Hi it’s Penny Zenker. Your host of Take Charge of your Productivity. On this show we explore your greatest potential. This week we are going to focus on Championship Psychology. It is one of the three blades of the productivity windmill. The other two are winning strategies and sustainable results. No matter what we are doing in our personal and professional lives, the keys to success is focusing on psychology first. A championship psychology forms the foundation for success. Without it, you might get results in the short term, but ultimately it’s like swimming upstream. To really get your productivity windmill turning and creating energy you need to point your force and your fuel in the right direction. That means creating and maintaining a championship psychology for yourself and for your organization. Now the real key to maintaining a championship psychology is being able to do this when it isn’t easy. Right? Such as when you lose your job or you declare bankruptcy, or got in an accident, or a divorce. Maybe your company is showing record losses or your best customer just left. It could be any of these challenging situations.
In order to best maintain a championship psychology and quickly manage your energy, you need to know the components and how you use them to your advantage. You also need to have condition and new rituals, not habits. Rituals that support you and your automatic positive response.
Today, I am joined by Suzanne Yvette who works closely with women veterans and breast cancer survivors. Both groups of women face monumental challenges and she uses her message to help them not just overcome their challenges but to come out on the other side, even stronger. Suzanne will share with us how she uses the critical elements of championship psychology and take people from surviving to thriving. She is an author, speaker, coach and philanthropist. She is not a stranger to those challenges herself. Her story is about finding courage and strength from within even when the environment within you is falling apart. While in the Us Navy, being widowed at age 26, while being 5 months pregnant she survived breast cancer. Even in the toughest of times, you can overcome anything. Why just survive when you can thrive? On our program today you will learn four key components that make up championship psychology and understand the power of purpose and the energy that propels us. You will understand the difference between surviving and thriving. Suzanne you and I studied together. I am so excited, and we immediately connected. I am glad you are here to share your story and talk to our listeners.
S: Thank you Penny it’s great to be here, what an opportunity.
P: I know you have been through a number of challenges in your life. You could you share some of that?
S: When I first joined the navy at 18 in the 70’s, it was for a reason. I look back on that and I think all I wanted to do was work on airplanes. I grew up in an aviation family. My father took me flying at a young age. I became instantly fixed on how to get in the air and fly. I wanted to do something exciting and see the world. I knew there had to be more to the world than just California. My father was in the Navy for a short while. I decided that I would join the military and become involved with naval aviation. Not many women were doing that. I had to have this strong inner courage to face whatever came my way. The guys didn’t want me in the squadron. There were no schools for women at that time. As the challenges came at me, I kept remembering that the bottom line is I wanted to fly. I overcame the challenges as a young age and didn’t even think about it. So, moving forward in the military career it was difficult but it was obtainable. I got married in 1985 and my husband and I were both in the same squadron. We were married in February and pregnant in August. He passed away in December in a car accident. I was 5 and half months pregnant and widowed. I knew I had to raise my daughter. I decided to get out of the Navy and stay and become a full time mother. I had to make money. I was introduced to sales at a very interesting seminar. I met a gentlemen who wanted me to work for him. I had no experience in sales but he saw something I didn’t see. My reasons for getting into something again for being so off of the wall was to make money to raise my daughter. That was great. It was 20 years of great experience and I made money. Then I was faced with stage 3 breast cancer. I didn’t do very well in the beginning. The fright and the possibility of death. My daughter even came to me one day and said, Mom, are you going to die. I said yeah, but not today. And about that time, with those words, my language made me realize that I am not going to die, not today. It gave me much more reason to fight. Overcoming those obstacles always gave me something to look forward to. I had something in my mind. I had vision of where I wanted to be. This was just a hiccup in that road.
P: As you are telling your story, each segments says how powerful purpose really is. You did what it took. It’s not always easy to follow our purpose and passion. With all of the challenges of getting to fly, then the next phase was about making money to raise your daughter. You had a strong purpose. And then the fight for cancer, the same passion and purpose came through. How powerful purpose is in our life! Especially when we know it and can utilize it. Do you agree?
S: Yes, it got me through the toughest spots.
P: Today we are going to talk about the 4 areas and purpose is number one. NO surprise, right? I know a big part of what you are doing now is working with women who are transitioning out of the military and other things as well. Can you tell us more about your experience in your transition from you were in the military to civilian life?
S: It was interesting for me because when I went into the navy I went through boot camp. Nine weeks of stripping me down from being a civilian to a sailor. Nine weeks of intense training. I was locked away and immersed in military rules and regulations. You are doing your physical training, running obstacle courses, and marching. After that, I got my final pay check and then they said see you later. No intense reentry. We did a four hour group meeting that somebody put on that said, ok here is how you will get your benefits. Here is what you are entitled to and then you are gone. I remember I got sick right out about a month after I got out. I had a kidney stone. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t have a doctor or anything. I was young and healthy. Somebody said to go to the VA. I didn’t even know what that was. This is where we need to work with our vets and to make sure they know what benefits are available and how to use them. How do you walk into a VA hospital and be seen by a doctor. We need to be more aware of helping our veterans and also transitioning them into financial stability and resume writing. How to take the experiences you had as a combat veteran or a veteran of intelligence and how to take those words and change them into something a civilian equivalence.
P: The military language isn’t going to be understood in a cooperate environment. The language of productivity is getting specific and knowing what is important and how people understand things in that other context. I could see that to be huge for people to take all of the military experience, which is so valuable, so someone who is a leader can make a leader in an organization. To sell themselves and how to do that is so important and valuable.
S: We give ourselves a leg up once we join the military. The corporate world is starting to see our veterans as leaders. It’s important to speak the same language when we get out of the military. We are also doing affordable housing projects and we are starting one here in Orlando to help women veterans. I like to think that sometimes we women have different needs then men so we treat them accordingly. I want to start a multifamily housing unit here in Orlando that accepts women and children so we can give these women a head start in to the future. In that facility, we will do resume writing with HR people. We will have guest speakers. A lot of planned activities that will help transition from military to civilian.
P: You talked about women having different needs and there weren’t many women in the military in 1976. What made you join the military? Was it just flying?
S: Growing up I was very lucky to live in an area near Pepperdine. Outside of Malibu. The scholarships that were awarded to me were to Pepperdine and that was too close to my house. There was no way I was going to this school and my parents were going to have me live at home. I applied to Syracuse in New York but my background didn’t fit with what they needed. So I decided that I wanted to leave California. It was a combination of a drive or desire to fly but to see the world and just get out of that little area that I grew up in. I knew there was more. I wasn’t afraid. On my 18th birthday I went and signed up. I came home and said mom and dad, you need to sit down. I told them what I had done. My dad said, oh Suzanne, I am so proud of you and my mom said, OH NO!
P: What I am really interested in is there were not many women in the military that time. You must have had incredible courage. How did you do that?
S: When I first went in, I asked if I could fly flight crew. They said no, we don’t let women fly flight crew. I knew I wanted to fly so I put it a request and then finally approved all the way up the line. But they put in the side bar, on your own time. My regular job was in the day and when I would be on these airplanes with these guys they carried guns in the cockpit. There were no facilities for women where we went. I had to share a room with the guys. All of that was just learning. A learning curve to show me my courage. I didn’t really think about it. It was one of those things that I had such a strong desire to get to that end result. The courage showed up alongside of it.
P: By tapping into your purpose, you are tapping into your courage. Purpose is one of those key components in championship psychology. To tap into that and get clarity, it opens up a whole new world. Its amazing how tapping into your purpose takes away fear and opens up that courage.
S: I realize that this was my pattern and my pattern is what brought me to this place today. It brought me through being widowed and breast cancer. I truly believe that the sooner you learn to tap into that purpose, the greater your life will be.
P: Fantastic. I know that you are providing coaching for women who are diagnosed with cancer. To use your experience you can help others. Tell us about that side.
S: I started seeing that there was a sterile doctor, medical, big words, terminology and I really didn’t have an emotional contact or group. I did the chemo every Friday. What that did for me was it gave me a Friday afternoon of girls in the chemo room. Those girls became my emotional partners. My support. Other than that, all of my friends were in different spots because they weren’t….I wasn’t present for them. I realized that I needed to give support back. With my coaching it is three phases. If you are just going through breast cancer, if you just were diagnosed with breast cancer, or if you are survivor and you would like to live as a thriver. We work on all three parts of the process. So, when you are first diagnosed you have to have a heart of a fighter. You have to be able to say I am going to fight like I have never fought before. Having someone alongside of you, you don’t have to fight alone. The other part is I work with the soul of a woman. Now that you have lost your hair and are going through the chemo, who do you talk to? Who do you ask, will I really go bald? Who do you ask questions to that has your emotional side covered? I work with women who are currently in remission or have been given the all clear that they are done with cancer. How do you become a thriver? How do you change your focus on just surviving? Through my coaching I take women through, what is your passion? What is your purpose? What are we going to do to stay healthy? What language do we use? Do we consider ourselves survivors? Those are the types of coaching that I do.
P: We will get more into detail later in the show around that. Those areas that you mentioned are the areas of championship psychology. There are so many synergies in what you are offering in your heart of a fighter method. You can help those women tap into that championship psychology. Those three areas are heart of a fighter, soul of a women, and body of a survivor. I absolutely love that! We are ready to take a break. Stay tuned.