The Missing Pieces of YOUR Success Picture
Suzanne Evans is a force to be reckoned with!
She is a coach and consultant who teaches over 30,000 women in her wealth and business building program (http://womenwhorunit.com/HellYeahMarketing), she transformed herself from a secretary who was $100,000 in debt to “multi-millionairess” – surpassing the 7 figure mark in only 3 years! Her company was ranked by INC. as #225 of the 500 fastest growing companies of 2012 and again this year in 2013. She is an entrepreneur, a role model, a businesswoman, a performer, a loving partner, a lover of the finer things in life (including Manolo Blahniks), and… she can swear like a trucker (in other words, she’s my kind of woman!). She is truly a woman who runs it, which is why I was thrilled to get her to talk leadership, mentorship, and some of her surprising keys to achieving business success.
What came out of our conversation were a few expletives, a good laugh or two, and some of what I consider to be several of the most important questions any woman in business should ask herself and therefore I asked of Suzanne:
“Do you recognize a mentor when you see one?”
Not a ridiculous question when you consider how some women view mentorship in business today. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke in her book ‘Lean In’ about younger women, building their careers, who seem to be under the illusion that finding a mentor will be the key to their own success and who go about aggressively pursuing those who they feel can fill that role for them. Suzanne felt that was a “forced, misguided approach and that mentorship comes about in a much more organic way.”
Suzanne embodies those sentiments in her own life, feeling that women need to realize that mentors come in all forms and are of all ages. Recognizing those who have truly mentored you comes with age and maturity. Suzanne not only attributes her own hard-working entrepreneurial parents for teaching her to persevere and achieve, but recognizes mentors from throughout her life – from a famous basketball coach she admired when she was 8, to a manager she worked under in her teens who taught her to be a great and motivational leader, to a college professor who taught her how to be a person that other people truly wanted to be around.
Some of Suzanne’s current mentors include those she has never met; authors she has studied, even those whose own core ideas may seem diametrically opposed to her own. She attributes keeping an open mind and employing a good filter in order to “take what is useful to you and your business from those who you may have otherwise dismissed”. If you can be open to mentorship coming from new and unexpected sources, you can be opening yourself up to a world of knowledge and experience.
“Do you believe that hard work equals rewards?”
Again, a question whose answer may seem self-evident but it can be easy to confuse “do what you love” with “work less, be a success.” After all, our society is all about taking the easy road and the quick path. The brutal truth is that there is still no replacement for good, old fashioned hard work. Suzanne attributes her own unprecedented work ethic to her entrepreneurial parents who always committed to doing whatever it took to achieve their goals, believing that with hard work, you will always get what you need when you most need it. Suzanne herself feels that you do not need to be the smartest person in business, the most talented or skilled, but you do need to ‘outwork’ everyone around you. She quotes actor Will Smith (again, a mentor in an unlikely place) who said “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period… You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?”
“How do you deal with pressure?”
The fact is that if you are looking for success in the corporate world or as an entrepreneur, you are at times going to be put under a lot of pressure. Do you perform under pressure or does it paralyze you? Are you a slow and steady person or do you thrive under deadlines and crunches?
Suzanne describes herself as a “pressure perform” personality, to the point where she admits that for her “nothing good comes out of planning.” For all the great plans and long-term forecasts, when it comes to crunch time, she will always go with the flow because she believes that her best results come from spontaneity. But – and this is crucial, no matter your style – the key for Suzanne has been to learn her boundaries and her tipping point, where she knows that she needs to step away from a situation. If you have been working on adrenaline, if you are making that sprint to the finish line, know when it is time to bow out and have a beer!
“Are you a dreamer or a realist?”
If you think there is just one answer to this, you would be wrong. Suzanne makes a strong point for being both. Realism means knowing the financials, managing your staff, knowing how to run a business, working hard. But it is the innovators, the dreamers and the creators who truly make things happen. She again quoted Will Smith, who says “Being realistic is the fastest path to mediocrity.” (as she said – it must be Will Smith day). Letting your dreams seep through the cracks of reality, that’s where the magic happens.
Suzanne spoke about reading Suze Orman’s book Women and Money, specifically a chapter on how to know when to give up on your business. She laughed and told me she was grateful she hadn’t read the book 5 years previously because she may have very well given up based on Orman’s advice. But, the dream was too big to let go. Suzanne persevered, and look where it has taken her. Dreamers and innovators she believes, change the world – and these are two things at which women, in particular, excel!
Trackback from your site.