As you know, this year I’m introducing you to a few of my favorite peeps in an interview series called A Brilliant Bad-Ass Leader You Should Know because each of these brilliant folks offer sage advice & provocative perspectives that will shake up your thinking so you can be your biggest, most-brilliant, successful self too.
Here’s the third Bad-Ass that needs to be on your radar: Susan Leahy.
Imagine a super-grounded woman living in Cancun (because that’s what she wants) with some serious kick-ass moxy… and you’ve got Susan!
Check out my quick interview with Susan below.
AmyK: Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
Susan: My mom, (who happened to be a professional clown), was indeed my greatest teacher growing up and still continues to be a huge source of love today. She used to say, “Susan, don’t let anybody rob your joy…because they didn’t give it to you!” This has been a mantra that I have repeated to myself thousands of times over the years, especially when I find myself letting other people affect me in a negative way. I love the reminder that I am responsible for my joy. I am the creator and I am the chooser. My joy is mine to create. Thanks Mom!!!
AmyK: What an awesome mom! Such a blessing for you to hear that message early on. For so many of us it takes a long time before we stop giving our power away to others. Speaking of early life lessons, what is one thing you wish you had realized earlier in your life?
Susan: I wish I had realized earlier that “EVERYTHING IS MADE UP!” Everything is made up out of the imagination of people who gave themselves permission to imagine it and then allowed that thought to become a creation. I spent a lot of years believing that I had to learn how to… from someone else. I thought there was “a right way” or even “a way”. I thought that life was a lot more figured out than it really is. My life started to get a whole lot more fun and more financially abundant when I figured out that I GET TO MAKE IT UP. My life is my creation. I now give myself full permission to make it up.
AmyK: So true! We’re surrounded by an enormous amount of noise… much of it stifling or fear inducing. When we keep getting bombarded with The 10 Steps to, The 5 Things You MUST, These 3 Pros… we do begin to doubt if we know enough or have enough. These fears can then sometimes prevent us from taking action on our own creative and innovative path. How have you played differently since this realization?
Susan: It’s become the focal point of my coaching work with women. I work with women to support them in discovering and living into their personal and professional power. I do this by helping them shift their internal conversation. When a person shifts their internal conversation it leads them to giving themselves permission to make up their life with greater intention and clarity.
AmyK: Huge! I so believe in the “Change your thinking, change your behaviors, change your results” mantra! What is 1 nugget/gem you can share right now to significantly ignite brilliance in someone’s biz or personal life?
Susan: Ignite your brilliance fearlessly, boldly and without explanation by answering the question, “What do I want?” Ask it and answer it, over and over and over again. This sounds simple, but many people do not give themselves permission to talk about what they want. Most of the time you will hear people talk about what they want and they couple it with all the reasons why or how it will not work. My suggestion for my clients is to boldly ask yourself this question without explanation or fear. To get you started here is an example (REMEMBER THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO THIS. YOU GET TO MAKE IT UP!!!) But I know that examples help so, here you are.
What do I want?
I want to feel good in my body
I want to take 5-7 vacations this year
I want to wake up feeling energized
I want to generate more happiness and joy
I want to write a book
I want to ……..
This is a skill that many adults have forgotten. If you hold the space for this question and you keep asking it, you will see that things feel more playful and fun. We, as adults, have forgotten how to play. I think a brilliant person is a playful person!
AmyK: I love your idea of making it playful. I use the word play a lot – on purpose! And… this question is harder to answer than we think. In fact, a lot of times we take the lazy way out and respond with what we don’t want. While the inverse can help us gain clarity it doesn’t get us to our core desires. In addition to being more playful, what habit or behavior have you pursued/implemented for at least a year that has most improved your life?
Susan: My husband and I have been married for thirteen years this year and for the past four years we have implemented a practice of going to breakfast the first Wednesday of every month. At this meeting we do two things and two things only. We talk about what we are grateful for and we share what we want! See the connection? I am sharing this with you because this is the fun work. To be able to have a partner who you can be grateful with and to have a partner you can stand fully in your wanting with is FUN! These monthly meetings helped to transform our entire personal and professional life. Before we started these meetings we lived a nice life in Los Angeles, CA with our two babies. We knew we wanted to leave LA after having kids, but we didn’t know where or what was next. During our monthly meetings we would focus on our two questions and from then to now our life has taken a fun and adventurous turn. We sold everything and moved from LA to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. My coaching and consulting program continues to move forward with a focus on working to support the empowerment of women. In addition, I have a new business partner and we have launched a global training and consulting company called Group to TEAM Leadership Solutions Inc. My kids are fluent Spanish speakers and my husband is thriving in a production company that he and his partners have launched. WOW! All of this because we held the space to simply yet diligently answer two questions: “What are you grateful for?” and “What do you want?”
AmyK: Wow! What a game-changer on the whole power-breakfast concept! LOVE it! I’m definitely implementing this breakfast meeting habit! Last but not least, what else do you do to fuel your own brilliance in business & happiness in life?
Susan: If you receive an email from me at the bottom of the email under my name instead of a title you will see: “A loving, powerful, committed woman.” These three descriptors fuel my brilliance in business and life because they are a tangible reminder of who I am up to being at work, at home, in the world. When I have hard day, or I feel off my game, I anchor myself with this words. I remind myself who I am up to being and they give me a target to aim for. I would say that my personal anchor has been one of my favorite tools and has been a practice that I use to keep me focused, happy and moving in the right direction.
AmyK: And what a brilliant direction it is, Susan! We’re incredibly blessed to learn from you today… and to learn that we can imagine our own “ideal direction” and confidently create and move in this direction in a way we design for our best selves.
Learn more about Susan and all the cool offerings she leads:
Susan’s Brief Bio:
Susan Leahy MA, CSP
Certified Speaking Professional & Confidence Coach
Susan Leahy CSP is a Certified Speaking Professional and power house keynote speaker. Her open, fun, practical and playful speaking style invites audiences to generate an experience Right Here Right Now! Susan’s “From Group to TEAM” keynote inspires individuals to choose TEAM. Her “Leadership Bootcamp” is an interactive and entertaining look at leadership. Susan’s “Robert’s Rules Made Simple & Chair a Meeting with Confidence” presentations re-motivate and increase productivity and “The Confident Woman Program” is a keynote Susan created for women that ignites a powerful life changing conversation. Susan is a loving, powerful, committed woman who will add fun, energy and life changing insight to your next meeting or event.