An award-winning business coach, international best-selling author and mother of two, Susanne specialises in helping entrepreneurs, team leaders and business owners redefine what success means to them so they can nail their work-life balance.
Everything she teaches clients stems from her own experiences and how they shaped her beliefs that we don’t need to work as hard as society suggests we should.
“I went out into the big wide world and wasn’t quite prepared,” says Susanne. “I truly believed that work had to be hard and horrible. But as I discovered over the years, this doesn’t have to be the case.”
Susanne was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder when she was just 17. In her book, she writes about the impact that had and also how she used it as a stepping stone to a better life.
I invited Susanne onto the podcast to discuss nailing a work-life balance – and all the fun and misery that comes with navigating this!
Here’s a selection of the most intriguing thoughts she shared with me.
So, for example, says Susanne, her values and desires might be completely different from yours.
“Yet the way we were raised is like a one-set format, a one-size-fits-all approach,” she explains.
“What do you value?” Susanne asks. “Is it a shitload of money and very little time to spend with family and friends because you love your job so much? By all means embrace that. Or, if you’re happy with having a nice job that pays the bills and you can just do your thing, that’s fine too. There’s no right or wrong way of doing this.”
Give yourself permission to write a new story that actually works for you, that serves your wellbeing, your mental health, your spiritual health, your emotional health, your relationships, your kids – whatever it is that makes your life yours, says Susanne. That’s how you can define what success means for you.
But if you look at the research, says Susanne, it shows that if you work, for example, 80 hours in one job you’re actually less productive than if you were working just 40 or 45 hours. Your energy, concentration and focus dips after a certain amount of time.
“Our bodies are not designed to just go on and on and on. I’m sure you’ll notice that if you’re reading something, your focus goes after about 45 minutes,” Susanne says. “That’s part of what it is to be human. We’re not built to sit still and do that one singular task.”
“I’m all for hard work and making your dreams come true,” says Susanne, “but if you’re spending 80 hours working on 80% of the wrong things that have zero effect on the goal you’re trying to achieve, then why not just work 20% of those 80 hours and have the same impact?”
Again, it comes back to awareness, Susanne points out. What are you choosing to spend your time on? What are you choosing to work towards?
For example, if you want to achieve weight loss, first you need to set the goal that you want to lose the weight and then make a plan that works for you. There are all kinds of ways to do that, says Susanne, but some will require hard work and sacrifice and some will come naturally and easily. So which one are you going to go with??
Your emotions are your compass of how to get to your goal, Susanne explains.
“If something feels good and fun and light, you’re right on track,” she says. “If it feels like suffering and trauma and anxiety, then you may want to see if you can find something that feels better.”
But the thing is, says Susanne, “I am 100% committed to my vision to make my businesses a success. But that 100% commitment doesn’t mean I’m working 24/7. My commitment to my vision also includes wellness. Chiropractic care. Time with my two little babies and my husband. Time in nature to get inspired, to get aligned. The rest my body needs. You can be 100% committed and still have a nice meal with your family tonight.”
Long-term, if you want to have your businesses in say 5 or 10 years from now, it might be too much for your body or mental health. You’re more at risk for stress-related health issues, like diabetes, burnout, anxiety and depression if you overwork, Susanne points out. And this is also the number one cause of suicide.
‘You can be as productive as you want, but if you still want to kill yourself over work, I’m not sure how successful you really are,” she says.
So how do you learn how to say no in a way that doesn’t feel like you want to throw up? For Susanne, the way she sees it is that she loves saying no, because if, for example, there’s a masterclass with 10 spots available and it doesn’t align with her, she will happily say no because she knows that her place will then go to someone more appropriate.
“So, if you reframe what saying no means, it’s giving someone else the opportunity to do something that’s actually better aligned to them than you,” Susanne explains.
Susanne’s book is a great starting place for understanding how your own struggles can actually be beneficial for the goal you’re trying to achieve.
“When you understand how the universe is designed to work to help you make your wildest dreams come true, then all of these hardships you went through, you’ll see as golden opportunities to work towards wherever you want to go,” says Susanne.
That’s the biggest message in the book, she explains.
“Even if life throws you a curveball like that, you can still come out on top. It doesn’t have to mean the end of you.”
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