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Episode #14

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Stefania Brunori
Connecting Purpose and Career

Stefania Brunori is a marketing specialist, well-being entrepreneur, and business coach with over 20 years of international experience in managerial positions. Having worked in Europe and the Middle East, her core areas of expertise are personal branding, branches strategy, digital social media, and integrated marketing practice, developing and implementing solid strategies and marketing campaigns to facilitate companies and individuals to expand beyond their limits. She's been working with startups, SMEs, and social impact entrepreneurs to enable their growth with the best practices of success. She also provides personal branding and business coaching sessions and workshops, where she brings together her expertise in brand strategy, coaching, and growth mindset techniques.

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Stefania Brunori
Connecting Purpose and Career

Mireia Mujika: Hi everyone, and welcome to this new episode of ways to grow podcasts, where every two weeks, I interview experts that help us understand and design different disciplines that will help us grow, improve our well-being and be better leaders. With this time, we travel from east to west from the pure psychological studies to the ancient Germans. We look at every field and you take what interests you. Join me on this journey of learning and discovery. My name is Mireia Mujika. I’m a personal and executive coach and for this episode, I have invited Stefania Brunori to join us. Listener, if you want to know the importance of creating your business with purpose and how to successfully create your business step by step, tune in because that's what we're going to talk about today. Stefania Brunori is a marketing specialist well-being entrepreneur and business coach with over 20 years of international experience in managerial positions. Having worked in Europe and the Middle East, her core areas of expertise are personal branding, branches strategy, digital social media and integrated marketing practice, developing and implementing solid strategies and marketing campaigns to facilitate companies and individuals expand beyond their limits. Originally from Europe, she has been working in the UAE for 13 years, both for multinational companies such as Teca and Nokia and Middle East leaders and SMEs corporations with regional reach. Her entrepreneurial career started in 2015 when she conceptualized and launched the Middle East’s most complete website for yoga and meditation. Since then, she's been working with startups, SMEs and social impact entrepreneurs to enable their growth with the best practices of success. She provides personal branding and business coaching sessions and workshops too, where she brings together her expertise in brand strategy, coaching and growth mindset techniques. Stefania is also a female’s entrepreneur mentor at the United Nations. So before we start, let me remind you of our website waystogrowpodcast.com, where you will find the details of all our guests and also the books and resources they recommend, and if you like this podcast, please follow and rate us so that we can keep growing. Welcome Stefania and thank you very much for being my guest today.

 

Stefania Brunori: Thank you for inviting me. I’m super excited.

 

Mireia Mujika: How are you feeling today? 

 

Stefania Brunori: Great. I was super excited to come here and it was really funny when I came to this office, I realized that this was the office of my last corporate job. So, when I was working in Nokia, I was in the same tower. The name was different of the tower. I was really happy to see how my life has changed since then and is so connected with what we are going to talk today. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, exactly. Creating something from purpose.

 

Stefania Brunori: Exactly. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, this is something that we talk a lot with my clients as well, like how to start something from purpose, from the core.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, I think it's something really relevant nowadays. What we've gone through during the pandemic gave a lot of light to things that they didn't want to see before or we couldn't see before so a lot of people have realized that they are unhappy in their jobs or in their companies that they are business owners. So, I think the topic of purpose is more relevant than ever. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, it is. They are calling this area actually, the great resignation, right?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes.

 

Mireia Mujika: People are resigning from their jobs and starting something, whether they start something new on their own or they change companies.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. I think we also have to be a bit careful with the resignation because if that is as a result of something that we want to escape from, it's not going to work.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah.

 

Stefania Brunori: So, yes, I agree there are people who leave the corporate world and they are going to become successful entrepreneurs and there will be people who live and they will realize that actually, it was not so bad to work in a corporation. So, I think we need to be careful. If it is as a reaction, I don't think it is a good thing. If it comes as a result of a reflection, I think it's fantastic.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, I completely agree. So, I’m following this. So, sometimes, I hear experts saying that you should follow our passion when we start our own company and some others say like, no don't follow your passion, your passion should be your hobby. So, what's your opinion when it comes to this?

 

Stefania Brunori: Well, if you follow your passion, take your brain with. So, not only the passion. Well, I think that obviously, we can create, we can build companies based on our purpose and those companies can be profitable but again, I mean living in our purpose in our profession can be implemented in many different ways. Is there something that I can do with my passion inside the company that I am? So, for example, my times in Nokia, could I have brought the yoga and meditation within the company? For example, I mean my path was different but this could be an option or can I do something on my weekends with my passion and monetize, or maybe then it is a full-time company that you want to launch. So, I don't think it is a black and white thing. It's more important about, the key thing is understanding what is really your purpose and why you are doing this and then how you are going to do that is the second most important thing. But the first one is what is really your purpose.

 

Mireia Mujika: Mm-hmm. And how do we find that? We don't know it.

 

Stefania Brunori: Okay. Now, the question backfires on me. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Because I think that's one of the big questions, right. I mean, what is really my purpose? What am I here for? Is this my purpose? Maybe this is my passion. Is everything linked or not? 

 

Stefania Brunori: I think passion and purpose are different. Passion can be, I mean I’m passionate about arts, I’m passionate about music, I’m passionate about traveling but it doesn't have to be necessarily my purpose. I also think and I am now giving a different view on what is purpose. I also think that we may have more than one purpose and it doesn't have to be something really big because now what is happening is that the people are getting really stressed. Oh, my god, I don't know what is my life purpose but I would like to know. So, I don't think that's the healthiest way to address it as well. So, purpose can be from something really small that I do every day inside my company or with my family and what I wanted to come back to is the difference for me between passion and purpose. Purpose has a component of wanting to contribute to others while passion can be, I’m passionate about cinema or I’m passionate about car racing and you are not really thinking on and how can this impact others. So, I think that the concept of purpose connects with something that you probably like. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah. You're passionate about but not necessarily. 

 

Stefania Brunori: And how can you be of service to others with this thing that you know how to do or that you know it is your gift in life. So, it could be you may have amazing skills for public speaking and then you can use those skills to elevate some other people and to teach them about public speaking. So, I don't think it is super complicated. We over complicate it probably because it's become a business as well but I think it can be already with what we have. We can start doing these tiny things. I didn't realize that. Well, now I can say it because I don't think there is any conflict anymore. Nokia was seven years ago but after my working hours in Nokia, I was already teaching yoga but I haven't done this exercise of sitting and thinking what is my life purpose. I want to have an impact on the well-being, do I want to inspire others? No, it came more naturally but it's obvious that that was a purpose because it was after my working hours, that was an effort and it was of service to others.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes. You brought me back to the times that I was working at Dubiso as well and after hours, I used to go. I used to work to work at circuit factory, which is circuit training, so for losing weight or for getting fit, right. And at what time, we went to Amsterdam from Dubiso and someone asked me, so what's your purpose, what do you like doing, what do you feel, when do you feel that a spark in you? And I was like when do I feel that spark. I was like, well when I go to circuit factory, I feel that spark. And someone told me, so maybe you should be in circuit factory instead of Dubiso. I was like no, I don't want to hear this. But then years later, like I always bring that conversation to my mind like thinking like, wow something switched on me at that moment, when I realized like wait, I’ve been doing like products all these years and I never thought about anything else but at that moment, like something sparked in me and I was like oops.

 

Stefania Brunori: I think we also have to be careful when we think on purpose believing that it's going to be a walk in the park because it's not the same as I was doing, for example, teaching three yoga classes per week then having to make a living out of that, overworking, being tired. So, it is going to happen. 

 

Mireia Mujika: And being alone as entrepreneur.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. And it's going to happen even if we are living on our purpose and we have a profitable company and we are enjoying a lot and is where we wanted to do, we are going to be tired. Sometimes, we are going to be motivated. There will be stress, there will be parts in our work that we don't like. We may like more doing the podcast than doing the admin or networking rather than doing the business development. I don't know. So, I also want to demystify that part of working what you like and you will never have to work any other day. Excuse me, no. That doesn't work. The thing is that of course, you are going to enjoy more and you are going to create a life more connected and how would I say, yes, align with what you want but it doesn't mean that you are not going to work hard or you are going to wake up always with a smile. No. You will have bills that are unpaid you will have clients also that don't pay or anyway, there are going to be struggles as in anything in life. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, I completely agree. So, demystifying that is important.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah.

 

Mireia Mujika: So, if we haven't yet found the business we want to work in, how do we find it? That big idea that sometimes like we see a startup that they have like, oh this is the big idea that I had. Is there any process that we can follow in order to find that?

 

Stefania Brunori: After having worked with many startups and SMEs and future entrepreneurs and also launching my own business, the main thing when you launch a business is that you need to solve a problem. So, you need to know which is the pain in the market. Otherwise, passion is fantastic, purpose is amazing but if you are not a good fit in the market then it's going to be a hobby. It's not going to be a business. So, understanding which are the socio-economic trends is really important. You need to understand if there is an opportunity in education or if the opportunity is in fashion or if it is in sports and then within those sectors, you also need to spot which is the opportunity. For example, now in fashion, probably anything that has to do with digital fashion, the metaverse, inside that sector can be interesting or more, it's not the word integral but creating fashion for all sizes, shapes.

 

Mireia Mujika: Inclusive.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, inclusive. Thank you. For the different types of people and the boundaries between female and male clothes are changing. So, is not only the sector but the first step probably would be the sector but then also the opportunity within that sector and it needs to be something that connects with your values and your skills as well. I mean, it would be really rare that I would go into fashion because that's not my background. So, also starting up in a in a sector that we don't have knowledge or we don't have skills, I think it's a bit risky. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, it must be.

 

Stefania Brunori: So, as a first step, I would say having a look at the skills that we have and start exploring which are the sectors of growth to start the spotting opportunities and then is when the dots are going to start connecting. I don't know who was the painter that said ‘let the inspiration find me while I’m working’. I totally agree with that. It can happen. For example, my idea of a startup came after a trip to Oman and I was at the airport at that time, Muscat airport, was very small and there were not many things going on cafeterias and I brought a book with me that was about career and working, ruling what you like but I didn't want to read that during the week and it was like enough, I mean I just want to have a break and enjoy what is in Oman. And then in the airport, I said well there is no people to talk to because it was almost empty and there is not much that I can do, let's grab the book. And then at some point, all those thoughts started to click together. Does it mean that it was a eureka moment coming out of nothing? No, not really. I was already on that path and I was already connected with the yoga and meditation sector and it made sense at that moment, probably because my mind was empty from the rational side and I got the inspiration.

 

Mireia Mujika: Beautiful moment that must have been for you at that airport.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Life-changing moment.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Awesome. That's great. So, why is it important to create a business with a purpose, from our purpose?

 

Stefania Brunori: So, why is important to create a business out of purpose? There is a book that really impacted me, which is “Man in search of meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I don't know if you've read it.

 

Mireia Mujika: I haven't read the full. 

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, it's one of the books that I always recommend and that really changed my life in the sense that I really understood how powerful it is to have a purpose and if you have a purpose, it doesn't matter how hard is what you are going through. That is going to help you move forward and that applies to business as well, especially when you become an entrepreneur. Sorry, it's not this wine and roses picture that they are trying to sell. It's difficult sometimes. And if you're trying to become an entrepreneur because you hate your boss, don't become an entrepreneur because you will have the worst boss ever, which is yourself. Or if you want to become an entrepreneur because you want to have more holidays, don't because probably you are going to work harder than ever. So, the thing is that you really need to have a ‘why’. Why you are doing this? And something that is going to go beyond you, beyond your ego that has an impact on society. This is what will help you move forward. I remember when I launched my first startup, so there was a lot to do, the website, the contents, all the social media, connecting everything that's really licensed the bank. So, I was working super long hours and I remember one day driving towards my flat at 1am in the morning and then I was like, okay Stefania, you became an entrepreneur for this, are you sure that you want this? Well, the first thing that I thought it was, well this is going to be temporary because it's the launch so no way that I’m going to be always working till that time. And second was like remember why you became an entrepreneur and it's because you wanted to have an impact on the well-being of the people and that really kept me going. And I had many other very difficult moments during my life as an entrepreneur. But when I connected again with the purpose, I stood up and I continued. It's really powerful. And to anyone that hasn't read that book, I would recommend. 

 

Mireia Mujika: It is very eye opening.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah.

 

Mireia Mujika: And when you were talking about the purpose, it came to me like it's like an orthostat, right. So, I’m doing this because of that so then I will go through and this will also pass you say if you're struggling and then also, you see a clear. So, you know where you want to go. So, it's always there so you can follow that. 

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, absolutely. I think that's a very good point about purpose. You see where you are going and it's a north star. It's giving you the direction and it's always there and it's bright and you can see it clearly.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, cool. So, what are the steps in order to create a business from a start and how do we start this in the entrepreneurial world?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. Well, the first thing is to have at least some clarity on the idea. It doesn't mean that it needs to be a validated idea but the first step is finding this mix between your skills, your knowledge and what is needed in the market. 

 

Mireia Mujika: So, skills, knowledge and the market.

 

Stefania Brunori: And what is needed in the market. And of course, all of these linked to your passion or something that you like and you have the knowledge, right? And after that step, that can be a bit abstract. So, for example, my first step, it was clear that had to be with yoga and meditation and well-being and I could see which was the need in the market at that time but it was not a very tangible idea. But just with one idea, this is all what you need to start moving forward. And then so I work on a model that I have created, which are five steps, which I call it from idea to launch. And then that's what we do in the first step, really bringing the idea, exploring it and coming into something that is more tangible. And then it comes the moment to put numbers on the idea, really. So, what it is the size of the business opportunity that you are talking about? And I can tell you that sometimes, the people, when they analyze what they thought that it could be a business, they realized that there's no market enough. So, I’m really realistic with that and if my model stops in the step two because they realize that there is no market, I am more than happy because then they saved a lot of money. 

 

Mireia Mujika: And time and energy.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. Launch and create a marketing plan, I’ll help you with the marketing plan. No, I’m not here for that. I’m here to support and to give clarity. So, I would say that the first one is to start with this crafting this idea with the skills and the knowledge and the market opportunity and then start putting numbers to realize which is the size of this opportunity. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Okay. So, those are the first two steps?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. At the same time, you may need someone who guides because it's very difficult to start knowing about everything. In my case, I knew about marketing but I didn't know about entrepreneurship. So, I tried to learn, I applied to be in workshops, I watched videos so I could learn more about the steps on how to create a business model but again, it's a step by step. So, after having the idea and you go to do the next step, probably talking to people who've gone through the same path is going to help as well.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes. So, doing that a little bit of networking, talking to people that have already been there.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, either business owners or a business coach, someone who can guide you at least to give you clarity, what is needed.

 

Mireia Mujika: Perfect. So, how does a coaching program looks like with you? So, if I or any of our listeners would like to hire you for helping them start this business or this idea that they have, how would that process look like?

 

Stefania Brunori: So, the process of the business coaching with me to launch a company starts by the idea and really making sure that there is a purpose behind not because I want to force a purpose on anyone but because I know that the purpose is what is going to give them the strength. So, we really dig a bit deeper into that. I can give you an example of an entrepreneur who during the pandemic struggle like many of us and one of the things that kept him really alive, it was to follow a skincare routine.

 

Mireia Mujika: Really?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. Because he would be in touch with his own skin and with his own body in the days that he had to be in front of the computer 10 hours per day. So, we started exploring that part of, so what does it bring you, what happens when you are in touch with your skin and how do you think this can help others? And we started pulling from there and then we got the clear idea of what he wanted to bring to the world and it was the purpose of the business that he wanted to launch. So, that's the first step and then as I was explaining before, we went into – okay, now what it is that we are going to sell? Is it going to be a product, is it going to be a service, is it going to be a range of products? What is the size of the opportunity? So, how the business coaching program works with me, there is this part that is digging more on the purpose and it can be more of a brainstorming part and then we go hands-on into more specific actions, setting goals, having expected outcomes and deliverables. So, it's really important to get a very clearly defined outcome of all these sessions. So, it's not, as I said, it's from idea to launch. So, how I like working is each session usually has an objective, what we want to achieve. There are assignments that my clients do on their own or we do together. So, I am all about empowering others as well to learn what they are doing rather than giving the things. So, there are things, of course, that I do because it's my expertise but there are things that we do the research together so they really understand the process. So, I’m not the one saying, yes your market size is this, I explain in the process and we do together. So, this is how the coaching looks like with me. Every session has an objective and it's very clearly defined with assignments that have been tried, tested and improved over the years. And again, there are people who are faster. There are people who are slower.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, that's what I was going to ask you. So, how long does a process like this, so from idea to launch, what does it normally take?

 

Stefania Brunori: It is five steps, which takes approximately seven sessions of around one hour and a half. Again, it depends on the person and the background and the knowledge that they have. With some people, you need to explain it a bit longer, some other people know what it is. And I do it both in person and online but I would say seven sessions is the average of what I see. And again, some people push me to do two sessions per week, for example, because they want to finish faster. Some of the people, they can't because they have a very heavy workload and like they can do it and we do once per week but the overall process, what I always recommend is that at least we should catch up once per week, otherwise you lose the momentum yeah and it's very important. I know that things happen and that we are all busy yeah but having that accountability of knowing that you have an assignment and you want to progress and there is something else, it gives you the momentum to keep on going. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Okay, that's great. And I guess that not everyone maybe comes from the scratch of an idea, maybe someone comes to you with an idea or they have already tried to implement it or they are maybe in another process, in another step. Do you also take these type of clients, like let's say that they have already launched it but it's –

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. For example, I’m working now with an entrepreneur in the well-being sector and she has already created the type of products and services that she wants to launch but she hasn't worked on her personal brand. So, we are going through the process of knowing what is unique about her brand, how we are going to position, creating the marketing plan and also studying the different competitors and how she's going to own really that part in the market. So, yes, I mean I’m flexible. That's the structure that I know that it works but of course, if they have done the step one and step two already, we work on it on the last steps.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, perfect. That's great. What fascinates you the most about working with clients or even about – I forgot to put my phone on airplane mode, I’m so sorry for that.

 

Stefania Brunori: Welcome to the life of an entrepreneur, where things happen unexpectedly.

 

Mireia Mujika: Everywhere, there's so much connection. I’m glad that I took my analog watch instead of the digital one.

 

Stefania Brunori: It's funny because the other day, I was meeting with another entrepreneur and we were talking about, do you write your meetings in the digital calendar or on your notebook? And I was like, you know what? If I don't write it on my notebook, it doesn't work for me and she was saying that it happens exactly the same. So, I am a kid of the pen and paper. Yes, I can see all the notebooks that you have here.

 

Mireia Mujika: But when I’m actually coaching, I do little notes of that coaching session on the computer so that I have it so that I don't have to go, oh what happened in the last session. So, then I do those so that I have it clear. It's a mix, I think.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, it works as well.

 

Mireia Mujika: I’m sorry. What fascinates you the most about working with this type of entrepreneurs or even with like the job that you do?

 

Stefania Brunori: What motivates me the most, fascinates me is first, amount of people with big talent out there and fantastic ideas and how the key is on finding the uniqueness because that is what is going to set you apart. So, when I see the transformation from the beginning, when I start working with a client that they have an idea that has already not been cooked and they live with a very clear plan on how to implement and how to stand out and be unique in the market, I really feel satisfied. Not yet 100 percent because what I want them is to really succeed and continue. So, it really fascinates me as well when I see because I work with many people, the difference between people who will really implement and be persistent and succeed and those who don't because at the end of the day, as we were talking about, passion without execution is nothing. So, it really fascinates me when I see someone that is really busy and they are going through very difficult times yet they still have the mindset to be consistent and to launch their business because it takes an effort. And also, I would say the variety of sectors that I work with. I mean, of course, 50 percent of my focus is on social impact and well-being but I also get to see many entrepreneurs in some other fields, which is really exciting and especially in a place like Dubai that entrepreneurship really is blooming.

 

Mireia Mujika: It's a thing in Dubai. Has it always been like this? You have been here for 13 years.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. Well, I don't know at the beginning because when I came, I came with a corporate mindset but I don't think obviously, that it was so advanced as it is now but even if I look back to six years ago when I started, if you wanted to launch your company, you didn't have so many options, for example, in terms of trade license and the last thing that I saw yesterday is that there is going to be a new free zone and if I am not wrong, the headquarters are going to be in the Queen Elizabeth ship. So, there are so many options nowadays and I think this is how it has evolved. I can talk about, as I was saying, the evolution in the last seven years that is my entrepreneurial path. So, in terms of business licenses, in terms of entrepreneurial associations, it's grown a lot in terms of female business groups, it's grown a lot as well.

 

Mireia Mujika: Co-worker spaces as well.

 

Stefania Brunori: Absolutely. Co-working spaces, business acceleration, campuses, events on entrepreneurship. So, definitely is growing. Even visas for people who can come from abroad and be in Dubai, so definitely this is where one of the focuses of the UAE are, not only Dubai because also Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, I mean are doing an excellent job in terms of providing solutions and facilities spaces to entrepreneurs. There is the entrepreneurial festival, which is amazing. Then you have in Dubai, the step conference. Hello, Abu Dhabi, when are we going to have one startups or entrepreneurs event there?

 

Mireia Mujika: Cool. First of all, I love you. I love if you could tell us a little bit about how you decided to start in this entrepreneurial world and how you linked everything with the yoga and the wellness? If you can tell us a little bit about all this, how it happened?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. I would say that I am an accidental entrepreneur somehow, although the people who know me well, they were telling me you should launch your own company for many years. Sometimes, the others can see more than what we do. So, the stories that I was working in Nokia, that was my last corporate job then I started looking for a new job in Dubai and I used to go to interviews and I wouldn't like anything of what I would say, it was like am I going to like really working in this company, am I going to be enthusiastic about selling this product? But of course, I mean at the same time, time was running. Dubai is not a cheap city. So, I started consulting on the side on marketing. I kept on going. I started practicing more yoga and meditation and at some point, I realized that despite all the challenges that I was going through, so living abroad, not having my family here, being worried about the money, I could see that I was still happier and I would say more stable somehow.

 

Mireia Mujika: Emotionally stable.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. Than some other people that could be either here or in countries like Spain, where you have an unemployment payment if you lose your job. You have your family, you have the stability of your support group. And I could see that I was more content than them. So, then there was like there's something here that I’m doing different that definitely is having an impact on me because I am in a tough situation now, this is really challenging. I don't know what I’m going to do. I don't have clarity yet, I have all the challenges. So, what it is that I’m doing different? Of course, one is mindset but then the second, I realized that it was yoga and meditation one hundred percent.

 

Mireia Mujika: So, that was keeping you –

 

Stefania Brunori: So, it's funny because through a painful moment of my life, I realized that that that was really powerful and then was the moment when I decided I want to spread this more and I want to make yoga and meditation more available to the people, more known. And so that's how I knew that I wanted to start doing something on that field. I mean, as I told you, I was already teaching when I was in Nokia. I never pretended to be a full-time yoga teacher, that was not my aim but then what I did is to start connecting with, okay so what has been my career? 20 years of marketing. What do I know, what to do? Create brands and launch brands. What is the opportunity in the market and what is the impact that I want to create? At that time, it was an impact yes with yoga and meditation towards the well-being of the people. So, this is how I started as an entrepreneur. So, it was one thing to the other, then at some point I said look I’m not going to look more for a job and I’m going to give myself three months and it was a deadline of three months and then I had planned A, B, C, D, E, leaving summer and stay in Europe for three months, go to India. I mean, it was really a deadline that terrified me a bit but it's like okay, I’m going to give my best for the last three months and then let's see what happens. And suddenly, what happened is that all the doors started opening. I applied for a workshop on business modelling that they had a huge selection and they accepted me. Then I was for one week in Jordan in a business acceleration program, refining the business model of what I had in mind. So, that's how I started. It was not an easy path in the sense that I was incorporated and everything was calculated, so that's why when I talk about entrepreneurship with my clients or with people who want to become an entrepreneur, I always tell them if you can and you can plan in advance so you will avoid half of the pain that I went through because of course, it was accidental because I didn't somehow have the option but bless that hardship because it really allowed me to go through that part of realizing what I really like. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, amazing. What did yoga teach you?

 

Stefania Brunori: Wow.

 

Mireia Mujika: Lots of things, right?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. That's really been the biggest change in my life. I started yoga as a tool to reduce my stress and what the yoga is giving me is a higher connection with my body. So, I’m more sensitive to food, not sensitive in the terms of allergies but sensitive in terms of knowledge. So, I know better what is good for my body and what is not good for my body. That knowledge on the body has also increased my intuition, which I think is a super powerful tool as well for business. Through yoga, at least the path that I took on yoga, which is hatha yoga, meditation is something that goes along with yoga, is not separated. And meditation is what has helped me not to unplug of course, because sometimes meditation is understood as keeping your mind in white and that's not but really to observe my thoughts without getting messed with my thoughts but really observing them from afar. So, it's helped me to be far from reaction. I mean not always, not 365 days per year. Otherwise, I would be lying. And people who know me, its funny how they say yoga really suits you because you are so calm. And is like, no, it's the other way around. I am so calm because I do yoga. Otherwise, by nature, I wouldn't say that I’m a super relaxed person. So, coming back to your question of what it's given me is also that ability to stop and reflect and see the things from afar, to observe when my mind is getting busy, messy, which happens to all of us. So we can't pretend really to switch off. And as you get this knowledge about your body, you know even more when you are in tune with your values. So, if you are doing things that are not connected with your values, your body is going to tell you. Maybe if you don't listen to your body, you won't realize until you get sick. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Exactly. 

 

Stefania Brunori: But if you are really connected, you are going to realize that when you work with this company, you are not feeling okay. So, I would say that the yoga, also along with coaching, which allowed me to learn about the values is giving me that perspective.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, and that connection.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Exactly. Well, I’m a passion about the body wisdom. The body tells us what is the knowledge that we keep there, right? So, my question would be, how do you use your own body and what you're saying like the intuition in your practice in the coaching business?

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. I like observing the client's reactions and help them also to realize which are the different energy levels and I can see, especially with people who are still in a situation that they don't like and they are dissatisfied and they start talking about the type of work that they would like to do, the type of company that they would like to launch, the idea that they have. This client that I told you about the skincare, at the beginning, have one million limiting beliefs but I cannot do this because A, B, C, D and his body language was really stressed and depressed and inwards and we started working on, but what would happen if you could this, this indeed? And what if we don't do this but we do that? And you could see suddenly how his body language was speaking, how he would feel uplifted and his energy would be bigger. And one of the things that I did in the sessions with him as well is to do meditation. I still remember one session that this came to my mind is like I’m going to ask you something. If you agree to do this coaching session, can we do a 15 minutes breathing and meditation practice? And he said, yeah sure, of course, let's try, and that was one of the best coaching sessions that we have because then we stepped out of fear and we came into possibilities. So, then that day we got the business model really clear. We came with the name of the company.

 

Mireia Mujika: Very good.

 

Stefania Brunori: And it was really eye-opening. So, I work in these two ways, observing really what is clicking with the other person in terms of body language. And for me, the body of course, gives me clues as well of how to move forward. Unfortunately, when we work a lot online in front of the computer, sometimes we can have this risk of unplugging from our own body, so I like really doing embedment practices like going for a walk on the beach, where I can feel with my feet the sand and the water and I think it's really important to come back to our bodies and the five senses. Something that I realized after the pandemic is when I was taken in an environment where I could smell the perfumes. So, suddenly, it was like, oh wow humans.

 

Mireia Mujika: Human smell, look at this.

 

Stefania Brunori: Exactly. I mean we don't realize that during the day. There are some senses that we don't use at all and it's really important. I do agree with you that that is really –

 

Mireia Mujika: It's telling us a lot of things, if we want to pay attention.

 

Stefania Brunori: Exactly.

 

Mireia Mujika: Sometimes we don't. I think we haven't been taught to listen to our bodies. I think we're a little bit illiterate, I would say, when it comes to getting to understand our own bodies and the silence that is giving us and the knowledge that it has that we are not connected with that, I would say.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. I mean, there's something really interesting that is happening now. So, we have a lot of ancient knowledge of that and your meditation are two of the clear examples and what we are having now is science backing up those things. We have brain scans before and after meditation and we can see how it changes. We have experiments with the levels of cortisol before and after meditation and how it changes. So, it is starting to prove by science the impact on our body of all these practices and I think this is really positive for people who are really facts oriented and they need to see those numbers and the percentages and really see it visually on how those practices really are impacting our body. One of the books that I read this year, which is called “Nature fix”, it talks about the impact of nature in our bodies. You would love that one.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, I would love it.

 

Stefania Brunori: So yeah, they did an experiment with two different groups of people, keeping them close to nature and doing a work, I can't remember now if it was a half an hour walk in nature every day. I can't remember the specific details. And they were following up their different levels with the hardest rate. And what happened after a period of time with the two different groups. And the results were incredible, so they proved it. So, it was not only during the work, of course, that if you are working in nature, you are going to feel more relaxed but how that is sustained in your body. And of course, not only in the body but how that has an impact on the mind clarity as well. 

 

Mireia Mujika: And also, I hope that in the next years also we bring that to the business. You know that business starts understanding how important it is that our employees are actually in that mindset that they are more calm, that they do yoga meditation or whatever it is that works for them to calm themselves so that they can have more clarity and they can be more efficient and more productive.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes, I think that comes from the leaders themselves, meaning if the solution is just to provide to the employees yoga and meditation, which is fantastic but the leaders are not yet with the type of mindset that really wants to have an impact on the wellbeing of the employees. What we are going to do is kind of we are giving them a healthy pill, okay? So, it is from the leadership, where the change really needs to happen.

 

Mireia Mujika: Yes, like always.

 

Stefania Brunori: And then it will naturally have an impact on the other side. I mean, as we say, lead by example, right?

 

Mireia Mujika: Cool. So, now that we are talking about our business, so I have this imaginary friend called Mike. He's 38 year olds and he's suffering from burnout of work. Now, he has this idea in his mind about maybe starting a company or maybe not. How would you help him?

 

Stefania Brunori: So, the first thing, I mean I would analyze why he's reached the burnout and if it is something that can be reversed, okay, because maybe is related to the company environment or to the boss or the type of job. So, I am a big supporter and a big fan of trying first to find all the solutions in the situation that you are now. So, this is the first thing that I would do really to understand if this is something that can be implemented inside. The second thing is that if they can still stay in that corporation because it's something that can be solved, yet they have this passion and they want to do something with that, I would explore if this is something that they can do within the company. If they can integrate it within the company or even the company may support them in that and it can become one of the activities of the CSR department, for example. And if none of those are possible, then the next step is to really go into the five steps process that I was explaining before and start exploring which is the type of company that can be created.

 

Mireia Mujika: Perfect. 

 

Stefania Brunori: Mike, call me.

 

Mireia Mujika: Mike, call Stefania here.

“Man in search of meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Mireia Mujika: He’s imaginary. You already talked about Victor Frankl's book and now you mentioned the other one about being in nature, but which other books or resources would you recommend, first, to someone that wants to start a company of their own but also books that you really like or books that changed your life?

 

Stefania Brunori: The first that I always recommend is the one that I told you, Victor Frankl. Another one that I find really effective is the “Seven habits of the highly effective people”. The title of the book really put me a bit off. It sounded like this typical super best seller that is going to be superficial but I must admit that it was really good. I liked it. Basically, it comes back to the idea that you have the power on your hands and it is you yourself that you need to manage. I mean, I just mega summarize it but that was a really –

 

Mireia Mujika: Actually, that in audible is quite good as well. Like if people don't want to read it, audible is quite okay.

 

Stefania Brunori: So yeah, that's another one that I liked a lot. The power of now is really important as well as us entrepreneurs, when we are going through changes, we can get really anxious on what is the next step and what am I going to do and you really need to make this effort on coming back, what is good from the situation, what I can do in in the now? So, as you see, there are not so many business books but are more spiritual books that are going to keep our mindset in the present. Books that people read, learn a startup for people who want to launch a startup but I would say more on the inspiration side, how to manage your mindset with these books that I was pointing towards. 

 

Mireia Mujika: And our own expectations, I guess, as well because I don't know but I have the feeling. When someone starts a new company, let's say, like first you may have like these expectations of like wow, I’m going to make this amount of money in the first year and the second and then you realize like, wait a little bit, this is not happening, my numbers are not matching my expectations, right? So, I don't know like maybe these books can help us in managing those expectations as well.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yes. And something that you said really important is the time and it's going to take the double of what you think to monetize, to open your bank account, to get your trade license, maybe to get your first client. I mean, if you can achieve it in the time that you have in your mind, fantastic. I can tell you that I am an optimistic by nature and when I presented my business model in this acceleration workshop that I had in Jordan and we were doing kind of a pitch simulation. They told me, Stefania, your business model is very clear, the idea we like it. We only think that you are a bit optimistic because you are saying that you will monetize after three months or six months and that is not going to happen. I have to say that it did happen. It did happen and I sent an email to the person who told me it wouldn't happen just to say, ah you see I made it but to be honest, I mean there were also more expenses that we had predicted and it took longer. So, it was not really after six months. If I think on the moment that I had the workshop, I thought at the time that I was going to lunch after six months and I launched after one year. So, they were right that it was not going to happen in October 2015 and it happened in March 2016 because the things really got delayed. And when things got delayed, it means that you have to resign and if you were working a corporation and you are not having the incomes, you are paying a rent, etc. Yes, through all these books, you can learn. But to be honest, there are so many workshops in most of the cities in the world that you can join. I personally prefer to learn in person than in books because the books can change as well and the law is changing constantly and the opportunities for entrepreneurs are changing and the type of business models that were working three years ago have changed. 

 

Mireia Mujika: It's very dynamic. 

 

Stefania Brunori: So, I think books on mindset are fantastic. Business books, of course as well there are many. My recommendation is really to go more hands-on and learning workshops because you are going to be interacting with some other people that have some knowledge and something that you want to do as a future entrepreneur is to start connecting with some other people with the same mindset as you have because you are going to have a lot of known sayers, people, you are crazy, don't become an entrepreneur, don't do it. So, you also need to balance that with people who are going to tell you, do it, I’ve done it. It works, be mindful of this. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, that's a very good advice.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Stefania, anything else that you would like to say that you would like our listeners to know?

 

Stefania Brunori: I don't know. Now, you got me by surprise. I would say that obviously, it's possible to become an entrepreneur. You really need to revisit your why, what is your purpose. It doesn't mean that by knowing your purpose, everything is done and it's not going to be difficult. It is challenging but having a purpose is really powerful and it's what is going to make you stand out the days that you don't have any energy or you are not motivated. I do really believe that each of us have a gift or more that makes us very unique and pulling from that gift and that uniqueness, just the simple act of doing more of that uniqueness that you have is going to connect you with many other good things. Maybe you don't know where this is going to take you but for sure, when you are doing those things that you are 100 percent aligned, your energy is totally different. The type of people that you are going to attract are totally different. The type of conversations that you are going to have are totally different and that is going to inspire you. So, becoming an entrepreneur is not a straight line and you just need to keep on going. This is like going in bicycle. So, you start going. In the moment that you stop pedaling, bicycle is going to fall. So, keep on going, keep on doing things that energize you and inspire you and the way will start becoming clearer and clearer.

 

Mireia Mujika: Beautiful. You really inspired me right.

 

Stefania Brunori: Yeah, you see. And it's funny because it came out of, oh wow, I don't know what else do I want to say. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Yeah, I don't know. You put it beautifully, I think it really touched me.

 

Stefania Brunori: I’m glad. 

 

Mireia Mujika: Awesome. Stefania, so thank you so much for all this knowledge that you passed on us, really refreshing and really inspiring.

 

Stefania Brunori: Thank you for the opportunity, Mireia, and this is what we are for, to share what we know, our path and to help some other people to get some clarity.

 

Mireia Mujika: Thank you. And listeners, remember that you have the website waystogrouppodcast.com, where you will find everything you need to know about Stefania. You have little bio, the books that she recommended and also her contact details if you want to call her. Cool. So, thank you again. And listeners, we see you in two weeks. Thank you, bye.

 

List of Books, Authors & Resources: 

  • ‘Man in search of meaning’ by Viktor Frankl.

  • Natural Fix

  • Seven habits of the highly effective people

  • The power of Now