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Meet Irene Caniano

Irene Caniano is a productivity coach with two decades of teaching experience and training in coaching, executive functioning, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.) She focuses on the skills known as "predictors of success" - skills like sustained attention, organization, time management, emotional control, and prioritization. Irene helps clients develop the mindset and ability to advance in their personal and professional lives with minimal stress.

Although Irene never considered herself a writer, her business coach explained that a book is a way to introduce yourself and your work to others. Since every client's overarching goal is to be happy, Irene wrote, Design Your Happiness: 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want. She was writing especially for those in their 20's and 30's, the period when most people explore and decide the paths they want to follow. Two graduate students provided feedback on the draft. Irene followed their suggestions to make the book an easy read by including checklists, visuals, inspiring stories, and reflection activities for each chapter.

A few years later, the book became the basis of her video course, Your Best Self. Irene wants to provide as many options as possible to make coaching available and affordable. By offering the options of a book, video course, and personal coaching sessions, Irene hopes to reach more people. Coaching changed her life, and she hopes others get the benefit she did.

You left a successful teaching career to become a productivity coach, which led to becoming an author. In 2016, Design Your Happiness: 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want, was published. Please tell us about your life-changing decision and what sparked the idea for the book.

I transitioned from teaching to coaching after realizing a need. As an educator, I helped prepare students academically. As a coach, I could help graduates transition to independence by assisting them in developing the mindset and skills to deal with the expectations and challenges of adult life.

Design Your Happiness is a means to share powerful principles with people who don’t have a coach. The book is a guide to achieving contentment in all areas of your life. Just as an artist has to consider elements like color, shape, and space, we need to plan our lives by thinking about key components like our values, network, and the use of our time.

Please share a brief synopsis of, Design Your Happiness: 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want.

Design Your Happiness: 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want is an easy-to-read self-help book for 20/30 Somethings. Each of the nine chapters deals with one coaching principle and includes an inspiring story, activities, and guidance on implementing the principle. The book promotes self-awareness, clarity, and confidence. It also demonstrates how purpose, personal boundaries, and the power of choice affect one's contentment and life satisfaction.

Part I - You

Chapters - Your Gifts, Your Values, Your Beliefs, Your Contentment

(Eliminate what’s not working, keep what is and add what you want in your life.)

Part II - Your Relationships

Chapters - Your Network, Your Boundaries

(Learn about the two sets of people vital to your success. Focus on setting appropriate boundaries.)

Part III - Your Choices

Chapters - Your Customized Environments, Your 3 R Kit, Your Perspective

(Discover the many options that you have concerning your environments and leisure time. Apply the theories of happiness to your life.)

Your book focuses on nine essential elements. Can you share three essential elements from your book?

Three elements from Design Your Happiness are beliefs, boundaries, and environments.

Beliefs enable us or limit us. They are super-powerful because they affect our unconscious habits and deliberate actions.

Appropriate personal boundaries result in respect for each person's wants and needs.

Our surroundings impact productivity and stress levels. When we customize our environments, they tend to be comfortable, organized, and pleasing to our senses and emotions.

Design Your Happiness focuses on those in their twenties and thirties, but I believe your approach can help anyone to create the life they want. Aspiring authors often lack confidence, find themselves stuck, or at a crossroad, not knowing which way to proceed. What advice would you give them?

Here are my thoughts. Your book is a gift to others, a way of sharing your unique perspective or ideas. No one else can write your book. I found inspiration from these words on an American Greetings card: "The world needs your voice, good heart, and belief in what can be." Once a writer commits to getting the book out to the readers, it’s easier to overcome difficulties.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

I spent a year writing the draft. Then I took another year to incorporate the feedback I received and to decide how I would get the book published.

Did you seek traditional representation or self-publish and why? Were there obstacles you had to work past?

I attended an excellent self-publishing course given by Michael Swedenberg at Nassau Community College. Afterward, I became more confident about publishing on my own. Back in 2016, it was easier to publish print books through Amazon than it is now. I pasted the text onto the template and uploaded my cover for the print-on-demand version. For me, the tricky part of publishing was creating the e-book. I called upon Michael, and he graciously helped me with the formatting.

Can you explain your writing process? Did you begin with an outline after your initial idea? Did you have a special place where you did your best work?

I chose the coaching fundamentals that positively impacted my clients and me. After outlining the chapters, additional ideas would come from my personal experiences, observations, and research.

Since I was the only one home during the day, I didn't have many distractions. My spacious dining room table served as the perfect place to do my writing.

Do you have any personal writing quirks?

The teacher in me comes out when I write. Whether it’s a blog or a book, I aim to share information in a way that is relevant, useful, and easy to understand. I incorporate stories, visuals, and metaphors to make ideas memorable.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself or the process, while drafting your first book?

Writing the book became very important to me. I did what I had to do to get to the finish line. Through the process, I realized the importance of determination and persistence.

What can clients expect to gain from your coaching sessions and Your Best Self video courses?

Coaching clients can expect to gain clarity, reduce stress and learn to achieve their goals more efficiently. Other benefits are greater self-awareness, increased confidence, enhanced decision-making skills, and better time management.

At the core of the Your Best Self program is the power of personal choice. The Start Strong Call, videos, guides, and email interaction with the coach make it easy to apply what you learn.

Do you have plans to write additional books?

I completed the draft for another book, Take Charge of Your Life: 17 Proactive Strategies for Challenging Times. To ease into the revising stage, I will use some material for blogs that will later be part of the book. Then I'll work on the rest of the draft so all the chapters will be ready for publishing.

To learn more about Irene Caniano or to purchase her books, visit:

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Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.



Wordy is the get-in-the-know hotspot for writers. From grammar to publishing find info, tips, and inspiration to take your WIP (Work In Progress) to the next level.


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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

I've gained a lot of tips and tidings on my writing journey and want to share what I know.

Besides my passion for writing, I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I love coffee, chocolate, and animals. I'm mom to two amazing young men, and I live on Long Island with my husband, four zany cats, and the sweetest dog ever.

Whether you're new to writing, ready to query, or about to submit your manuscript,  welcome, you've come to the right place.

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