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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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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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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Paola

 

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How to start the day

Is it really that big of a deal to start the day a certain way? Yes, it is. That’s why so many coaches and gurus share their tips and routine, specifically about that part of the day. How you start will define the rest of the day and how we manage situations. It’s like being on a certain setting. Can we reset through the day? Sure! I’m going for the most productive option here. I prefer to shoot for excellence rather than mediocrity.

 

So what do I do in the morning?

Step 1

I only get out of bed once my intention for the day is set. I already reviewed my schedule the night before, I know what’s coming, so I want to have a firm positive intention for those items too. I want to start the day with love and motivation in my heart, not fear and frustration. It’s easier some mornings than other, I’m not going to lie. However, it’s a golden rule of mine. By the time my feet hit the floor, I’m in the best possible and ready to make the day as amazing as possible!

 

Step 2

I bathe. I like to wake my body up slowly. I also find that I think straighter and better when I feel clean. My bathing ritual also gives me time to firm up the derails about my day and to focus on self care. What does my body need today? How can I best take care of it? Where can I improve in my self care routines. Our bodies are our most precious commodity, not our houses or our cars. How we take care of our body is a factor in defining our success. How productive can you be if you’re body is aching and distracting you from your tasks? On the priority list, self care always comes first!

 

Step 3

I move my body. I’ve been asleep for over 7 hours and I feel it’s important to get back in the movement slowly but surely. Everybody has their preferences, for me it’s ballet. I love doing my ballet exercises that involve balance and light stretching. It’s nothing strenuous but just enough to awaken the awareness of the body. These exercises also support the muscles I need as a tango dancer so it’s a win-win.

 

Step 4

I have breakfast, sitting down and enjoying every minute of that moment. I’m a warm drink kind of girl in the morning. I may choose tea or coffee depending on my mood. If I wake up early, I stick to grains, nuts and fruits. If I wake up later in the morning after sleeping in, I may have some eggs. meat and veggies. I then go through my emails and social medias updates, read articles and add to my to do list if I’m inspired by something I want to try. I stay away from negativity and anything triggering. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just don’t need all of them in my life, and surely not over breakfast. We get the space we create and I want mine to be inspiring and powerful, not negative and pessimistic. Our brain is already wired to detect the negative over the positive in life, let’s help out by being selective of what we feed and expose our brain to, shall we?

 

This is my personal routine and it has served me greatly! I attribute a lot of my personal happiness and success to my morning routine. The routine can vary from person to person of course, however, those 4 steps are a common to all the systems I’ve seen out there. I encourage you to make it your own, you only need 4 elements: intention, self care, feed the body, feed the mind. I invite to see what works for you, what’s joyful and natural to your body. How do you know if it’s working? Check in with yourself. The heart never lies. If you feel fear, shame, frustration after your morning routine, you may need to keep working on it. I know you can do it!

 

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

 

Paola
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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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Goals versus Intentions

We hear a lot about goals: what are your goals in life? What’s your Big Hairy goal? What goal are you trying to reach?
These questions are valid as it’s productive to have a target to aim to and to keep us focused. How we get to that goal is just as relevant. Here’s comes intention. Intention is the energy, the reason for the goal.
For example, I went to a delightful party last Saturday night. My goal was to have fun, my intent was to connect. Connection is fun for me!
Intentions, just as goals, vary from one person to the next. Two individuals can have the same goal in life, for example building a successful business, and have different intentions for it. One person wants a successful business to be financially free, another may want a successful business to have a positive impact on the world. There is no right or wrong intention as long as it’s in alignment with the final goal.
If I say that I want to build a successful business to have a positive impact in the world but my intention is to pay myself as much as possible, and pay everybody else as little as possible, the intent is not in alignment with the goal. People may not take it seriously and it may hurt the business.
Intentions can be applied to everything, from doing the laundry to going to the grocery store. By checking in regularly with yourself and asking “What’s my intention? Does it serve the goal?” you’ll get in the habit of self evaluating if you’re still on track. This has been one of the most important tool I introduced to my lifestyle and has helped tremendously with my productivity, my decision making process and overall happiness.
What’s your goal today? And what’s your intention? Share it with me, I’d love to know!
Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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