We had the good fortune of connecting with Paola Andrea Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paola Andrea, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
I believe that the definition of happiness is a moving target, an ongoing creation. Before I could understand what made me happy, I had to explore and understand my purpose. I like to think of happiness as living in accordance to my values and to remind myself of those values I use the four C’s, connection, curiosity, compassion and contribution. Connection is about staying in the present long enough to find out who you really are. For me, being authentic is a deep-rooted value, and in order to understand and accept myself, I had to sit in the darkness of my thoughts. It is those silent moments that have given me the most insight. Connection with others has been not only a vital component of my career as a therapist, but it is also what has helped me build a support system of family and friends. I think of curiosity as a beautiful and loyal friend. Curiosity has been the drive and motivation to many of my accomplishments. It has not only lead me to my commitment to the field of psychology, but it has also kept me on my toes, pushing me to always aim to be better at what I do. Compassion has been the lending hand that I needed when I was close to giving up. Practicing self-compassion has been what has allowed me to humanize mistakes, and I believe it is the antidote to guilt. For me life without compassion, is a life without happiness. Contribution is finding ways to give back to my community, and through that I have learned that even the smallest gesture can change how someone feels. I live for those moments, and it is then that I feel the happiest. As long as I can continue to live a life that aligns with my core values, I know that happiness will always be around the corner.
What should our readers know about your business?
Life Discovery is my business and my vision. Everything I do, and have done, for my business, is done with intention, creativity, and purpose. It has always been my dream to provide mental health treatment in a way that is tailored to the needs of the client, and that is what I have been able to do in my practice. I consider myself methodical in the way that I think about cases, and something that has helped me tremendously is investing in my education. I never get tired of learning, and I am grateful that I have been able to train with the biggest names in my field. I have always believed that education is power. This has led me to educate others on the importance of mental health. Lastly, I am focused, determined, and have not been afraid to take risks. These are qualities that have helped me and my business thrive. I can’t take all the credit for my success. I could not have done it without the ongoing support of my family. They have directly and indirectly helped me in many ways. They provided me with unconditional acceptance and often reminded me of who I am and where I come from. It has been the guidance that I have needed in times when I felt lost. I believe that one of the most valuable lessons has been the importance of surrender: to know and accept that I don’t have all the answers, and to understand that I am flawed like many others and appreciate that it takes courage to be vulnerable. When I was finally able to welcome vulnerability, a whole world of possibilities opened up. I learned the importance of self-care, mindfulness, and having a work-life balance. The one thing that I would want people to know about my story is that, psychology was always my destiny. I grew up in Bogota, Colombia in the 90’s. It was a dark and challenging time for my country and our people. As a seven-year-old I began to be curious and ask questions, and I couldn’t understand the meaning behind terrorism or the purpose of taking an innocent life. I became fascinated by human behavior and started to question people’s motives. This keeps me grounded and alive.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I must start with our beautiful Florida beaches. There is nothing that I love more than the ocean and I pledged to never live anywhere where I didn’t have access to such a beautiful escapade. To get there, you can take a long bike ride down the Venetian. If you get thirsty, make a stop at The Standard or Broken Shaker for a refreshing drink and relaxing vibes. Another place I really enjoy is Calle Ocho (Little Havana), it speaks to the Cuban-Miami culture and the Latino energy. In Calle 8 you will run into live musicians speaking through the sounds of the congas. It is an experience that always ignites my soul and is perfect for us music lovers. I would continue by heading through Brickell towards Coconut Grove. Coconut grove is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Miami Dade. It stands out for its gigantic luscious trees, and it is home to some wonderful restaurants and boutiques. Some of my favorite restaurants are, Navé and Ariete by Chef Michael Beltran, Strada, and if you are a fellow whiskey lover, Green Street Café has half off all whiskey on Wednesdays. I could not forget to mention Wynwood. Wynwood is now known for its creativity. It holds over 70 galleries, collections, and museums. This wasn’t always the case; in the 80‘s this neighborhood did not cater to the public but now has become a popular stop for many tourists. I think it speaks to the Miami culture, forever changing, forever growing. Not too far from Wynwood, you will find the Design District, and little Haiti, which are also areas that are worth exploring. If you want to head back towards downtown, you can make a quick stop at the Perez and Frost Museum. There are many happy hour options to start off your evening and if dancing is your groove, ATV Records (previously known as the Electric Pickle) is home to Miami locals and some of the best DJ’s that will make your body move. Next to ATV Records, you will find Tomorrow land, a local Miami bar that will make you feel right at home. They showcase local talent, live bands, old school hip hop and DJ’s on weeknights and weekends. Miami is full of culture, gastronomy, art, music and creativity. It is a city full of drive and dreams. It is one of the most magical places that I have ever known, and it is where I have chosen to make all my dreams come true.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Family: Andres Rodriguez, Nilsa Paredes, Claudia Patricia and Junior Andres. My Companion: Daniel Santos. My mentor: Joe Winn. My favorite author/therapist/relationship philosopher: Esther Perel.
Lead Photographer: Marcia Lorena Delgado Group pictures: Xiomara Suarez