I love how My Swiss Story has become a platform for women entrepreneurs, leaders, and content creators where they tell you their stories. This is one part of my journey as a blogger/digital influencer that I so totally love!
Today, I bring to you the story of Alessandra Patti, who is an assertiveness coach, and a mental health first aid instructor. I have had the good fortune of being a part of her individual coaching once (this was when I was going through a very tough phase when I had just started working in Switzerland), just talking to Alessandra was therapeutic. Without further ado, read all about her today – her story, her business, her practice, and her advice.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself
Hi everybody! My name is Alessandra and I’m originally from Italy. I have lived in Zurich for over 11 years now, and one can say that I am a very curious and academically inclined person by nature. I always say this, “If there was a way to be paid for reading the whole day…I’d be a millionaire”. However, my entrepreneurial spirit took my passion for learning and studying to the next level in 2017.
Apart from running an online coaching practice, I enjoy dancing and I am fascinated by various languages. My academic background is in languages and translation. Hence, languages are part of my life, especially English which along with its many nuances has helped me build several connections over the years. One can really play with languages and learn so much about cultures.
Tell us a little about business – Find Your Way
I run a coaching practice, called FindYourWay Coaching.
I gave it this name because I truly believe that each one of us should find our own way in life and to live it as genuinely as possible without having to worry about what others think.
In my practice, I run online individual and group coaching programs that specialize in assertive communication. I have created a methodology that allows my clients in boosting their confidence and their ability to speak up. Some of the topics that I commonly cover – “How to handle difficult conversations, having the courage to ask for what you need, and communicate non-violently”. Another dimension of my work is to support people during the transformative phases in their careers, not limited to job search but by building the right attitude which helps you bring closer to your professional goals.
It has been proven (not just once, but many a time) that training in assertiveness enhances your self-esteem, helps manage anxiety and your overall well being. These results pushed me to take the next step, I am also a certified instructor in mental health first aid. I partner up with “ensa Mental Health First Aid Switzerland”. With this, I teach people about providing first aid to others during mental distress, and how to point them to professional help”.
Just like for every other consultant or coach, your first client is generally your own self. I grew up in Sicily, where the culture can be regarded as tribal i.e. more focused on groups than individuals. While growing up, and even later I would often notice that speaking up was equated to or seen as “being a rebel” and this was even more prevalent at work. While my family always gave me the choice to live the life I wanted to, the ingrained Sicilian approach carries certain “fear of authority” which can have an impact on one’s self-worth and the way we look at ourselves as professionals. This is where I found the guided assertiveness approach, it spoke to me – “One does not need to impose their needs and wants, but one needs to express them”. It was a breakthrough of sorts, where the thought of asking for what you need was not “too much to ask for”.
The validity of our needs and our beliefs drive EVERYTHING that we do, and if we cannot ask for things at work, we won’t be able to ask for them in the other spheres of our life either. The risk? Living a life that is often disconnected from your true self. This is one of the most important aspects that I coach my clients on.
One of the pillars of my guidance has been the fantastic book of Nathaniel Branden, called “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem”, where he talks about the concept of self-assertiveness. This book was an eye-opener for me. It taught me about boundaries and the importance of disagreements from a learning standpoint.
I also conduct an annual 2-day event called the “The Assertiveness School” during the month of November which is also the stress awareness month and is perfect as this event allows one to self-reflect, be more assertive thereby reducing your overall stress level.
A day in her life…
Well, after waking up (not super early btw); I have a set morning routine. Over the years I have realized that a routine gives you more happiness, and this is very true for people on their entrepreneurial journey. I usually start my day with a glass of warm water, light stretches after which I move towards our breakfast routine. I like to read, and I am usually found with a book while having my breakfast.
During my normal workday, I have my to-do list from the day before with 1/2 big goals for the day. I usually coach my clients on Mondays and Fridays, the other days I am either teaching mental health first aid or I am teaching at the University of St. Gallen, which I do part-time, to allow my coaching activities reach more companies. This is a project I am currently working on, “How to introduce coaching for mental wellbeing into companies”. I make sure I allocate time for admin activities, else it can become overwhelming. I am a people person but recently I have embraced the online ways of working, it allows me to speak with more people and manage my time mindfully.
I try to make time for sport at least 3 times a week either during lunchtime or in the evening.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have
You have probably already heard this, not once but a 1000 times, but “Self-care” is extremely important. While a routine helps you stay in control, your interests/hobbies and also the time to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (or DOLCE FAR NIENTE, as they would say in Italian) are necessary. It is important to let yourself go, play like children would, pamper yourself, and learn to set boundaries. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to take a pause. Remember, great ideas come to you when you are sleeping or taking a walk. It is important to slow down.
I don’t see the specific disadvantages of being a woman business owner. In general, I think that business owners, when they start, and regardless of gender, are seen as people who are risking a lot, and somehow there is a stigma attached to it. You are more often than not considered “reckless”; well I would just say that just like everywhere else one needs to build resilience to face challenges – being a woman or being based in Switzerland has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, I find Switzerland ideal to have your own company, it is not that hard to get started, does not require a lot of bureaucracy, and has a diverse international audience.
Are you a female entrepreneur whose story needs to be heard, we’re waiting to hear from you.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, our team is talking about – swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, autumns activities, recipes, and activities for children. Stay well and stay with us!
To read posts from September, click here