How to Maximize your Happiness with Intention?

AustinTango180Last weekend was quite the Tango experience. We hosted amazing teachers from Buenos Aires to teach a workshop. We taught our classes Friday night, then Milonga, then workshop Saturday afternoon, then Milonga, then workshop Sunday afternoon, then farewell diner.

My business partner and I were fried by Monday morning!

That being said, we had set a very clear intention for that demanding event: we wanted to bring the teaching of those two experts to our students and friends. So each time we ran out of steam a bit, we had in mind why we were doing what we were doing. We had set a solid intention.

What I invite you to do, with pretty much everything you’re doing, is to set an intention. From time spent with friends to career and hobbies. What are you trying to accomplish?

This is really important because we want to be happy. Happiness can be easily destroyed by resentment or lack of accountability.

intentBy setting our intention before hand, we are better able to manage our emotions, our time and our area of tolerance. We are better equipped to enjoy ourselves and easily set boundaries. We can protect ourselves from toxic elements or over stretching ourselves.

The idea of pre-set intention may seem overwhelming itself, however, like anything else, whatever we do gets easier the more we do it. It’s not like we’re planning every second of our life, we just get better at making faster decisions about what is truly in alignment with our authentic self. This is where joy and happiness reside and this is what I want for you πŸ™‚

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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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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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It’s a marathon, not a sprint :)

One of the misconception I come across about growth, wellness and goals is the idea that one day, we’ll have “arrived”. There is no such thing in my opinion. I believe we are in a constant state of change, evolution, or degradation, depending on what one is doing. There is a constant movement to life, which is another reason for me to love dance so much, dance is life.
That movement can go in various direction, hard, soft, long, short, positive, negative. It never stops though. How we move defines the outcome: did we get the result we wanted, or not.
It appears that as we incorporate new habits we get to a certain level that feels more comfortable and closer to the top goal. I’ll agree with that. I believe in celebrating milestones for what didn’t exist in our life before and is now here thanks to work and dedication. That can go away very quickly if it’s not maintained though. So as we grow and incorporate new things in our lives, we still want to maintain what we want to keep.
In business it looks like this: retaining existing customers as well as developing new markets. A business will not thrive on just one of those, we need both dynamics to grow.
I’ll admit that some things get easier with time and productive habits incorporated in the past can become the new norm. It’s always in good form to check in friends and coaches about where we’re at. Feedback is the breakfast of champions!
I’ll embrace the idea of plateauing for short periods of time, taking a vacation and enjoying the view for a little bit. Then it’s back to work.
We have a whole childhood, and/or past lives depending on your spiritual system, to clean up and own. There is enough there to keep some of us busy for a while.
Then we have our own dreams and desires: what do we want most, why do we want it, how will we get there? That’s an endless source of opportunities to learn new things, to grow in other areas.
Are you planning on not dreaming anymore at some point? Will you check out from the dream train and settle for whatever has been accomplished so far? If the answer is no, then you know there will always be work, always a new habit to incorporate, always a new star to shoot for. That’s the yummy stuff in my opinion: the endless possibility of a dream life, for as long as I live πŸ™‚
How about you? What’s your dream? How are you going to get there? Share below!

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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Curiosity

AsΒ  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 πŸ™‚

 

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,Β  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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