Bestselling Author & Relationship Coach
I did not know that the path of my life would lead me to become a realtionship coach and author. Born in Israel, I was raised by a single mother in a humble home, yet surrounded by a warm and loving extended family. Warmth has nothing to do with money, that’s for sure!
The first war in my life broke when I was just a year old, and others followed. I still remember the incredible tension that came with threats of bombing, news of casualties and the next impending war. Perhaps it was those experiences that made me ponder the meaning of life at an early age and fuelled my interest in classics such as War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, Atlas Shrugged and others when I was just ten years old.
Enriched by literary influences and life experience, I became increasingly interested in helping people transform their lives. I was only fourteen when I first volunteered to tutor two orphaned sisters raised by their widowed mother in underprivileged circumstances and did so for the next four years when mandatory military service took me elsewhere.
I entered the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at the height of the Yom Kippur War. What I remember most from boot camp–more than the early, cold winter mornings, the eighty-girl barrack we inhabited, the military discipline, training and target shooting–is a very personal experience I will never forget.
While the war raged, the boot camp girls spent long days packaging food for soldiers on the frontline. To help boost morale, we were asked to enclose notes for the soldiers. I wrote five notes.
Throughout boot camp, I was deeply disturbed, as my boyfriend was in combat and had not been heard from in weeks. When he finally returned from battle, I discovered that one of my five notes had reached him! What are the odds?!
Following boot camp I volunteered to the IDF Teachers Corps and spent the next two years tutoring new immigrants on behalf of the military, helping them integrate into the culture. However, my commander hadn’t told me that my duties would entitle a lot more than tutoring! Despite being eighteen, I became my students’ confidant and inspiration. I knew everything about their spouses, children and family affairs; what troubled them and what brought them joy. Sometimes I’d show up to teach just to find that they had no plans for study. Instead, they had cooked for me and sought relief by sharing their latest woes. I loved my students, and they fuelled my passion for making a difference in people’s lives.
My life experience had produced in me an irresistible urge to travel the world and find out more about people of all cultures and walks of life. So as a young IDF veteran, I rented a small room in the heart of Tel-Aviv and worked two jobs to save up for my travels. It was leaving home at a young age to meet challenges and fend for myself that built in me the confidence to backpack across Europe on my own for the following seven months, starting in Athens, Greece and ending in the United Kingdom.
I was greatly enriched by my travels: from cozy Greek islands to grand
churches in Italy; the beauty of Paris, Austrian villages, an Amsterdam canal where I lived in a boat house, hikes to abandoned churches and deserted villages; Switzerland, where I saw snow for the first time, and on and on. But most of all I was touched by the people.
I will never forget the Greek woman on a remote island who treated my sprained ankle after a hike. She didn’t know my name nor did she ask for anything in return. She only knew I was in pain and needed help, and she cared for me as though I was her daughter. That was a lesson on kindness that is not taught in the highest academic institutions!
I remember the Australian sisters I met in Sicily who, after months of traveling together and fighting constantly, sought reprieve by having me join them. Or the group of friends I made in Austria, who would spend each morning “scoring” drugs in town while I roamed the picturesque city enjoying street musicians and my sobriety.
During my travels, I met someone. We fell in love and got married. Our marriage started hopefully. We were a loving couple that friends looked to as a model. But four years later, without forewarning, my husband announced that he had fallen in love with someone else. Shocked and heartbroken, I didn’t think I would ever recover.
It is through adversity that one discovers one’s true strength. I overcame and moved on. Driven by the urge to make a difference, I started helping others to make the right relationship choices, build and preserve their love. This was the start of becoming a relationship coach. In 1986, having traveled the world, lived and studied on three continents, I made California my home and established my coaching and consulting practice, which remains my focus and passion to this day. I also married my native-Los Angeleno husband, Robert, with whom I have enjoyed a strong and loving marriage.
Years of coaching experience (life coaches and relationship coaches) taught me that most relationship failures start with picking the wrong match. That’s why I dedicated my first book, PICKING RIGHT, The Single’s Guide to Finding the Right Match, to the subject of choosing the right partner. And why I am under the title of, “Relationship coach,” as I care about helping and nurturing relationships, from before you find the right match, to sustaining a lasting marriage.
I had no interest in writing a “pickup guide” or in giving “dating advice.” Through my personal experience, I knew that to avoid pain or tragedy, people need practical advice: tools and insight on what it really takes to make a relationship last and thrive; and not only romantic relationships, but familial, personal and professional as well. Indeed, relationships are relationships, no matter the type.
During my thirty-plus-year career as a relationship coach, I have helped thousands of people through one-on-one coaching, seminars, workshops and live radio. I salvaged marriages and helped individuals rebuild their lives despite heavy losses they had never hoped to overcome. I love my clients, and there is nothing I’d rather do than help them transform, enhance and elevate their lives!
I am currently working on my upcoming book, KEEPING IT RIGHT, The Lost Art of Being a Couple. We all know it takes work to keep love alive, but how is it done? This book answers this very question and makes lifelong love an attainable goal for anyone. It puts my career as a relationship coach in full circle and I know, will guide those desiring love and a lasting companion, into reality.
“I want you to have the life you want.” – Daphna
My coaching philosophy