Yarona is an Advanced Certified Life Coach in Parenting, Loss, Trauma and Infertility. She worked in the field of early childhood for 15 years, running an Early Intervention Program. Yarona is also an accomplished TEDx Speaker and Certified Speaker Coach. In addition to her parenting podcast series “The Evolution of Parenting,” she’ll be releasing “Unspoken Signals,” a parenting book in the late Fall/Winter of 2023. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and having suffered acute losses and multiple traumas, Yarona believes we are all trying to live a life of purpose in the finite time we have left.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
Growing up the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I knew the world could be a cruel and heartless place. Yet through the compassion of a small group of people with no relation to my father, who saved him and hundreds of other Polish Jews, he was able to escape the horrors of the Holocaust after a 5 year harrowing journey to make it to Israel.
He was adopted and raised there where he met my mother who was on a year abroad from the U.S. They ended up living in the U.S., due to family tragedy with my mother’s parents’ successive cancers and deaths. Sadly, by the time I turned 15, my parents had divorced and my father had moved back to Israel.
Through the tumultuous teen years after my parents’ divorce, I learned the pain of broken trust when I was 17 and raped by a boy I was dating. It’s impossible to put into words the raw vulnerability of having one of your most sacred personal boundaries being violated on such an intimate level.
Unfortunately, I did not handle it well, made a lot of mistakes, and began violating my own personal boundaries over and over again. Upon reflection, I can see it was a self-inflicted attempt to conceal the pain and severe disillusionment of trust and security I previously thought was implicit in all human interactions.
Despite it all, life goes on and in my first year of college, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who would go on to exhibit severe and rare disabilities. Not knowing the genetic link at that time, her son was born less than 3 years later with similar profound disabilities.
Unaware of the impact this would later have on my professional journey, I understood then that people don’t just come in all shapes and sizes, they also come with different abilities, or disabilities. Yet they still leave an indelible mark on the world, if you are willing to let them shine.
After graduating college, going through a variety of relationships and jobs, I met and married a man who emotionally and mentally abused me before our divorce was finalized 4 years later.
During this time, my father returned to the U.S. and was diagnosed with lung cancer. His 10 year journey with cancer was a rollercoaster of pain, depression, and despair; yet also filled with love, laughter, and emotional healing. What stays with me the most till today is the pure, unconditional love he had for his children and grandchildren.
Because, even after a life filled with a wealth of knowledge and experience which he was happy to share with friends and strangers alike, when I asked him what his proudest accomplishment was in his life, his response was an immediate and emphatic: “my daughters.” While caring for him at home when he took his last breath on October 7, 2011, it was a moment that will leave an imprint on my soul for the rest of my life.
The heartbreak of losing my father was compounded by the fact that we had lost my niece at the age of 14 to her disabilities not even 2 and 1/2 years before my father’s death. And when the world is robbed of such a sparkling soul as hers, there is a sense of loss so profound it’s almost unspeakable.
You’d think that would be enough for anyone to throw their hands in the air and say “alright already, enough is enough!” And yet, the punches kept on coming.
Less than 2 years after my father’s passing, my mother was diagnosed with cancer as well, Neuroendocrine Carcinoma, a terrible beast which took her from us in under 2 years.
Here was my mother in a nutshell: When the doctors said “this is so unexpected” in response to yet more medical complications, her reply to them? “Well, nobody ever expected the Spanish Inquisition.” I still smile when I think of those moments of laughter and light during the darkest despair of losing such a powerhouse of strength and resilience.
These days I find myself leaning on the ghost of her support and “power through” attitude when I am feeling most lost in the world.
As with my father, I took care of my mother in her home until her last breath. And while I felt blessed and honored to do so, I struggled with a variety of infertility issues which kept me in a mental space of barely treading water to make it through each day. My infertility struggles were a 10 year journey which started before my niece’s passing, through my father’s years with cancer, his death, into my mother’s cancer, her passing, and beyond.
First came an ectopic pregnancy with emergency surgery. Next, several miscarriages requiring surgeries, one which happened shortly after getting hospice care involved with my mother’s end of life care. After my mother’s passing, my husband and I tried reproductive assistance via IVF, which failed after $20,000 out of pocket expenses. Later that same year I had another ectopic pregnancy and emergency surgery, during which I lost my right fallopian tube.
After that last loss, my husband and I assumed having a child wasn’t going to happen for us. But, by some extraordinary chance, a few months later we were blessed with a pregnancy I was able to endure with some complications, and now have a beautiful 5 year-old son.
Because of my infertility journey, and the profound impact it had on my life, for the last 7 years, I’ve been running infertility support groups and working with a national organization to advocate for federal legislation which will help other people struggling with infertility.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
Interestingly, I believe many moments in my life were turning points, yet I failed to really lean into them until the biggest change of all, after my son was born in October of 2017. That’s when I really knew that all my knowledge, all the wisdom I’d gathered, would be nothing if I couldn’t spread that out to others. I began to talk to one person at a time, of all I’d learned, and all I still felt I needed to learn, as a parent, as a woman, and as a daughter of loss.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
After the pandemic hit and I began to work from home, I started to see how I could effect greater change in every person I spoke to in the added time I had without my commute. I decided to investigate how I could make greater impacts outside of my professional world and realized there were so many people who could benefit from what I had to offer. So when my professional world began a “return to normalcy” and wanted me to return to the office full time, I realized I was wasting time crashing into the walls of rules and restrictions within the “normal” working world, even working for a non-profit, and I could only do so much with the limited time I had. At that point I realized I’d never achieve even half of what I wanted to, so after 15 years, I took the leap and left that world to step into the world of coaching.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
I’d say the greatest challenges for me have always been in my inability to say no, and limit where and how I spend my time. I love to be of help and service to others, but I’ve had to turn away from things as I’ve started to understand the differences between opportunities and “busy work” or “tasks.” Time management can be quite overwhelming when you are the only one who is responsible for your time. I’ve learned to write out “efficiency goals” and investigate where I’m wasting my time, then cut those out, or limit those to certain times of the day or week. One thing I cannot stress enough though, is the importance of quality time spent with loved ones. When I’ve noticed myself allowing my work to bleed into my time with my family I’ve had to get tough on myself and stop it in its tracks. Even with all the loved ones I’ve lost, it’s still hard at times to not get caught up in the busy work and answering emails and messages during my family time. I’ve had to remind myself: we do NOT get this time back with our loved ones and at the end of one’s life, that’s the only time that will truly count when you leave this existence.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
As I said earlier, the pandemic was the impetus for my departure from the field I’d been in for 15 years. It reminded me of what truly matters: love the life you live, be present in each moment because that moment is no more or less than the one before it, and time is the greatest gift we have with our loved ones, so revel in that gift every day because you never know when it will run out.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
My first TEDx Talk “How Loss Shapes Who We Are and How We Live”; my podcast series about to launch May 15th called “The Evolution of Parenting” with co-host Robert Hulse and my book which should be released at the end of 2023: “Unspoken Signals: Essential Parenting Skills to Raise Emotionally Secure Children.” I’m an Advanced Certified Life Coach, Parent Coach, Trauma/Loss informed Coach and Infertility Coach. I’m also a Certified Speaker Coach. Lastly, and definitely not least, I’m a wife, mother and daughter of loss.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
Most definitely. My ultimate hope and dream for the world is a whole hearted, healthy and knowledgeable approach to parenthood so we can reduce the generational traumas, unhealthy parenting methods and increase the resiliency and emotional security of current and future generations to come, to always leave the world better than we found it.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
To sum it up in my favorite quote “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.” I’ve learned this applies to every experience we have in life: the great, the wonderful, the beautiful, the painful, the heartbreaking and the losses.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
Women are stronger than ever before, and gaining more awareness and understanding of their right to occupy the same spaces, and far beyond, the men in this world. Unfortunately that threatens some who believe their already established footholds in our societies must be maintained. And while we cannot reason with their fears, we CAN wait them out, we have to, if we are to make true progress as a civilization.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
You don’t have to look to others for your inspiration. YOU are all the inspiration you will ever need in this world. You just have to believe it.