Take time to unwind — us humans aren’t machines. We do not have it in us to be on the go 24/7 for 365 days. What you consider unwinding is different from person to person, but make sure to make time for you. Plan it in if you have to! You matter and your future self will thank you for it.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Intuitive Business Coach Susanne Grant.
Susanne Grant is an Award-winning Work-Life Balance Integration Expert, Intuitive Business Coach & Consultant and International Bestselling Author of the book Leaders: Women Who Change The World Through Their Business. She supports busy business owners and CEOs to redefine success, so they can scale their business without sacrificing their health, relationships or themselves.
After the birth of her child in 2015, she realized the collective lie “hard work equals success” wasn’t working for her and she did not want the next generation to grow up and think this was “normal”. So she made a powerful decision. She gave herself permission to break free of the old way of doing business and created a new business model — where holistic health and wealth are an integral part of the business and its success.
Today, she runs an award-winning coaching company and hosts sold-out masterminds and events. Her work has been featured in Brainz Magazine, Divine Boss CO, Awarepreneur Podcast and many more. In fact, thousands of people have benefited from her work who are now living life on their terms as they implement Susanne’s motto: “Work Smarter, Not Harder”.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I found myself homeless, ill and traumatized at the age of 17 after years of emotional, financial and physical abuse. Growing up was a real struggle and lonely journey for me. Even though I was doing “great” at school, no one seemed to get that underneath I felt like dying. After my last suicide attempt where I ran into the street hoping to get hit by a car — and finding myself standing in the middle of the busiest street in the neighbourhood without a single car for 15 minutes — I made a decision, right there and then, to give myself the chance to experience the good in life first rather than just the bad and then decide whether I want to live or not. Now 18 years later, I can wholeheartedly say it was worth hanging in there because life did become better. Like a lot better!
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
After moving to Scotland (as I am originally from The Netherlands) in 2013 and giving birth to my first child I felt inspired to put my words into action and start supporting women in their journey into motherhood. Although my work evolved over the years into helping business owners to create the perfect work-life balance, the core of my message hasn’t changed. I believe EVERYONE is worthy, no matter where they come from. Becoming a parent myself made me extremely aware of the unhealthy patterns that run in my own family as well as our society. As I moved to a different country on top of that cultural differences made these even clearer.
What drives me is the number of fellow entrepreneurs suffering from mental health, not to forget the shocking numbers the “me too movement” revealed to us or Black Life Matters. As a survivor of (sexual) abuse myself, I cannot stress enough how important it is to STOP these patterns in our generation, so our children and grandchildren do not have to deal with the deep-rooted “stuff” that is passed down to us generation by generation.
Want to make a long-lasting impact with your business? Start looking within yourself. What did you experience growing up you swore you wouldn’t do yourself, yet you notice it sneaking in more often than you like? What if you could stop these patterns? Create REAL health and wealth for you and your family? What if every single one of us commits to this moving forward from today? Let’s do this and meet back again a year or 5 years from now and see what has changed. And that’s what makes me show up every single day because you know that it stops with you and me. We are here to break the cycle!
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
My best friend is the one person who has helped me a lot over the years. We’ve known each other for almost 20 years now, so we go way back. I remember it clear as day, the moment he told me about his family. His grandfather, Krijn Breur, was murdered during the Second World War because he was part of the Dutch resistance. He fought for our rights, our freedom and our lives, and he paid with his. His wife survived Ravensbruck (concentration camp), but spent years after trying to recover from an illness she got by hiding in the toilets to survive. That story he told me on a sunny afternoon on a bench in Overveen, changed the direction of my life. It woke something inside of me, and I spend the next 10+ years studying the war. I even have a master specialization in Holocaust and Genocide where the main focus was to understand how people react under extreme circumstances. These generational patterns and beliefs are still often running the show for us now and this knowledge and deep-understanding actually turned out to be very valuable for my coaching business.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
I have the habit of following my intuition no matter what. Even though my decisions sometimes make absolutely no sense on a logical level, I still go with my heart. For example, I dropped out of my initial masters to pursue my dream of writing a master’s thesis on Krijn Breur and the resistance and even though no one with my background ever got accepted, I still got in! The funny thing is, looking back on my education choices and the jobs I got, it all ties in with the work I do now and it turned out to be so incredibly valuable.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I’ve read thousands and thousands of books in my life. Even written a few too! So this would be very hard to narrow it down. The book I call my personal bible is the book by Lara Briden and it is called the Period Repair Manual. This book goes everywhere I go and I use it at least a couple of times per week for my coaching clients, as I work mostly with female entrepreneurs. The biggest lesson I learned from it is that periods are not supposed to hurt! I remember it was a big shock reading that statement. Especially when we are conditioned that “we” are meant to suffer because of Eve’s actions. It turned out that the author was right to make this statement. She also says that our period health is like a monthly report card to see how things are doing on the inside. After applying her knowledge, I can tell you, it was certainly life-changing and indeed…. pain-free!
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito — Dalai Lama XIV” is definitely one of my favorites because it deeply resonates with me. Besides having stayed up many nights myself, trying to catch these (we have these A LOT in The Netherlands) I do believe it is true. No matter how small we are, or how small the choice we make may seem, we do have the power to change direction at any point. Realizing you hold the power to create a life you desire is both very empowering but also very scary at the same time, but when you manage to start making different choices that are aligned with you, things will start falling into place. Faster than you might think!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
There are so many exciting things happening at the moment! I joined another co-author book project, well two actually and I can’t wait to get started writing more. I absolutely love to write myself so it is a real cherry on the pie kinda experience. I am also an executive contributor to several business magazines, although I still dream of having my own column one day. I feel there is so much power in the written word, the way we can connect with someone, their lives, their hearts, just by writing words on a piece of paper, or digitally of course. In high school, we had a poster in one of the classrooms that said: “a pen is a powerful weapon”, and I have to admit, I totally agree. And the right words, at the right time, can change the course of history!
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Being diagnosed with PTSD at 17 and trying to recover from that for years, I know firsthand how challenging this could be. I believe my problems all started after the doctor put me on antibiotics for a few years (yes, you read that right). Something we now would not dream of knowing the effect damaging effects antibiotics can have on our health as they don’t just kill off the harmful infections, but also the good ones we need to function! No surprise there, my health has been a challenge, plus with an undiagnosed gluten and milk intolerance, it was virtually impossible to eat without getting ill. I’ve spent years trying to do as I was told by others, even though my body was screaming to do otherwise. As I was older and in control of what I could eat things started to shift. It turns out that gut health, and for women period health as well, are a vital part of mental wellness! The three habits I always recommend to my clients are these:
1) Keep track of your symptoms — if you want to know what you are dealing with you have to collect the data. For example, often my clients are dealing with depression symptoms at the end of the month, which can be linked to the hormonal cycle. But you don’t know until you do! So start observing.
2) Take time to unwind — us humans aren’t machines. We do not have it in us to be on the go 24/7 for 365 days. What you consider unwinding is different from person to person, but make sure to make time for you. Plan it in if you have to! You matter and your future self will thank you for it.
3) You are what you eat! In my experience, diet played a huge part in my mental wellness, especially healing my gut health made 70% of all my mental health issues go away. Become conscious of what you put in your body and think in terms of long-term goals or short-term satisfaction.
Combine these three habits and it will help you to massively improve your mental wellness.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
The practice I’ve found most helpful over the years are the guided meditations from Dr Joe Dispenza and Elizabeth Peru. They’ve really helped me to be able to learn to control my energy and actually get good nights sleep because of it. Dr Joe’s research into meditation and creating your own reality is absolutely amazing and a must for anyone who needs that bit of science to make sense of being an energetic being!
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
What I’ve noticed over the years, being highly sensitive to food and other things myself, is that taking care of yourself must be your top priority, although we get guilt-tripped into believing that looking after yourself is selfish. We are not meant to sit still behind a computer desk all day and our bodies need movement to function properly. The first habit, therefore, has to be; make sure your body gets enough movement. I prefer to run and do yoga as it helps my body to stay fit. Besides that, my body needs at least 2liters of water each day and — which will come as no surprise — good food that resonates with me!
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
I have a lot to say on this actually! As I briefly mentioned prior, nutrition is a vital part of taking care of yourself. But what I’ve discovered over the years is that a lot of information out there is very conflicting and the main blockage to a healthy lifestyle. One day it is a must to eat X, and the next it tossed in the unhealthy bucket. So what I would recommend is to learn what your body tells you. If you’ve been keeping track of the data as I recommend above, you can start to discover patterns in relation to the food you eat. Heaviness, bloating, or discomfort after eating are signs that your body is trying to tell you something. Learn to trust yourself and start listening to what your body is telling you.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Emotional wellness ties in for me with the other categories as well. If you feel good, you will be able to manage life better/easier, wouldn’t you? Having a great support system is a must for optimum emotional wellness. Sometimes you need a friend who will give you the kick in the you know what you need right then, and sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on. However, make sure to surround yourselves with people who want the best for you.
On top of that, if you understand the importance of hormones and how it is affecting your emotional wellbeing, it will definitely be a lot easier to understand if you are not managing on certain days.
For me, I also like to know what is going on on a planetarian level as I believe this influences us too. Combining these three elements, helps me to understand what I am dealing with on certain days and I can plan my days accordingly.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
I can’t say I’ve ever thought about this! But having young children myself, who love to play and be in the moment, I can certainly understand the benefits. I know it can give you an oxytocin boost (=happy feelings) so it can definitely help you. If you don’t have something to smile about these days, I would recommend putting on a funny movie or a comedy show. That will absolutely put a smile on your face!
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Rest is a productivity activity. If you want to stay connected to you, the source within, god, the universe, however you want to call it, you need to make time to connect. We are often so busy, too busy, we start losing the connection to ourselves, and others, which makes for pretty unhappy humans! So make time for you, connect to your heart and acknowledge how amazing you are and connect to source to allow your frequency to rise. This connection to life itself will be one of the key elements to creating optimum wellness!
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
I believe being connected to nature is essential if we want to stay healthy on all levels. A few years ago I came across a research from an engineer and how he discovered effective grounding of the human body actually changed the current inside. I remember him saying that inflammation of the body has to do with a lack of grounding. It makes sense of course in terms of energy. Our bodies are a collection of vibrating atoms and it needs to be connected to thrive, but because we are indoors, wearing socks and shoes, we don’t get to connect to the ground as much as we should. I highly recommend making time to connect with nature daily to help you feel — and literally be — grounded.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Good question! My motto “Work Smarter, Not Harder” could really be the beginning of a massive shift in the way we value our time — or at least that’s what I like to think. Being busy is often worn as a batch of honour and busy equals success. Being busy and productive are actually two completely different things and I like to see people coming aware of how they choose to spend their time. The thing is with time — you can only spend it once — when it is gone, it is gone! Choose wisely.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I would love to have a bite to eat with Jennie Snyder Urman (creator of Jane the Virgin) and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I admire both of them for different reasons, but for me the show Buffy was one of the reasons I survived my childhood and teen years, especially dealing with my own demons both inside and out, throughout these years. The quote “I’m going down into the Hellmouth and I am finishing this once and for all” from the season finale is still something I use until this day when I have had enough of something and I decide to face the problem head-on. The TV series, Jane the Virgin, helped me during my postnatal depression after my second child and reawakened my passion for the written word. Shortly after, I became a best-selling author with a co-author project. Ever since I have been wanting to meet them and give them a sincere thank you from my heart to theirs. These inspiring shows have been a huge part of my life and I am very grateful for being able to experience this.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
The best way to connect with me is via LinkedIn, but you can also visit my website grantmethod.com. If you are interested in finding out more about me and how I can support you, sign up for my newsletter for my latest tips and tricks to help you grow your business in 2021 without putting in more hours.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.