Aly Pain knows what it takes to achieve purpose-driven results in work and in life. As a certified life, organization, and relationship coach with over 20 years of experience, Aly helps individuals, families, and large groups dig deep to discover their true potential. She understands not only the passion required to make meaningful transformations but also the clarity necessary to navigate the complexities of today’s work-life challenges, and how to move through them and restore balance to our busy lives.
So we were thrilled when she offered us some of her valuable insights!
After so many years working in personal development, what in your experience are the fundamental barriers to well-being and fulfillment in people’s lives?
In almost every situation the barrier is self-awareness. Not out of resistance, just lack of knowledge. But without that, the answers are always outside of that person and dependent on other people to change.
The first pillar to developing personal awareness is understanding personality styles. That exercise alone creates some of the greatest acceptance of others and self, and has instant positive results in all relationships, which I see whether I’m working with a group or an individual.
The second layer of that is understanding and clarifying personal values. That really flips the fulfillment topic on its head because we’re bombarded with marketing messages saying we have to have certain things or do certain things in order to be happy. A misconception I’m on a mission to abolish!
You live a full and busy life, both professionally and as a family woman, so you have certainly walked the walk. What does balance mean to you and how important is it to break old habits when trying to attain it?
First of all, the Om-chanting, Jedi robe-wearing, yogi-all-day, vegan-living image is a load of crap, so do like Queen Elsa and let it go! It’s another marketing message that’s unachievable, giving us yet another thing we’re not measuring up, to beat ourselves up about.
Balance is a 7-day moving window for me. Each day may be better or worse than the last, but within that time frame I know I will create success.
As an entrepreneur who travels for work and wears many hats within that role, and managing family schedules, there are days that run 18 hours or more without stopping. But those rarely occur and I plan for them when necessary because being ‘busy’ is NOT a badge of honour. I make time to work out 4 – 5 times per week, meditate daily, and have a 30-minute yoga routine 4 times per week. Everything doesn’t always happen at the same time of day, but it gets done as a non-negotiable. Moving my body and stretching is especially important for my mind and body during travel days.
Eating healthy is paramount! I am what I eat and my food is medicine, so being focused on portion sizes composed of whole, fresh food is best. That certainly doesn’t mean being perfect or missing out on a treat every now and then (remember the 7-day window). I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, so almost everything we eat is made from scratch, which includes growing most things in our garden during the summer.
Entrepreneurs love to hold to a story that they have to work 24/7 to be successful, which is simply untrue. So I work but find ways to add play and then close my laptop before dinner without opening it until the next morning. That also means no late nights on the smartphone!
You are doing a lot of interesting work in conflict resolution. What is it about human nature that can make conflicts so difficult to resolve? Are people clinging too tightly to beliefs, or is it simply a matter of using better tools and methods?
Ego. Period. That’s not a judgment, because we all have one and need it for daily functioning. But it tends to get in our way of being able to take responsibility and ownership of our thinking, behaviour, and results. We create such a strong construct or ‘normal’ from our life experiences and environment that acts as a lens on our world.
By creating a safe place where everyone gets to be right, and using tools that create opportunities to try on different ways of thinking and being, I find people open up to new perspectives and even challenge their own, which is amazing and rewarding.
Groups find common points they couldn’t see during conflict, and that new alignment helps to put them all in the problem solving seat without so much of the issue feeling personal anymore.
Building trust is critical to the process, so I start slow and use lots of humour. I love to laugh, and this helps to lighten the mood and keep us from taking ourselves so seriously.
You describe yourself as a hugger! Why is hugging so important, not only to you but in all relationships?
I’m a very kinesthetic person; I express and learn through moving my body. One of my love languages is touch, so hugging is perfect for me in every way! I know it’s not everyone’s style, so I always ask for permission first. Even those people considered to have the exact opposite styles to mine benefit in similar ways from hugging; it just might take them a little bit longer to get there.
The studies on the benefits of hugging for our brains, and our emotional, physical and spiritual health are endless. An intentional hug and few deep breaths is incredibly calming and healing at a cellular level.
Hugging is a vulnerable act. Putting myself into it and really meaning it takes that to a new level. Relationships need lots of this to be a place where all parties can be strong and weak at the same time. Sometimes the hugger is the hugee, or vice versa.
Hugging helps create safety and build trust while giving to the other person in a meaningful way (without having to solve anything or knowing what to say).
For more information on, you can visit Aly at www.alypain.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Kernaghan, owner of Oak Writer
I write stories about people, businesses, and communities so that people will remember what makes them uniquely powerful. Tell me your story!