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Darlyn Ty-Nilo: 7 Strategies For Designing Your Best Life

For Viviamo Inc.’s President and Managing Director, an empowered life starts with knowing your “true choice” and creating the structures needed to support it.

In 2006, Darlyn Ty-Nilo created the Belle de Jour (BDJ) Power Planners with the initial goal of helping Filipino women plan their days better. What started out as a passion project has now grown into a movement with over 9,000 members (known as “Bellas”) who swear by BDJ parent company Viviamo Inc.’s advocacy of empowering Filipinas to live their best lives. Viviamo Inc. does this not only through artful planners and journals, but also through campaigns and activities that engage with their community. 

For her work and efforts, Darlyn was awarded the Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardee for Entrepreneurship in 2010, became one of the youngest Agora Awardees for Entrepreneurship in 2012, and was named one of the Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs in 2017. More recently last June 2020, she was honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women on Linked In.

“So get to know yourself, fall in love with yourself; and when you make mistakes, don’t be afraid to fall out of love with yourself. Then rediscover what else you can do. It’s all part of the process, and when you trust in the process, everything else will fall into place.”

Darlyn Ty-Nilo, Viviamo Inc.’s President and Managing Director

Darlyn reflects on her life and career and shares her X tips for designing a life that is successful and fulfilling:

  1. Follow your “true choice.” “My first job right out of college was a failure,” Darlyn shares. Despite graduating with high marks and winning national marketing competitions in college and putting in extra hours with the multi-national company she was working for, she was not regularized after the probationary period of her employment. “I realized I failed because what I was doing was not what I really wanted; instead, I only did things to please society’s expectations of me,” she explains. “I would be told things like ‘You should accept the best job offer out there even if you don’t like it because to do otherwise would show you are ungrateful.’ Or I would hear that I had to take the accounting board exams because my studies would just go to waste if I didn’t. But all these comments stem from a mindset that opportunity only comes once; what if the truth is that the opportunity that is knocking on your door is merely testing you to find out what is really in your heart?”

So when Darlyn decided to go into the business of making and designing planners, she made sure to allot pages where people could write down their goals. “I wanted people to start their year asking themselves what kind of life they would want to have, because designing your best life starts with knowing what kind of life you want,” she declares. 

  1. Know that the path to success is never linear. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to pause and reflect if you’re feeling stuck or confused, and it’s absolutely okay to change your mind if things are no longer working out. “It doesn’t matter whether you change your mind after three months or three years,” Darlyn assures. “What’s important is to keep on writing about it, because the act of writing down your goals and dreams provides clarity, and clarity will always give you power.”
  2.  Another way to create clarity — set routines. “I’m a big believer in routines,” Darlyn confesses. “This is because when you create structures to your day and life, you’re anchored on your goals and don’t get lost. It’s like you’re trying to walk a straight line; if there’s no line on the ground to begin with, how can you achieve that goal?”

With Darlyn, her overarching goals are to run her business effectively and spend quality time with her family, so she makes sure she plans her day in a way that ensures she has the time and energy to devote herself to both.

  1. Included in that routine — making time for self-care. “In the past few months, I was not allotting time for fun at all,” Darlyn shares. “At night when we were supposed to be resting, my husband and I would watch webinars or workshops, or I would read books related to business or self-improvement because I had to keep thinking of ways to keep the business running during the pandemic. Then a friend reminded me that I needed more play time, and I remembered the saying that ‘You cannot give what you don’t have.’ How can I expect my business and family to thrive and be happy if I myself was always tired and stressed?”

So today, Darlyn makes it a point to spend a few hours a day reading fiction books instead of business tomes, and has switched her caffeine-laden mornings with more nutritious smoothies. “I gave myself permission to rest and take care of myself,” she says. “Even on days that are extra-busy and my downtime is only 10 minutes long, I make sure the entire time is about me and my needs, not about my work or the family. “ 

  1. Set clear expectations with those around you — even with the ones you love. Like everyone else who owns a smartphone, Darlyn is a member of multiple chat groups at work so she can properly align and coordinate specific projects with the right people. When the pandemic happened and she and her husband found themselves together at home all the time, she knew she needed to implement a similar system to keep track of their conversations and achieve their goals in a more efficient way. “Before the pandemic, we had space from each other and it was clear who took care of what what,” she explains. “But when the lockdown caused us to be together all the time, lines became blurred because we were now getting involved in each other’s lives and responsibilities.”

Her solution: she also created chat groups for her and her husband on specific topics — food, finances, learning, family, and matters related to just the two of them. “This way, everything is documented and expectations are clearer about who will do what,” she shares. “This leads to less conflict and friction.” 

  1. Take care of your mental health. “I started seeing a psychologist in 2013,” Darlyn shares. “I am such a believer in professional help that before I married my husband, I made him see my psychologist as well so he can work out any issues that he may have. Now, we also schedule sessions before every major milestone in our lives — like before I would give birth, for example, just so we can check-in and process our emotions before these upheavals.” 

While Darlyn has many friends that she can turn to for support, she firmly believes that mental health professionals are better at helping her understand her issues and remediate problems. “Friends are biased, no matter how hard they try to control it; it’s human nature,” she points out. “On the other hand, psychologists are trained to improve our lives. Part of designing your best life is taking care of your mental health, and one of the best ways you do that is to seek the help of a professional.”

Her belief in the importance of mental health led her to partner with MindNation this year. Every last Wednesday of the month, BDJ and MindNation hold monthly live streams on Facebook to raise awareness about issues related to mental health and well-being.

“I really in believe MindNation’s vision of making mental health more accessible to all,” she adds. “The goal of our partnership is to start the conversation on mental health, erase the stigma, and make sure that people have a better understanding of mental health concerns.”

  1. Never stop improving. “I believe that we are sent here to Earth to find what will make us happy and to become the best versions of ourselves,” Darlyn says. “So get to know yourself, fall in love with yourself; and when you make mistakes, don’t be afraid to fall out of love with yourself. Then rediscover what else you can do. It’s all part of the process, and when you trust in the process, everything else will fall into place.”

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive individuals. Email [email protected] for more information.  

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