Breaking “Bad”…habits and beliefs!

Breaking “Bad”…habits and beliefs!

As you might know, I coach women on how to love themselves inside and out.  In others words, to accept who they truly are and honoring that fully.  This might seem like a simple concept, being yourself and LOVING it.  But I’m here to say there are so many ways we can self-sabotage.  We not only must be aware and work towards change but also take steps to continually explore our psyches and beliefs.

Recently, I had a coaching session dressed up like a fitness session.   I thought I was going for a boxing session.I had no idea what would happen or what I would learn. I was prepared for some boxing, pushups but what came out of it was life coaching.  Inside an exercise, I learned something about myself that was quite surprising.

 I match the energy of others to feel accepted by them. 

When I think about this further it comes up this way, I need others approval of me.  Therefore, I become in sync with their energy, their wants, and needs without them asking or requiring it.  I was surprised.  I mean I get it for when I’m in social settings.  To me, it seems to be easy to spot.  But I found out, it’s also when I am being challenged by someone who is firing questions at me or a ball is coming my way.  I want to prove that AM I GREAT at this,  but I need to check in, “did I do it right?” Part competitive nature and part looking for approval, no matter how you label this and where it drives from I’m looking for LOVE and ACCEPTANCE.  But here’s the thing I was NOT doing, listening to MYSELF and ultimately putting ME first!
The trainer saw this. Every time he started the exercise I would automatically match his intensity and speed.  I would answer every question as fast as it came at me but often the speed would throw me off and I would fail.  He remarked, “What do you do when someone is asking you a lot of questions and you aren’t ready?”  I responded, “Usually I ask them to slow down.”  Which hadn’t occurred to me that I was allowed to do?  I felt like I was in a test environment, which I was, but no rules were laid out that I couldn’t ask for what I needed.  In my own mind, I decided there were rules and this was a test of my ability and speed.  The next round, picking up on my own advice, I did ask, once.  He didn’t oblige for the following round.  I felt exhausted to have to ask every time.  I also wanted to keep up (competitive side).  I was really in a fight with myself.  One time we switched roles and it was my turn to fire questions.  He told me to speed up in my asking but he would answer slowly.  At the end, he asked me, “Were you the leader in this exercise?” Nope.  I matched his energy again to be agreeable.  Even when I was assigned the role as Leader, I didn’t hold that office.  This also was surprising to me.

What made me follow him over recognizing my own authority in this exercise?

I am astounded at how many different ways this one lesson keeps showing me more.  To choose yourself first and every time is a new habit I must constantly work on.  Even what it feels exhausting.  It is not enough to say I do in these types of situations.  It is more powerful to do it no matter what.
This can be a difficult practice to walk alone because when we have a belief or habit that is so hidden from ourselves we can’t see it all the time.  It takes practice, courage, awareness, and commitment to make those changes.    But also support in making the change stick.  Something he could see but I could not because it is so deeply held.
Here is what I use for myself, and my clients, allowing me to go even deeper in my life.  I decided to rewire this “matching energy” belief into Standing up for myself.   Here are some simple steps I’m using when I become aware that I’m not putting myself first – aka not standing up for myself.
  1. Become aware of it in the moment.  Like in the session, he would speed up with his questions and I would answer at the same rate.  Hence I’m matching the energy and not “standing up” for myself because I am not using my own energy.
  2. Rename the belief or behavior.  My belief is:  I must match the energy of the person to make them like me or be agreeable to them.  I’m renaming it by saying, I must STAND UP for myself where I am matching another person’s energy.
  3. Use a question that feels right to you.  Am I feeling rushed?  Am I standing UP (holding my ground) for myself or getting my needs met?  Acknowledging what I need first then ask.
  4. Take consistent action.  For example, I could have kept asking for what I needed which was for him to slow down.
Steps 1 and 2 will take a little while before you find your action to move past it and be consistent.  I would recommend to journal at the end of each day and find those places where you could, in my case, stand up more for yourself.  Eventually, you will see how you need to ask more for yourself or the different way you can honor your best course forward. Then a magical change takes place and it becomes your new habit and belief.

Wanna break bad?

Take a break from the old ways of doing things and explore with me in a free session what kind of beliefs, behaviors, and habits might be getting in your way!

What does “BEING RIGHT” get you?

What does “BEING RIGHT” get you?

Division.  It’s everywhere around us.  Just take a look around.  If you can’t see it immediately, strike up a conversation with someone and sure enough, you’ll hear a story of “they did this and that is wrong….”  or, “I think she/he should have been….” something along these lines.  WE ALL DO IT!  I’m definitely not above this.  Our world is divided in many ways by 2 opposing ideas which usually comes down to; Us vs.Them or Them vs.Us.  

Now after reading my few examples, you probably have had a few situations in your own life, pop up in your head!  Or it could be on the WORLD level with politics or injustices of some kind.  There appears to always be two forces in every situation. By now, you see the division that is all around you.  But maybe you could consider this,

What happens when you think about being UNITED with that person or group of people?

It changes the landscape.  It begs the question how can we ever be united with our enemies?  Yes, enemies.  We’ve made enemies with each other.  In your mind, you’ve created a war with a number of people. Anyone at any time becomes an enemy when you declare that you are right and they are wrong. Even those you have never met become your enemies under these strict rules. Simply because you do not see eye to eye on things.  Can you be united with that person or people?  When you ask that question, thinking about the situation, what happens?  Maybe it’s too early to see them in this way.

You may say, I HATE ANYONE WHO for DOING THIS or THAT.  But if you release them from that one thing they did or who they voted for or what they said that one time, WHO do they become for you?

Do you see them differently? Can you see them in a new light?

How can we get there?  It takes compassion, an open mind, forgiveness of yourself and them, self-awareness, and a HUGE willingness to change YOUR point of view, even if at first it’s just for one moment.  Because in that one moment you actually saw things through the eyes of LOVE. Little by little you will see things less on the divided sides and more on the united front.

You might ask: Why should I do this?  Well, you don’t have to do anything, of course.  That is the normal status of the whole world, right? But if you are looking for real change, which if you are here reading this article chances are, you are. Well then, change comes ONLY when we allow it into our hearts.  Problems and solutions can only rise up from a compassionate heart.

If every day you go into your work thinking, “They are all against me.”  Then the evidence will prove that.  But if you think another way: “They love everything I do!”  Well, over time or maybe in an instant you will see evidence of that and you might just have a better experience at work.  Okay, I know what you are thinking, ugh this is positive Polly thinking stuff and it is NOT reality Susan!  I agree.  You can’t just jump into this space without truly wanting change nor should you do it if it feels inauthentic.  But if every day you are looking for a fight then FIGHT you are gonna get!!  But here’s the thing, change first starts when you are being 100% responsible for your life.  I learned that from Tony Robbins.  When you do take responsibility, you own everything in it.  Everything.  It starts with what you generate in your head.  Your Thoughts.

A lot of people don’t want to do this.  They want to stay in the victim of circumstances phase.  The RIGHT vs. WRONG perspective.  It’s comfortable and easier to make it all about other people and events.  If you let go of this mentality then you become FREE of circumstances.  You are able to play with any opposition as a golden opportunity to learn and grow.  It was meant to be there for you to learn something.  Or maybe it is there to direct you away from something, and towards a new way, a different opportunity, or a new business partner or to make you feel ready for what is coming next!  When you are in this playful place, even taking the wrong bus to work becomes an interesting adventure or an opportunity with a surprise in store just for you.  Life then becomes a more enjoyable, more of what you want and less like you’ve been handed a bad set of cards.  In this way, you become UNITED to everything and everyone because you aren’t rooted in a held belief which ultimately is creating separation from others.

A huge teacher of this way is Jesus of Nazareth.  I risk using him in this article because I know it will create division in those who read just his name.  So much has been attached to his name that we can hardly say it without people drawing some lines.  But I’m doing it because he was one of the greatest teachers on this subject.  It is my opinion that shouldn’t be tangled up in religious ideologies or political alliances.  He will be present here just like Tony Robbins is.  The lesson, loosely translated by me, to treat everyone you meet and know as a brother or sister.* When you do it becomes harder to strike them down with words of hate and division.  They are your family.  And we always love our family without question even when we don’t understand them.  This is a way to step into compassion and begin to free us from being divided.  “I don’t agree with Susan now but I can see what she is trying to say. I will give that some thought.”   Eventually, this will bring peace and joy to everyone.  This is how we can find our way back to union.  But it does take practice!


*1 Peter 3:8 Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.


Advice is not my bag, baby.  What’s my work? – self-love coaching: part three

Advice is not my bag, baby. What’s my work? – self-love coaching: part three

Have you ever had someone give you unsolicited advice?
have you asked for advice but later felt ashamed, or felt worse AFTER you got the advice?

We always think that this is the way to go. For example, let’s say you have a problem that you can’t solve or you feel bad about something and don’t know how to move forward.  What do you do?  You pick up the phone/Skype/Whatsapp and reach out to a loved one: a close friend or family member.  They love you and will handle you with care, right?

Well, not necessarily.  You know the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?  This is where you can see it in action.  Because the advice-giver wants so badly to help you.  That is their good intention. BUT the truth is, they end up failing us miserably and never meant to.

Why doesn’t it work?

The first reason is simple.  No one knows your life BETTER than YOU!  Nor have they journeyed through it the same, no matter “how close” it may appear.  Nor could they ever fully understand things the way you do about your life.  Why do we do it then?

We are brought up in a society that teaches us to always find the answer outside of ourselves. It makes us insecure and in turn, we don’t trust ourselves.  But if we learn to practice stillness or some call it, mindfulness through meditation or other such practices, we can hear our own answers all the time!  The more you practice the stronger it will get.  If you think about it before you called your best girlfriend, you probably already had an answer to the situation.  But you called anyway to either get validation or because you didn’t trust that answer.

The other reason that advice doesn’t usually work is: You are asking a lot from this one person.  When you open up that conversation you both are in vulnerable states.  You feel inadequate and lost.  She feels a huge responsibility to help you and care for your feelings (or not, depending on the situation).  Ultimately, someone is going to fumble.  It could end with words like, “You are not listening to me!” and “I was only trying to help!”  Then a hang-up, or awkward silence.  It will take time for the friendship to cool off before you come back to it.

What happened here?

The advice she gave came from her own life experiences.  When you begin to tell her the situation, she will “listen” to your problem up to the point she finds herself in your story.  Meaning she can “relate” to an aspect of it. This is her way to justify her put-upon advice giver status and feel like she is actually helping you.  AHA! I know what to say now, could be a thought your friend has during your explanation. She is only actively listening for her entry point NOT totally what you are experiencing.  You will hear the advice-giver say things like, “I know what you mean because I’ve been through something similar…and this is what I did.”   Here’s your action plan!! But do you like it?  There will be something that doesn’t fit or make you feel good.  This is called dissonance.  You will feel a twinge in your stomach that is the opposite of an AHA moment feeling.  Your mind will say, I asked for this so I better make it fit.  OR you might fight back because she has misjudged you and your situation.  This can get a little ugly.

This is also how it’s not like Coaching.  Coaches do not counsel or advise clients but guide them back to their own inner guidance.  You know the initial answer you had all along. 😉  Here is how that conversation may go:
The Coach will say, “That doesn’t sound like a good situation.  How does that make you feel?”

The Client, “I’m really sad and hurt.”

The Coach, “I can imagine. What do you want to do about it?”

The Client, “I want them to know how it makes me feel.”

The Coach, “Have you done that?”

The Client, “No.”

We continue the conversation from there.  This type of thing may take some time.  It could be a pattern that needs its own healing before the client can feel like they are ready to do anything with it. Or there could be more to the story that we haven’t heard yet.  But if I jumped in here, and say, “WHY haven’t you told them!?”  I would have inadvertently judged her and suggested that she is weak or worse, her fear already, inadequate in handling her own life!

As a coach, I’m listening to the client and asking questions that maybe she isn’t able to do for herself.  I’m also getting to know how SHE processes her emotions and interactions with others. I’m not pushing my own ideas, my own agenda or life experiences on her.  It almost always makes a person feel worse. Coaching is really about: understanding the whole person by listening to that person and using compassion. Which I hope you can see now is very different from giving someone advice.


Ready to free yourself from advice?

WHY you’d hire a Self Love coach?

  I’m back to explain further on this concept of my work as a Self-Love coach and WHY you would use my services.

  In this conference call that I had a month ago (see the first post in this series), it came up that the WHY (or rather the reason) of clients seeking my service wasn’t exactly clear. The discussion focused on my title as “Self-Love” coach. It may not be so upfront what that means but if you over-simplify it well, let’s just say you missed the mark. For example, the speaker of this debate remarked,” If I need a Self-Love coach I first have to feel the lack of self-love but still love myself enough to hire you.” This is an excellent observation and it follows if you stick to the job title alone.

First things first, you are not required to NOT love yourself in order to hire a coach such as myself. The job title is misleading. I use self-love practices to help you identify and become aware of YOU, or rather YOUR VOICE in life. Stick with me here.

When we were little girls and boys, we did and were who we truly are at every moment of every day! You may have forgotten this little person but she had a lot of great wisdom then. If you felt like singing for no reason at all, you did it! Bam. No worries just fun! Everything was about,” I can so I will”. Think about that for a moment. There is so much freedom in being able to express yourself this way. We lose that as we socialize into our culture, work, and home lives. Women have a few more ticks to check along the way that often causes a lot of confusion on how to be ourselves. We are in a constant battle to find balance in being a “lady”, “a powerful career woman”, “a great Mom”, and “an amazing lover”. As you read those roles, you can probably hear messages, often conflicting, on how we are meant to fulfill each one “properly”. These messages cloud our own perspective and sense of self. Usually taking with it something beautiful that we have inside to express.  We are so inundated that we don’t even hear our own voices anymore AND we don’t even realize it, in most cases.

Let’s go back to that little girl who sang for no apparent reason. Could you do that right now? If you are home in an empty house, then maybe YES. But even if you are, there may be some thought popping in saying, “Don’t be so silly. No one will take you seriously if you do that.”

Here’s where I would come in as your Self-love coach and ask, “Who’s telling you to stop?” We would uncover this old belief that is holding you back from a simple pleasure that could be something you are meant to express in the world. But because this message is on REPEAT in your mind, it has thoroughly stopped you from being the next BEYONCÉ! This is just a simple example to showcase something that I do in my coaching.

Can you see how this could affect other important areas in your life because of such messages?

This is a key point in my work. We are clouded by other’s opinions of ourselves that we don’t feel free to be who we are meant to be. The work I do is not about a client having a lack of confidence or no self-love because I know it is already there.  What it is about is uncovering that beautiful soul within and letting HER shine through in every moment of your life. Just like the little girl singing for no apparent reason.  We all need someone to LOVE and accept us as we are so we can begin to LOVE ourselves. Because we don’t have role models showing us the way.  Hence, a Self-love coach can come in help you peel back the layers of social conditioning so you can finally hear, be aware and activate your own voice. We lost some of our natural confidence and reassurance as we grew into adulthood because of trying to fit in with society standards.  But I’m here to tell you that NOW it is time to change that script and be that woman who you want to be.

Are you ready to let your soul shine through?
Live every moment on purpose and full of FREEDOM?

I invite you to have a call with me today to discover how Self-love can help unblock your true self!




Susan made my heart sing, literally sing. She helped me discover my demons and showed me how I can change them in valuable weekly lessons.

Wendy van Hardveld

Visual Storyteller, Wendy van Hardveld photography

Want a shot of Self-love today?

Susan has a warm and loving personality and helps you unclutter the stuff you’re dealing with. She offers you a new perspective that resonates with you.

Saskia Baardman

Intuitive healer, The i-Opener

Video Fail!

Video Fail!


film projector photo credit: Noom Peerapong:

Due to a combination of technical problems, I was unable to deliver my Friday “film” for today.

Have you ever had this happen?  

You desperately want to make a change, create a new habit, build something new.  Then when the day, the moment, or the situation arrives you aren’t able to perform, achieve, or get it done because of things that are truly out of your control.  This is exactly what happened today for this second installment of “Friday Films”.  Here’s what was going on today that I think were some great opportunities to learn.

  1. I was feeling really run down and not so great.  But this was my top priority and I felt I must get it done!  Lesson:  Be flexible but never ignore what your body needs!
  2. Even with technical issues, I found a way to create a video. But every take felt off and a struggle to get a clear message out.  Lesson: DON’T force your creative work!  And I’d like to emphasize, EVER!
  3. Being consistent is something to strive for.  LESSON:  But if it’s not working then just tell the TRUTH! Transparency about failures is always a good thing because anyone can learn from them.

And that is what I am doing now, telling the truth about this minor failure. It just didn’t want to happen today.  So, maybe my videos don’t like to be on a schedule?  Maybe I do something more spontaneous?  I think I’m getting on to something here.  I’m not much for rule following.  Maybe then, it’s time to break ALL the damn rules and bring you a video when the mood strikes. Taking all the pressure off about the day and just focus on once a week whenever I fancy!  I’m going to sit with that one for the weekend.  With that, I kindly ask that you stay tuned, please! x