Isabella Maria Bordoni
Time to turn on, step into your power
By Fatima Gorezi
Isabella Maria Bordoni is an international speaker, empowerment & business coach and mentor based in Switzerland. She has spent more than 20 years in the corporate world working in 18 different areas, before starting her entrepreneurial journey. However, during challenges in her life she has found the strength to rise above everything that happened in the past and is now a successful businesswoman helping people to develop inner power for themselves and companies to develop and establish a more mindfulness-focused work atmosphere, while combining consultancy with coaching. Isabella is passionate about women empowerment and her vision is to empower people, encourage them to take action in life and to inspire others. She says that nothing is impossible, and everyone needs to unlock the potential they have inside.
Can you tell us more about yourself and how you became successful?
12 years of successful training of adults and students.
20 years Int. Corporate Business, holding leading positions, worked in 18 different areas of responsibility.
16 years Entrepreneur, achieving great success to closing down one company 11 years ago! Knowing business from A-Z.
I am Swiss-born, living in Zurich, a happy mother, and an even happier grandmother.
Gone from growing up filled with love, trust, and liberty, to have it all, to broke and back again to success!
When friends, clients, co-workers or random people meet me, positivity is how they define me. My positivity, my pride and the well-being of my children are my life-drivers and the reason why I kept on going and fighting my way back into a successful life again.
How did I manage to turn my life back once again? An 84-year-old man was the initiator.
My marriage fell apart, our company had to be liquidated and I lost my well-paid position in which I had to stay another three months. At that moment in life, I promised myself I would never give up/in!
Even 11 years later, I do remember that moment lively; lying on the floor of my new apartment, feeling lost and lonely, broken in my heart, tears running down my cheeks when I realised that all I worked for until that moment had fallen apart. Feeling sorry for myself, I thought ‘why not have lunch with an even more lonely person’? Lunch with some co-worker was no option as some betrayed me. Hence, I decided to visit an elderly home and to invite a lonely person to have lunch with me until the end of those three months. One person, an 84- year old, well-groomed man, was pleased to do so and I must tell you, this was the best decision I took in my moment of despair. Ironically, this person turned out to be the initiator of my new, healing journey. He has lovingly shown me the way to understand more of life and its meaning, has given me inspiring books and has talked about his life journey. From that moment on, I started to become the person I am now. While it was a dumpy, challenging road – still is sometimes – it was all worth going through. It made me see life differently, knowing exactly how it can feel when all falls apart, or when we do not value ourselves enough. Additionally, I stopped giving relentlessly until worn out or becoming the control freak with my children when they become challenging teenagers, to instead trust my skills as a parent.
My life has taken many U-turns over the past 11 years. A milestone in fulfilling my dream was a free event in March 2016, led by an American named JT FOXX. Though the evening became particularly interesting when the International Millionaires Network (IMN) Zurich was launched. Being a successful sales person myself, the IMN strategy was tempting because I needed to be surrounded by different people, driven by success. I became an active member of IMN Zurich. Cédric and Valeria Vinclair challenged my stage fright on many occasions and made me pitch in public in London, which was an eye-opener.
Going the extra mile, continuously learning and surrounding yourself with positive people makes it all worth it. It is absolutely true that your surrounding has an impact. Moreover, one should have a burning desire and be passionate about their dream, whatever it is. Mine definitely is to improve the lives of people, particularly women, who are in most cases the pillar of the family since I have realised how children, spouses or parents shake when we shake. It is only until the moment we find our own safe ground, stability, and happiness, that others start to feel safe and happy again.
The big shift happened when I was approached by two women while washing my hands in the restroom at a JT Foxx Event in London called “45 days on stage” after I pitched in front of an audience of approx. 180 business people.
They showed particular interest in how I managed to stay in my power during the challenges which happened to me during the days of the event (my room got cancelled twice during my 4 days stay in overbooked London).
The coach in me was born, realising how much positive impact I could have on countless lives by sharing my endeavours. Indeed, throughout a large part of my life, I had supported people from all walks of life and had given them tools to improve either their professional or their private life. Often it was just about opening their eyes so they could see the positive side. I noticed as well that employers would ask me to take care of their most challenging commercial apprentice who then would pass after 3 years with an A-Grade!
What rewards me and makes me happy is to be part of a person’s journey. To see how a life from going through a time of upheaval, or through stress caused by fear (conscious and unconscious), insecurities, indecisiveness, or who faces relationship issues and is worn out, transforms into a new life of becoming true to oneself, while being able to address the needs in an assertive yet non-judgemental, blaming way and most of all get out of the highway of automatic emotional, hurtful behaviour to become a person who is the observer of the situation and starts to ask the right questions before acting, makes me the happiest, most fulfilled person. If I can save a marriage and with this help a child to grow up safely in a loving and understanding environment or see a client fulfill her dream, then I know in my heart why I have chosen or have been chosen for this career path.
What makes you different… Why are your clients choosing to work with you?
My authenticity, my positivity and my true passion for them to grow! They appreciate my inner strength, the fact I have faced many adversities, turmoil and that I do acknowledge exactly the overwhelming and deteriorating side of that. From my side, I understand how courageous one has to be to reach out for help, to be authentic instead of hiding behind a smile in public and pretending “all is well”.
Who is your ideal coaching client? What kind of person do you love working with?
Fighters! Women who give relentlessly until they feel empty but who are in fact never ‘seen’, appreciated, understood, cared for, loved and respected. Those women have forgotten how precious and beautiful they are. On their faces, there are smiles while their hearts are empty, they feel devastated and sometimes helpless. They would go for a second job to keep the family afloat and would feel guilty when doing something for themselves e.g. me-time. They are so proud they would rather not ask for support because it might be seen as a sign of weakness; especially bursting into tears.
I used to be like them; under-estimating myself and always giving without receiving. I felt I had to please everybody. Women have to step up and be brave to acknowledge their inner strength in order to gain respect and to be visible. I want those good, warm-hearted women who are bright, smart and too proud to ask for help, to shine!
Many successful business people say that before they became successful they had to face many challenges or setbacks. What have been the main challenges you have had to overcome?
Besides the failure of my marriage, the loss of our house, the liquidation of our company, the loss of my job and the payback of all the accumulated debts, there was also the cost of education for one of my children (so my son could fulfil his dream as my daughter did). The main challenge was to stay true to myself while it would have been easier to be a people-pleaser and feel accepted and loved. The word NO was difficult to say and it took me over 10 years to do so in an appropriate way. To stand up for my beliefs and my true self without playing the victim.
How do you stay inspired on a daily basis?
Nature and children are my true inspiration.
I daily walk in the forest. Japanese have a word for “forest bathing”: shinrin-yoku. As you can imagine from the translation, it just means losing yourself in the forest while enjoying the air, the scents, the vegetation, the sky and the sounds of birds and animals that live there. My soul is nourished when I take a rest and treasure the beauty of a busy bee or simply by BEING. Sometimes I even turn around like a little girl, full of joy with my arms wide open until I feel dizzy. This lets me feel pure happiness and joy and causes waves of laughter too.
Children I love because they teach me to treasure the moment and to be in the moment and enjoy it fully. Their laughter and curiosity makes my heart sing and to forget everything.
A simple way to improve my mood when feeling a bit down obviously happens to everyone, is searching for inspirational quotes or listening to uplifting music, meditating, yoga or making people around me smile.
To count my blessings each and every day, to treasure the people in my life makes my heart sing with joy. Over the last 11 years, I acquired ‘inner peace’ which inspires me and into which I can tap into any time.
Who has been your role model and has supported you on your journey?
Firstly, my grandmother who has raised me. At age 91 she asked me to look outside her window and pointed out to the ‘old people’ sitting on a bench, chatting. I started to laugh out loud and reminded her of her ‘old’ age. Luckily she started to laugh as well. She has given me this strong belief that age is only a number.
Furthermore, my children, close friends, mentors and people who acknowledge my value more than I do myself, who stood up for me and never let me down when I felt powerless.
And during the past two years JT FOXX, IMN Zurich with Cédric and Valeria, my first two clients, and Mirela Sula, who recognised my value and who emphasised the impact I could have on countless people.
Finally, Louise Hay who started Hay House at the age of 60 and who was always authentic, true to herself no matter of the success she had. She was a continuous learner while keeping her inner child alive and was a person who never lost her sense of humour.
What is your definition for women empowerment? How do you see the role of women in business now and in the future?
To me, it is those women who have found their strength and stayed in their own power, true to themselves, while taking responsibility for their decisions. I see them as vibrant, driven women with a clear message, fulfilled by their passion for life, who combine their male and female power into one whole being. Their role improves step by step into a genuine partnership with men.
How do you promote and encourage the women who work for you or around you?
I want to bring out the best in a person! This cannot be achieved by pointing out the negative but by changing their perceived, habitual angle onto the positive and enhance that! People can grow with this attitude. They automatically start to think about their positive traits and with this, their own positive feelings towards themselves start to grow slowly but steadily.
What opportunities do you see in your industry for the next 2-5 years?
I believe we are now entering an amazing time of people searching for their real meaning of life and what they want to accomplish for themselves to improve the environment, the lives of others and with this the planet as such.
More and more people are tired of living a life in the hamster wheel which only benefits a few with the result to be thrown out of the working process when having reached a certain age. This engages countless opportunities to build a business based on our real passion.
In addition, a recent study (source: inc.com) showed that a) the future manager is a coach, b) the future manager becomes specialised (imagine your best employees interacting with a team of specialised managers — one a technical expert, another an interpersonal relationship guru, another a career coach, etc.”). This mind-set is an eye-opener for my industry.
What are your three top tips for individuals that want to succeed as investors and entrepreneurs?
Stay true to yourself, be absolutely clear with what you want and don’t shy away from tough questions.
Surround yourself with people who see your potential, who believe in you and keep on challenging, pushing you to the limits. They are your supporters in a positive way during the ups and downs, during the sometimes lonely times in the life of an entrepreneur.
Test the business idea with a limited number of people, adjust if necessary, do all the research work, set up a realistic business and risk plan once you are clear and you have enough feedback (e.g. FROM CUSTOMERS), finally and most importantly, don’t leave your current job if you don’t have enough financial resources to survive one full year.
What type of marketing strategy would you suggest for a new business owner?
Don’t do it on your own. Ask for help and advice from people who have been through the process and know the possible pitfalls themselves. Become a member of an inspiring, uplifting, supporting business network like Global Women, that values you, the impact you can have and supports you, that also holds you accountable. Finally, do not forget to stay honest with yourself. Please do invest in a coach, in your education, in your image and be clear with regards to what you can do and what you can hand over professionally.
Once you are set, get out and ACT. Don’t be stuck in perfectionism and don’t plan all your business at your table but test it before investing. Be open and adjust when needed. Get feedback from your clients and acquaintances; ask what they want or wish for and implement. Learn, test and improve your pitch or try different pitches at different occasions to see what the reactions are. Attend as many different events as you can, including private events to meet people from all walks of life. Set your priorities right. Branding and visibility are key.