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 🙂
Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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Curiosity

As  much as I want to keep politics out of my blogs, it has become obvious that the current climate is negatively affecting friends and family, regardless that their candidate won or not. A reported 78% of individuals feel more stressed now than a few months ago, that’s a big number.

One thing that has helped me a lot, and I hope it helps you too, is to be curious. It works at several levels too.

 

Being curious about other individuals, especially the ones we disagree with, let’s us put the focus on the human being rather than the label we associate a person with. By focusing on the humanity, we can find understanding and connection on neutral ground. We see some of ourselves too and that brings us closer. We can do this with just about anyone. We all want the same thing after all, how we get there is what sets us apart. Focusing on the goal rather than how we get there nurtures our similarities, not our differences.

 

Being curious about others puts us in a giving position: we give our time and our attention. Givers are winners that create more connections than the takers. Period. Being curious has been reported to be one of the most efficient way to build a successful business. By being curious about our clients, customers, friends, we can find out what they truly want and meet that need if we can, or introduce them to someone who will.

Curiosity is also a fun game. There is always something to discover. Are you bored about a situation? Ask questions, look for what you don’t already know. You may be delightfully surprised by what you unveil. The world is after all an amazing treasure, why limit ourselves to what we already see when there is so much out there waiting to be revealed to us. That’s an abundance mindset that has never failed me, I invite you to give it a shot 🙂

 

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. The  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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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 can  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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Ice, Ice, Baby

I remember fondly hanging out with a friend one day and having a conversation about what we wanted in life. My conclusion at the time was: Impact, Connection and Experiences, I may have stretch the notion of experience to the point of being exquisite. My dear friend being a big fan of acronyms , he said to me: you want ICE!”

I do want ICE. I want to have an impact because I believe that true purpose resides in gifting our talents and receiving a positive return on energy. Nothing is only just given, there is always a return, and we want it to be as positive as possible. I agree that some returns on energy may be negative, and still productive if it serves a greater purpose. That would be a delayed return on positive energy.

Purpose is argued by some as being a greater need than simple happiness. That’s a valid argument in my opinion. I’m a hedonist and the simple pleasures in life can yield a great amount of happiness for me. That being said, being purposeful is personally a greater need for me.

Connection is fundamentally important in my life. I can’t make an impact on the world by myself. I need others to do that, and to do it to the scale I dream of. To best collaborate with others I need to be able to connect with their authentic self, I need to offer patience, understanding and compassion as we all write our own story the best we can. Connection is also about connecting to self. How well do I know myself? By understanding my own gift and limitations I’m able to offer the best version of myself. Connecting to others is only secondary to connecting to self.

As I mentioned above, I’m a hedonist. I believe that we create our own heaven on earth, we create our paradise, we manifest our dreams. The experiences are the jewels of our lives, the absolute joys, or sorrows, that we go through willingly and purposefully. Experiences are the building blocks of our wisdom. We are the sum of our choices, and our actions. Our past doesn’t define our future, however, it does build it depending on the lessons we gather. Our experiences are a reflection of our principles and values at any given time of our lives. It goes back to impact and connection: what experience do we offer to others?

I invite you reflect on what you want most in life. It doesn’t have to be grand or original, it’s best if it’s true to who you are right now. It will help define more precisely your intentions in life, and the results you seek.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola

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