Learn how to say what you mean and mean what say
Last week I hosted a workshop at the coworker space The Riveter talking all about Conscious Communication and what that really means.
We talked about what the best way is to connect with others, get your point across and really feel seen and heard in both personal and professional settings. I know I have fallen victim to misinterpretation…
Communication is not a one size fits all approach because people listen and receive information in different ways.
Conscious communication starts with the assumption that everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be agreed upon but recognizes that everyone has a certain set of experiences that influence how they see the world.
Instead of pitting ourselves against one another, we approach conversations with a sincere desire to understand.
When we set aside our agenda of trying to change everyone and approach communication with a curious mind and open heart, the world opens up for us.
How to embody Conscious Communication
Step 1: Find Common Ground
Focus on the things that you have in common. When you notice these things, your attention is on what you share, rather than what divides you. From this place you have a better chance of understanding their perspective on issues where you disagree.
Step 2: Manage your Emotions
Learn to manage your emotional reactivity by:
Taking 3 deep breaths
Going outside for a walk
Scheduling a meeting for a later date so that you have time to process the situation and come back to a level head in lieu of reactivity
Step 3: Accept what is
Things are not always going to go exactly how you want them to. Once we accept things as they are, we become more effective in responding to a person or situation because we are no longer feeling captive to our emotions.
Step 4: Stick with it
Relationships happen when you show up, sincerely, time and time again. Give yourself whatever time you need between conversations, and look for other ways to maintain a connection. In this way you build mutual respect that can be the foundation for a genuine and productive conversation about a shared future.
Work Smarter NOT Harder
More isn't always better. Learn how to prioritize the right tasks in order to do less but achieve more.
How do you anything is how you do everything.
As a human being, you are a creature of habit and so is your brain. Your brain naturally wants to work efficiently, meaning it wants to execute a task with the least amount of effort. By establishing a routine, you can carry out a task faster since you don’t have to think about it, it will be on autopilot. By doing this, you are neurologically setting the foundation to be as productive as possible.
Each of us also has a peak potential zone. This is when you are working according to your strengths and your tasks feel effortless. You want to maximize staying in this zone as much as possible and do the things you love in order to get the most amount of work done.
Are you ready to work smarter not harder?
Here are my top 4 Healthy Habits you can implement to be more efficient.
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."
- Steve Jobs
Last week I was hanging out with a friend who told me that he was working 90 hours a week. I thought to myself, 'I never want to do that.' Reflecting on this further, I realized I probably do work that much, but it doesn't feel like work.
Pursuing my passions through running my business may be what I do for work, but it is also what I do for fun. It is my life's mission and purpose and the majority of the time it doesn't feel like work. When you do what you love, work and life tend to blend together.
This past weekend, I technically 'worked' all day on Sunday leading a transformative retreatfor a group of amazing humans in LA. Sure, it was a long day and it took months to plan but I got to do what lights me up and best of all, pass that light on to others.
How do you #dowhatyoulove anyways?
Pursuing your passions takes focused intention and laser clarity in order to bring what you want into reality.
There will likely be a lot of naysayers (that's just how it is), and you may have to start it as a side hustle, but as long as you stay focused on the pursuit of your dreams, it will all be worth it in the end.
Start by making a list of everything that excites you.
Notice when you are performing a task if it is something that excites you or drains you.
Think about what people regularly compliment you on or tell you that you are good at.
Think about something that you do that feels effortless and easy and where time seems to stand still.
Lost on what to do next?
One of the things that I get to do in the work that I love is coach people looking to get clear on their passions and support them in creating an action plan to make it happen.
There is something special about a new year.
A fresh page.
A blank slate.
An opportunity for growth.
But how do we ensure that this feeling sticks? How do we make sure that we reach the goals that we set for ourselves?
So it’s no secret the January is THE month for wellness. It is a time when we are self-reflective, motivated and start to think of all the things we want to bring in for the new year.
I took some time over the past couple of weeks to decide what was important to me for the new year and decided that my words for 2019 are consistency, community, intuition and service (find out why here).
So how do you take this motivation and run with it? How do you stick to your goals and not be part of the 80% of people with failed resolutions? Here are a couple of things that I consistently apply to my life that have been majorly helpful in ensuring that I execute on my goals with success.
Wether your goals are personal or professional (they are usually a little mix of both) the best thing to do is to break them down. Whether you commit to something bold like 'I am going to lose 25 lbs this year’ or ‘I am going to surpass my sales quota by 50K’, the impetus to successfully reaching these goals is to make them SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Doing this helps to break down the goal, leading to a much higher success rate. When you make your goal specific you gain clarity on what you are trying to achieve, measurable provides a structure that helps to decipher whether you are closer to achieving it (and if not you know there is something that needs to change) attainable will make it realistic, relevant helps to bring to light whether it is in line with your value system and time-bound provides with a deadline that you need to execute it by.
So depending on what your goals are, use the SMART model to ensure success.
For example: In order for me to lose 20 lbs this year I need to lose a little over 2 lbs a month. I will do this by including an extra workout in every week and cutting out my afternoon snack. I will weigh myself every 2 weeks in order to make sure that I am staying on track.
I want to surpass my sales quota by 50K this year. This means that I have to sell an extra $4200 a month. I will do this by attending an extra networking event and making 10 extra cold calls a week. I will check in monthly on my strategy and if I am not seeing desired results, I will come up with a new plan.
So what is your big annual goal and how can you make it SMART?
Consistency. Collaboration. Service. Intuition.
These are my words for 2019.
I believe deeply in setting an INTENTION, then focusing your ATTENTION and then practising NO-TENSION.
Let me explain.
The birth of an idea starts with a mere though of something that we want to create. We have an idea and then we set it in motion by creating an INTENTION around it.
Then we focus our ATTENTION on really making it happen. We think it into reality and then put energy and action into having it manifest from an idea into a real thing.
And then the final part, the most important part in my mind, is the NO-TENSION. The part where we detach from any of it actually coming to fruition or turning into the outcome that we desire. You see we can hope and think, increase energy and action but sometimes the universe has different plans. So as much as we can create, it is important to remember that we are actually CO-creating every step of the way.
So these are my words for 2019 and here is why.
Consistency: I want to practice consistency in every area. Exercise, meditation, work, diet, friendships, family love. With consistency there is growth and with growth there is change.
Community: It takes a village to do anything, to live to breathe, the be happy. Without that we have nothing. I commit to showing up for my community and growing it by hosting dinners, organizing trips and attending different types of events.
Service: I believe the most powerful thing you can do is help others. By helping others, we are actually helping ourselves. I commit to volunteering at least once a month with different organizations.
Intuition: I believe that we each hold an innate wisdom and already have the answer to every single question. I personally access my wisdom the most when I am in nature and by myself. I plan to spend more time doing both in order to tap deeper into my own wisdom.
And if none of this yields the results I want it to, that is okay too.
So now it's your turn. What do you want to create in 2019? What is your word(s)?
If you are not sure, take some time to think about it.
Go outside, move your body, be by yourself.
Take out your journal and your pen and write. Write a lot or write a little. Write with no expectation. I promise you, the words you are looking for will come. And when they do, write them down and put them somewhere where you can be reminded of them everyday. Then, let the magic unfold.
So thanksgiving week is upon us, which can be exciting for some and can be dreadful for others.
In my family, Thanksgiving was never really something that we celebrated. Being in the US, it seems to be something that everybody partakes in and this year we will all be in San Francisco (where my brother lives) to celebrate.
I am looking forward to the holiday since it is all about giving thanks, being grateful for what you have and spending time with family.
Holidays can also be challenging as they can bring up feelings of loneliness, old wounding and comparison. This is not necessarily a bad thing...when we confront things that trigger us, we are able to move through them instead of continue to hold onto them.
So as you go into this holiday season, look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn, and to release some of things that may have been holding you back this year.
Some useful tips to maximize your holiday.Put your phone away - I know, I know it can feel like a 5th limb sometimes but it is robbing you of being present and experiencing things around you. Don't zone out on your phone while at the dinner table with your family. Listen to what they have to say and make eye contact when someone is speaking. Encourage everyone to put their phones away and see how much more the engagement and laughter increases.
Talk about things that matter - if you are anything like me, your family lives in different places and we don't all get to be around each other that often. So when we are, I look at it as an opportunity to really catch up. Take this opportunity to ask the people you love about how they are doing, what they may be struggling with and what goals they need support on reaching.
Avoid negative topics - we can probably all agree on the fact that there are a lot of negative things happening in the world. There are also a lot of positive things happening too. Avoid topics that will put you and your loved ones in a bad mood such as politics, natural disasters and gossip. Instead of focusing on the problem, see if you can band together and come up with a solution.
Be mindful with this time as it only comes once a year! If holidays bring up negative emotions - that is okay too. You can change them by starting to create new memories.
Happy Happy to you and yours.
So last week I had 8 meetings scheduled in a day and 7 of them were moved around or cancelled.
I was pissed! Don't y'all know I am trying to run a business here? To me, one of the utmost signs of respect is respecting someone's time. So I was feeling quite disrespected...
I paused to ask myself what was going on. Yes, part of it is that things change and people in LA can be flaky but I turned the finger around on myself to ask why this may be happening and what was the lesson for me to learn in this situation.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that time is not on my side. Meaning that I am late A LOT. I never do it intentionally or to disrespect someone's time. In fact it is the opposite; I am overoptimistic about the things I need to get done and often misjudge the amount of time it takes me to complete them, leaving myself with little wiggle room.
It is definitely an area of my life that I can be better with and I strive to improve on.
That led me to my conclusion, if I am so casual about other people's time, how can I expect people to be respectful of mine?!
So take a moment to ask yourself - what are expecting of others that you are not delivering on yourself?
Being late might not be your thing, it may be lack of patience, close mindedness, hot-headness or 'inset X'.
The truth is you can't expect other people in your life to provide something for you if you don't possess it yourself. It is often that thing that triggers you the most in others, that you need to improve on. Think of those triggers like looking in a mirror, they illuminate all parts of you - both the good and the bad!
A couple simple steps that will help you work through triggers:
GET REAL: Don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and delve into the hard answers. When we have a physiological or emotional response in the body (ie. anger, frustration, sadness) it just means there is tenderness there. This is information that you can work with. Recognize what the other person is doing that is triggering you and see if you can improve on that quality within yourself.
SHOW UP: Initial change may not be easy but the more you do it the easier it gets. You may not get it right every time but the simple effort of trying makes a huge difference.
ASK FOR SUPPORT: If you are working on something or feeling uneasy - don't be afraid to let the people closest to you know that you feel that way. Sharing how you feel often brings you closer with the people that you love. They may be working on something similar or have tips and pointers to offer you that you will find helpful in your process.
To the boy who didn’t message me back.
So lately I have been thinking, to what and whom do I give my power away to and why?
Is it to the boy who didn’t message me back?
The thousands of people I follow on Instagram?
The number of likes I get on a photo?
The number in my bank account?
Yes, I am guilty of giving a little bit of power away to all of these things.
So I decided to take a moment to stop and think about what I’m doing and ask myself why.
I realized that I do this, simply because I always have. I do this because society told me I was supposed to look a certain way, dress a certain way, be in a committed relationship by a certain age and make a certain amount of money.
Well, I’m calling bullshit on you society, because your rules don’t make me feel so good.
And guess what? I have never been a rule follower anyways: in fact, I f*$%ing HATE rules!
We all posses a finite amount of power, meaning it is a limited resource. If we give it away to the wrong people, it can be easily depleted. If we give it to the right people, it can grow exponentially. We all have the power to make that choice for ourselves.
I can choose to use my power for good, like Glenda the Good Witch, or for evil, like The Wicked Witch of the East (Wizard of Oz, anyone?). I get to decide if I want to give my power away to people and things who don’t deserve it (like that aforementioned boy), or if I want to protect it and give it out mindfully and watch it grow exponentially.
I choose the former.
Ok ok, we all know that if we want to change a result then we have to change our action. Here are a couple of tips I use to remember how powerful I really am.
Monitor your screen time
Tell yourself that you have specific times that you can go online throughout the day.
Creating a structure around social media time will help you honour the limits you set. If you need a little extra help doing this, you can use an app like Sense that will help you set daily limits and notify you when you go over.
Unfollow people who make you feel bad
Only follow people who make you feel good and unfollow the people who make you feel bad (even if they are your friends). It is that simple. If someone calls you out or asks you why you unfollowed them you can let them know that you are doing a digital cleanse and it is not personal.
Make a point to connect with people that you love in person. In person connection increases trust and the feeling of belonging. Physical touch causes the centers of the brain associated with reward to activate which help us build stronger relationships. So when that boy doesn’t text you back (or me), it doesn’t matter because you are surrounded by people who you love and trust.
How do you measure success?
Is it by the number in your bank account, the awards or accolades you have received, the size of your house or the type of car you drive?
These things can be viewed as the ‘standard’ trappings of success, but what does having all of that do for you, really?
Does it make you feel more fulfilled, loved and connected? Does it bring you happiness?
In most instances, the answer to this question is no.
5 years ago, I looked like I had it all. I was working for a family business in fashion, being groomed to take over the company and had a coveted job. I got to travel to exotic places and attend fancy dinners and trade shows. I even got a clothing allowance.
People would tell me all the time how lucky I was, how great I was at what I was doing and what an incredible opportunity I had laid out in front of me.
There was one problem: I was completely miserable.
Instead of listening to my heart, I stayed stuck in what I thought I ‘should’ be doing, on what the outside world deemed as ‘successful.' This inevitably ended up making me sick. I got strep throat 3 times in one year, and if that wasn’t enough of a wakeup call, I broke my foot boarding a flight home from a sales meeting in Brazil.
The reason I am telling you this, is because if you are stuck in something that doesn’t feel quite right to you, you're not alone. Although it may be something that other people want, that does not mean it has to be what you want.
Here is the good news: you can change it! Life is too long to stay stuck doing something daily that you don’t love. Yes, change can be scary but it is ALWAYS worth it in the end.
Today, I measure success by the impact I am making on the world, time spent with friends and family and being in nature. This feels a lot more aligned with my belief system but it took some deprograming to get there.
So, how do you measure success?
If you know you want to make a change but you don’t know where to start (which is totally normal) - apply for a clarity call with me to get you on the right track.
Imagine what your life will look like in a year from now, if you start to make a small change today.
Are you on the right path? Here's how to find out.
So I recently came back from a trip to NYC to visit friends, and it got me thinking.
Am I where I am supposed to be?
Were the choices that I made the right ones?
Does life really work out the way you think it will?
And the truth is, I don’t really have the answers. I had dinner with a bunch of old friends, and as I heard them speak about their lives, the ups and the downs, the wins and the losses, I was touched to be surrounded by friends who echoed my same concern - are we doing this thing called life right?
And what does doing life ‘right’ even mean?
As I looked around the table, I realized that we were all in different places in our lives. Some friends were single, some married, others with kids. Some in jobs they love and building businesses, others unemployed, some just working to pay the bills. In general, we all had some levels of happiness in some areas, and in other areas were still trying to figure it out.
And as I near another trip around the sun, (I turn 33 on Sunday) I start to get more and more used to the idea of impermanence. The idea that nothing is forever, and that the only thing constant in our lives is change. So, the more present we can be with that which is right in front of us - the happier our existence will be.
As a wellness expert, I have the privilege of coaching clients on a daily basis, and have been able to gain a lot of insight into how the mind works. This ‘fly on the wall’ perspective has led me to draw many conclusions about our thoughts, emotions and how we generally operate, helping me to understand how to optimize everyday life and heal our wounds.
The main conclusion that I reached is that we are a lot more similar than we are different. We all have dreams and hopes. We all compare ourselves to others at times. We all suffer. We all thrive.
So as you flow through life and ask yourself the question, am I doing this right? If you follow the list below, the answer is yes.
Be gentle with yourself. - remember yourself as a child. The innocence, the rawness, the vulnerability. How would you treat him or her? Certainly with kindness. So why are you being so hard on yourself? Next time you trip up remember your young face because it is still inside of you.
This too shall pass. - remember that life is about ebbs and flows, ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows. We can’t have the good without the bad, so learn to embrace the tough times too. There is always something to learn.
Set an intention - a great way to know whether or not you are on the right path is to set an intention. This will help you create a roadmap for where you want to go, and you can continually check in with yourself. My girlfriends and I like to do this every new moon (every month) and write it in down in journals. This way we are able to check on where we followed through, and what we still need to put some work towards.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.