How to be Joyfully Productive

It gets pointed out to be, by friends and strangers alike, how busy I look. I know it’s meant as a compliment. For me though, the word busy is a source of tension. Being busy doesn’t mean that one is successful or happy, they just look like they’re doing a lot of stuff. In our culture, doing a lot, to the point of exhaustion, has become socially valued. I rebel against that notion. Having been on both sides of that aisle, I can confidently say that being busy and doing a lot is not the way to happiness and a fulfilling life. In Chinese, the word “busy” translates as “kill the heart”. I’m not looking for that outcome, nor do I want that for my clients.
I’m more partial to doing things effectively and joyfully. A method that has worked really well for me is to find my peak time. The peak time is that period of the day that you’re more likely to do a certain activity when the process is easy and fluid and the result is superior.
For example, I can get a lot done virtually in the morning. I get up at 5:30am and after a light breakfast and some movement, I can get my most important work done before lunch. Doing that same kind of activity in the afternoon would be grueling for me! I have a friend that does his virtual work in the evening, that’s his peak time. It will be different for everybody. The trick is to explore and find what works for you.
Because the activity flows easily, we’ll get more joy out of it too! Your heart never lies! Check in with yourself in your discovery process to see what works and what doesn’t. It may happen on occasion that some activity need be scheduled at a less than ideal time. I find it productive to prepare for those assignment with self care. I seldom do virtual work or give consultations past 5pm. I’ll do it if it’s an emergency and I will reflect and center myself specifically for it as it is outside my peak time and natural flow. We still need to have some flexibility and get the work done, no need to brutalize ourselves in the process though. Self care always comes first.
I also like to look at the flow of activities and if I partner some activities together, how productive will that be. I can rehearse a speech and do the dishes at the same time, that works for me. I find myself less productive if I jump from returning emails and making phone calls. I prefer to do one, then the other. Again, everybody is different, discover what works best for you.
That system has allowed me to get a lot of stuff done in a short period of time, that’s great time management, and find joy in the process, that’s emotional productivity. I invite you to search for your ideal system. It may take some time and tweaking, however, it’s been a game changer for me. I hope it helps you too.
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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola

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Patience

The beauty of the journey of personal development is that it’s unending. There is always something new to learn, always something to tweak.
As I journaled this morning, I realized that I need to work some more on my patience. I’m naturally passionate and eager, I love to make stuff happen, which are qualities I’m very proud of. Those character traits can also feed an impatient intention that is then counterproductive.

I went back to partner dancing in March of 2015 with one goal in mind: tango. As usual, I eventually got what I wanted, and then some. I wasn’t planning at the time to do it professionally but life has some invitations one simply doesn’t refuse. And I’m so glad I went with it.
In the process of becoming a dancer, an assistant teacher and a performer, I experienced the agitation, frustration and fears of not performing at the level I desired. I believe in excellence and delivering at a high level. I tend to forget that skills do require time to develop.
I compared myself (bad idea) to other dancers and my dance partner. I beat myself down regularly and experienced stress and fear due to it.
At the same time, I reminded myself of how much I had learnt in a short period of time, how fast I was learning,ย  and how dedicated and committed I was. that struggle took place for many months. I fluctuated from proud to ashamed, from satisfaction to frustration. As a cherry on the cake, I also projected those insecurities on my dance partner (sorry about that Darling). I’m delighted to report that after some work, and the help of my coach, I’m at a more comfortable level now. Although I’m fully aware of all the great work I have in front of me to become the dancer I want to be, I now go through the motion with faith and more patience. I know what I want, I know how to get there, it’s going to happen, eventually, period.

What I realized this morning is another area I need to practice patience in. Because I applied the process successfully with dancing, I can apply that process to other areas of my life. And I know I will be successful in those areas too, in time.
Patience is one element of the foundation of our dance teaching, right next to kindness.
We need to be patient, with ourselves and others. We must remember that we do our best, all the time, everyday. Growth takes time!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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The Exercise of Gratitude

I mentioned a few weeks ago the difference between conveying gratitude and actually experiencing it. I still stand by that, however, I’m witnessing that many individuals right now are struggling with just finding any gratitude at all. These times are hard and the overall consciousness is gearing more towards negativity, fear and stress than positivity, faith and peace.

Experiencing gratitude has more impact on our life than just having a pleasant moment or enjoyable time with friends. Gratitude is the very foundation for connection and happiness. If we don’t find something to be appreciative for in our life, we’re disconnecting from it. I strongly invite you to stay connected, that’s so important!

What to do if you have a hard time with gratitude right now? Start small.

We all need something to believe in, right? What do you hold as absolute truth in your life that you can be grateful for? It canย  be anything. It can be coffee, seriously, start with the fundamentals. Allow yourself to hold for true that coffee is always there for you, it always helps you and you can be grateful for coffee. The point is not coffee, or chocolate, or your best friend. The point is the exercise and the attitude, the approach and the practice. The thought process involved in being grateful for coffee is the same than being grateful for our job, the people in our lives and even the political climate. Gratitude can be found everywhere, it’s harder to find in some areas than in others, that’s all.

There are some things in life we stop doing, for one reason or another, and we go back to doing again at a later date. Like bicycling for example, the body doesn’t forget. Gratitude works the same way. We all know how to be grateful, sometimes we stop, for one reason or another, and we can get back on that bicycle just the same. It will take a little practice and awareness at first, I know you can do it though.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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Going at it alone?

One of the greatest act of courage in my opinion is not to find the strength to do it all, being independent or self sufficient. One of the greatest act of courage is to ask for help.Being courageous to me is knowing oneself, our strength and limitations, while finding the collaborators to bridge the gap to get to where we want to be.

Nothing in our world is self sufficient, everything is connecting and interacting with many other organisms and modalities. The cycle of life of plants are a perfect undeniable example: they need water and sunshine, and then birds and bees to populate. It’s team work.

How wonderful would it be to let ourselves go to the undeniable fact that we need others to survive, to grow, to complete our destiny, to fully live our story. We need many mirrors in our lives to reflect who we are, who we deny ourselves to be. On many occasions, we deny our heart to beat at its own rhythm, we deny the very fiber of our being to unravel into our authentic self. We tame our wildest dreams for fear to be ridiculed or end up alone.

I could blame our culture for it, I really think it’s just part of the human condition. We are gifted with free will and with so many opportunities, by our very nature, that the torture of becoming is the source of the most joy.

Some of us torture ourselves more than others. Some of us just go dormant and miss the show all together.

I always say: the heart never lies. Your head will tell you stories, your ego will distract you, but your heart will never lie to you. We don’t always want to listen, that’s all.

The word courage comes from the french word “coeur” which means “heart”. I invite you to listen to your heart as much as you can. That is the way, that is the only way to live your authentic story. Many people will come along the way to help you listen to your heart, to help your heart beat stronger and faster. We don’t go at it alone, and the story is not over until the last heartbeat.

Be courageous Darlings, for this is in you, it is your nature, it is yours to be and have.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself.

Paola.

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