Daniela Russo is a life coach in Amsterdam.
She tells us that, “Over the past years, I have supported hundreds of people to find more clarity in their life and reconnect with themselves, increasing the sense of confidence and trust in their own abilities. I have worked with entrepreneurs, doctors, psychologists, coaches, teachers and people from different backgrounds. I help individuals understand themselves better, recognise the patterns that are blocking them and overcome them. Eventually my clients learn how to make better choices and achieve a sense of purpose and satisfaction.”
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I was born in the South of Italy from parents who really believed in strict education. I grew up with only one goal: to study as much as possible. There was little space for playing and having fun: my only focus was studying and finding the best job. I was never allowed to be myself and do what I really wanted. I studied law and I became a successful tax lawyer. I started to work on tax implications for mergers and acquisitions. The satisfaction of achieving that goal didn’t last long. I realized very soon I was not happy. After a few years I decided I needed a change. I went to work for humanitarian aid organizations with the idea of contributing to saving the world. I traveled many years to South America, Africa and Asia. I was convinced it would finally fulfil me, but again, I was not completely satisfied. Then I thought that having a family and kids would fill the gap, but still, I was not totally fulfilled. Once I reached all the goals that I thought would make me happy, I realized that this was not my path. After many years of therapy I found out that my sense of solitude and emptiness was caused by the unconscious belief that I was not good enough. Once I achieved this awareness, I started to be fascinated by how the human mind works, I studied books and attended several courses to become a life coach. The moment I decided to change my career from lawyer to coaching I didn’t get much support from friends and family. Most of them thought I was crazy to change careers at the age of 41 and they tried to discourage me. I had a period of panic and doubts about myself. Meditation was the final step. I broke through my limiting beliefs and whatever else other people thought. I found the peace and balance that I was looking for all my life. In this path of personal development, I finally found the mission of my life: to share all what I learned with others and inspire them in their search for fulfillment.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
It was a long process, including therapy, coaching and meditation. However I can say that a turning point was discovering meditation thanks to Sadhguru and the Isha Yoga Programs.
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!”
I started following coaching courses in order to coach myself and not with the intention to become a life coach. These courses included exercises in which you had to coach other people to learn the techniques. Coaching other people made me understand that this was my purpose.
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 realised that I had a lot of fears related to starting a business because nobody in my family ever had a business. The courage came when I understood that most of the fears were from my parents and they had nothing to do with me. What helped me the most was understanding my core values. I thought my values were “financial security” and “status” but they were my family values. Understanding that my true values were instead “connection” and “adventure” changed my perspective on life. The first year of business, when I earned almost nothing, I began to see life as an adventure and I felt good instead of seeing it from the perspective of financial security and feeling bad.
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?
The pandemic has forced me to offer online coaching services. This has helped me enormously to grow my business. While before Covid I had mainly clients in Amsterdam and nearby, nowadays I have clients from all over the world, including India, China and USA.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
The biggest achievement for me is my business and how much I have learnt in the past few years.
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?
I would like to share the change that Sadhguru would like to see: the raising of human consciousness. We have the necessary capability, technology and resources to solve almost every problem – poverty, wars, diseases – on this planet; never before this was possible. The only thing that is missing is human consciousness and the willingness to solve these problems.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
I don’t really have a motto but the most important thing I’ve learned is: NEVER SURRENDER! There is always a way to get what you want. But you have to know what you want.
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?
To be honest I don’t like to talk about women’s or men’s leadership. It only creates division. We are human beings and I don’t see any difference between men and women.
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?
As I said before, I would suggest getting clarity on what you want in life, why you want it and then prepare a plan of action to get it. If it doesn’t work, change strategy. And NEVER SURRENDER!