#131 Harnessing Intuition for a Life of Purpose

Today's Guest: Elona Lopari

Today, I interview Elona Lopari, who was misunderstood and restricted by societal norms early in her childhood. Growing up in Albania, she grappled with being labeled as mischievous and stubborn for her independent thinking and curiosity. Despite these hurdles, Elona found solace in her innate drive for achievement and a determination to break through limitations imposed by others.

Upon immigrating to the United States, Elona continued to face challenges but found support and encouragement from her father, who instilled in her the belief that she could achieve anything she set her mind to, eventually rising to success in the corporate world.

However, as her career progressed, Elona began to feel a sense of unease and anxiety, signaling to her that she was no longer aligned with her true purpose. This inner turmoil led her to transition into entrepreneurship, where she discovered her passion for helping others align their purpose with their professional endeavors.

Today, Elona is a visionary CEO, speaker, and bestselling author, empowering leaders and entrepreneurs to grow purpose-driven businesses through inner alignment and strategic leadership. Her journey from adversity to triumph serves as an inspiration to others, demonstrating the transformative power of following one’s intuition and embracing purposeful living.


Elona is a speaker, bestselling author to numerous books, show and speaking events organizer to an audience of over 30,000 heart-driven service-based entrepreneurs and corporations.

She is both a servant community builder and a people connector, a Prior Fortune 500 CEO, who was featured in Disrupt, NY Weekly, Business Insider, CEO Weekly, The Business New, and Famous Times.

As the visionary CEO of The Life School, she helps visionary leaders and CEOs grow legacy purpose-driven businesses through inner alignment, branding, marketing, sales and team so that they can maximize their Impact and Income to do more good in the world.

Watch the episode:

Connect with Elona Lopari

Transcript of Interview

Transcript of Interview

Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast

Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode #131 Elona Lopari

“Harnessing Intuition for a Life of Purpose”

(00:00) Doreen Downing: Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing, and I’m host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. I invite guests here who have had some struggle with being more fully expressed in life, whether it was in their childhood or they’re making it out into the real world, like school, and sometimes people have been bullied and then into the work world.

Sometimes it happens later in life where they feel like they’re put down and don’t have a voice. So, today I get to introduce you to a brand new friend. I’m just meeting Elona today for the first time also. Hello, Elona 

(00:42) Elona Lopari: Hello, Dr. Doreen. Thanks so much for having me here and congratulations on all the amazing work you’re doing in this space that you have put together for people to maybe even refine their voice or to be able to tap into that so they can create more impact for others because I find that behind every struggle and pain there’s always a silver lining and us understanding it first then we can actually do more service or do more good in the world through our voice, which is so powerful.

(01:16) Doreen Downing: Oh, you get it so quickly. That was wonderful in the way that you described the deeper nature of this work, and then the whole point is to have impact, and that impact doesn’t have to be from a stage. I say that life is your stage, so it could be at the dinner table with an extended family around you and you want to say something that is more heartful.

So, let’s move forward. You gave me a bio. I’d like to read it so that people get a sense of how amazing you are. Elona is the visionary CEO of the Life School, and she’s a speaker, bestselling author of numerous books, shows, and speaking events, organizer to an audience of over 30,000. Who’s ever listening right now is going, “Wow, girl. Good for you.” 

With these heart-driven service-based entrepreneurs and corporations, I think that that’s one of the things that you and I connect about, and my listeners are more of those of us who believe in heart and the energy of speaking from that, and having, like I said earlier, the courage to show up. 

So, that makes you both a servant community builder and a people connector, and you are a prior Fortune 500 CEO, also featured in New York Weekly, Business Insider, CEO Weekly. That’s a lot of amazing accomplishments. I’m pretty excited that you get to be here today and share your wisdom and your story.

Elona is the CEO of the Life School where they help visionary leaders and CEOs grow legacy purpose-driven businesses through, now listen to this, inner alignment, branding, marketing, sales, and team, so they can maximize their impact and income to do more good in the world. 

There is one thing too. The whole idea is that impact, but we need income in order to have that, the opportunities to make that impact. So, that was wonderful—I know I made a few comments about your bio, but I’m really happy to open the space up to start this deeper dive into where did Elona start her life, and what was that like, the early childhood and how you came to know did you have a voice or did people hear you? Did people see you or not? What comes up as we start here? 

(04:01) Elona Lopari: I love that it’s so intuitively is aligning and I also believe because—I’ll talk about how I actually grew my spiritual side of the—because we all are spiritual being, but I didn’t always realize that obviously earlier on or, through my journey of personal growth and development. All the accolades, the journey of achievement, that actually was a by-product of me not really being seen or heard very early on.

I am natively from Albania, a country in small Eastern Europe. I felt like as a child, I was always very curious. I was labeled mischievous. They call me stubborn because every time that I was instructed or told certain things in school or family or even in my little community there, I always was that person that rather than taking what other people told me I wanted to try it out for myself. I wanted to get in there with that experience. I wanted to make all the mistakes. I wanted to learn from everyone and everything. 

Being in that environment, not everybody understood what I was trying to actually accomplish, so a lot of the times I felt that from people around me, I was not really seen or heard for who I actually was and me being somebody that defied a lot of those different things made me even sometimes labeled as a bad child. 

So, I think eventually I coped with that with achievement because I realized that, okay, hold on. I was doing things and I was pretty practical as a person because again, I’m more like, okay, I will try it. That’s why even today, I’m very strong at processes and systems because my brain just works like that. I have an ability to connect different dots on the macro level and just see for myself where the next step and the next step leads into.

Though I guess a lot of the different things I was able to achieve early on, I got a lot of praise for that, so I twisted how I will be accepted even in the family or the community or the people that I cared for. I will be accepted by them by just achieving and doing things for them. That’s what I do to feel love. That’s what I do to feel part of the communities that I was part of at the time. 

So very early on, I started picking up those clues. Even when I moved to the U S where my parents were migrating, I was continuing that thread because I was the oldest child and I started working early to help my parents with the bills and they didn’t speak the language.

I pretty much grew up and matured very early and I was always solving problems very early, which today has served me, obviously being an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know that that’s how things were going to work out. I was praised, actually, more importantly by my dad, from my dad, I should say, for all the achievements.

He’s like, “Okay, you’re coming here and in this country, you could be whatever you like to be. You can get your American dream going, a successful career, get your degree, build your family and all of that.” So, that’s what I did for the next 15 years achieving, out of the need to feel part of something. I climbed the corporate ladder. Very successful. 

(07:10) Doreen Downing: I’m going to stop you right here because I don’t want to go too far into the next phase of your life because what you said was so profound and I want to come back to it and make sure that people heard that we accommodate in our early childhood because there is some difficulty.

And you talked about the difficulty—being the person who’s outgoing and somebody who can be actually pretty creative in what she figured out how to do, but it wasn’t always easy. That’s what I want to point people to is that you may look back on your childhood and see that it wasn’t easy, but you can see what Elona just talked about is that what she did, the difficulty, what she did became her—she talked about it as a silver lining. It became your power, your superpower. You didn’t stay in “I’m different and I don’t belong or people don’t accept me.” You found a way to shine early on. 

(08:19) Elona Lopari: Yes, I think it really ignited this drive in me or I guess the fire, what I would describe the piece of me where rather than be limited by things that are in my environment or limitations about what other people think I should do or can do or cannot do. I usually go the other way and rebel against that, and it actually helps me to be able to break through a lot of those barriers.

I don’t know if it’s a personality thing, a character thing, or maybe just the way I cope very early on. It just has served me with the work that I do today and even as my life has progressed and I’ve gone on the journey to what I do today. I don’t know what it is, but it really has served me to be able to defy those limitations placed upon me or even circumstances that I perceive are going to limit me as a person from the thing that very early on, I was very intuitive. 

I just didn’t know the word. I didn’t know how to articulate it. I didn’t even know how to even use this other superpower. I now know what it is, which serves me really well in most of my major life decisions and even my business, of course.

But that’s another thing that I have very strongly fought for early on, but I didn’t know what it was called because I would always have this sense that I should go for something, and it was so strong in me. When obviously, other people around me were not seeing what I see or what I feel, I felt that that was stronger than my limitations. So, I would always somehow find a way to adapt and be able to get what I actually want. I just figured out how to achieve based on where my sixth sense was leading me. 

(10:12) Doreen Downing: Oh, this is wonderful. I’m hoping that people are getting into their own sense of where the limitations are and that limitations don’t necessarily have to be a way that you keep yourself back. That they could be the journey, the road, the path to being somebody like you, breaking through and not accepting limitations. There’s this phrase, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and you to me are demonstrating that today. 

Okay. Well, let’s go on. You mentioned the move to a new country and what an amazing support your father gave you. He gave you, it’s almost like he handed you the dream and said, “Go for it, girl.” 

(11:06) Elona Lopari: Yes, absolutely. Him being very persistent to move to the U. S. Because you tried and failed a few times but somehow—I get that a lot from my father. I think it’s also like that, because now my daughter, I see like that fire, strong willingness, determination, to go after things that we feel are right or important.

It’s so funny how things have aligned and my daughter has inherited a lot of that. Now obviously, I try to be more of a conscious parent because I understand, and I could come from that space as well. 

But Yes, that’s what he did very early on. He’s like, “You can be anything you like to be here.” Ensure that—obviously, based on the model that our parents knew, or my parents knew, that’s what success looked like for them. Get a good safety, good career, grow your family, always develop yourself and keep going just very early on, stuck with me, so I just never questioned it. 

I’m like, “Okay, so that’s what I do.” I started working early to help my family. I think it really helped me with a lot of the maturity and also the character building and the responsibility that I felt early because he has followed me along with everything that I’ve done.

I continued to align and climb the corporate ladder until the company that I was working for was actually acquired by another company, and I lost a sense of purpose. For me, this is very strong, almost like I have a star that I’m always going for, and he has to align intuitively with what I’m doing.

If I lose sense of that, I tend to get discouraged or I tend to get this focused or I go to problem-solving and I’m like, “Okay, this is no longer aligning with me.” So I go back to those skills that I learned very early on as a high achiever, like, “Now, how can I figure out what is my next path?”

Because if I no longer see a future here—I’m usually very future-focused, vision-focused, and oriented—I’m going to figure out what else is there. That’s where entrepreneurship showed up for me and I started doing some executive coaching, some career coaching, and then today I help businesses and corporations grow legacy companies with my experience and where I’ve also seen my strengths lie, which is business acumen and leadership. Those 2 very important points, which I have paid very close attention to in my journey intuitively. Where are the things that I do naturally? Part of my purpose is my gifts and the more I discover that, the more I can do more good in the world.

So, I’ve been a life student. Always learning and exploring myself to figure out what else am I capable of doing, and also what gives me a lot of passion, joy, purpose that wakes me up in the morning. That’s why purpose is a big word for me. 

I’ve always followed this compass. That I felt that if I followed that, and it was so unique to my journey and to me personally, then that’s where I’ve felt the most fulfillment in my life, the most joy, the most aliveness, the most passion. I’m always trying to, as I evolve, always paying attention to the inside of me, what are those dots, I call them dots that I need to connect my individual journey that keep me aligned towards that purpose that is so individual and unique to me. I try to be very intentional with listening to that very closely the more I’ve learned how to tap into it. 

(14:38) Doreen Downing: Well, I want to come back to this whole idea of connecting the dots. There are a couple of things I want to ask you. We’re going to take a brief break and I’ll be right back with my questions because I want to know more about this intuition and how, when you’re there, and when you don’t know and you recognize it. There’s something about the alignment that I want to know more about. We’ll be right back.

(15:06) Doreen Downing: Hi, we’re back now with Elona Lopari, who’s just fascinating us with her willfulness and her intuitive breaking through with any obstacle. It feels like she’s somebody who says, “There is something in front of me. I’m going to go for it. How do I get there? Let me figure it out.” And what you said, Elona, is that there’s an intuitive sense. My question that I’ve been wondering about, and I think will help our listeners is how do you recognize when you aren’t aligned? What are some of those signs that tell you, “Whoops, I’m not aligned.” 

(15:53) Elona Lopari: For me, when my career was ending in corporate and I needed to find another path, it showed up as anxiety. I was feeling uneasy. It’s not like something on the outside was causing it. That was the confusing part because nothing has happened on the outside, everything’s still, nothing major has happened for me to be like, “Okay. I might be going through something or a transition.”

Also, every time I would sit on my own by myself, as I started to practice more stillness, mindfulness, meditation, and all of those beginning early experiences that I had, I would just listen to this inner voice that would always tell me, “Okay, you’re meant for something bigger. You’re meant for something different.” 

It would guide me even though I didn’t really understand how to even translate that or even to make a leap of faith or to make a change because obviously, it’s very hard, the fear of the unknown. I’m like, whoa, I know this. I know this side of my life, but I don’t know where I should be going and kind of, what are you calling me towards?

So that was the second sign for me that always—now I understand how to tap into it, but at that early stage, it was more like that inner voice trying to tell me, “There’s something else out there for you.” 

My other thing is usually signs will happen on the outside that are inconvenient or like challenges that happen or conversations or people that—it would just call me to action that there’s something on the inside that I might not be listening to or honoring. 

So those are usually the three ways, at least, that I’ve pieced together from my journey that are red flags that whatever is it that I’m focusing on at this time, maybe might not be the right thing for me or I need to dig in deeper because there is some sort of fear or insecurity or feelings that I probably need to process or stories that might not be serving me or whatever it is. Those are the main 3 ways that I have felt it in my life.

(18:09) Doreen Downing: Thank you so much. I think that you just gave our audience the keys to coming back to yourself and being more aligned. The second question then is, so we align ourselves and we go, we start—I love that phrase—the compass that you used. You mentioned the star in front of you, and there’s this idea of the vision. In front of you is a vision and you feel drawn to it and there’s this idea of, well, you need to start moving. What are some of the ways in which in your work with people and your leaders, your visionary leaders, that you help them take steps? What are some of those steps?

(18:55) Elona Lopari: Yes. Vision pulls me a lot because it’s my ability to be more of the big picture person and to be able to connect the most important elements of even when a leader is in front of me or where a CEO is in front of me or where a client is in front of me or whoever is in front of me, I’m able to, once I feel the potential on the other side, it’s very easy for me to help them connect that for themselves in the clarity of their own vision.

I do that in my own life as well. If something is pulling me, and I see a lot of potential, it’s almost as if I just feel so strongly pulled by it. I just listen to that. Then whatever challenge I need to overcome, because that clarity of that vision is so strong and the reason why I want to do it is so strong and it’s usually always connected towards impact or contribution of service or my way that I’m going to be of use or add value to somebody else, then once I clarified that, then the rest is just I have no problem with determination, with challenges that come along my way. None of that. 

It’s almost as if I already like, “Check. Done.” I got clarity. Now I can just work towards it. It’s very hard to stop me along that journey because I already have that strong pull and I have that strong dedication or whatever what you might want to call it or determination and whatever challenge on my way, I’m always like, “Okay, what can I learn from that?” And I just stay persistent with it. 

If the dots are not aligning, I, of course, learned how to also maturely be patient and let things flow and all of that as well, because I started to align that piece before I knew how to do that. That was mostly driven and I’m like I need to get it done. It’s going to get done. 

Obviously now understanding this other side—the intuitive part or the creativity part—that, at the right time, the thing will start aligning with itself and I just need to pay attention to those signs and also intuitively pick up the timing because timing is also very important, I realized. 

(21:10) Doreen Downing: And what I just heard there was acceptance. This other aspect of driving and yet there’s also—there are ways, there are different paces and you don’t always go at top speed so that maybe a slower speed is part of making it around the curve to get to the ultimate destination.

Well, thank you very much for giving us such in-depth information about your process. I really, really like that you did it from your own point of view, how it affected you. Like having the anxiety, “Oh, something’s not lining up here.” 

And then how to feel the pull of the vision that’s really something that’s calling you, not just you’re going to get there no matter what. There’s also being able to listen to the vision that’s calling you as well. This is what I’m thinking. 

Before we get off, can you tell us about your book and how to find you?

(22:16) Elona Lopari: Yes, absolutely. Also very smartly learn how to conserve my energy because that’s very important because with somebody like me that can just go, go, go. Obviously, I’ve encountered burnout many, many times, so understanding how to smartly conserve and use my energy and channel that in the proper ways and in the proper tasks or the things that I need to do.

It’s something that I’ve also learned, which has helped me just keep the balance or the harmony between the achievement and also the needed time that I need to rest and let my creativity flow and all of those different aspects. 

This is my latest book that I just launched. Visionary Purpose-Driven Leadership, which has pretty much 12 pillars around how to be a visionary purpose-driven leader and align your purpose with profit that the audience can find on Amazon, or they can also go to my website, elonalopaircoaching.com. 

(23:09) Doreen Downing: Thank you so much. It’s Elona Lopari, L-O-P-A-R-I dot com. I just wanted to make sure that people could hear what you said and find you. Purpose-driven leadership is not only for, especially for my listeners, isn’t just all only for corporations. It’s how we lead our own lives and are we coming from our purpose?

And the 12 pillars, before we go, I just want to name the 1st pillar. 

(23:44) Elona Lopari: Conscious leadership. 

(23:48) Doreen Downing: Conscious. Be aware. Thank you so much, Elona. 

Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.