Four+ years ago, my business was growing and I said a prayer specifically asking to be sent someone who would complement my work and be able to coach my clients in a way that would give them added depth as a leader.

God (through Barb Wade) sent me success coach and emotional resilience expert, Suzanne Dudley-Schon.

What I love about Suzanne is how she gets that the beingness of leadership matters more than the doingness of leadership.

You can have all of the right leadership systems in place – and still not be a leader worth following.

This week, I’ve asked her to write this blog post for the Upside Thinker on the topic of designing your destiny.

Happy Reading!

In a typical day you can be exposed to thousands of images, whether on billboards, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, films, videos, or magazine covers. The visual onslaught, while seemingly processed in the blink of an eye, may ultimately leave you feeling confused and infused with lurking doubt.

The visual presentation can fool you into believing it is a perfect representation of the real thing. Soon you may make comparisons and find your business, your life, and your self… lacking. 

You can jump into action and get lost in the frenzy of trying to achieve and be seen as having achieved. That…that image. And then end up in David Byrne’s song, “Once in a Lifetime”– looking like someone you don’t recognize, standing in a house that doesn’t feel like yours. Asking yourself,

What happened? What’s missing? How did I get here?

In racing after the image and trying to look good in it—your own compass often falls out of your proverbial pocket.

You end up living someone else’s life—probably the one you thought was on that billboard–only to discover that you are standing in your living room hugging painted cardboard. 

You got attached to the idea of what was represented. When in reality, your own version of that would be quite different. 

Because yours would be designed from your own heart’s calling—inside to out, rather than outside to in. 

You can’t walk on a movie set and then magically have a different life. 

You have to build the real thing—day by day, hour by hour, and choice by choice. And without having that compass or “set of plans” that is uniquely yours, you will be building someone else’s … or at best, it’ll be a generic “spec” one that could be anyone’s.

Who you are is formed by what you believe in and what holds meaning for you. 

Find that out. Get clear on what matters to you and why.

Then start building. You will soon find that you are intuitively picking up the right wood, finding the tools, generating the energy, surrounding yourself with people to help and guide you, and friends that are committed to your success.


The Upside Challenge of the week is to schedule some quiet time to review what you value the most. There is no right or wrong answer. Does your life reflect what you value? No matter “where” you find yourself, recommit to these values. Ensure your daily actions (and how you prioritize them) align accordingly. Notice how small mindful decisions add up. What new habits can support you in this effort?

As Lisa Marie says, the world needs you and your brilliance!

Suzanne Dudley Schon is the founder of CCC Coaching Solutions, a coaching firm that teaches clients how to create freedom, joy, and success in their business and career. 

Her clients include corporate executives, speakers, professors, and creatives including successful fine artists and show business professionals.

Suzanne is also a celebrated author. Her book Out of the Box; A Journey In and Out of Emotional Captivity, details her own journey to freedom from domestic violence a topic for which she is often asked to speak. She co-authored Is Oasis For You? and is a regular contributor to Her poetry is widely published in literary magazines and in a new book out this year with Blue Light Press. 

Highly credentialed, Suzanne holds a psychology degree from Duke University, as well as credentialing from the International Coach Federation, and is a Certified Master Oasis Trainer, Certified Narrative Coach Core Practitioner, and trained in Reiki, Somatic Experiencing, and Vinyasa Yoga.

In addition to her own coaching business, Suzanne is entering her fourth year as a coach for Upside Thinking, Inc. where she brings fresh insights to clients on how to design their destiny and grow their business.

Involved in countless civic activities, she is also the CEO of Vine Street Associates, CFO of a family foundation, a trustee for the Montshire Museum of Science, and has served for 20 years on the board of Waypoint (Child and Family Services).

An award-winning actress and former champion hunter/jumper rider, Suzanne understands what it takes to succeed. A little bit feisty, she also adds humor and fun to work. 

One of her most joyful achievements is parenting– her two children and three step-children; all currently in various states of fledging. Although she appears to be one of the WASPiest looking people in any given room, Suzanne is actually the daughter of a Dominican woman, speaks fluent Spanish and really excellent improvised gibberish. 

Leave a Comment