Putting Business and Spiritual Life in PerspectiveApr 25, 2017 ● By Carrie Jackson
Gina Sannasardo, M.Ed., CPC, ELI-MP
Gina Sannasardo, M.Ed., CPC, ELI-MP, is a Christian life coach who works with female business owners to find success and fulfillment professionally, personally and spiritually. Her own strong faith during a time when her son was sick led Sannasardo to look for a way to encourage other women to incorporate their faith into their work and help spread joy to others.
In addition to seeing private clients, Sannasardo is an author, mother, blogger, speaker and middle school teacher. She also leads interactive group workshops and retreats for women to empower, enable and inspire themselves to make healthy decisions and have the confidence to live the life they want. She is an active member of her church, serves as a eucharistic minister and volunteers with a number of organizations in and around DuPage County.
What role does a life coach play for a business owner?
My clients are intelligent, creative, resourceful women who are very driven, but they still might not be bringing in the money they want or reaching the number of customers they need to feel successful. They are very talented and feel strongly about their businesses, whether that’s fitness, finance, health, beauty or caregiving.
I help them turn their passion into a profit by encouraging them to use their faith, remember to take care of themselves, find their voice, seek help from others and know when to push and when to let go. We work on time management, setting priorities, establishing goals and prioritizing. My goal is to help my clients feel excited and motivated about their business, passionate about their purpose and to rediscover the gifts that they already have.
What special concerns do female business owners have?
Many of my clients start their own business because they want more flexibility to be with their families. They also have a strong desire to do something fulfilling that they feel passionate about, whether that’s sharing a skill or a product. Finding a work-life balance is an issue for most of my clients. They can also get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that are involved with running a business. Many are struggling because they have self-doubt, lack confidence or don’t have a support system.
I work with my clients to find what kind of marketing, social media, staffing, scheduling and networking is right for them. There is so much information out there, it can be hard to navigate, and what works for one business model might not work with another. I also strongly encourage them to incorporate their faith into their business, because I believe that helps them stay grounded and secure that they are on the right path. It reminds them that we are all valuable and loved and deserving of success, and they don’t necessarily have to have all the answers themselves. Women can be very supportive of each other, and I suggest that clients ask for help and seek accountability from friends, colleagues, partners and their faith whenever possible.
What advice would you give female entrepreneurs just starting out?
The first year in any new business is going to be difficult. Many of my clients talk about self-doubt, fear, uncertainty and anxiety. There will be unexpected roadblocks that may be perceived as challenges, but I prefer to think of them as opportunities. We never know when something positive will come our way. You might be dreading a meeting or networking event and end up meeting just the right person who can help you at the event. The more we keep an open mind, the more available we are for these opportunities.
I encourage my clients to remember what moved them to start their business in the first place. Taking stock of why they wanted to make a change will remind them of their underlying passion and help build the confidence necessary to move forward. They have to believe that what they’re offering, whether it’s a service or product, is worthwhile and valuable. If they hold onto that, the little distractions won’t matter as much and everything else will fall into place. They will be able to find more peace and joy and actually have more time to do the things they want for themselves and their families.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.