A conversation with Susan Baroncini-Moe, best-selling author of author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style and the host of 2Questions.TV.
Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Susan about having the courage to pursue impossible dreams.
This is their conversation…
Dusty: Who are you and what has been your life’s work to date?
Susan: My name is Susan Baroncini-Moe, and I’m an executive coach, the author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style and the host of 2Questions.TV. I’m currently working on creating a significant amount of training to help women develop the skills necessary to become successful (or more successful) executives and business owners, to help guide women and girls to be more confident in their capabilities, to rise faster and more effectively in the workforce, and as business owners, and to create a supportive launch pad for more women, so that we’re even more of a force to be reckoned with.
I’m also working on launching a program specifically for people who have had setbacks at work, to help them bounce back from a bad performance review to be better than ever.
Additionally, I’m a former Guinness World Records title holder. I held the record for the longest uninterrupted live broadcast. It was thirty-six (36) hours and twenty-three (23) seconds long, and was a live streaming video business extravaganza, with many successful entrepreneurs and business thought leaders and bestselling authors participating.
Dusty: What role has courage played in your life?
Susan: Courage has made a huge difference in my life, especially when I’ve faced hurdles or adversity. To me, courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.
It took courage to be by my mother’s side, holding her hand when she died. It takes courage for me to be fully present in relationships and in my marriage. It takes courage every day for me to take risks and do big things in my business. Right now, my business is requiring me to have a lot of courage.
In your book on courage, The 7 Acts of Courage, you talk about one of the key acts as being the courage to dream the dream. It takes courage to dream of something that’s enormous, grandiose, and something that others might see as too big or too ridiculous.
You also mention the courage to confront and to be confronted by reality. It’s important to be willing to face yourself and confront your demons, if you want to go after your dream. If, for example, you’re not living up to your full potential, then it’s worthwhile to face yourself, ask why, and be willing to take action on responding to whatever that reason is.
Courage plays a role every day in my life. I’m like everyone else – I have moments of self-doubt and I have an inner critic, just like we all do. As a coach, I have the tools to overcome those inner voices. I’ve been accomplishing big goals most of my life, and I’ve discovered that self-doubt can often be silenced, when you archive your history and keep track of it.
Just by looking at the things you’ve accomplished and reminding yourself who you really are, you can banish some of your self-doubt, because you realize that your fear is, basically, lying to you.
I encourage my clients to create a “success inventory” to record their history of achievement, so that they have a record to reflect back on. I keep a very active inventory of my successes, including accomplishments, nice emails I’ve received from clients and people who read my book, good things that happened, great ideas that I had, times when I took action or did something especially brave, so that when I have those moments, when I shift back into old patterns and think, “Who am I to do this big thing?” I can look at my Success Inventory and remind myself, “Hey, I’m awesome! I can do this. Look at all these other things I’ve done!”
If you’re young and just starting out or if you’ve been holding back for one reason or another, then you may not have a big inventory yet. That’s okay! Having a lean success inventory simply means it’s time to feel the fear and do the thing – lots of things – anyway, so that you can begin to rack up the successes.
Dusty: Where do you see your clients most need courage?
Susan: I work often with high performing women: senior executives, business owners and leaders who are super competent and very brave. It’s a really interesting group of people, because women are taught so many things that get in the way of being courageous, and it can be a real challenge.
Things are improving, certainly, and I’m encouraged by the number of companies committed to achieving gender equality at executive levels. But we’re still a long way away from women living fully actualized and courageously, and by that, I mean being unafraid to take up our own space – physically and verbally – being willing to voice our truths, being courageous enough to ask for what we want without worrying about being judged by others, and believing that we have an absolute right to have a seat at the table.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, to create gender equality at executive levels and elsewhere. It’s somewhat paradoxical, in that this work requires both patience and impatience. We need to be impatient enough to drive forward progress. However, deep, cultural change, the kind that requires attitudes and beliefs to evolve, doesn’t occur overnight, so we also need to be intelligently patient as well.
We need to stand in that delicate balance between patience and impatience.
There’s certainly progress being made, but we’re not there yet. My personal opinion is that we’re about two or three generations away from seeing full, true equality and gender parity, where we have a much healthier environment for both women and men.
Dusty: What is the Best AdviceYou Can Offer?
Susan: First, be grateful for what you have. Find everything around you to be grateful for, and live in that gratitude. I think that gratitude helps you find places to be kind and offer grace to others. But don’t let it make you settle.
Second, be willing to move beyond fear and to have big, grandiose, mad dreams that no one else would dare to think of, things that others would laugh at and say were impossible.
Third, be willing to pursue those dreams with a hundred times more effort than anyone else would put forth, and you’ll find that just about anything is possible.