Who are your friends?

It can be difficult to figure out who your friends, here’s a few pointers that make it easier for me to figure it out. I hope it helps you too.

1)Your friends hold space for you

This is #1 for me because this is precious! True friends hold space for us. They’ll listen to our crap for hours when we’re upset, they’ll reassure us when we need it, they’ll stop and focus on us, laser focus, and put their own crap on hold, for us.

It’s a hard thing to do, it’s rare, it’s precious. i invite to hold on tight to whomever in your life has that available for you, that stuff doesn’t grow on trees!2

2) Who’s prioritizing for you?

friends 2Do you remember that friend you used to drop everything for because you thought you had a great friendship but they didn’t do the same for you? Maybe they had something to do, somebody to see, something more important on their agenda. I’m not talking about dropping all responsibilities every time somebody needs salt, I’m talking about showing up for our friends. We all know how it feels when people show up for us and we all know how it feels when they don’t. It’s just a matter of being honest with ourselves about it, that’s the hard part.

We’ve all had at least one of those friendship. And it’s alright, things change, people change, it’s important to figure out when to cut our losses though. If there is a pattern of you showing up for somebody who doesn’t show up for you, it’s time to reevaluate where that person stands in your life. Life happens, martyrdom and abuse is optional.

3) Who’s talking smack behind your back? Or to your face?

True friends can be there for us in many ways. They sometimes tell us things we don’t want to hear because they care about us and they don’t want to see us hurt, disappointed or fall behind on our values. That’s what friends are for, they keep us honest, they help us grow into a better version of ourselves. The people that talk smack about you behind your back to others or put you down, to your face or otherwise, don’t have your best interest at heart. They may be all caught up in their own crap or simply don’t are about you that much. And that’s ok, as long as we know about it and connect accordingly. I invite you to keep close the friends that are ready to be on your side and show up for you, not use you as an emotional punching bag. It’s important to nurture balanced relationships.

cup4) True friendship is in the small things.

My roommate does the most powerful thing to me. She leaves a light on a night when I come home late. She did that from the get go when I moved in last year. Between my separation with them husband, moving, switching job and nurturing two business, I was hardly home. I left before sunrise and often came back close to midnight. Seeing that little light coming home meant the world to me. It meant that I was seen, expected, welcomed in that sacred space. True love is in the little daily things, it’s not always in the diamonds and expensiveΒ  vacations. Who are the people in your life that lead you feel seen and relevant?

Today I invite you to make a list of the people in your life you spend the most time with and how do they show up in your life. Invest in the ones that offer true friendship, cut back on the ones that don’t. By saving time on the ones that don’t, you’ll have more time, and joy, to dedicate to the ones that do. It’s basic human energy investment. Life is designed to be amazing, I encourage to spend as little time as possible with people that get in the way of that.

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Reach for the Greatest Version of Yourself!

Paola

 

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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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Paola

 

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What’s tolerable to you?

I’m not going to hold back on that one and give it to you straight: You get what you tolerate.

If we tolerate our friends being late and wasting our time, they’ll keep doing it.

If we tolerate our coworkers taking us for granted, they’ll keep doing it.

If we keep being passed on for a promotion and say nothing, it will keep happening.

If we let our partner treat us unkindly, it will keep happening.

All of it can keep happening, or worst, escalate in intensity.

What I invite you to contemplate today is your area of tolerance. What are you comfortable and what are you not?

For example, my definition of ‘late’ is 15 minutes after agreed meeting time. I prefer a message mentioning the delay by meeting time. Anything over 15 minutes after agreed time is officially late. Anything before 15 minutes is a delay that can be easily due to traffic, missed turn, wardrobe malfunction, long line at the coffee shop, etc.

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That’s my area of tolerance when it comes to time and meetings. I put that system in place years ago, that’s what I’m comfortable with, that’s the level of productivity I want in my life, therefore, I collaborate with individuals that match my needs which is a source of great joy.

That’s the point after all, we want to feel happy and purposeful, it will happen with individuals we invite in our area of tolerance.

Another example dear to my heart is when someone projects their anger unto others in person, through text, email or phone call. I consider all emotions to be valid and we can experience all of them freely. I draw the line at projecting negative feelings without consideration for others. Taking it out on others is not ok in my book. Some things need not be shared, we can be pissed on our own time and process it at our leisure, that’s what adults do. Children have tantrums, adults manage and process. Which will you be?

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I therefore draw a very obvious line in communication and any misdirected negative emotion is addressed in a firm and kind way. I don’t want that in my life, period.

Not tolerating certain things in your life doesn’t mean we don’t accept others. It means we choose what we allow in our life, and what we don’t. We can accept that people get angry and not allow them in our experience. We can accept that individuals are at a different stage of growth but we don’t have to be close friends or collaborators.

Being intolerant of others’ differences is being scared of them. I’m not scared of angry individuals or people that run late more than I can take. I just don’t like it and I have a choice to keep it out of my life. We don’t have to like and understand everything and everybody, we do have the choice to accept our differences and surround ourselves with individuals that are a source of joy and comfort.

So, what will you tolerate today?

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Reach for the Greatest Version of Yourself!

Paola

 

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What’s your ROE?

One of the most useful practice I incorporated in my very productive lifestyle was to manage my ROE, aka Return On Energy.

We’re all different and some things can be a source of joy, others can be absolutely draining! That’s the journey of learning about who we are and what makes us tick, in a good way, or not. It’s also the process of being unapologetic about who we are, where we’re at, and what works for us.

I’m a recovering people pleaser so I can totally relate to the pressure of wanting to be perfect and liked for what we do, because we’re afraid of not being loved for who we are. I invite you to be strong and choose wisely, it’s totally worth it!

Two methods I use to honor the ultimate ROE is saying YES or saying No. It’s simple, again, it works best when we’re connected to our true self.

I love to say YES to opportunities and figure it out later. I especially say YES if it comes across as a little scary. There is nothing wrong about going back to previous commitments as long as it’s done in a way that is transparent and secure rather than volatile or self serving. We can also give a head’s up and communicate clearly where we’re at.

For example: ” that sounds like a great opportunity, I’m not sure that I can rise to the challenge fully but I’d like to give it a try, would that be alright?” That way we set the tone for the experience and the expectation.

I also love to say No, which happens more and more often lately. I say No to others and myself.

I say No to a lot of invitations, demands and expectations, social pressures and cultural framing.Β I was at a gathering last weekend and one of the guest completely put me down for not attending certain meetings, to which I never committed in the first place. She questioned me about my availability until I flat out responded: “it’s my self-care day” She didn’t get it, and that’s alright.

I say NO to myself if I crave junk food or if I want to keep working instead of focusing on self-care. I say No to myself about feeling responsible or guilty for others feelings and decisions. It’s their story to write, not mine. I say No to myself when i’m looking for the easy way out of my thought process instead of being vulnerable and owning it.

It’s a matter of focus and being clear on what we really want. Those decisions will define the emotional outcome. How much we can accomplish in one day will depend on how much we enjoy it. Let’s choose wisely πŸ™‚

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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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