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Discover your purpose

Besides being a gorgeous semi-finalist in the Tammy Taylor Mrs SA Competition, Despina Senatore (43) helps women to find their true potential and purpose in life. She’s also launching a book for high-school learners this month.

Despina’s definition of a purposeful woman is “A woman of courage and determination who takes deliberate action to empower herself to achieve her goals. A woman who knows what she wants; she is clear on what is important and where she wants to go.”

Despina started her business, Purposeful Woman, a year ago. “Every time I see the light turn back on in women who attend my workshops I’m reminded of why I’m passionate about what I do,” she says.

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After working in the financial services industry for over 17 years, she became involved in projects to empower women in the workplace at the company she was working for.

“After a few months of being involved in these projects I realised that I found the work meaningful and rewarding. I felt so passionate and alive that I decided to start my own company,” Despina says.

Despina and her hubby, Adolfo, have three children between the ages of three and seven. It was after a traumatic incident in 2015 that Despina, a Linksfield resident, realised what her purpose in life was.

“Until recently, like most people, I meandered through life, simply following the path in front of me without much reflection,” she remembers.

After this incident (which she prefers not to discuss), she had many questions: her purpose in this life , the point of life in general and the values with which they were raising their boys.

“My world view that people don’t intentionally hurt others and that you treat people the way you want to be treated and that all people are inherently good , was shattered,” she admits.

She dealt with her emotional stress by working hard, throwing herself into the empowering projects as well as an ALP (action learning programme) for the company she was working for.

Despina upskilled herself over a period of three years as a professional coach and she’s currently working towards accreditation through the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Another matter close to Despina’s heart is the empowerment of young girls to become a future generation of confident women through education.

“The way we talk and relate to boys and girls in their formative years shapes their view of
themselves as they grow up and consequently the way they show up in the world and ultimately in the workplace,” she believes.

Soar! Inspiration for Your Life, Career and Future is a book she wrote for high school girls to provide them with insight into career education and life skills. The girls’ book will be
launched on August 26 and costs R150. A book for boys will follow soon.

What are the most common struggles that women need help with?

Self-doubt, lack of confidence, the impostor syndrome, work-life balance, having an identity that is separate from mom/wife/career woman.

What are the most important things that women should know or do to become purposeful?

• Be clear about why you want to achieve what you want to achieve. There has to be an
emotional connection, something that will create enough frustration or excitement to spur
you forward.

• If it makes no real difference to your life to pursue or not pursue your goal or aspiration, you’re not going to do the work needed to get there.

• If you’re doing it to please someone else, you’re eventually going to become resentful.

• Remember that nothing happens overnight.

• Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. We are all on the path we’re meant to be, achieving what we need to achieve in the time we’re meant to achieve it.

• Challenge your self-limiting beliefs; get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

• Set yourself small realistic goals and be purposeful / deliberate in the steps you take to achieve them.

• Set realistic target dates for each of your micro-goals and keep yourself accountable.

• Remind yourself constantly of the destination, but remember that it is a journey.

• Get support or ask for help – you don’t need to do it all on your own!

• Celebrate small successes along the way.

Why did you decide to enter the Tammy Taylor Mrs SA Competition?

To show my kids that one can learn something from doing the things that are out of your comfort zone or that you’re not good at. It was also a way for me to reconnect with me again.

What did you learn about yourself through the competition?

That I will never get comfortable with social media; it was important for me to remain true to myself throughout and I achieved that; I really can achieve anything I set my mind to. It is true what Napoleon Hill said: “The only limitations we have are the ones we set for ourselves.”

Would you recommend participating in such a competition to other women?

I wouldn’t discourage any woman from participating. I’d caution that there is time commitment over and above your day-to-day roles. There is work to be done in terms of charity and fund-raising, and it can get stressful and frustrating. You will learn a lot about
yourself, your spouse and your family through this journey.

Your motto in life?

I try to live by the motto, “When you become fearless, everything becomes limitless.” It really is about being courageous enough to try something that is out of my comfort zone, as nerve-wracking or impossible as it might initially seem.”

Details: For coaching or course enquiries or to order the book, email [email protected]

Text: Ina Gouws. Photo: Portrait Boutique.

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