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From Success to Happiness: Being Happy is More Important than Being Special

From Success to Happiness: Being Happy is More Important than Being Special

People About Town, Expats in Italy

Olya Novikova sat with Easy Milano and shared her story of leaving Russia, becoming a world ranking tennis pro, then a top executive at the Walt Disney corporation and finally finding the path that led her to fulfillment and happiness as an Ayurveda wellness consultant, therapist and life coach in Milan.

Moving to Italy is a major life-change for many. It can be difficult to adjust to the new culture, language, and lifestyle. Regardless of whether you have chosen to live in Italy for life or are just passing through, you may find that the transition to living in Italy is easier when you are in the company of supportive friends and family. 

In some cases, talking to a life coach and someone who has experienced first-hand the challenges of living in a new country, may help you find clarity and direction in the sea of mixed emotions and confusion.

Olya Novikova, certified Ayurvedic practitioner and Life Coach in Milan is originally from Russia. She has traveled the world, living in countries such as the United States of America before settling down here in Italy where she currently practices Ayurvedic life coaching techniques to help people thrive amidst the different challenges that they might be facing day to day.

Olya, understands the sacrifices it takes to achieve goals, but she has also come to learn that sacrifice is not a path to happiness.  

At the age of 17 she was chosen for the Russian team and played in an international tennis tournament in Germany. She recalls, “That was a moment of revelation: I had a glimpse of the ‘forbidden west’ and what I saw didn’t look so bad to me!”

Olya Novikova was a top 5 ranked tennis player

Novikova, was a top 5 ranked player in Russia and at the age of 20, she was offered a tennis scholarship for an American university. Olya left her home with only $100 and a burning desire to discover and explore the world.

To earn money, she continued playing in tournaments and taught tennis until graduating with an MBA degree. She soon found work and started climbing the corporate ladder of the Walt Disney Corporation.

She describes her experience: “It was an exciting time: everything I dreamed of was coming to life and I thought that was happiness. In fact, in everyone’s opinion I was a fortunate young woman with a promising career. I had everything going for me: a successful career, money, status, steady relationship, friends, and long awaited financial and physical freedom. I was traveling around the world in first class – a big change from the struggling Russian girl with a few dollars in her pocket. After 10 years, I was promoted to a Director of Finance role and was offered a job assignment in Milan, Italy.”

Although the perception of Olya’s life was perfect on the outside, on the inside, deep down, she was left with a feeling of emptiness.

She explains, “I wasn’t happy. Something was missing. I felt that I was not in the right place, like I was wearing an outfit that was not completely my style, size, color. I was terrified at that thought and tried to push it away every time I felt it. I desperately tried to silence it with distracting myself in wonderful vacations, new friendships, shopping, you name it. But it was not going away, on the contrary it was getting louder and louder, until one day it got so loud that I finally listened.”

On her quest for clarity, she found the healing power of Ayurveda and the guidance of supportive life coaches who showed her a new path.

“My life coaches helped me tremendously to see for myself the root of what I was feeling, how I wanted to change it and get out of it. They helped me see the subtle entities that make up my character as well as those aspects which lead to self-sabotage. A life coach never tells you what to do, they guide you to finding the answers within you. I came to realize that being happy was more important than being special.”

Her path to self-enlightenment and healing naturally guided her to becoming an Ayurvedic practitioner and Life Coach. For fifteen years she delved into the studies of both mind and body disciplines and has found a cohesive connection and inseparability between the two.

“I have some clients come to me only for business coaching, or only for Ayurvedic massage, but inevitably, there is also a corresponding ‘symptom’ of imbalance in other aspects of their lives.  For example, someone may come because they are having problems sleeping or rather a bad back, knee or sore legs. Often during our pre-treatment dialog, we discover that there is also something emotional or a challenging situation in their personal or professional life.”   

The need to make a life-change, like moving abroad is sometimes rooted in a deep sense of unhappiness or unfulfillment, but not always.   A career opportunity, a new relationship or a once in a lifetime prospect is a positive change but can be equally disorienting.

Although full of excitement, making a life-change and moving to a new country is full of uncertainty and sometimes anxiety.

The fear of not coping because of the language barrier, not having the same quality of life as back home, being far from family and close friends, or not feeling accepted by a spouse’s family are common fears and frustrations that expats face, and may not have considered before moving to Italy.

It is no surprise that many of Olya’s clients are expats in Milan like herself.

“Making a life-changing decision like moving to Italy or changing career is never easy because each person has their own set of needs, limitations, and expectations. It means being open-minded and non-judgmental and being open to the idea of seeing things in different ways.”

If you have moved to Milan and are facing some of these challenges, Olya Novikova can lend a helping hand and help you see the path to fulfillment and balance.

Inner Wisdom Ayurvedic  Studio in Milan

Olya Novikova

Ayurveda Wellness Consultant, Therapist & Life Coach

Milano (near Piazza Firenze, Cso. Sempione)
Arese (near the Sports Center)

Tel. +39 3938039583



Life & Business Coaching

In addition to Ayurveda massage therapy, changes in lifestyle, mindset and diet may be advised. With her knowledge of Ayurveda and international training as a Personal Coach, Olya can help guide you towards your desired goal.

Making changes can be a bit scary for everyone but having someone that can help you see with clarity and keep you accountable while at the same time be encouraging, can keep you on your path to achieving your final goal of happiness, life-balance, and fulfillment. 

Coaching sessions can include:

  • Health and Wellbeing: Integrating Body, Mind and Spirit 
  • Personal and Spiritual Development – Learning and Growing 
  • Social life and Creativity
  • Career / Business
  • Relationships: Cultivating the Connection
  • Finances: Living in abundance

OLYA IS OFFERING 10% OFF to Easy Milano Readers

Tell her you read about her in Easy Milano and she will give you a discount.

Feel free to contact us for further information.

Article by Celia Abernethy,
Images courtesy Olya Novikova

Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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Comments (2)

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    […] Expats in Italy: From Success to Happiness: Being Happy is More Important than Being Special […]

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    […] From Success to Happiness: Being Happy is More Important than Being Special Expats in Italy: John Murphy, the most Scottish Italian in town […]

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