Susan joins us on the show to share the evolution of her powerful message that’s so near and dear to my heart. Susan takes a stand about the damage that the diet culture of our modern society is doing to girls and women and she talks about how she stays connected to her conviction. We also talk about the role speaking plays in Susan’s life and how she chooses her speaking gigs.
This conversation with Susan is packed with countless gems that you absolutely must hear, so don’t miss this episode!
You are listening to the Beyond Applause podcast episode number nine.
Welcome to Beyond Applause, a podcast for mission-driven leaders, coaches, and creatives who are ready to share their expertise and stories through public speaking. Here's your host, Michelle Barry Franco.
Hello, my speaker friends. I am so thrilled I get to share this conversation with you that I got to have with Susan Hyatt, master certified coach and all around badass. It was so inspiring and she dropped so many beautiful nuggets, gems, sparkly fairy dust, magic cream was even addressed in our conversation. But just so much rich goodness in there, especially, we get to hear the evolution of her message.
You know, Susan is taking a stand for the damage that diet culture is doing to girls and women, and as a mama to three girls that are just middle school and high school, this is a message that is so near and dear to my heart, and as someone who has really struggled with so many things in that domain myself, I love that she's taking this stand.
And you know, it didn't start there. And so many of us are trying to perfect our message from the beginning, and Susan's such a great example of just like, having so much passion and conviction that she just like, went out there and went for it and allowed it to evolve over time.
And we talk especially about how she stays so connected to her conviction. Because in my experience, personally at times, and certainly with clients, even when we know deep down we have a really powerful why, we definitely get murky around that and get taken off track around that conviction by so many other things.
Susan shares how she stays so connected to her conviction. Anyway, we talk about lots of things, we talk about how she chooses speaking gigs and so much more. So I hope you enjoy this conversation, even half as much as I enjoyed it because I know that'll still be a lot.
Now, we're not going to do a Story of Inspiration this week, not a separate one anyway because Susan's story is so inspiring. So she is the whole package for us, but I do want to highlight and kind of focus in on some feedback that I got about the podcast. Have you read iTunes reviews? They're so interesting to read.
Now, right now, I don't know if you've been to our iTunes page, I'd love it if you'd go there and give us a rating and review. But while you're there, read the reviews. It's so fun to hear what people are pulling out of the podcast. And there's a review there, which is recognizing the power of not just best practices in great speaking but that really, the thing that's in the way is our fear. And I know I talk about this kind of a lot, and I will continue to talk about it. While I will of course share with you best practices over time, I love talking about that.
The truth is the thing that's in the way for the vast majority of us is really our thoughts and fears that come up around getting ourselves out there, around putting ourselves out there, around stepping into visibility. And so I so appreciated reading that in the listener review and I hope that is also resonating powerfully for you. You know, I love to hear what's working for you and what things you'd like to see us cover in the podcast. So write it in an iTunes review, and also you can send me a note. I'd love to hear from you.
Okay, but let's dive in and listen in on this conversation with Susan Hyatt.
Michelle: My speaker friends, I am giddy excited to have this conversation with Susan Hyatt. I was just telling my husband yesterday how a conversation with Susan Hyatt can shift my whole day. I can go in feeling heavy and confused and inevitably I walk away feeling so much connection to what's possible and my deepest desires in my business and in my life. So I'm so grateful that I get to share with you just even a little window into her fire and her compassion and brilliance. Susan Hyatt is a master certified life and business coach based in Evansville, Indiana. She specializes in helping women get more of whatever they want, whether it's more money, more media recognition, more pleasure, more passion, or more time to pursue meaningful goals. Yes to all of that, thank you so much for being here, Susan.
Susan: Hey, thank you for having me. I'm so delighted.
Michelle: We are both delighted, it's perfect.
Michelle: I just did it. That's so funny because I just did my recent podcast all about delight. How do you bring delight, so here we are. Delighted. So I am especially excited to talk about the evolution of your message because you've been doing this for a bit, yeah?
Susan: Yeah, so 11 years. And my messaging has definitely evolved as I've evolved, and it's really interesting to look back on where I started and what I was on fire to talk about then and how that has really shifted and expanded over the years.
Michelle: Yeah, so let's hear it. Two things really, I imagine there's this moment where you decided to hang your shingle like we all do, those of us who are coaches, and you're like, okay, I'm going to go do this and here's what I want people to get or to know. What were you saying then?
Susan: So my message then was very much seize the day, you only get one life, let's create some life balance, and you know, today, I don't – I kind of shudder at the term life balance because there's not really any such thing. But in the beginning, it was really an attempt to help people find a flow between their personal lives and their business lives that worked for them because I was a recovering workaholic. So that was really what was necessary for me and yeah, it was a very general live life now sort of message, which I do have a dash of that even today, but that was my main entree.
Michelle: So can you tell us even just a little – take us into that world a little bit. Like, how did you go from you were this workaholic person, give us a little bit of that story.
Susan: Oh yeah, so I was – let me just back all the way up in that right out of college I worked in marketing and public relations, and also was a workaholic from the get go. Overachiever, and then I married very young. I married at 19 and so I was still in college while – I know, wow. Still married, it worked but that's you know, a miracle. So after I graduated, I really thrust myself into my career. I wanted to make it, I was over-efforting, overachiever, and then at about 24 I became pregnant with my son, Ryan, and decided that I was still going to work. I was making jokes about putting a little bassinet in the corner of my office but the more pregnant I became, the more I started to doubt that plan, and ultimately decided that I would take time off of work, be a stay-at-home mom. So in true over-efforting, overachiever mode, I threw myself into that with all the gumption I had and I was going to be the best stay-at-home mom you had ever met. I mean, I was like, Martha Steward, Berry Crocker, y'all ain't got nothing on this girl. And I was doing so many things like I did not like to do. I hate to bake, I don't like to cook, I don't like to clean. I'm not crafty. Like, it was the most hilarious sort of scenario. I did enjoy the babies, so Emily came a few years after Ryan, but then I started to notice that this really wasn't a great set up for me. And there are women who absolutely love that role and I wasn't one of them, so I was really pretending. Decided to re-enter the workforce in residential real estate at the same time and partly in concert with the fact that my husband was leaving his company and starting his own in commercial real estate, starting his own business, going commission only. And so I threw myself into that, and for the first couple years I loved being out of the house, showered, and talking to adults. Like, it wasn't so much the work that I loved, I just loved that I was out in the world and you know, wasn't covered in spit up and dirty diapers.
Michelle: And baking anymore.
Susan: Oh my god. I just – I have some of the most hilarious photos I need to dig up of me in a Pampered Chef apron.
Michelle: Come on.
Susan: I'm not kidding. I kid you not. I even sold Pampered Chef for a little while and I hate to cook.
Michelle: Wow. Isn't it fascinating the adventures we go on as we find out way?
Susan: The rabbit holes. Okay, so I was sort of the classic example of someone who was good at something but didn't love it. So it's like, you shouldn't be doing something just because you're good at it, and I kept telling myself, you know, but you're so good at this. Why aren't you happy with this? And I just kept immersing myself in – I tried so many different ways to make that career better for me and ultimately, I found myself closing the door of my real estate office and falling apart all the time. I really enjoyed my customers, I really enjoyed finding them the right house, I really enjoyed the hunt for the right home and all those things, but there were lots of things about the industry that really weighed on me emotionally and I decided to – I read a fantastic book that I recommend to everyone called Finding Your Own North Star by Dr. Martha Beck.
Michelle: Love it.
Susan: That book changed the trajectory of my entire life. So I read that book. I actually went into Barnes & Noble looking for that oldie but goodie book called What Color is Your Parachute, and I found Finding Your Own North Star and I thought it looked interesting, and then I became obsessed with Martha because I thought she was so hilarious, and then lo and behold, after stalking her website online, I saw that she was offering a training to do what she called life coaching. And I had by that point hired my own coach and I had experience with coaches. I had had a real estate coach back in the day, so I knew what coaching was but I didn't really understand – I was like, what, life coaching? And it was as if the clouds in the sky parted and the higher power that exists reached down and slapped me on the head and was like, go there. It was really sort of this visceral experience where I was like, I could do that? And so I did. I went to Arizona and I trained with Martha, and on the flight home I wrote the simplest of simple business plans on the back of a Delta napkin, and I was like, that's it, I'm out of real estate. And it took me about 90 days to wrap up my contracts and close my files in real estate, and I was like, this is what's happening. This is what I'm doing. I'm going to help women like me get unstuck.
Michelle: Yeah. That's amazing. So and then it's such a – what a gift it is when it's all that clear and I can't help but notice, when you're in a bunch of stuff in your head telling you you can't do this, or at least that's what it sounds like, was that really how it was?
Susan: That's really how it was. It was – I didn't even understand how I was going to make it. I really didn't. I went to that training and was riveted. I sat – it was a five-day training initially and then of course I went for some additional trainings, but I sat on the edge – there were 12 of us in a huge hotel suite, Martha was at like, the front of the room with a flip chart and I sat on the edge of that chair. I almost didn't even move to get up to go to the restroom. I could not believe what I was hearing. I was so enthralled. And I remember my husband was so angry with me because it was really the first trip I had ever taken by myself. You know, the little kids are at home with him, like, he assumed I would call to check in a few times a day or at least once a day and then I would get to past dinner time and I would check in and he would be like, “Where have you been?” And I'm like, “In training.” You know, now today, I mean, forget it. I'm all over the world and he's happy if I send him a text. But back then it was like, wait, what, where are you? Why didn't you check in? And it's like, you don't understand what I'm learning. You don't understand, like I can't take a minute for that. I was so immersed in this life-changing material and I was so passionate about the message that I was like, there are other people in the world doing this as a business and so I don't know how I'm going to do it but I'm going to figure it out.
Michelle: Yeah, man, it's that kind of conviction that just – you know, around building a business, around sharing your message, making your impact, all of that that is so powerful and also just something to really – I kind of want to point a bunch of arrows to it right now because I think a lot of times we let that sort of fall by. We sort of forget, and sometimes it's going back to that, remembering once we get into the midst of whatever, building your speaking business or building your actual business or whatever, and you forget why you're doing it. And for you there was this two-part thing, right? You're shutting your door and crying in your office many of the days, and then you come upon this just like, shining bright light of a solution to your life but also immediately a purpose for you.
Susan: Yeah. It was really interesting because I started to realize that I had had the role of coach in every office I had been in and every role I had had, I just didn't have language for what I was doing and I certainly wasn't getting paid to do that. I was just sort of taking people under my wing and giving them pep talks, and of course coaching is much more than giving just a pep talk, but I was already naturally doing a lot of that and then this gave me the framework for what my natural talents were.
Michelle: That is such a cool story. It's like the story I think many of us – many coaches I think have similar-ish experiences, but honestly, I think the clarity of that experience fades as we sort of get tangled in the details of it, and one of the things that I love about being around you, having your mentorship and your coaching is that you seem to have a very clean line to that conviction in you, to that certainty. And I wonder, because you know, that certainty is the basis of a powerful message in your coaching, on a stage, wherever. You know, do you notice – I feel like I notice that many of us get kind of murky around our conviction, and I wonder what your magic trick is? Why does it stay so clear for you? Give us the special approach.
Susan: I do have something called Magic Cream by Charlotte Tilbury, but that's a different story if anybody needs some great skincare.
Michelle: We do want to know.
Susan: So my magic trick – so I want to make sure I understand the question. You want to know what happens in my mind or what's the trick to feeling so passionate and convicted about the message?
Michelle: Yes, thank you, yes.
Susan: Okay. So it really is all remembering your why and thought work around what it is. So a lot of my new messaging is around – there's still that element of seize the day and you only get one life and you know, there's also Bare, which – we'll get into that I'm sure, the body positivity movement, and for entrepreneurs, helping them build a business that matters. And so for me, it's not a lot of heavy lifting to stay in that convicted place because I'm living it and I'm working with clients all day every day in that message. So it's not like – I think when people go in and out of conviction for their message is because they allow themselves to think things like, “Well, who am I to say?” Or, “What makes me the expert?” Or, you know, “So and so is saying it better. “Those kinds of things. And something that I learned early on in my coaching career from Martha who trained me, I remember saying something to her like, “Well, I really feel like I should just tell everybody to buy your books and then they'll be good. Like, why would they pay me by the hour to learn this stuff?” And I remember she was so amazing in the way that she said, and I'm totally paraphrasing, but she was like, “Listen, people can read my articles in O Magazine and they can buy my books and they may love and enjoy them, but the way that you convey the message, the spin that you have on it, your personal stories, how you teach the material, there are people meant to hear that from you and they will resonate with the way that you explain it versus the way that I explain it.” And it really helped me flip the switch on that and understand that I really believe that all of us, especially those of us who feel that pull to speak from the stage, have a message. There are certain people in the world who are meant to hear it from you. End of story. And so if you don't get over yourself, I really feel like the message can be lost for that person and so what keeps me convicted is remembering me, former real estate me in my hot pink real estate suit sitting on the orange stool in that tiny closet of a real estate office and sobbing my eyes out and the pact that I made with God or the universe or my higher self or whatever you want to call it, I was like, listen, if I figure this out, I am going to help other people figure it out too. And I don't even know – and so I go back to that woman and I think about all the people in the world who are just waiting to pick up my book or stumbled upon my podcast or attended an event where I'm speaking, and that just like Finding Your Own North Star, changed my entire life and not just my life, the life of my husband and my kids. You know, the domino effect that our messages can have on the world, I choose to live there instead of in the place of like, well, Martha says it better.
Michelle: Yes, all the yes to that. And yes, so your message evolved. Your conviction evolved as life experience, you know, you'd have these experiences in your own life and with clients over the years, and your message has shifted. So I would love to just hear about what's your rooftop message now? What would you want to shout from the rooftops now?
Susan: Oh my god, I love the way you asked that question. The rooftop message. Girl, put me on a rooftop, all kinds of things happen. Alright, so – particularly in Barcelona, they have the best rooftop bars. Okay, back to topic. The two things that I want to shout from any rooftop is your body is not an apology and your body is precious and amazing as it is right now. So I'm obviously – I'm on a mission to end diet culture. And then the other message that I want to shout from the rooftops is that you can create the life and business that you want. And so I am of the firm belief that if you have the ability to desire something, then you have the desire to create some variation of that and that we're so much more powerful than we believe. So I'm equally – I have this dual couple of niches within my business, one of helping women make peace with their bodies and learn to love their bodies, and the other is helping entrepreneurs make money. So that evolved over time because I just started client – I mean, I was coaching my face off. I'm still coaching my face off. I mean, coaching my face off. I've got the strongest jaw muscles, my father will tell you, in the world. Like, I am yacking all day every day. And through that experience, over 11 years, the more I've coached, the more I've allowed myself to follow hot tracks of what lights me up. And my first year in business I went through my own weight loss journey with healing my relationship around food and body, and then after coaching thousands of women around that, more from a weight loss perspective, that message evolved from like, okay, let's just drop the whole weight loss goal here and let's talk about what this is really about, which is learning how to love your body as it is.
Michelle: Which is the basis of the Bare – say more about Bare. What does Bare stand – just tell us about it.
Susan: Sure. So Bare is spelled Bare, meaning like, let's get bare, and it's a seven-week process. Of course, it's a process that can take many, many years, but the way that we teach it there are seven themes and it's really about unraveling all the messaging that you've received from culture at large, from your family of origin, from your peer groups. Everybody who's listening, I'm going to challenge you right now. Pay attention to the magazines that you consume, TV shows that you watch, commercials on the radio, and see if you can count the number of times you are delivered the message that there's something wrong with your physical body and you need to shrink it and you need to shrink it fast. So you know, abs by Friday and all of those things, and so the Bare program really starts with helping women unwind where they receive the messages in the first place that their body wasn't okay as it is and then going through, I have to say, some really fun challenges and homework assignments that help you really dig deep into what you're telling yourself and how you treat your physical body. So it's a real process of what feels like love as opposed to punishment. And ending the transactional relationship that I know I had with my body, where it was like, hey, I'll eat things that are good for you and I'll move you but I better have J-Lo's ass by Friday or I'm done. And so it's helping women separate the love and care of themselves from the external needing to appear a certain way.
Michelle: Yeah, I mean I know as a member of the Bare community how fun and how amazing this sort of totally different perspective on caring for ourselves is. And I know you have a book coming out. When is the book coming out?
Susan: It is. The book is coming out in January 2019.
Susan: It's called Bare. In fact, we're doing the book cover photo shoot tomorrow.
Michelle: And I imagine – just so that we, at least make sure we touch on speaking, you're going to go on a tour of some kind?
Susan: Yes. Oh my gosh, I'm taking a deep breath. Yes, so you actually have challenged me to apply and get a TEDx talk happening, which I am definitely devoted to doing, and then I have a meeting coming up with the marketing team with my publisher, and we're going to really hammer out the phase one and phase two plan of this book launch, which will include parties and speaking gigs and all those kinds of things, yes.
Michelle: Yeah, and I know we don't – we're running to the end of time and I love the way we have focused on message, it is such a sticking point, and I'd just love to hear a little bit about how does speaking fit in for you? What makes you choose – I know you're super busy, you have a lot of moving parts to your business, and you do some speaking. But you're choosy about it. How do you decide and why do you do it?
Susan: Yeah, I am really choosy about it. So for me, the way that my business is set up, I travel some events and retreats that I have created. And I really feel like my daughter is a rising senior in high school, but I have really set a boundary for myself that I didn't want to add a ton of additional travel to what I had already set up for myself because I have kids at home. My son's in college now, hallelujah, and one more year of Ms. Cora Hyatt being at home and so number one, I have had to limit the amount of speaking gigs that I would entertain just for preservation purposes, and also it has never – it may be different. I may be slightly different from your listenership, I don't know that, but that being a speaker who tours was never a huge dream of mine. I look at speaking as more something to augment what I'm already doing, just to spread the message. And so that's number one. Number two, so I'm not actively – although I will be for the book, I have not ever actively pitched myself as a speaker for anything. I have just with enquiries that have come in, I take a look at them and the things that I look at are who is it, is it an organization or a company that their values line up with mine, do I believe that me going into that arena will have an impact somehow on somebody, and then of course it's got to be – this is going to sound – I also look at like, how far am I going to have to go for this and is the compensation going to be worth it and all those things. And so, you know, if it checks all those boxes, if it's an organization I love or a company I admire, and I feel like oh my gosh, this is such a great fit, I really feel like I could do some good and the compensation is fabulous, then I'm in.
Michelle: Well that's – I mean, many of the people listening do. It's not about necessarily or in most cases, professional speaking. It is that stepping into leadership. And you're such a perfect example of the Beyond Applause – my book basically says if you do what you've done, take a stand for something that matters, you commit to serve through that stand, which you've clearly done in all these ways, and then you go where they gather and serve, as it fits your schedule when you get to the point where you are, then you know, this is actually what thought leadership looks like. So it's such a perfect example. And really what a lot of people are striving for, which is the opportunity to choose those gigs that make the most sense for their goals, so it's perfect.
Susan: Yeah, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. You know, I think that it's important to really go like you said, where your people are gathered. And you know, if my people were gathered somewhere and they want to hear about Bare, they want to hear about how to create a business that flows well with their life, I'm in.
Michelle: Perfect, right, because you're committed to serving. That's the perfect example. So I want to make sure everyone listening knows exactly how to get a dose of Susan Hyatt, as much as they can, as often as possible since it lights up my days so much. I know it will for them too. So where's the best place to connect with you?
Susan: Thank you so much. So the hub if shyatt.com and on my website, you can connect with – I have two podcasts. One called Go, it's a Monday morning pep talk, you can find it on iTunes or Google Play or any places where you listen to your podcasts. There's also the Bare podcast in all those places as well, and of course, I am on social media @susanhyatt.
Michelle: And all of those places are awesome, wonderful places. We'll put them in the show notes so it's easy for people to get to them. Thank you so much, Susan, it's been even more delightful that I imagined it would be, which doesn't surprise me at all. And to those of you listening, see you all in the Susan Hyatt world more and more. Have a great rest of your day. Thanks so much.
Thank you so much as always for being here and sharing in this experience with me. I do this because I want so much to see you out there shining your light and making the difference that I know you're meant to make. I hope this conversation with Susan helped feed that mission of yours. And would you do me a favor? If you could head on over to iTunes and give a rating and review, let us know what you think of the podcast. I'd love to hear it. It also helps rise the podcast amongst all the other podcasts out there so that people can find it.
Alright, I can't wait to be with you next week. As always, have a wonderful rest of your week.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Beyond Applause. If you like what was offered in today's show and want more, head on over to michellebarryfranco.com/start to get your free complete guide to stepping into leadership speaking right away.