Anchor Your Intention

Lately, I have been diving into an abundance of podcasts while driving. The last time I listened to this many podcasts was when I lived in Los Angeles and it took me 30+ minutes every time I got in the car to get most places. I thought I had escaped that life being in Austin… although I still drove most places, it did not take nearly as much time and the scenery was always so beautiful that I could drive in silence and be content.

Needless to say, I’m back to the driving world in Ontario, Canada. It takes me about 20 – 30 minutes to and from work, add a few errands here and there and it’ll be a 45-minute trip. It’s certainly ideal for going through at least 2 podcasts episodes a day.

There’s always a way to make the most mundane tasks of the day useful.

I’ve also added to my diverse podcast list. I use to focus on This American Life, Invisiblia, TED talks, etc. Recently, I’ve dived fully into Tim Ferris, Aubrey Marcus, Ben Greenfield, and Joe Rogan. One thing that drove my interest to them is their desire and constant curiosity about the body-mind connection. They are all (including their interviewees I choose to have on the show) 100% committed to improving themselves through a variety of ways including but not limited to technology, biohacking, science, fitness.

It’s allowed me to think about my own intentions differently in the midst of a transition period. Sure, there are goals and certifications I’m working towards at the moment but it does not take away the fact that I continue to feel lost and lonely in different ways.

However, the stresses of life- especially those we can’t control- will continue to fight us day in and day out. The key is learning to accept them, and realizing why they are a part of our lives at that certain moment. In addition, turning those stresses into growth, knowledge, and self-development. Previously, I’ve written about starting the day with asking ourselves “What is your WIN for the day?” The second question to ask ourselves is:

What is your intent for the actions you’re about to embark on? 

This is an important question to get our mind in the right before any activity or event. Whether you are heading to work, reading a book, or getting ready to sleep- we should remind ourselves what our intent is. Only then will we be fully aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. There are many moments where our answer might be “because of we have to”, and these are the exact moments we need to ask ourselves the question above.

It gives us an opportunity to shift our mindset, and anchor our flashlight of perception an intent of growth, or making ourselves better each and every day.

Focus on daily wins, not goals.

As James Clear would put it: Commit to a process, not a goal.

We are already getting close to March 2018. Who would’ve thought the first two months of 2018 passed by so damn quickly? Oh wait, this happens every year. I’ve been unemployed for almost 3 months now, and I will soon be working but that’s not the point.

In the midst of my transition and mini career change (…although, did I have a set career to start with? Nope. I have a ton of interest and can thrive in multiple environments and that’s okay!), I have placed multiple goals for myself. I want to have this license by June, I want to eventually get this other license, I want to be able to do this-this and that.

Goals are great, but they can be daunting. I signed up for James Clear’s email subscription recently and this morning, he gave me a much-needed reminder. I was reminded that focusing on the end goal can be exhausting, and only serves as motivation for a stretch of time, then we can easily fall out of the motivation… and return eventually as long as it’s before the date of our desired “end goal”.

Instead of focusing on the goal, focus on the process. Focus on writing every day (which is what encouraged me to write this post to start with. I constantly talk about writing blog posts and needing to keep up with my writing but I only write when I am reminded the last time I wrote was a month ago. My goal has become “write a blog post a day and then I’m good”. No. That’s not okay, if I’m going to keep writing, I need to write on a regular basis whether that means writing for ya’ll or writing privately. 

Focus on exercising every day. There are days I travel, there are days I may be feeling sick or exhausting. However, that does not give me a reason to not spend time stretching at home, or doing a few workouts with the TRX, Yoga Mat, or Resistance bands. There are ALWAYS exercises we can do via body weight or even when we’re working (calf raises when working a standing desk is great!) 

Focus on reading (a book) a certain amount of time every day. As I have been unemployed, I’ve had plenty of time to sit on my butt, look at my phone or my computer… to the point where I’ve been exhausted staring at a screen. I’ve also realized that sure I can read endless articles online to increase my knowledge of various subjects, but it does not compare to sitting and reading a book. Thanks to Michael Harris, I am reminded that many of us have forgotten how to read.

I can keep going on the million things I need to do every day in order to reach my “goals”, but one thing I’ve learned through my free time of unemployment is… it’s very easy to become distracted and want to accomplish and million and one things with ALL the time on my hands.

I’m not going to fall victim to that this time around. I’m going to focus on writing, exercising, and reading every day. I know the combination of the three will bring me to achieving the success I want and desire.

What are you going to focus on? How are you working on your process? 

It’s not even FOMO anymore

I’ve left Austin for quite a few months now, I guess it’s almost half a year since I’ve officially had to leave (despite my visits that last a few weeks at a time). Regardless, I miss the energy, the food, and the people. It had it all.

Whilst in Miami late last week for a short visit, I found myself scrolling through google and facebook events to find “cool events” to attend and go to. Facebook events are a great way to find events in and around your city. Google and various calendars will have the more well-known events but certainly not the local unique ones.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was trying really hard to find a “cool event”, and am reminded of how ridiculous I may have sounded to many people who find joy in simply walking down the street and sitting in a restaurant. It was then I realized that I no longer had FOMO, but I simply was constantly on the prowl for “unique” events to attend.

I attribute this characteristic of mine to living in Austin. Certainly, I’ve always been interested and open to attend whatever goes thrown my way but living in Austin, I never had to seek out any events. They simply appeared on my facebook feed, or I heard about it through the grapevine around social circles. There is always something that I wanted to go to and that fit right into the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan. It was a blast, and those events keep Austin’s energy vibrant.

In reflecting upon the last few months in the places I’ve traveled, I noticed that I purposely sought out events to go to and when they didn’t exist, or the options were limited, I irrationally deemed that city as boring. I believe it does not come from a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), but more from a constant craving for new experiences. 

This is generally a good thing, but too much of anything leads to tunnel vision. Each place, each city, everywhere I go has its charm and it’s unfair to expect the same vibe and activeness from all. In addition, we can easily lose sight of learning how to be with ourselves. We are our best selves. We cannot fully be with others and be our best selves unless we learn to love and be alone. 

The first step to change is an acknowledgment, right?

So…. Joanne, how are you going to change? You may ask. Well, instead of finding something to go to every day, I will limit it to 2 or 3 times a week. The rest of the time, I will focus on myself. Grow my mind, build my health- physical and mental.

P.S. I did eventually find a dive bar in Wynwood Wall area with local artists performing open mic, spoken word, and a small market with local arts. It was a blast… no regrets!

Reflections at every ending

A year and a half ago when I moved to Austin, Texas, I did not have a job. I didn’t know what I was going to do, nor what would happen in a year when my visa expired. To my surprise after multiple interviews over the course of a few months, I secured a job in the property management sector. Did I have career aspiration to be in property management? No. Could I have ever guessed I’d be in this field? No.

However, life is funny like that. It swings you around in different directions if you are flexible and open to deviations. Some may say that means I don’t have a “career goal”, but I beg to differ because my flexibility brought me to working with a fantastic company with incredible, inspiring teammates for the last 15 months.

I have grown immensely as an individual as well as professionally. Each and every teammate I’ve had the opportunity to work with has contributed to my learning and development. Regardless of the unavoidable ups and downs of “going to work”, each teammate comes to work with a sense of joy, and a desire to contribute positivity to the world in everything we do. Some days, that’s all we need.

Avesta Collage

As I sit in a coffee shop in St. Petersburg, Florida on the first day of unemployment, I reflect on the values, virtues and practices that has been engrained in our company culture, and how each of them will carry with me for years to come. One of particular encouraged me to write this post today: Start each day asking yourself – “What is your WIN for the day?”

Today, my win for the day is to write and reflect. We’ve all heard the saying, every beginning has an end. When it’s a happy ending, we get nostalgic about the good times and what we wish we still had. When it’s a sad ending, we hope to move on as quickly as possible to get back to our search for happiness.

The ending of this chapter of my life is both happy, sad, and a variety of emotions in between. However, emotions do not matter as much as the reflections alongside them. Let the reflections flow in and out of our consciousness, observe them, write them down, move on, and come back to them in a few hours, days or years.

Let the #Funemployment begin.

In Defense of Transformative Experiences (That you don’t know you will have yet)

Sometimes life flies by like the speed the light and we don’t take time to think about past experiences and particular transformative experiences that largely impacted who we are today. Yes, every little experience and decision we make impacts what we do… but some decisions have larger impacts than others. Those are generally decisions that give us the most fear, the most anxiety, and the most uncertainty.

Take a minute and ponder the following: What is an experience, or a stage of life, or a decision you made that have impacted your values, beliefs, and behaviors? 

Now take another minute and ask: Did you know ahead of time that particular experience will have such a large impact on you? 

More than likely, the answer is no. Perhaps you knew it would impact you, but you didn’t know how exactly. That’s the beauty of experiences. There is no way for us to know how each adventure or decision we make will play out until we are in it.

In the past (almost) 10 years since high school, I’ve moved to multiple cities I never thought I’d live in, entered relationships that didn’t end the way I had originally thought it would, and landed a career in an industry I also never thought I’d be in. There are so many transformative experiences that have changed the course of my life.

What absolutely blows my mind is the fact that if you take out any of those relationships or experiences, I would not be where I am (in my career nor physical location) today… and despite the occasional bad days or wishes, I’m incredibly thankful and happy to be exactly where I am.

Was I bummed that I didn’t get the work visa to stay in the one place I was finally happy to stay and settle down for a few years? Yes. 

Was I disappointed that the relationship I had poured my love and energy into ended? Yes. 

You may or may not have experienced the same situation before, but if you have… high five! If you haven’t, I’m sure you have experienced disappointment and the necessity to rebuild your life in one capacity or another. In order to bounce back from disappointment, it requires the courage to challenge ourselves to say yes to the unknown in order to reap the benefits of a transformative experience. 

Saying yes can be a terrifying decision- because it means you’re opening yourself up to possible disappointment and failure once again. Saying no is much easier, and much safer. However, I refuse to be safe and comfortable. I refuse to settle for mediocracy and convenience. I refuse to hold back my love and care, simply to shield myself of heartbreak.

I will always choose adventure, curiosity, transformative experiences and continuous growth and learning. To all those around me, friends, family, strangers, teammates, lovers & my fellow readers: I hope to encourage and inspire the same.


I’m living in a city I have never lived in…
(with plenty of opportunities to explore)

Working as a digital nomad…
(with the opportunity to work and travel at the same time – while building my career)

Spending time with family I’ve never grown up around…
(with the opportunity to be a mentor to the little ones)

And have inspiring friendships all around the world.

What more can I ask for? 


Post inspired by: “The Vampire Problem: A Brilliant Thought Experiment Illustrating the Paradox of Transformative Experience”

“Many of [life’s] big decisions involve choices to have experiences that teach us things we cannot know about from any other source but the experience itself.”