Hello, I'm Dara.
I’ve never been one to settle. I’m entrepreneurial, future-focused, curious, driven, and always asking ‘what’s next.’
From Fashion PR to Startups
This drive has made a voracious learner, devouring books, podcasts, and TED Talks. It’s given me the conviction to move to new cities, Los Angeles to San Diego to New York to San Francisco. It’s given me the motivation to pivot careers, fashion PR to digital marketing to growth hacking to consulting. And, it’s also given me the audacity to pivot into entrepreneurship.
Downside of Drive
Though at various points, this drive has also made me perfectionistic and obsessed with success. So much so that I jeopardized my own well-being. In 2011, I overworked myself so hard that I developed a spontaneous (fortunately benign) tumor, and then another one a few months later. Then at the end of 2016, I launched my apparel business and ran my first race in the same month. I was so intent on ‘winning’ that I collapsed and woke up in the emergency room.
Science of Getting Unstuck
2017 marked the beginning of my personal growth journey. I wanted to cultivate a business that was driven by internal joy rather than external praise. I wanted to understand the elusive concepts of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. This led me to uncover the science of getting unstuck through cognitive behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and mindfulness.
It became evident that my apparel business was not a fit for me. This was a hard realization. In the past, I’d make pivots with ease, navigating creative agencies, corporate (Sephora, LVMH and Swarovski), and startups. But entrepreneurship was different. I had invested so much time, energy and money, and had to overcome immense fear and self-doubt to launch this business. Not to mention, it had become a part of my identity.
Even though I knew it was time to shut down my business, I felt so stuck. I told myself I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. But in reality, I was just scared of picking the wrong path. I was scared of putting myself out there all over again.
Deep down, I knew wanted to pursue coaching. I wanted to share everything I wish I had known before pursuing the entrepreneurial path. But it felt like such a huge pivot.
Instead of doing what I wanted, I applied for jobs. The ease and certainty of a paycheck were alluring. To justify my decision, I sought out companies in the personal development space. Close enough right? And I landed what I thought was the job, a mission-driven, inspiring team, and a ‘Head of’ title. A few weeks into the new role, I couldn’t shake the fact that I wasn’t doing what I actually wanted to do. I knew this entrepreneurial nudge wasn’t going away. I listened to my intuition and left as graciously as I could.
While this wasn’t the most optimal career decision, this experience revealed a pattern to me.
For my entire career, I’ve always refused to stay stuck. When I’d hit a growth plateau in PR, I went into digital marketing. When I wanted to deepen my focus, I made the shift from the agency world to corporate. When I wanted to make a larger impact, I explored startups. When I wanted to test my potential, I took the leap into entrepreneurship. And when that first business wasn't a fit, I learned everything I could to get unstuck.
Power of Pivoting
I get to do what I love best, engage in high energy, deep conversations that inspire growth and result in impact.
I get to use my strengths in conceptual thinking, seeing patterns, making connections, and brainstorming creative solutions.
And as your entrepreneurship career coach, it’s my mission to uncover what’s next for you. I want to help you see what’s possible and seize those opportunities.
It will require you to get comfortable with uncertainty. It will require you to move forward even when there’s not a neatly mapped out plan in front of you.
After all, the best careers are the ones that still have the capacity to surprise you.
Here’s to getting unstuck!
Dara Elliott, Career Coach for Entrepreneurial Types
P.S. a few fun facts about me...
City: San Francisco (previously New York, San Diego, Los Angeles)
Originally from: Burbank (grew up at this little donut shop)
Morning routine: Meditate, green smoothie, and solo dance party.
Fave workout: Jogging by the water while listening to podcasts and books.
Happy place: Deep conversations at a bright and airy coffee shop, or while walking along the water.
Drink of choice: Smoothies!
Indulgence: California burritos (aka burritos with fries inside).
Currently reading about: Behavioral economic, organizational psychology, and cognitive behavioral coaching, essentially anything that involves understanding why we do what we do.