What you’ll learn in this episode:
Joy is one of the most important parts of building a business, sparking the flame that allows the most amazing things to happen.
Although, you could create a successful business without joy, Elena Sonnino is here to tell you why having joy makes all the difference in the world.
Today, Elena will be giving you the tools and insights that you need in order to create the business that you want, while also maintaining personal growth, fulfillment, and joy.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- Finding yourself is all that you need to be powerful, have clarity, and find wisdom.
- Moving into the unknown, despite the fear, gives you so much freedom.
- Allowing yourself to receive nudges opens up the potential to find the answers that are already within you.
- Making big changes can often lead to problems. Making smaller, consistent changes, will steer you in the direction of your goals.
Mentioned in this episode:
Elena Facebook Profile and Page
Elena’s book on her site, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Freebie: Find your joy practice
Work/Connect with me:
Consults That Convert FREE Training
About Elena Sonnino
Elena Sonnino is a life coach, yin yoga teacher, and author. But what most people say about Elena is that she brings delightful sparks of energy to everything she does.
Elena is on a mission to help you transform the walls of survival mode into doors of possibility so that you can step into the spotlight of your life as your most rooted and nourished self. Her work helps you get out of your head and into your body as your source of wisdom, and moves you from beyond shoulds and into delight, one day at a time.
At home, Elena enjoys watching the sunrise, tending to her many plants, riding her Peloton bike, and impromptu kitchen dance parties.
Learn more about Elena at www.elenasonnino.com or by reading her new book, Inhabit Your Joy: A Book of Nudges
Well, hello, everyone, and welcome back to the practical mindset podcast. Before we jump in today, I want to share some really exciting news with all of you. Over the next several weeks, you’re going to see a slight shift in the practical mindset podcast. We are taking on a slightly new identity as we have worked through our business and been on this journey with all of you to really dial in on what makes your business really powerful, what makes it move, and what are the things that you need to implement in order to create the biggest results that you want, make the most money, and make your business streamlined so that it works in a way that feels effortless and enjoyable?
What we’ve discovered from working with hundreds of clients, and also being through the journey of our own business, is that at the core of every thriving business, every business that makes money consistently, is a powerful and compelling offer, and when you have that offer optimized, it also has so much impact on all the other pieces of your business, that when you optimize that offer and you understand how to create a very compelling and magnetic offer, the other pieces of your business and your ecosystem also become optimized as well.
So, what is the benefit of having a magnetic offer or having a strong offer? The benefit is that you can create a business where all the pieces are in alignment, they all work together, they’re all circling around this offer, and they all work in unison in a much more powerful way than a business that is not aligned and is disjointed. Not that those businesses don’t work, but when you align them and you optimize them and you have an offer that calls in your people and helps solve a very specific problem that they can relate to and identify, your business works with ease.
So, why should you care about this? Because in your business, if you’re someone who has listened to this podcast, you understand that there are practical ways to create the biggest results, and optimizing your offer is one of them, and if you are someone who has maybe struggled to make money in the past or feels like your business is clunky or isn’t quite working, many times the problem really is in your offer, and I will tell you, from speaking to many, many people, that 99 percent of the people that come in who are struggling with their business or it’s not creating the results that they want, it is not their marketing, it’s not their Facebook ads, it’s not their website, they don’t need to lower their price, they don’t need to give more away for free, they need to optimize their offer, and there are so many people out there who are doing an amazing job with this, and we have seen so many of those people as well. We want to bring them all to you right here on this podcast so that you can learn how to optimize your offer and you can streamline your business to be making the money that you wanted to make and being streamlined and working with ease.
So, stay tuned over the next several weeks for the rollout of the It’s Your Offer Podcast, which will be, as I said, a slight tweak in identity for the practical mindset podcast, but it will still be encompassing all of the things that we’ve been talking about, and so much more. I cannot wait to roll it out and have you all be part of it, and thanks so much for being on this journey with me.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of the practical mindset podcast. Boy, are you in for a treat for today’s episode. Today, I am joined by Elena Sonnino, who is a dear friend and an amazing coach, and she is going to talk to us today about inhabiting your joy. Elena is a life coach, a yin yoga teacher, and an author, but what most people say about Elena is that she brings delightful sparks of energy to everything she does, and that could not be more true. She’s on a mission to help you transform the walls of survival mode into the doors of possibility so that you can step into the spotlight of your life as your most rooted and nourished self.
Elena and I have known each other for a very long time. She has been a speaker at many of my groups, she has worked with many of my clients, and she is just an amazing person to be around and to learn from, and in today’s episode, where we talk about inhabit your joy, we really talk about the concept of infusing joy into all parts of your life. That includes not only your personal life, but your business, and if any of you have been listening to this podcast for a long time, you know that I believe that joy is the spark that ignites all the amazing things that take place in your business, and although you can have a successful business without joy, I’m here to tell you that it is just not worth passing up on if you have the opportunity to learn how to make that an integral part of your business plan, because it will take your business to heights you didn’t know were possible. So, with that, enjoy listening to all the wisdom that Elena has to share. It’s such a fun conversation and I think by the end of this, you’re going to be tapping into joy that you didn’t know that you had in you. Take a listen and enjoy.
Hello, Elena. Welcome to the show. We’re so excited to have you here.
Oh, my goodness, Jess, I am delighted to be here. Thank you for having me.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I will not go on and on about all of our history of how we know each other. It seems like for a lifetime how we came together on this business journey and where it all started. I remember where I was in the mastermind, and seeing you come in, but it’s been a long and awesome road of building our businesses going towards our dreams and shaping our companies through this friendship and our process, and so I’m excited to have you here to share all of your wisdom, and I would love for you to tell everyone a little bit about you and your business, and what it is that you do so that they know about you.
Yes. Well, yes to all of it. I’m going to call myself a magic maker. How’s that? I’m a magic maker. I am a guide for women who are ready to just move out of survival mode, but really step out of the shadows of all the walls they feel like they’re stuck behind, and step into the spotlight of possibility and aliveness in their life with more joy and more purpose, really deeply connected to their most rooted and curious self, so that they can really thrive in their lives on all the days, not just the rainbow and unicorn days.
Yeah. I remember one of the first things that I learned about you when I met you was about how you loved yoga, you taught me about yin yoga (life changing), and really this deep belief about getting rooted in your body, like getting out of your head, into your heart, and really getting in your body. Tell me, how did you arrive at that? How did you find that for yourself?
Well, I found it because I lived so much of my life not in my body, or only in my body really when I was my very best self, but I spent so much time almost working against my very best self. Overthinking and catastrophizing and doing all the things, and over the course of many years, I kept being shown reminder after reminder that my body had everything it needed to be powerful, to heal, to thrive. When I was looking for wisdom, when I was looking for clarity, what I really had to do was just come home to myself.
I wasn’t a Yogi until about, it was 2014 or so, but prior to that, I was that type A, runner, and doing all the things, goal setting, and really disconnected from what my body wanted me to know, and then I started finding my practice on my mat, and I started learning acceptance, because on your mat, morning to evening, right to left, things are just different, and you just have to go with it, and then as I became a coach, I saw that the two were so symbiotic, and that if I was going to invite people to get out of their head, I really needed to get up close and personal with giving them a place to go, and to me, that place was always the body, whether it’s breath or heartbeat or just being there with the sensations, and yes, yin yoga is my favorite practice because you’re staying in a shape and the body starts talking to you.
It’s literally like “knock, knock, hey, I’m alive. I want you to pay attention, and there’s something I want you to know, and there’s something I want you to be with, and oh, by the way, you’re safe and you’re enough. You don’t have to do anything or fix anything. Just be here,” and the more I married those two in my work, in the practices for myself, and then in my work, the more everything continued to come together. Does that make sense?
It totally does, and I can speak as a fellow, I’d like to think of myself as a reformed type A, although I think type A’s have so many positive qualities that we can channel into so many different places, and that’s the beauty of being human. We’re not stagnant. We’re not one identity. We can be all these different things, and oftentimes, I would say, for many people that I work with and many people I’m sure that you work with, too, we get so stuck in our heads, and I would say now, more than ever, with what we’ve gone through in the last couple of years, that could be really difficult to get out of as it relates to being able to fully step into our businesses and have time and space for other things, but when you were starting to form your coaching practice, what were you seeing in people that made you know that that is where you needed to help them, like that was the problem you were going to solve? What was it that you were seeing?
Yeah. I came to coaching. I had been a classroom teacher beforehand, but I was also a cancer survivor, and in that place, in my own experience and what I saw in the women that I was meeting, and I was meeting these people in yoga studios, I was meeting people in all sorts of different places, and it was this feeling of being on the hamster wheel, always needing to do more, and feeling broken. What we were doing wasn’t enough. There was always that one more thing that you were going to do and it would fix it. So, whether it was changing jobs or losing weight, or going on vacation. So, that was one thing. Feeling broken and like you only needed to do one more thing and that one more thing was going to be the answer to everything.
The other thing that I saw was women who were putting their lives on hold. They were waiting for the perfect conditions, they were waiting for everything to be just right, or they were waiting for the weekend, the summer vacation, for the kids to go back to school, all the different variations that we wait for, and we do this in our lives. We’re like “now isn’t a good time,” and yet over the last few years, we’ve definitely seen now is the right time. Now is always the right time because there’s always going to be something that comes up and feels like a rock, like an obstacle, like a little wall, and yet feeling stuck behind “no, I couldn’t possibly. No, it’s not the right time,” and the more I saw that, the more I couldn’t help myself, because it’s something that I had really learned for myself over and over again, but we can’t wait. We can’t wait for certainty.
You’ve heard this story. I had a doctor once say to me “look, you can grieve or you can celebrate until the day you can’t.” The situation almost doesn’t matter, but it’s this reminder of you could be sad, you can overthink, you can be in that place of worry, or you can go all in, even with uncertainty, and just see what happens.
Yeah. There’s so much freedom on the other side of knowing that you can be scared and uncertain and not know, and keep moving into that unknown, into that sort of, not even abyss, it’s into the arena when you just can’t see what’s ahead of you.
Yeah. It’s freedom. Its vastness. I think about, as you said that, I was like, I went paragliding went in Jacksonville, Wyoming. It was actually that paragliding where I decided I was going to become a coach and start going down the training path, but I remember I didn’t know how to paraglide, I had the instructor, I had a pilot, and you’re up there above the clouds with the birds, and you’re looking down. There was possibility everywhere. I had no idea how we were going to get down to the ground. I had no idea how to do it, but the instructor said to me “it’s your turn to steer,” and I remember thinking “you’re bananas.” That may not have been the word that I had in my head, that I said. Really what he taught me was that to turn the paraglider, you don’t need a big gesture. In fact, a big gesture will get you into trouble. It was like the subtle turn of one finger could create a shift in the direction you were going, and that to me is this idea of “we love certainty.” We think we love certainty, and yet this uncertainty and the freedom that when we step towards that, it creates for us, I think it’s delightful and delicious and all things magical.
Yeah. To your point, it doesn’t have to be this cataclysmic thing. It’s these tiny little turns, these tiny little changes in direction with every decision you make, with every thought you change, that creates huge momentum in your life, in the direction you want to go with. It’s like a vote for yourself, and I always think about the Martha Beck story that she tells about those trim tabs, which I think is just fascinating. For the audience, she shared a story, both Elena and I are huge Martha Beck fans. Martha, if you’re listening, it will be a celebrity moment for me. We love Martha Beck, and she shared a story about how these giant ocean liners, they have these huge rudders on the back, and in order to turn the direction of an ocean liner, you can’t just crank that rudder because the vessel is so big. So, on this giant rudder is these tiny little one-inch trim tabs that just come up and down, and they move, and based on that little one-inch piece of metal, the physics of it creates momentum around that rudder that turns this entire ocean liner.
We tend to think as human beings it has to be this colossal thing, like who the heck is going to change the direction of an entire ocean liner, but it’s really 1 inch. That’s what it is. It’s one tiny inch, but the momentum of that, especially consistently, all those little one-inch trim tabs, all those little thoughts, all those little changes, your little pinky moving that hand glider, makes everything change.
Absolutely, and it’s continuing, it’s making that choice every single day, every single moment, every time you sit down to your computer or to send out that email, and deciding to be rooted and curious and fully alive in the moment so that you can create that opportunity and make that choice to say “I’m in. I don’t have to know what it’s going to look like but I’m in. I’m here for it.”
Totally. So, you started working with people in this capacity, you realized there was that thing that they were struggling with, and you were going to come into this space as a coach and help them, so you started to do that. What did you find was most impactful for these people and what was that in your business that really changed the trajectory of it? What set you in motion on your path to now?
Yeah. Well, when I started, like many coaches, I started with the one on one and then I pretty quickly realized that, I was a former classroom teacher, I love facilitating groups, creating deep immersive experiences, once a teacher always a teacher, but it’s not so much about me but as creating a space for people to feel really safe and nourished and nurtured, and be able to learn from one another, so I pretty quickly went down the group path, but the first thing that I did, I was a year into coaching, was “I’m going to lead a retreat.” People were like “you’re going to do a what? You don’t have enough people on your list. You don’t have them.” Well, that may all be true, and yet I lead, it was 2017, so I was a year into my business, and I had less than a year because it happened in the fall but I started planning it early in that year.
When I led the retreat, I rented a vacation home, ten came, and I brought a chef with me, but I went all in to leading this long weekend retreat, and a few things happened during that weekend. It reminded me of, I mean I already knew it, but like “do you see what happens when people come together?” They support one another. They don’t have to be doing the same things, but it’s something about being seen by others and allowing yourself to be seen and listening, and then of course they’re being in connection in community. So, there was that.
There was also this other thing that happened that just reminded me of where my magic lives. I always go in with an idea and then all the individuals come in, but where I come fully alive, and why I love retreats is because then there’s the magical energy that becomes the group, and I am my very best self when I am responding to what I see is happening right in front of me, and allowing things to move through me, and almost this idea of like it being channeled.
I’ll never forget on that retreat, I was leading a guided meditation, and we were on the dock, and I paused, and there was this rush of the wind, it was in the fall, the rustling of the leaves, and then you heard the water, it was like a perfect Symphony, and things were coming in, and I just was like “pause, stop, listen, allow it all,” and then I was reacting to that, and of all the guided meditations I’ve led over the course of the years, that one sticks out to me because it was just so very present and that weekend reminded me of the power of bringing things together. Mind body experiences, community, connection, really heartfelt conversations, exploration, personal reflection, free time, play time, and from that moment, I mean I had always envisioned retreats being part of my work, but that just reminded me that this is always going to be where I show up as my very best self in this work, and over the course of all these years after, it has been the thing that I love.
I love bringing groups together and bringing them on retreats is absolutely shaping the legacy that I want to create and leave in the world.
Totally. I think being able to do that as the person bringing it together is such a gift for the attendees, too, because there is something so magical that happens when you let go of the expectation that something has to go a certain way and you’re trying to control it and push it in a certain direction, and just believing that you have what it takes for it to be magical and that you don’t have to hold on that tight, and inviting the people that come to the retreats to do the same thing, which is where I think they get the biggest breakthrough.
Absolutely. I’ve seen this. I’ve done weekend retreats, day retreats, virtual retreats, full-week retreats, and I always have down time even on just a day retreat. There’s always a little bit of downtime, playtime, integration time, and also go play. Go do something that feels delicious to you. I always invite people to set intention. Our first opportunity, our first gathering, when we open the circles to set intention, and then we check in because oftentimes, the thing that they thought they were intending is maybe what ends up being, but it’s allowing other things to touch their hearts, to stir something within them, and for them to be available for that, and for me, that power of going on retreat, you’re changing the walls or the open air that you’re surrounded by, so there’s something about taking you out of your comfort zone or taking you out of your familiar place to help you change your perspective and to be open to what’s right in front of you, to really get present, whether it’s to the nature, to the laughter, sometimes to the tears, to the sensations in your body.
I mean, there’s always dancing and movement, and things, but just this idea of allowing other things to find you is not usually why people come on retreat. Most of the time, they feel like they need a reset. They feel like they just need some time for them, and I love creating opportunities where the only decision you’re going to have to make is “are you going to the beach? Are you going to lie in a hammock or are you going to go take a walk?” That’s the only decision you have to make. Everything else is there for you to allow yourself to be guided. Allow it to be a path that you flow on rather than you force your way or bulldoze your way through.
How would you say that that lesson of allowing yourself to be guided has manifested itself in your business the most? How has that shown up in your business to produce incredible results for you?
I mean so we have a like a month to talk about this, right? I am in Olympics level overthinker.
Welcome to the club. You are in good company.
Thank you. I also know that my business has thrived when I set that aside, when I noticed the kryptonite that are my expectations and overthinking, and I allow both my intuition and my curiosity to guide me. So, this idea of “well, this feels fun. Why not? Let’s try it.” To me, it’s those moments that don’t come from my brain. They come from a deep whisper that lives inside me, and if I don’t listen, a few things happen. It keeps coming back, and sometimes it does things like put me outside in the winter when it’s icy and throw me to the ground and create a break on my wrist.
I wrote a book this year, and I was planning this amazing launch date on the new moon, and it was going to be all the things, and then on that morning, I went outside with the dog and proceeded to fall on the ice and break my wrist. That seemingly has nothing to do with my business, except that it absolutely does, because I had gotten out of the flow and out of allowing. I had written the book very specifically, intentionally in a way that felt delightful and not forceful. I wrote literally a book of nudges. It could not be any less formal, and everything about the process, so here I was trying to take my book of nudges and fit it into what I thought was supposed to happen.
And the universe gave you a nudge.
It literally gave me a nudge. I had to really decide to just be on the path and be really present with it, but it’s moments and sometimes it’s not that severe. The good news is, it doesn’t always result in a breaking of the wrist, but that was a really great example for me this year of just noticing. I think about the expectations and the force. It’s almost like weeds in the garden. They creep up in there, just have to always be paying attention, so for me, on any given day in my business, I have to notice, one of my regular practices is where are expectations starting to creep in? Where am I overthinking or over-efforting? When I say these are daily practices, they are.
Maybe hourly, some days.
100%, and then deciding “so, what’s the alternative? Is there a way I could be curious instead? Is there a way that I could add play or pleasure into this to see how I might just create even an energetic shift that doesn’t quite feel so forceful?”
Speaking of fun and letting that guide you, I’m so blessed to have been on this book journey with you, and I think that came out of following that joy, what felt fun to you. For the audience, tell us about your book. Give us the background, so that for people in the audience, they know about this book.
So, the book is called Inhabit Your Joy: A Book of Nudges, and it is literally a book of nudges to help you be rooted, be curious, and be fully alive in your life so that you can thrive and be your own magic maker, and you’re right, I mean, Jess, you’ll remember that before, I was like “I don’t know what I’m going to write about. I don’t know what I’m going to write about. I don’t know,” and I decided I was going to write it, and we had signed up for this program to to be on this path, and then I realized, I said “I’ve always been a person who nudges. I ask the questions, I do this, so what if I just allowed that to be who I am right now and have this book be that?” and I did. I created some structure around it in terms of what I was going to write, set myself up for success, so there was a little bit of doing.
There was intention there.
Absolutely. Purpose, a vision for it, and I everything that I did to bring the book forward, I thought about there’s so many ways to overcomplicate, to make it very formal, and there are people who spend months and months, and years and years, on the whole book process, and an outline, and a publisher and editor, and all of that, and for me, I knew that that was all just going to get in my way, and then if I did that I was going to stall myself out at the varying places where I could have stalled out, and so I needed it to not be those things, so I went the self-publishing route, and I found a team to help me with some of the structures, the layout, those things, tried to make it as easy as possible, which doesn’t mean it was always easy but as much as possible so that I didn’t get in my own way, and the more I did that, then the more the book flourished, and that has continued to be the case, even now that the book is live and out there in the world.
The more that I had just shown up for the energy that the book was written with, I’ve gotten out of my own way, the possibilities of the opportunities and the people that have connected with the book show up.
Yeah. I think there’s something so powerful about the energy of joy, following that guided path, making it fun. I mean, nudges can be so fun. They could be really beautiful, fun nudges, and I think when things are heavy and people are feeling like they’re off their path, it’s that fun loving reminder, that little nudge, that just rights that ship. It’s that one little inch of trim tab.
Absolutely. It’s funny, and I go back to this retreat feeling for me, and that oftentimes, I think why I love having the groups and the retreats and guiding them is because we create space to allow ourselves to receive those nudges, and to me a nudge is “I’m going to ask a question for an answer that’s already inside you, but I’m just guiding you back to yourself,” and so it’s creating space in an environment for us to be able to really intentionally cultivate that awareness, so yes, the more I can do that, and again, I have to do it for myself any given day, all day long.
Yeah, and I think you have just such a beautiful way of doing it in a loving way where you hold the space for people. You see that wisdom in them, you’re certain it’s there, you hold that belief for them, and you allow them to move with their inner guidance, which is so powerful and just incredible.
Thank you. You will laugh, Jess, because I was just at my very first book signing this weekend, and the owner of this amazing bookstore said to me “well, I have an idea for your second book.” Like “ooh, tell me.” “Well, you keep describing these are gentle nudges. What about nudges that aren’t so gentle?”
Your dog agrees. That means you have validation. This is a really good idea. Oh, my goodness. I love it.
She was like “can it be your not so gentle nudges?”
Hilarious. Oh, my gosh. So good. Elena, this has been so amazing. I love that your dog is like “I’m getting in on that podcast and I am going to push her for these not so gentle nudges.” Where can everyone find you on the interwebs, including where can they find your book?
They can find me on Instagram at Elena Sonnino and my website, which is Elenasonnino.com. There’s a book tab. You can go there. You can find it at bookshop.org, which supports local independent bookstores, and of course, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I love it. Wonderful. Thank you so much for being with us and sharing your wisdom, and for reminding us to really stay on that internal guided path. Till next week, everyone, hope you all have a great week.
Are you looking for a way to take your business to the next level while also rejuvenating its most important asset, which is you, in your business? If so, I invite you to join me this October 20th to the 23rd at the luxurious Canyon Ranch retreat in Lenox, Massachusetts. During these four days, you will be joined by 11 other amazing women all looking to take their business to the next level and come up with their next big breakthrough idea, all while nourishing their body and nourishing their business at the same time. At this retreat, I will give you all of the tools that strategies you need to create a business plan that will support the business you deserve and allow you to not only end your year strong, but to plan out 2023 like you never have before. There will be business building tools and techniques that will help you transform your story around your money, what you’re capable of, and so much more. We will create breakthroughs that take your business to the next level, while also coaching you to create tangible results you can point to. If you’re interested in finding out more details, go to programs.jessicamillercoaching.com/canyonranchretreat to get all the details. We have taken care of everything. The only thing that you need to do is show up. Can’t wait to see you at the ranch this October.