I’m reading this amazing new book, “Pearls of Wisdom” by Jack Canfield. In this book, he has included ‘stories’ and thoughts from some very well known coaches (Marci Shimoff, Chris Atwood, and others). I had the pleasure of getting to interview two of the authors and I want to highlight one of them today, Susan McMillan.
Susan is a systems engineer who has also dedicated herself to the study and living of happiness and teaching others how to have more of what that happy feeling. I had a chance to ask her some questions about her life and what makes her HAPPY! Here’s her own pearls of wisdom…
As an entrepreneur, when did you move from ‘struggling start-up’ to confident, successful, and thriving?
I haven’t quit my day job yet, which means that I get to take advantage of the income and security my regular job brings while I develop my business. The benefit of this is that I start out confident, successful and thriving.
This is not my first business. I had a retail print shop many years ago. It was the best job I ever had- working for myself, but unfortunately, the business didn’t make it and closed after 18 months. Still, it was the best education I ever got- even better than my MBA. I learned the power of passion and of capitol when it comes to building a sustainable business.
My passion carries me through long hours of working two jobs, and the confidence on knowing my family if provided for helps me create a business from my heart.
How do you build a business that supports the vision for your life?
I don’t mean to be obvious, but the first step is to have a clear vision for your life. So many people don’t. I have found that the vision pulls me into the business rather than the other way around. On some level, I have been dreaming about the business I am in now, since I closed my other business so many years ago. I didn’t know exactly the form it would take or the service I would provide, but I knew the kind of person I would be and the values I would embody.
Once that vision was clear, the hardest part for me was to get out of my own way and follow the cues that came to me through my life situations. I am a planner and a driver by nature, but sometimes it seemed the universe had a better plan for me. My plans would fail, but in the failure, some new, unexpected opportunity would arise- often better than my original plan.
I think the secret is to know clearly what you want and to keep adjusting your course to get there by staying tuned in to what you feel. When you are on course, everything will seem to go along brilliantly, then suddenly things start to bog down or fail. Learn from the failure, adjust, and try again- always keeping the goal in mind.
What do you do in life and business that helps things be a bit more easy?
I actively practice happiness, and lucky for me, happiness is my business.
The scientific evidence is very clear that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Happy people solve problems faster, they are more creative, more social, and more resilient. Taking a few moments to count our blessings, or appreciate a small success, or help another person can give us the emotional boost we need to see an opportunity instead of a problem. In learning the analytical, hard-edged business skills that make us successful enough to start a business, many of us forgot how to be happy. Luckily, happiness is something we can learn. The more we practice, the easier it is to be happy, regardless of our circumstances and the more we benefit from the increased productivity, sociability, and energy that happiness brings.
Kelly Harrington is a business and systems expert who helps coaches and conscious entrepreneurs to design their ideal business and learn and implement the tools, systems, and technology that will take their business to the next level. Less effort, more results!