Hello! I’m Dave Ursillo, a writer, author and coach who is on a mission to help more people share their voices, stories, and messages in our world.
I believe that the key to living a full and whole life comes down to how well you know your True Self — and how you express that inner truth in your little corner of our planet.
Beyond my writing and publishing occasional books, I’m a fully self-employed creative professional and have been working for myself in a small business-of-one called Lead Without Followers, LLC. since 2009.
That’s when I quit my job in politics and left a career in public service with a dream to share my words with others and put a little light out into the world.
Today, I spend my days immersed in transformative conversations as a life coach, a writing and creativity coach, and as a communications strategist and story consultant.
In between client work, I write an every-other-weekly newsletter called Chronicles of the Self-Storied Life, which is read by a few thousand readers worldwide, and publish occasional free resources like writing and journaling prompts.
I am always creating new and thoughtful educational content like e-courses, hosting occasional in-person workshops, and putting on digital experiences like webinars to help the creatively-curious, conscientious journeyers, everyday-yogis, self-employed entrepreneurs, bloggers, self-starters, and personal development practitioners express themselves more fully.
Welcome to my online home, and thank you for being here.
How I Got Here
Once upon a time, I was an aspiring presidential speechwriter who took up the path of public service after watching the events of September 11, 2001, unfold from his high school library’s fuzzy television at the age of 15.
(Also, here’s a picture of me as a toddler. Please note the yellow blazer and that I’m sitting backward on a wicker chair. You’re welcome!)
Desperate to live a life of purpose — and determined to do some good in the world — I immersed myself in studies about politics, governance, culture clashes, and history.
I interned and worked in five governmental offices over six years, capping off my young career with an internship at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in 2008 and working alongside a gubernatorial candidate in my home state of Rhode Island in 2009.
I dreamed of someday writing words that would be spoken by Presidents and remembered in history books.
Along the way, I decided it would be even more meaningful if I was the one speaking my words, instead.
Today, my world, my work, and my everyday life revolve around creating containers for transformative self-knowledge in an age of noise, distraction and endless competition for your attention.
The truth is, I never really left behind my calling to find a path of personal leadership in today’s world.
I believe that self-knowledge is the gateway of service because the truest and purest form of leadership is by example — and not, as our society often says it is, dependent upon follower counts, wealth, or social status.
Our world is desperate for more people to start believing in themselves as genuine leaders. That, I believe, will bring us the peace, healing, union that we all crave.
But it all begins with us.
11 Years of Writing Later…
I quit my job in 2009 when I was 23 years old — and at the height of the Great Recession — believing that if I could just start to put my words into the world, I would be able to find a path that felt authentic and purposeful to me.
More than a decade later, this website is where I’ve ultimately built a name, business, and platform for myself as a writer.
I’ve self-published 6 books, written and published over 550 articles, and worked with thousands of students and clients from more than a dozen countries. My words and work have been seen on CBS News Sunday Morning, Psychology Today, INC, Forbes, as far as India in The Hindustan Times, and in several publications of the international best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.
Over the last decade, I’ve been a freelancer, a storyteller-for-hire, a public speaker, a workshop leader, a yoga teacher, a coach, and a host of destination retreats in places like Costa Rica, India, and Peru.
I’ve spoken at conferences, taught workshops, or hosted retreats on 4 continents, including in wonderful cities like Berlin, London, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, and Brussels.
After only leaving the country once by the age of 26, I’ve since traveled to nearly 30 countries beginning in 2013, visiting countries like Cuba, Morocco, Turkey, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and beyond.
Today, I spend my days working with creative self-starters and service-minded professionals who want to leave legacies of love in their wake.
I help them do that with teachings, guidance, and reflections at the intersection of self-knowledge and self-expression.
How to Get in Touch (or Get Involved)[blue]
The centerpiece of my journey revolves around the power of knowing oneself and expressing that inner truth throughout our everyday lives.
I believe that:
- Knowing yourself is your path to inner peace, worldly purpose, soulful fulfillment, and serving the good in our world
- You are whole and complete by your divine nature; that nothing about you is broken, less-than, or lacking
- Unearthing and expressing the soul-code that resides within you is your inner compass to full self-realization
- As Rumi said, there are “a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground,” or countless ways to live well, be whole, and contribute to the good in our world; there is no one way, outlook, perspective, method, or moment.
- My job as a coach, guide, and supporter is to lead you back to yourself, and what you already know, and perhaps some of what you might have forgotten along the path of life — because we all have that tendency to forget from time to time.
If this is your first time here, the best way to stay in touch is by subscribing to my reader-loved newsletter, Chronicles of a Self-Storied Life.
My newsletter is now more than 186 “chapters” — or, every-other-weekly emailed installments — and running, all written live and in real-time, and featuring meaningful personal essays, unconventional commentary on modern life and mindful living, and tips and advice for developing your self-knowledge and self-expression muscles.
We can work together in intimate transformational containers including life coaching, writing coaching, or in multi-hour diagnostic sessions:
- Writer’s Group of Two℠, a one-on-one format writers’ group that blends coaching, accountability, creative guidance, bespoke writing prompts and peer review of your writing. Learn More »
- The Unavoidable Life℠, life-coaching for advanced personal development practitioners who are determined to intimately understand their shadow patterns and self-limiting behaviors. Learn More »
- Unstuck Today℠, multi-hour deep-dive coaching sessions that aim to uncover precisely what is holding you back in your writing, business planning, book-writing, career experience, or small business aims. Learn More »
For select clientele such as startups, small businesses, senior executives, mid-tier professionals amid career transition, and nonprofit organizations, I also offer communications strategy and story consulting. Learn more here.
Otherwise, if you’re just popping through, please consider reading some of this curated list of readers’ favorite pieces from over 550 I’ve published here.
You may also explore these helpful tools and recommended resources that you might find support your journey, creativity, or entrepreneurship.
When in doubt, you can get in touch here.
Thank you for being here, and thank you for being as dedicated as you are to becoming more of your whole, full, and true self!
Until next time,
Some Other Highlights Since 2009
- My young career in public service peaked as an intern at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2008, where I wrote environmental policy reports and filled in as a proxy for Presidential Appointees on inter-agency conference calls
- I started my blog just days after quitting my job (working alongside a rising gubernatorial candidate in my home state of Rhode Island) with a dream to become a best-selling author someday.
- My first ever book proposal got rejected nearly 200 times by literary agents — and who can blame them? I had some good ideas but needed a lot more experience before landing a book contract.
- I went on to self-publish 6 books since 2011, including two collections of poems, a book of travel-based essays, and a collaborative project that made 20 of my writing clients first-time authors
- I was a certified yoga teacher from 2014 to 2018 and taught hundreds of classes locally in Rhode Island
- I created free and low-cost yoga programs for healthcare providers at Planned Parenthood in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as for recent-arrival refugees and immigrants in an adult literacy center in the area.
- Walden Pond (of Henry David Thoreau fame) is one of my favorite places to visit, since it’s only about an hour from my home in Rhode Island, and I can also brag that I’ve visited Machu Picchu in Peru (twice).
- Since 2009, I’ve personally fundraised over $10,000 in donations in support of a variety of causes, including mental and physical healthcare for military veterans; education for at-risk girls in West Africa; HIV/AIDS prevention; mental health causes; public service journalism; animal welfare; climate change and environmental action; clean water access, and beyond.
- I have a deep affinity for counter-culture, graffiti murals, street art, art-as-activism, and I always find myself exploring new cultural and social perspectives.
- I have secret passions for gardening, bird-watching, and guilty pleasure TV shows like the Great British Bake Off and Queer Eye. Also, I’m obsessed with English Premier League soccer.