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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It’s not about the butter knife, Netflix or the toilet seat

What do the butter knife, Netflix and the toilet seat have in common? They’re the disguise of something much more profound that can destroy relationships.

The toilet seat, up or down, used to be the number one reason stated for a divorce. Some people would justify either which way a toilet seat is supposed to be, at the end though, it was a disconnect ending with a divorce.

The top reason for a divorce was soon replaced by Netflix when some couples shared a queue for DVD delivery and the queue would be rearranged without communicating with the other party. The choices for the upcoming movie could have been negotiated, again, a disconnect was created.

I’m in the business of human dynamics and connection so I pay close attention to things that may go unnoticed by others.

So what about the butter knife?

I was visiting a friend one evening and we had decided to stay in, cook dinner and catch up. My friend offered to play some music and asked me for my preference, I said blues, I love blues music!

As I began cooking, I soon heard yelling and a raging crowd coming from the speaker, not blues music. My friend was watching a political rally and the crowd was mad. The noise bothered me but I said nothing wanting to brush it off, and telling myself the music would be on shortly. But the music didn’t come, the yelling got louder and I lost patience. The noise was feeling like an aggression to me and I snapped at my friend harshly asking for it to stop. My words were along the lines of: “not now, I’m sorry!!” And I’m pretty sure it was accompanied with hand movement and cooking utensils.

My friend obliged and soon after turned on the blues music which lowered my blood pressure.

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We sat at the table and as a good French girl, I put the butter on a small plate, with a butter knife. We started eating, my friend used his knife already covered with food and dug into the butter. I made a sarcastic joke: “Would you like another butter knife?” which didn’t go over well. My friend got mad at me, I was blindsided and the atmosphere in the room got really heavy.

We could argue the relevance of the use of the butter knife, how dirty my friend’s knife was/wasn’t or how relevant it is to be French while leaving in the U.S. We could do that, and then what? It wasn’t about the butter knife.

By the time we sat for dinner, my friend was still triggered by my reaction about the political rally. He needed to feel seen and heard about the political climate at the time. Instead of checking in with him I reacted in an emotional manner and created a disconnect. My friend didn’t sense he had a safe space to express himself so he bottled his emotion up, the same way I had done earlier. That’s a very counterproductive thing to do.

My friend and I talked it out, figured it out and developed a system to be aware of ourselves and each other’s trigger. It’s all about awareness and being there for others. It’s not about the toilet seat, or Netflix, or the butter knife after all.

I invite you to develop that awareness of emotions, triggers and our reactions. They can show up in counterproductive ways and create disconnects. Connecting is a lot more fun!

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                  Reach for the Greatest Version of Yourself

Paola

 

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To Should or not to Should, there is no question

When was the last time you enjoyed someone telling you: You should do this?

Chances are, it’s been a while, if it ever took place to begin with. We don’t typically enjoy being told what to do or being advised, in a superior way. The Should-er comes across as the person that knows more, knows better, telling a person who doesn’t know and ought to know better. The reason why I point this out is because I’m in the business of human connection and Should-ing someone is disconnecting.

I’m not saying the intention is always to feel superior or that the individual is not looking after you. Sometimes a Should is a warning or a word of caution.

For example: “You shouldn’t put your fingers in the electric socket”. I’ll validate that. Although I prefer the form ” I would keep my fingers out of the electric socket if at all possible.”

What I’m mostly referring to is the self-righteous position that takes place more times than needed. It’s the quick way to making someone do something with the supposition of a threat, punishment or negative consequence.

For example: “you should stop tapping your pen against the desk if you know what’s good for you.”

It’s the speculation that the other person knows less or doesn’t know enough to do the “right” thing.

For example: “you should donate to that charity if you want to call your self a community member.”

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Each example creates an environment of instability. Connection happens in safe spaces. Belittling, shaming or threatening don’t create safe spaces, they create stress, fear and resentment.

Would you like people to do something? Invite them and share with them the possible outcome.

For example: “I’d love it if you would keep your fingers out of the electric socket because I want you to be safe”. Now how easy was that?!! I personally feel the love in that sentence 🙂

How about working on not using the word Should at all, ever again? Let’s make it a dirty word, one that shall not be spoken, one that will be replaced with invitations and intentions of well being and support. What say you?

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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 🙂

 

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

 

Paola

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Vault It

One thing that has served me a great deal in my personal, as well as professional, life is to share as little information as possible, also called vaulting.
I find it very productive, and kind, to keep some information to ourselves, especially if that information was passed to us by others. The two top reasons are to respect the privacy of some individuals and to create a space of connection and trust.
Would you trust someone who divulges your most personal secrets? Or even just personal information about your work or your lifestyle?
I’m regularly shocked at what some individuals say to me considering the low priority relationship status experienced at the time or the nature of the conversation. Let’s keep in mind that the way some people behave with you is the way they will behave about you with others. If they gossip with you about others, they will gossip about you with others.
I feel for the ones that need that sense of importance that gossiping or communicating hot details can bring. We all need to feel connected. The same way that misery loves company. so does insecurity. Individuals that divulge too much typically think very little of themselves and their life. It’s a shame! I’m firmly certain there is something special about every single one of us!
So what to say and not say?
If you wouldn’t want somebody to say it about you, don’t say it about them.
If you’re not sure, say nothing.
If you’re unsure and have the opportunity, ask the person involved in the story if you can share the details. Double checking facts is helpful too.
Or, tell the story if it is really significant, just leave out all details that could trace back to anyone in particular. No name, no place, no dates.
I find that very few shares, regardless how sensational they can be, are worth damaging a relationship or one’s reputation, starting with our own.
Discretion is a precious talent. In an environment where social media reigns it could be tempting to think that more is better. I believe that better is better.
Let’s also take in consideration that social medias are tools, we’ll get out of them whatever we build with them. We can connect, or disconnect. That is our choice!
I invite you to share a story or some information below that you would find connecting and productive to others. Go!
Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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The Agreements

What’s the difference between a rule and an agreement? A rule may be dictated by another party, and we follow it, or not. An agreement is agreed upon by all parties, and more likely to be honored. I love productivity and connection, therefore, we’ll stick to the word agreement today.

I invite you to come up with, revisit or reaffirm the agreements of your life. These are not the rules we live by in our society out of respect and self preservation, these are things we believe in because they align with our persona. For example, if you drink the last bit of coffee from the pot, do you make a fresh one? Or do you just walk away? Will someone get annoyed if the coffee pot is empty? Is there an agreement about the coffee pot?

There are two types of agreements for me: agreements with myself and agreement with others.
I run my life by the agreements I set up for myself. What I do, or don’t do, is dictating on a daily basis by what I affirmed are my personal values. Some of those values took some deliberating, others were very easy to come up with, some I’m still debating on. When an occasion arises to make a decision and I’m uncertain about what action to take, I fall back on my personal agreements. If an event challenges my existing agreement, I may revisit, or reaffirm. Everything changes, and we must adapt.
Agreements with others are an investment in productive interaction. It’s an investment because we’ll have to set time to talk about certain subjects, some easy, others not so easy, so we can have as much of an idea about what to expect. We don’t always know for sure what can be a source of pain to others. Taking some time to find out is an act of kindness and generosity. Once agreements are in place, we can go about our business with peace of mind that certain things will be taken care of. It takes a village, right?
Agreements do require integrity and the investment of affirming agreements has a higher return with individuals with higher integrity, that’s an obvious one.
That being said, something wonderful happens when a person is given trust, out of the benefit of the doubt. It’s a risk, however, my personal experience is that on many occasions individuals will choose to show integrity if they are given trust rather than if they feel being tested for trust. It’s a tricky one, and it’s up to each to decide how they want to invest their time and resources. I invite you to try it from time to time and share the results with me.
Some agreements may be different from person to person: who is allowed to borrow your toothbrush?
Some agreements may apply to everybody: I don’t borrow things without asking.
Invest in those questions now and a lot of decision will be a lot easier to make in the future.
It builds a code of honor, a reputation, a consideration from others. We all want to be connected, it’s easier to connect with individuals that are non-threatening, the unknown is threatening, let’s be obvious and expected then. We can keep the wild nature and spontaneity for the people in our lives that can handle it.

What are some of your most solid agreements? Share below 🙂

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola
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About Relationships

I started my practice with a strong idea that I wanted to help individuals in the wellness field, empowering them to find harmony balancing all the facets in their life. At first, I refused to consult around romantic relationships. I usually referred one of the great coaches I knew were thriving in that field.

Things changed. I realized that I was passionate about the relationship with Self, which is, really, the foundation for relationships of all kind, including romantic. I dove into that department with abandon and excitement. I discovered some fascinating concepts and reaffirmed some items I already felt strongly about. We’re talking about all types of relationships here.

Let’s start with the hard, and obvious, one: If it doesn’t nurture you, and/or it hurts you, walk away!

We tend to project an idea, a dream, a perspective, on a relationship. For me, it was the married life with the  white picket fenced house including cats and a rose garden. It did work for a while. But things changed, as they always do, and soon it was no longer nurturing me. I wanted something different. The hard part wasn’t the change, relocation and reorganization of my life. The hard part was letting go of my original projection, of what happiness is supposed to look like.

Another wonderful concept is the idea of the relationship itself as an entity rather than the sum of two, or three or more. By focusing on either party at any given time, we tend to loose focus of the big picture. The same way we grow a flower considering seasons and various exposures, feedings, trimmings, we can look at the relationship in periods, what feeds it, what may hurt it. We don’t pay attention just to the water or the sun that feeds the plant, so we don’t just pay attention to one member of the relationship or another, we pay attention to the relationship itself.

A very rewarding and exciting concept is the co-creation. It can be many hings: children, art, country house, business, just something that each party can participate with their gift and witness a result that would have been impossible otherwise by oneself. Aside from the excitement of the experience, it’s about creating bonds, stories, connections that go beyond what takes place with the usual grabbing coffee, taking a vacation, watching a movie sort of activity. They are all valid, however, they won’t generate the same kind of bonding.

My favorite concept of all is the growth. We may have focused on a different meaning when we said “we want to grow old together”. Again we’re projecting the idea of time spent as a success. It’s very well anchored in our culture, many cultures actually. It would be a whole different blog on that alone. I’d like to focus here on the word “grow”. The relationship will thrive by all participants growing in the same direction at a relatively equal pace. There can be plateaus and catch up periods, naturally. In my opinion, if individuals in a group or couple, loose track of each others growth, or a gap is created, the relationship will weaken and possibly dissipate.

Relationships are hard, they are precious and worth the work though. What’s your favorite part about connecting with yourself and others? Comment below 🙂

Reach for the greatest part of yourself!

Paola

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