The book of my life

Updated: Nov 17

Welcome to My World of joy, happiness, success, failure, fears, the valley of tears, and much more.

A little bit about me:

  • I am Swiss-born and live in Zurich. I love the heritage of my Swiss-German mother from Zurich and my Swiss Italian father from Gandria, Ticino, with Italian ancestors far back.

  • Business-wise, I am very Swiss German: Punctual, to the point, straightforward and precise.

  • Private my Italian side reveals itself. My joy in life was filled with peals of laughter and talking with my hands.

  • I have gone from growing up filled with love, trust, and liberty, to having it all, to being broke, and back again to success!

  • My positivity is a key trait that is always mentioned by my friends, clients, co-workers, or random people I am meeting.

  • I am embracing life with all its incredible opportunities and wish you to do so too!

My story is encouraging and proof of how one can go from having it all, to falling and to having the power, courage & strength to be strong, convinced, and raise back up again! I am a happy mother of two grown-up children, a delighted grandmother, and passionate about every aspect of life. I had a lucky, joyful family life; a fancy house, a cozy vacation house, classy cars, splendid and unforgettable vacations, fabulous dinners, and parties when step by step it started to collapse.

Chapter 1

Childhood and early years

Imagine you are a year and a half old! You feel loved and safe. And then, one day, you wake up, and your life has completely changed. You wake up in different surroundings, with other people, without your parents and siblings. That has happened to me! My parents divorced when I was a year and a half old. From then on, I lived and grew up with my grandparents. The personal contact with my siblings got dumped. Both of my parents seemingly had forgotten about me. The few times I met my mother, I was not allowed to call her mum.

My grandparents informed me later on in my life that I stopped talking for two years!

They loved me, gave me the liberty I needed, and accepted me the way I am. Both of my grandparents inspired me all along my journey with their kindness, wisdom, love, and generosity.

They instilled in me the belief to never give up, be grateful for each day, be kind to others, and help others. I was a free spirit then and still am. My world was a small world within the community of the poor in Zurich. I only later realized this fact. As a child, we played outside until it grew dark. There was no pressure on how to be dressed. We all had not much. Of course, there were rules on how to behave. The school was important but without the pressure of achieving the top results. I wanted to have more of my life. My dream was to study economics at the University of Zurich, but this dream of mine shattered back in 1973. I was not allowed to do so. My grandparents had no extra money, and my mother did not want to support me. The working class had to stay the working class. I felt disappointed and started to do the minimum at school. What next did I ask myself?

I chose the hotel industry and graduated there with excellent results. More than one language was required. I got myself to study English in England. A life-changing moment. The family who hired me as an Au-pair belongs to the Upper Class. Within a year and a half, I held my English Proficiency Certificate and my English driver's license in my hands which was a great achievement back in 1977. Only a few foreign students would take and pass the exam. My world opened up to Art, Classical Music, Outdoor hiking, and the better things in life. I knew who I wanted to become and how to live my life.

Chapter 2


Motherhood. A word that did not exist in my mind when I was 20 years old. My best girlfriend and I spoke about our future life, our dreams, and no! None of it I wanted to have. Nor a married life!

Well, we make the plan while God makes others. I got married just a week before turning 25 years old. My husband and I worked hard toward our dream. We both had good jobs, many friends, and time for our hobbies. We lived in a fancy apartment. Life was good!

Then I got pregnant and had to give birth to a stillborn in the 7th month of my pregnancy. I felt devastated. While I had to stay in the hospital for my recovery, I looked at my life and realized that my career was unimportant. So what was my inner plan then? Yes! To have a child and become a mother. At 27 years I became a mother. I still can feel the joy in my heart as I held my daughter for the first time in my arms. It was indescribable.

Isabella Maria Bordoni, motherhood, joy, happiness
Isabella Maria Bordoni, motherhood

I resigned from my job as a Product Manager and threw myself into motherhood. Back in 1984, I was going against the mainstream. Women in Switzerland liberated themselves by choosing to work over being stay-at-home mothers.

I loved to spend my time with my daughter. Reading books to her was our favorite. Seeing her grow in the best way filled my heart with joy. Giving her what I missed during my childhood was my goal. When she turned two and a half years old, I considered taking a part-time job. But then my girlfriend approached me during our yearly village festival. She asked me to put my hand on her belly. Curious and laughing, I did. Then she informed me with a big happy smile that she was pregnant again. So? I said. We were joking around that I could get pregnant at the same time, and we would then deliver our babies at the same time in the same hospital.

Long story short! Our “story weaving” became a reality! My girlfriend and I spent three days together in the hospital. None of our friends and relatives could believe it. I am still laughing right now. What an extraordinary time it was. I felt grateful for having been talked into another pregnancy. My son got delivered three weeks early. He was tiny! A few hours after his birth, I caught him right when he stopped breathing and turned him upside down while crying my heart out. Within a short time, he was inhaling again. To me, it felt like hours. I still feel blessed and grateful. His free spirit and adventures have made me laugh and cry. For seven years, I dedicated myself to staying at home.

Isabella Maria Bordoni, motherhood
Isabella Maria Bordoni, motherhood

Being a mother of two gorgeous children, happily married with a side career as a fashion model, was more than I ever dreamed of. I had a happy, joyful family life! A fancy house, a cozy vacation house, classy cars, many splendid and unforgettable vacations, best friends, inspiring dinners, and parties, and I loved it! I got the better things in life! The goal I set for myself at 20 years old, was achieved and I lost it all.

Chapter 3

Business Woman

My husband started a new business with two partners. When these dropped out, he asked me if I would replace them and build the business with him. First, I was startled by the idea of going back to work. Then I realized my chance and agreed. We have built a distribution business in the sport- and fashion industry, literally from scratch. His partners were the ones to know this particular industry. We both were greenhorns. None of us knew how this market worked nor that we had to attend the regular industrial fairs and who our clients were. Luckily we received help from the German distributor selling the same brand as we did.

I remember our attendance at the first industrial fair in Zurich when we spoke to everyone hitting our stand. On the second day, one of our competitors asked if I knew the person I had just spoken to. NO, was my reply. He has given me his name, and we have set an appointment. All I saw was astonishment in the face of the other. What? I asked. We hit the jackpot and the first major client for our brand. The Number 1 client in our market everyone wanted to seduce. Since I had no clue who the person was, I did not run toward him or overreact with joy or need. Even years later, this was a running joke. We started small, got an office, and placed our first order. My husband worked hard and was driven to be successful. We made it through the first year. Then as we constantly grew our business, we needed a larger business room and a website. Time was changing fast. Clients wanted to know more about us. I had to learn to work in the new age of computers. Thinking of it now, the first one we bought and installed, I had to ask where to turn it on. Embarrassing that was.

Gradually I started to work more. My main task was the back office which was great since I could do all the work when my children were in Kindergarten and school. I loved the challenge, the responsibility, and the world of business. Only then did I realize how much it meant to me. Through the years, our company constantly grew. We hired our first employees. My workload increased. Besides being the CFO of the company, I participated in the sales process when our key clients had an appointment with us. The industrial fairs in Switzerland, Germany, and Barcelona were what I enjoyed most. We were hunting for other brands and observed the market. The annual international, compulsory meetings in the USA, Germany, and Greece were an opportunity to exchange knowledge. Meet the other distributors representing the same brand, present our needs, see the new collections, and have a relaxed time.

Once a year, we would take our children to the USA. We would then meet with our brand suppliers and their sales team for one day. The remaining time of our two weeks stay was our family vacation which we all enjoyed the most. We all have the best memories of that fantastic time exploring Los Angeles, La Jolla, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco. One day at La Jolla, we saw baby tiger sharks in the waves hitting the beach. We could not believe our eyes. The children went to tell the safeguard. He explained that these baby sharks do no harm and we can swim without hesitation. The children were in the water within no time and enjoyed themselves, laughing out loud. My husband and I were hesitant. I challenged him with a bet on a bottle of Champagne. He never shied away from a challenge, joined the children, and won. I stayed outside and watched the baby tiger sharks surf the waves with the rest of my family.

The knowledge I gained throughout these years of building a company from zero, and running it while juggling the growth, supported me in all my future employments. My job required me to face and overcome challenges such as late product shipments from overseas and customer complaints. To establish an LC, work meticulously through contracts, summarize all client orders, and shipments to clients organized correctly and within time. Adjust to different working cultures. Being responsible for the smooth running of the back office allowed me to refine my organizational know-how. My leadership skills were challenged many times by the brand owners, our clients, and our employees. My sales qualities shaped me into the savvy businesswoman I am now. A big thank you to my husband, who wanted me to join him. Saw my potential. Who never held back with his knowledge and pushed me sometimes over the edge.

Chapter 4

The Crash with 50 years old

Due to economic reasons, I began working outside our company. Within a few years, I became one of those 200% working mothers. The jobs were demanding. Specifically the last one as "Assistant to the President" of a Swiss Cosmetics Company. The workload took nearly all my time. In addition, I had to co-run our company with my husband.

One day in September 2007, after meeting a designer in London for our mutual company, I was sitting at my desk at the Cosmetics Company. Something did not feel right. I could not figure out what it was. I felt like being in a bubble with no feet on the ground while floating around. Do you sometimes have a feeling of uncertainty in your stomach? One you cannot verify? I had to get out of the office and take a walk. My thoughts kept running. It was the year I turned 50 years old in May. We celebrated 25 years of marriage. Even though there was much to celebrate, I did not feel happy. My marriage to me did not feel right anymore. I felt like a working horse without being loved and appreciated. In 2004, my husband became a different person. Nothing had changed since then. After his motorbike accident which resulted in whiplash, he lost his will to achieve something and his passion for work, sport, for life in general. Whatever we did as a family to support him fell on dry ground. Nothing would help. Nothing would blossom. While walking and thinking, I remembered when my son received his Matura certificate. I had been sitting between my mother-in-law and my husband. During the ceremony, I realized this was all not fitting anymore. It was a feeling which hit me suddenly, "to run away." My batteries were low. Despite that, I continued to carry on. Not giving up was key to me. That's how I grew up.

Then end of September 2007, my life started to scramble into pieces. My feeling of uncertainty, a feeling of no ground, became a reality. I remember that moment as if it is today when my life fell apart 15 years ago. I was lying on the floor of my new apartment., feeling lost and lonely, broken in my heart, and tears running down my cheeks when I realized that all I had worked for until that moment had fallen apart. My marriage fell apart, our company had to be liquidated by me, and I lost my well-paid job too! All within two weeks. I had another three months to work in the company until my last day. At this moment, I vowed that no matter what, giving up was no option.

For about a year, I was living a lie to the outside world, similar to Lady Jasmine Francis from the movie Blue Jasmine, played by Cate Blanchett. Whenever I left the apartment, I dressed up wearing my expensive shoes and exclusive handbags. I smiled even though I wanted to cry. One day it was too much to bear to continue with a fake life. Doing so would have meant losing the last bit of self-respect. From then on, I shared my story, lived an authentic life, and all changed for the better. Renting a room out through Airbnb had been generating extra income. Step by step, days felt normal again for my son, our German Shephard Maximiliane, and me. The constant pressure on how to pay all the bills and depths was off my shoulders and I started to breathe lightly again.

Chapter 5

Challenge with hidden purpose

In April 2017, I wanted to attend a 4-day event in London. I made it on stage despite the obstacles I faced upon arriving there. Imagine you are feeling happy and looking forward to your "four days event 45 days on stage" in London to overcome your fears of public speaking. You embark on your flight while feeling good. All I wished for was to drop my suitcase upon arrival and then, "guess what has happened?" My room got canceled right at the front of the door at 8 pm Friday, the day of my arrival. I could not believe it! I stamped, screamed, was nearly into tears, and felt devastated.

Until, yes, I got my power back and was determined to find a room.

I approached someone sitting on a bench outside a Pub and asked about the whereabouts of the next hotel. Thankfully, the person responded to my inquiry and instructed me to walk down the road for a short while. I followed his instruction and went into the first hotel I came across along my way without success. Even worse. My hopes got shattered by the receptionists I asked for a room. He informed me that "London is all booked."

Finally, with lost hope, I found one for one night only instead of five. The person at the desk explained that they were all fully booked in London due to a bank holiday and a world championship boxing match. I went to my room and, despite feeling tired, I forced myself to check the internet for available rooms and did not give up until I found one for four nights which I could afford. How happy I felt.

Saturday, I left the event early to get the room. I was arriving at 07.30 pm at the place when my nightmare started again. The room was not available for me. It was a double booking! How could this be? I sat down in disbelief. Luckily I had the phone number of someone I met at the event. I called this acquaintance of mine with little hope and explained my situation. Even though we only met at the event, this person invited me to share her room with her for two nights. What a relief. I could not believe my luck and felt overwhelmed with gratitude! Booking a hotel for the two remaining nights was simple.

I used my "nightmare" as my pitch on stage Sunday morning. After presenting my story, People asked me how I managed to stay in my power and not give up despite the events. It would have been less heartache and easier to take the next flight home, which was never an option for me. "Never give up. Calm down. Pray for a solution and guidance" was ingrained in me by my grandparents. This belief got buried during my time of success. Only my downfall and the feeling of sadness and hopelessness have given it back to me. How I claimed this jewel of advice I shared with the ones asking. The result was that two of them wanted to be coached by me. My professional Coaching and my 9-week program started back then. What a gift I received resulting in my persistence.

Chapter 6

Finding myself, my purpose, my freedom

The first stepping stone

I decided to visit an elderly home and ask if I could have lunch with a lonely person for the coming three months when I had to work despite being kicked out of my job. I had no intention of spending more time than necessary with my co-workers. Some of whom betrayed me. One person, an 84- year- old, well-groomed man, was pleased to have lunch with me. I must tell you, that was the best decision I took in my moment of despair. He has led me the way lovingly to understand more of life and its meaning, given me inspiring books, and talked about his life journey.

The second stepping stone

Meeting with Amma, the hugging Indian Saint, and being hugged by her was an emotional rollercoaster. Tears were running down my face, and I felt warmth, joy, and love in my heart. The love a mother gives unconditionally to her child. She healed my heart and was the initiator of my spiritual journey.

The third stepping stone

My journey led me to Munich, where I attended a weekend for mediation at a Zen House. We were a group of people who connected effortlessly with each other. Reinhold, our coach, presented us with a week in a Monastery on the Island of Ibiza. All of us agreed. This week in November was captivating. To live in a monastery was not my goal nor my piece of cake. The room was too small, the bed was narrow, and the shower did not allow me to turn around, which made my children laugh out loud. I loved our early morning mediations, the energy-filled places on the Island, the old Sufi dance, the singing of Mantras, the shared peals of laughter, and my healing. The journey to myself, my inner self.

The fourth stepping stone

After I lost another job due to reorganization, a milestone in fulfilling my dream of independence was a free event in March 2016, led by an American named JT FOXX. The evening was becoming particularly interesting when IMN Zurich got launched. As a successful salesperson, the IMN strategy was tempting because I needed to be surrounded by different people, all driven by success. I became an active member of IMN Zurich. Cédric Vinclair challenged my stage fright and made me give my pitch in front of about 100 entrepreneurs in London, which was an eye-opener and an opportunity too. My professional coaching was born.

The fifth and last stepping stone

At 60 years old, I lost my last job due to a disagreement about the future of the company I had worked for. Not again, I thought! I could not believe it. Knowing it had nothing to do with my qualifications or work ethic did not make it any better. The daughter of the owner hired me as her "Assistant". The hidden main goal was to support her in modernizing the company. Together we achieved success, modernized the IT System, visited every single client personally, and established a close relationship. All went according to plan, and then she got pregnant. Her constant discussions with her father were not benefiting her pregnancy. She was not allowed to work anymore from her fourth month on. For me, this was devastating. Without her, I was unsupported by the elderly team members. Worse with her father. We had no common ground. A female in the world of a Southern Italian age 67 had no saying. Unfortunately, she did not return in due time. The tension between her father and me grew. I wanted to continue with the modernization. All done for the sake of his company, his daughter, and the young team members. He wanted to have it the old way, which he understood. There was no way to continue for both of us.

When I phoned the daughter to reveal the news, she wanted to help, keep me. For me, this was heartwarming. I still love her for that. I decided to accept the loss of my work and possibly focus on my coaching. Take that to a new level.

Somehow I did not want to give in. For me, it was always easy to find work, no matter my age. This time it was different. My 400 applications landed in the bin. Finally, I got a job as Head of Administration. Well, long story short. That failed. I hit a psychopath and stopped working within six months. It was time to think of my future, my dream. I had to ask myself why everything failed with my jobs. Why I kept my coaching at the side, which I loved, enjoyed, and made me feel fulfilled. It was plain in front of my eyes. I needed to immerse myself in what I loved most. I had to take time off to find myself again.

Within a short time, I sublet my apartment, packed my "carry it all" and traveled for three months. Finally, I was free, found freedom, and met with people, some of whom I had not seen in 40 years. I accepted the invitation to Indonesia, given to me by my first Airbnb guest. Bali was on my itinerary, my dream destination. There, I visited an ancient holy place, a well constantly filled with water for thousands of years, and like a pilgrim, took my bath to heal.

At 4 am, I hiked up Mount Batur with a torch in my hand to reach the top before sunrise. Ditching my fears, I swang on a swing held by two palm trees above and over the large, terraced rice field.

Free with 62 years

Returning home, I started fresh with a new apartment, new furniture, and finally, my focus on being a Coach and Therapist.

Chapter 7

Final thoughts

The below quote from Steve Jobs resonates with me:

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Looking back, I see the dots connected miraculously, phenomenally, and meaningfully. Losing my job and quitting my very last one was a blessing in disguise. I had the entire time to educate myself, invest in my future, and spend precious time with my grandchildren. Sharing pearls of laughter, reading books to them, building Lego towers, and seeing them grow up is something no money can make up. Time is precious. Shared time even more.

Going the extra mile, continuing learning, and surrounding yourself with positive people make it all worth it. Your surrounding indeed has an impact. I realized that one should have a burning desire and be passionate about our dream, whatever it is. During my valley of tears, I understood how children and our families shake when we shake and feel unhappy and broken. It is only the moment when we find our safe ground, stability, inner joy, and freedom that others start to feel safe and happy again.

It was a dumpy, challenging road, and sometimes still is, yet it was worth going through. I see life, its twists and turns differently now. From personal experience, I know exactly how it can feel when everything falls apart. In moments of despair, when life falls apart, and we seem to have no more strength left and would give up for good, it is the best and most healing to look out for how we can help others.

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