Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Suzy Vadori

Intro Banner of Suzy Vadori

Suzy talks about her path from a leading corporate role to working for herself in a writing career, how to get ahead in the corporate world, the importance of knowing your why and how to get unstuck in life.

Suzy Vadori is a former COO/Vice President of Operations and Marketing who started writing by night. Eventually her debut Fantasy Novel, The Fountain, became a finalist for an Aurora Award and Suzy decided to take a leap into all things writing. Once she made the jump, Suzy continued to write, becoming a bestselling author of the Fountain Series and she found she had a knack for helping other writers follow their dreams. Suzy has since become an Editor, Public Speaker and an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach helping countless writers take their writing to the next level.

Suzy talks about her path from a leading corporate role to working for herself in a writing career, how to get ahead in the corporate world, the importance of knowing your why and how to get unstuck in life.

Suzy Vadori is a former COO/Vice President of Operations and Marketing who started writing by night. Eventually her debut Fantasy Novel, The Fountain, became a finalist for an Aurora Award and Suzy decided to take a leap into all things writing. Once she made the jump, Suzy continued to write, becoming a bestselling author of the Fountain Series and she found she had a knack for helping other writers follow their dreams. Suzy has since become an Editor, Public Speaker and an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach helping countless writers take their writing to the next level.


Suzy Vadori - Former COO turned Author, Book Coach, Editor and Speaker

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are talking with Suzy Vadori Susie is a former vice president of operations and marketing who started writing by night. Eventually her debut fantasy novel, The Fountain, became a finalist for an award and Suzy decided to take a leap into all things writing.

[00:00:17] Once she made the jump, Suzy continued to write becoming a bestselling author of The Fountain Series and she found she had a knack for helping other writers follow their dreams. Suzy has since become an editor, public speaker and an author accelerator, advanced certified book coach helping countless writers take their writing to the next level.

[00:00:39] I am excited to learn more. Susie, could you please tell us a bit more about your journey to getting where you are today?

[00:00:45] Suzy Vadori: [00:00:45] Oh, hi, Jolie, thank you so much for having me on your show today. I'm really excited to be here and to talk about my journey because it has been such an unusual one that I love, love, love to share, and I hope that people get something out of it. So I, as you said, I always had a dream to write a book. So many people out there that always think that they're going to write a book.

[00:01:07] And so I finally sat down, this is crazy, right? I wrote lots of half books as a teenager, and then I went off and became a business executive. I had a very successful 20 year career in business. I worked on wall street. I became a vice president operations or chief operating officer at a couple of different companies in technology and manufacturing and did all kinds.

[00:01:27] Things, but I still have this kind of niggly thing in the back of my head. Like I want to read a book and so on maternity leave with my third child in Canada. I live in Canada and we get a year off and I didn't take it with my first two, but I did with my son. And I finally sat down and I wrote a book that became the fountain and that series just took off.

[00:01:49] And so by the time I did go back to work and by the time I published the second book, I started being. Speak and teach and write and edit and do all these other things. And I love, love, loved it. And I was taking all these days off and about three years ago in the spring, it was April and my husband and I both had, pretty important jobs and important at the time it felt like right.

[00:02:12] And we're comparing schedules cause scheduling with three kids and everything. Our schedules are crazy. We both traveled at the time. I was traveling to China every quarter. And managing manufacturing facilities over there. And so we're comparing schedules and I'm like, I need to take seven days off in April alone to go and do stuff I'd been asked to do with an author. And he's And I'm like, yeah, I'm just going to take vacation days and I'm going to go work as an author on these days. Like I'd been doing it kinda here and there, but it all came to a head and he was looking at me going, what are you doing? We can't be spending your vacation days working on another job.

[00:02:46] Like maybe it's time to take a look. And yeah, so then I did and it, those seven days a month became all the days in the month. And now. I've gone through a few iterations and I'm sure we'll get into that, but making a living as a creative person, you have to be creative about it. And that's been a lot.

[00:03:04] Jolie Downs: [00:03:04] Now, what was that like for you to make that leap though? Cause that's very scary. You were in the corporate world for a long time holding this type of role and you went for it. So what was it like in that beginning for you? How did you get through

[00:03:14] Suzy Vadori: [00:03:14] terrifying. Terrifying. Yeah, it was terrifying. As I mentioned, I've been a chief operating officer for the past, like the last decade of my career. Really? Role that vice president operations and what that role really is, as you probably know, but for the listeners, what that role is because people are like, what is operations?

[00:03:31] You're really the support, right? So there's the CEO and you work with entrepreneurs and I'm the support. So whatever they need wherever their strengths, aren't, that's where I jump in and lead and help and support. And so I always thought that I would be that supporting role forever. And. I love entrepreneurs.

[00:03:51] I've worked with many of them. And if any of them ever listened to this, I hope they're really proud, but entrepreneurs have that certain crazy leap of faith, and sometimes they'll say to me, Susie, I hear what you're saying. I know your experience. I hear you, but I just got this feeling and I want to do it anyway.

[00:04:07]And so I just kinda got, you're always cleaning up that mess after, and you have to do that. I respect and admire CEO's beyond belief because. They take that leap of faith and sometimes it works and it's nobody ever did that. So I always thought of myself as a very conservative person, that I'm the one that's going to make sure and be certain and all those things.

[00:04:27] So that leap for me was very strange to find myself at this precipice where I was like, Hey, I finally can see what my job as a CEO would be. Because I always thought I was just going to be in the background because I couldn't take that risk or I wouldn't take that risk because I'd seen a lot of, I've seen a lot of success in my career, but a lot of failure too.

[00:04:48] And Yeah.

[00:04:48] so it was especially scary for me because I didn't think that I would ever do that. And I've seen so much of the bad or so much of the consequences that it was yes. Terrifying.

[00:04:59] Jolie Downs: [00:04:59] how did you get, how did you get over that fear?

[00:05:01]Suzy Vadori: [00:05:01] I did a number of things. There's only an operations person can for me, yeah, I didn't really, I, it wasn't really a flying leap of faith. So I mentioned that I was already doing a lot of these things on the side. And so by plan, as I always have plans. So my plan at the time was to build up those sort of side gigs until they were equal to.

[00:05:22] Or somewhat equal to my day job in terms of income and that I could make the leap without worrying about it. That's insane. That's impossible. I was a mom to three kids and, we have a busy family life and a social life and all kinds of other things. So I was literally working every evening and every weekend to try to do this.

[00:05:39] And as I said, I was getting a day here or there of work and taking vacations is also, I had this plan and then it became untenable for my family. Really. So what ended up happening was a perfect storm of things. There was the moment in, in in April when I had seven offers or seven tours, like seven days of work to do.

[00:06:01] And then there was also a couple of CEOs to different CEOs that they work with in the past. That called me around that same time and said, I'm starting something new. I worked in startups. It's super fun. And starting something new, I can't afford you full-time but I would love To get your one day a week or whatever.

[00:06:17] So I couched it a little bit. I was able to do that. And so for the first year I cobbled it together, consulting part-time and then building up that, but then at the end of the year, even though that was going well, I didn't, I found I wanted to do less and less of the consulting. I just wasn't as interested as I was in building my own business.

[00:06:36] So I was very fortunate, a lot of things. A lot of signs from the universe came together and allowed me to make that leap until it was fully transitioned.

[00:06:43] Jolie Downs: [00:06:43] And what a blessing to find such a passion later on in life and be able to go after it.

[00:06:48] Suzy Vadori: [00:06:48] amazing. And I say this to people all the time who say that they want to write a book. You don't know what I thought that I would write a book and still maintain my life. Some people do, but. Took over in terms of all the opportunity that I saw and the doors that opened for me both as a human, and an operations professional is a very cold cut job. It's not particularly emotional to evaluate how much money you're making and how efficient you are to this other completely different creative outlet that has just completely changed my life and my family.

[00:07:25] Jolie Downs: [00:07:25] That's amazing. That's wonderful. So out of all the things that you've done in your life, Clearly you've done a lot, both in the corporate world, personally, writing, helping other writers. What do you feel has been your greatest success and what did you learn from it?

[00:07:42] Suzy Vadori: [00:07:42] Oh goodness. That's a tough one.

[00:07:43] Jolie Downs: [00:07:43] Give me a couple.

[00:07:44] Suzy Vadori: [00:07:44] Yeah.

[00:07:45] Yeah,

[00:07:45] that's a really tough one. It's tricky. Because I talk about writing a lot of half books and I never really realized that writing could be a job. And so I went and did what job I thought, what was practical. But I don't think necessarily if I become a writer right out of school.

[00:08:02] Definitely not have the career that I have now. I think the most successful thing, or the most surprising thing to me is the relationships and the community that I've been able to build with writers. And not for a lot of these things that I'm doing now have stemmed out of. My book coaching practice is so busy.

[00:08:21] That I've had to go to, I've had the opportunity to create online courses and reach more people. And so it's finding ways to reach as many people as I can. And I don't know if It's the most successful, but I think as a personal thing, just being vulnerable out there and sharing what I know and putting myself out there, which is hard.

[00:08:41]I know it doesn't look. Maybe to two people on the outside, but it's hard.

[00:08:46] And you've got, you've got this show and it's hard to put yourself out there. And I worried a lot about being criticized by people. Who've been there longer for people, cause it happens and that really hasn't happened.

[00:09:00] In fact I've managed to. Just follow my own store and say, here's what I know. And here's what I'm learning. And yeah, so the community that I've been able to build and the network of writers and the people that have been able to help really is my greatest success. And That's what I'm, leading into as we move into this year.

[00:09:19] Jolie Downs: [00:09:19] That's wonderful. And I'm sure that well, that network was incredibly comforting, I would imagine during the past year, what was it like for you during this past year? During the pandemic?

[00:09:31] Suzy Vadori: [00:09:31] Yeah, so that's yeah so good question. Really I've had to reinvent my business.

[00:09:38] Jolie Downs: [00:09:38] Oh, how

[00:09:39] Suzy Vadori: [00:09:39] and yeah so it's it's an, actually a different question. But I will answer it. so?

[00:09:43]The thing is that leading into the pandemic? I had really been as I mentioned, I'd been asked to speak, so I had conferences lined up in personal appearances where I go.

[00:09:53]And meet with the public meet with readers. I had school tours booked. So I do a lot of touring up here in Canada. I tour our province. Sometimes I driving 10, 12 hours, there's a way. And then you stay up there for a week and do a bunch of schools and those are corporately sponsored tours.

[00:10:07]So yeah, I love, love, love being out and meeting with readers. It's something that I really figured out early on that I wanted to do. And you talk about writing and you talk about your own story in your own books and you share those things. And so leading into the pandemic in the spring of 2020, I was two years into being a full-time author.

[00:10:25] And I had a lot booked, between young writers, conferences, and conferences for adults. Comicons that I teach, like at that I speak at

[00:10:33] Jolie Downs: [00:10:33] Also exciting. Oh, it must have

[00:10:35] Suzy Vadori: [00:10:35] Yeah. Like tons of stuff and it's hard work, right? Cause there's two to build a life as a creative, there's a million avenues. And so I finally felt like I got this right.

[00:10:45] I was booked out five months solid

[00:10:48] Jolie Downs: [00:10:48] Wow. Oh, that's

[00:10:49] Suzy Vadori: [00:10:49] And I was like, all right, this is awesome.

[00:10:52] Jolie Downs: [00:10:52] I made it. Yeah.

[00:10:53] Suzy Vadori: [00:10:53] And then.

[00:10:54] Jolie Downs: [00:10:54] Crush.

[00:10:55]Suzy Vadori: [00:10:55] So it just started disappearing, like pow. And so spring of 2020 was an interesting time because everybody was still trying to reschedule. We thought it would be two weeks or four weeks or whatever.

[00:11:05]So what was happening was gigs that I already had booked, or that were regular gigs. People were asking you to re propose for. So when you get something right, Work. You have to see what are you going to do and how are you going to do it? And why should we choose you? And all these things, you've you propose to appear at these events.

[00:11:22] And so I'd done it once and then it was canceled and then they were moving online and I had to pitch again. And then some were canceled outright, some moved online. But then the online, instead of going, Yeah up north for a week, you're going to the classroom for an hour online and you're being paid a lot less.

[00:11:37] Like it was just a completely different scene and I just wasn't getting it. And I saw it was winning a lot of this work and doing a lot of online presentations and it wasn't getting the energy from it that I love about being in person.

[00:11:50] Jolie Downs: [00:11:50] Yeah.

[00:11:50]Suzy Vadori: [00:11:50] And so I found it very difficult. And Yeah.

[00:11:53] so That's when I'd been eyeing this, I've been book coaching for a few years, with a few clients because people are always asking for help and I love to help.

[00:12:00]But I found that work very time-consuming. And I wasn't sure how to scale. And I'd been eyeing this program with Jennie Nash's author accelerator for a couple of years. Like I was aware of it and I was participating in some of it and I've had some interactions with Jenny. And so I leaned into that and they went out and I got my coaching certification for two reasons.

[00:12:20] The number one reason was to just let people in my network that I mentioned to let them know that I was available for this work. And the second reason was to figure out how the heck do you scale.

[00:12:32] Jolie Downs: [00:12:32] right.

[00:12:33] Suzy Vadori: [00:12:33] And so I got both of those out of that certification, which I earned in a about it took me about six months and now, Yeah.

[00:12:39]And then last summer I put out new packages for book coaching and then I was full within a month, which I wasn't expecting. And then I had to turn around again and find ways to find ways to. Actually reach more people and scale my business. And so that's when I started creating online courses.

[00:12:58] And so I launched in the spring of 2021 for the first time I wicked good fiction bootcamp, which is everything that you get in coaching, but in a group setting. And it was so much fun. I'm going to run it again. This fall in 2018.

[00:13:12] Jolie Downs: [00:13:12] What w that's wonderful. What great pivots you made during this time and just added to your overall repertoire of what your offerings. Amazing.

[00:13:20] Suzy Vadori: [00:13:20] Yeah. Yeah. You have to, and like I said, my business background has certainly helped. But yeah, keep going because gosh, forbid I do not want to go back to working. Full-time at a corporate job.

[00:13:31] Jolie Downs: [00:13:31] Yeah.

[00:13:31] Suzy Vadori: [00:13:31] Not at this time. So I'm like, I will do anything. I will do anything. I'll figure this out. And I don't think I'll go back to what I was doing before.

[00:13:39] Like I like this so much better. So I am still doing some of the regular things that are starting to come back. But I think, if this keeps going that I won't, then I'll let some of that go.

[00:13:50] Jolie Downs: [00:13:50] isn't that amazing. We just keep finding things that make us happier and more fulfilled. It doesn't matter how old we are or where we are. That is always ways for us to grow and expand and find new.

[00:14:02] Suzy Vadori: [00:14:02] Absolutely. I am not done yet.

[00:14:04] Jolie Downs: [00:14:04] No.

[00:14:06] Suzy Vadori: [00:14:06] Okay.

[00:14:07]Jolie Downs: [00:14:07] What about the flip side of it, that this process? What about a time that you failed or perceived failure, had dealt with a big obstacle, a huge challenge and a big mistake.

[00:14:16] When did you learn from it?

[00:14:17] Suzy Vadori: [00:14:17] well, there's lots of things. You talk about pivoting and, people only see what ends up being the result, but you've got to try a lot of things. You got to kiss a lot of frogs to figure out which one's your friends. So I don't know that I would call them failures because really they're opportunities.

[00:14:33] To be raw, but I'm always a positive person, but there are opportunities for learning for sure. But I think what's been really interesting is especially going into the online space. There aren't many people in the writing world doing what I'm doing. There are other book coaches and there are people offering.

[00:14:49]Online courses, but there's nobody quite doing It in the practical way that I'm doing, like giving people exact information that they need to write a book that's compelling to readers. It's very different tax, but I haven't. Sounds like there's no business model to copy and there's no person that can tell me how to do this in the right way.

[00:15:07] So yeah, there've been a lot of failures are not failures, but I've tried a lot of different things and some of them work and some of them don't and, I've followed advice from lots of the gurus in the online space and some of it just doesn't work with writers. I, it doesn't feel right to me.

[00:15:22]Like I'm not a salesy person. Like I said, it's about the connections. And so I think I give away a lot more advice for free or make those connections and listen to people's stories in a way that other people don't. But I think it's turned out to be a blessing,

[00:15:37] Jolie Downs: [00:15:37] It pays off for you.

[00:15:39] Suzy Vadori: [00:15:39] Yeah.

[00:15:39] In the end or it does or does it, but I like it. So it's okay. It's not always about the payoff.

[00:15:46] Jolie Downs: [00:15:46] It pays off in different ways. It pays up, oh, it's feeding your soul. And honestly when you turn and start looking at how you can help others, what I've found from doing this podcast and story after story is that's how you help yourself. Really helping others is it all comes back to you in one way or another.

[00:16:06] So it's where the true success seems to happen is that shift in, in thought process from how can I help myself to, how can I help others? Although you have to get to the point where you've helped yourself and are fully embodied until you can go out there and help others too.

[00:16:22] Suzy Vadori: [00:16:22] Yeah. And I think too, it's about, as I get older, I feel like I'm an old grandma now, but as I get older, I find too.

[00:16:29] I'm more comfortable in my own skin, as a woman. Working on wall street in the mid nineties. You're being someone else and I did a good job of doing that.

[00:16:39]You keep getting promoted and then you keep getting promoted. And I know when I I was a director at Telus when I was pregnant with my first child who just turns 15. But yeah, I can remember, I had a really clear life plan and all these things, but you realize how disconnected that is from your executive sort of persona.

[00:17:01] When I announced that I was pregnant, people were very worried. They, people actually, I had a colleague pulled me aside who is also a mom and she see was this plan. Like in other words, they were horrified for me because they assumed that I was a career woman that didn't want children because that's what I projected.

[00:17:20]That wasn't, that couldn't have been further from the truth. We, my husband and I have been together 25 years. We had a plan that was exactly the moment. We were lucky that we were able to plan. I know that, we're very fortunate that we were able to do that but Yeah.

[00:17:32]It was quite shocking to me.

[00:17:34] That people fought that, that sort of hard persona, that business person that I was, that was extremely efficient that continued to get promoted that got everything done that needed to get done was actually me. And it's not. Right.

[00:17:49] And so as I build my own business and very aware to just let myself be myself and that's hard as a.

[00:18:00] As I said earlier, it's hard when you put yourself out there as a public persona, it's hard to also feel really genuine about that and make sure that you're not projecting something that isn't real

[00:18:12] Jolie Downs: [00:18:12] And

[00:18:12] Suzy Vadori: [00:18:12] better.

[00:18:13] Jolie Downs: [00:18:13] it's an interesting dichotomy, right? Because you're trying to be successful in one realm, but if you're not really embodying who you are and being allowed to be authentic, can it really be success?

[00:18:25] Suzy Vadori: [00:18:25] Yeah.

[00:18:26]And to be fair, I don't think anybody ever told me I couldn't be myself, but I know I would not have, I would not have enjoyed the type of financial and promotional success.

[00:18:39] Jolie Downs: [00:18:39] I was going to interject there, I guess that's maybe no one told you that you couldn't, but as society has taught us, I, you know what society was telling you all around, what you needed to do. I'm curious, as a woman in the nineties on wall street, what were some of the bigger life lessons takeaways that you got from that experience?

[00:19:00] Suzy Vadori: [00:19:00] Oh, I could go all day. So to be so to clarify, I actually, so in that role, I worked for investment banks on Wall Street. And I worked for a company that built software for them. So I had the opportunity to go in and out of different banks. But in that job, I actually still lived in Canada. I lived in Toronto, Canada, and I commuted every Monday morning by plane to my job in New York city.

[00:19:26] It was an insane time in my life. It was fantastic. I think. It was, you're living the life you're I was in a hotel which was completely paid for everything. You have no expenses. So there were some, some good things about it, but. We worked hard. Like you work till midnight and you don't go until 9:00 AM because that's when the market's open.

[00:19:46] But it was a hard lifestyle and it was amazing. But I did look around at some of the particularly men. There were no women that had families that worked with me, but some of the men that had families that worked with me, they had four kids at home and I just thought, okay, I'm not going to be able to do this forever because that's not what I want.

[00:20:02]So you knew that there was a finite amount of time in my twenties. I could do it. I can't even imagine now, like my plane needs to land at seven 30 at night and I'd meet my friends for dinner at eight, every Friday night, and now as a mom of three and in my mid forties, I'm going wow, how did I ever do that?

[00:20:18] But I think, it was amazing. There was a lot of life lessons. It was a great time to work hard and to learn so much about business and to learn so much about people and to really enjoy myself. And to decide that I didn't want to do that after I had kids. And so I had to eventually figure out how to do that.

[00:20:34] Jolie Downs: [00:20:34] Yeah, that's important too. The lifestyle that you want to live and


[00:20:40] Get that. Yeah. Which isn't always something that you're thinking about in your twenties either. So that's great that you were being able to recognize that at a younger age. So what do you think is key to having continued success throughout life?

[00:20:56] Suzy Vadori: [00:20:56] continued success throughout life?

[00:20:58]Just take those moments to step back and say, is this really what I want to do? If nothing else, the pandemic, the silver lining of the pandemic for everybody that I've spoken to almost too. I can't think of anybody who would say otherwise is that it made them stop what they were doing and really evaluate.

[00:21:16] And either they miss it and they want to jump right.

[00:21:18] back in. But sometimes we're so busy doing busy work or doing what we think we're supposed to be doing. Those moments of reflection are amazing. I've been very fortunate. I said, even though I didn't take my full maternity leave that I'm entitled to here in Canada for my first two, because I worked for small companies and they really couldn't afford to have their COO be gone that long.

[00:21:39] It didn't make sense. And I knew I was going to have more children soon. Like it's a lot to take a year. I did still have, I think. 10 months and then eight months quite a lot of time to reconnect and be home. And those moments, this pandemic was almost like a maternity leave for a lot of people.

[00:21:57] Like the first time that they've ever been home more and been with family more and had to make hard decisions and take a step back and I think, I hope that people incorporate that into their daily life and keep evaluating. What is it that you want to do and where do you want to be next? Instead of just focused on day to day?

[00:22:15] Jolie Downs: [00:22:15] I agree. We're not asking ourselves the right questions often enough because you're right. There were too many of us. We're just, we're existing where we are doing our best to just get through each day, rather than. Asking how we really want to get through the day. Let's go. That's really good advice. I'm curious.

[00:22:35] Is there any advice that you'd give someone who's in the 40 plus category who might be struggling right now to either find their right path or the right next opportunity? Just in that mode of figuring it out.

[00:22:46] Suzy Vadori: [00:22:46] Yeah. You really have to balance because sometimes that comes about from need for fulfillment, but sometimes it comes about from financial need for lots of reasons as well. So you really have to balance those two things. When I. Started saying that maybe I was thinking about writing full-time and my husband was totally on board and he's that's great, but we'll just have to make a bunch of lifestyle changes.

[00:23:07]If you're going to be a starving artists, we're going to have to give some stuff up. That was his take on it. And I was thinking, no, I don't plan to be a starving artist. I'm going to blow this industry up. I don't plan to start. I'm going to make it, I'm going to make money. What are you talking about?

[00:23:20]So I think it's just, not settling and don't just take the job, that's going to pay the bills figure out how to incorporate it and don't sell yourself short because if you think you're only going to make $20 an hour for the rest of your life, you are look for the opportunities that are going to allow you to be flexible, but also allow you to scale your business indefinitely.

[00:23:43]Because I think that a lot of people, especially if they were in a career for a long time, Or ha didn't have a career, maybe they've been home for a while and then decided once their kids are older, that they'd like to have a job, they really just limit themselves to what they think they can make per hour.

[00:24:01] And I think one of the ways that you can structure a business around that is not being paid hourly, but what are the big wins that you can actually do? So Yeah.

[00:24:08]Don't set your sights too low.

[00:24:11] Jolie Downs: [00:24:11] Yes. I agree. And like you said with the, when you have to find a job because financial, your financial, it makes me think of There's give or take, if you will, with my son, I was trying to get him to get a job. He needs to go get a job, and this is different. He doesn't have a family to support or anything but just the conversation that I had with him , stuck with me because I am giving them all these suggestions of different places to go find a job.

[00:24:34] And he stops like mom, I'm not just going to go get a job to get a job. I was like, excuse me, that's what you do. You need to get, say, no, I'm going to get a job. But one that is going to. Put me in the right direction of where I want to be. So I am going to find a job that is in the right area of where it can lead me somewhere.

[00:24:54] And it's beautiful. That's the

[00:24:55] Suzy Vadori: [00:24:55] Yeah, can't argue

[00:24:56] Jolie Downs: [00:24:56] Fantastic that you've got that good job. Good job, et

[00:24:59]Suzy Vadori: [00:24:59] I would caveat to say where he thinks he wants to be

[00:25:03] Jolie Downs: [00:25:03] Exactly.

[00:25:04] You

[00:25:04] Suzy Vadori: [00:25:04] might find, but the earlier you find out that's not where you want to be the better,

[00:25:07] Jolie Downs: [00:25:07] Oh 100%. Yes. Because at a young age let's be real. We don't all, we don't know. I was going to be honest. I talked to many people in their forties, fifties who still don't know what they want to do because they haven't spent the time to really dive deep and figure it out because let's be honest, that's the world that we live in.

[00:25:27] Suzy Vadori: [00:25:27] I think that's something that the next generation is going to get, I really do. I don't think they're going to put up with what we put up with even working with millennials and then I've got two teenagers in between and, They say things like my son, my 13 year old said to me recently. Yeah.

[00:25:42] I know. I don't want to be a writer. I'm like, why not? Why don't you want to be a writer? He's cause I see you sitting at your computer all day long and I don't want a job like that. Like we didn't really think about things like that. I love it. I don't notice I'm

[00:25:54] Jolie Downs: [00:25:54] Yeah, no, it fits you, but it's exactly that. And like you said, working with millennials, you can see the differences and then the next generation coming up, they're not willing to put up with so much that we did and I applaud that. So

[00:26:08] Suzy Vadori: [00:26:08] me too. But how do you find it after 40? I think maybe that's a good example, right?

[00:26:13] Jolie Downs: [00:26:13] Yeah. And and that's it finding a finding after 40, it is. You know what it's harder. It's well, let me rephrase. It's not harder. It's just that our lives are so busy and full that we don't take the time to do it. It's exactly what you said. Your advice. You need to take the time to sit with yourself, take everyone's stories away and listen to your own voice.

[00:26:41] Suzy Vadori: [00:26:41] Yeah. And I think the other thing that I would add to that is. Around the don't limit yourself. I never, nobody ever told me that being a writer could be a job. Oh yes, sure. You'll write a book one day, but get a job. And I think in today's world, the cool thing is you can make a job out of anything.

[00:27:00] Out of anything. And that's one thing that I love counseling people on because of my background in business, like if they tell me they love to paint, I could probably make a business out of that somehow for them. Now, some people don't want to do that because it takes the joy out of it for them.

[00:27:16]That's different, but if you want to make a living doing what you love. I bet there's a way so get creative because other people probably want to learn to do what you love or other people probably, there's so many different ways to make a living depending on what You want.

[00:27:29] Jolie Downs: [00:27:29] You are a hundred percent, right? Absolutely. And too often, we forget to that into well where the world is different now. So we need to open our eyes to the fact that the world is different and all of these opportunities are surrounding us.

[00:27:42] Suzy Vadori: [00:27:42] Yeah. So one thing I'd love to do when I tour schools is I bring with me that baby book that my mom had bought me. It's from the seventies at this, like every year you put in schoolwork and you put in who your new friends are, or who, what your classroom and all this stuff. And then it's got this little section and it says, what do you want to be when you grow up?

[00:28:04] And its got a section for boys has got a section for girls. And the options for girls were teachers, secretary. Like it just it's horrifying. And I would write in every year I wrote in something different. I want to be a doctor. I want to be an author. I want to be like, I was always writing in something different.

[00:28:21] But yeah, by the time I graduated grade 12 in the nineties in the early nineties, that book was woefully out of date and thank goodness.

[00:28:31] Jolie Downs: [00:28:31] Yes. Thank goodness.

[00:28:33] Suzy Vadori: [00:28:33] Yeah.

[00:28:33] Jolie Downs: [00:28:33] goodness. I appreciate all the change that has been happening in

[00:28:38] Suzy Vadori: [00:28:38] Yeah, I appreciate it. Also. I hope that our children benefit from

[00:28:42] Jolie Downs: [00:28:42] Yeah. So I'm curious, what is something that you've learned personally that you feel has brought the most benefit to your life?

[00:28:49]Suzy Vadori: [00:28:49] I think over the years, I've really learned to be less of a perfectionist.

[00:28:54] Jolie Downs: [00:28:54] That's a good.

[00:28:55] Suzy Vadori: [00:28:55] I think that, okay, Tuesday, I actually have two answers for this now that I think about it. So being less of a perfectionist and being able to just see when things are good enough has allowed me to manage huge projects.

[00:29:07] Huge companies, huge projects. And without that ability to know when things are just good enough and to let go I would never have been able to accomplish what I've accomplished, including in the business that I run now. And then the second thing is communication. And again, this is something that I do keynotes at schools about.

[00:29:26] It's like how just learning to read and write is not about being in the classroom and that literacy and mastering that skill. So when you learn to write stories in the classroom, people think it's just two PS, your English teacher, but actually that storytelling ability is helpful in marketing. It's helpful in persuasion, it's helpful in negotiation, and that ability. And this is an interesting one as we go forward and that next generation coming up, people think that we're going away from the written word. Think about it. How do our kids actually communicate with their friends? They text, right? And so the written word has become even more important.

[00:30:05] Spelling is less important. computers will do that for you, but kids these days and people grow, even people, our age, who are learning to communicate in the digital world, if you don't have strong communications written communication skills, you're going to have a problem because people are going to misconstrue me who hasn't gotten a text that they misunderstood and got mad at.

[00:30:26]Texted somebody and they're all mad because they think it means something else. Like those skills. I credit with everything I've accomplished in life because I can communicate clearly I can put it down and people know exactly what I'm talking about. It stays oodles of time and hurt and heartache.

[00:30:44] Jolie Downs: [00:30:44] Completely agree, no matter what industry or job you're in, communication skills are key and really the future direction of where we're going. It's just going to get more and more important to have strong communication skills.

[00:30:57] Suzy Vadori: [00:30:57] Yeah.

[00:30:57] And I think that people think it's less and I don't because you have a fi like you don't have people's attention, you don't have people's time, so you better make it succinct and you better make it right.

[00:31:08] Jolie Downs: [00:31:08] Completely agree. Yes. And, going back, I'm just curious. Cause I realized there's a lot of people who are moving through the corporate ranks right now. And they're trying to move up to the next level, since you successfully managed to continuously get promoted throughout those writings to COO level.

[00:31:25] Is there any advice that you would give someone as far as the best way to, to present yourself so that you're continuously moving up through those ranks? Is there anything that you did that you felt helped you.

[00:31:36] Suzy Vadori: [00:31:36] Absolutely. Yeah. A hundred things. No. Yeah,

[00:31:39] You know what, the biggest thing is that I, I've had the opportunity to manage them, large teams as large as 200. And so to coach them, it's just to really start doing the job that you want, not just the job that you've got. I like to talk about when I had a somebody from HR, actually, they gave us a speech once that I've used so many times I use it in school, they use it with my own kids and it's about envisioning a plank.

[00:32:03]And if you're ranked at a four, like I say this to my kids, Their schoolwork. If you put the plank on the ground, you're going to walk. That plank is going to be pretty easy and you're going to get one out of four. Cause you did it. Good job. You did it. And if you put it between two chairs and you put that plank up, and then you might do it, it's a little bit harder. You might get a two. And then you put it onto ladders and then you put it on the ceiling and whoever's willing to walk on the ceiling, what it takes to get that extra part. And if you just sit around and complain about not getting promoted, just go and do the extra.

[00:32:35] That's my advice, right? Do the job that you want and start showing people how you can already do it. So that's easy for them to envision it. And so that your learning curve is less steep when you get there, that doesn't mean kill yourself and work around the clock. It just needs to be part about it and go that extra mile.

[00:32:51] So that time that you might've spent complaining, maybe spend doing a little bit of extra to help the people around you.

[00:32:57]Jolie Downs: [00:32:57] I want to applaud that answer.

[00:33:00] Suzy Vadori: [00:33:00] Yeah.

[00:33:01] Jolie Downs: [00:33:01] Yes, that's perfect advice.

[00:33:03] Suzy Vadori: [00:33:03] It's like a visualization, right? It's not like you don't know if you're sitting there and there's somebody beside you who keeps getting promoted and You're bitter. It's not you, hopefully it's not nepotism or some other reason, but but hopefully it's because they are actually putting in that extra work and they are going that extra mile.

[00:33:20] And what, if you don't want to do that's fine. But you won't get promoted. Like just. Yep.

[00:33:25] Jolie Downs: [00:33:25] Exactly.

[00:33:26] Suzy Vadori: [00:33:26] okay. There's nothing wrong with that. There's people who are actually comfortable doing the same job for a very long period of time. And then they find their fulfillment elsewhere in their life.

[00:33:35] And there's nothing wrong with that at all.

[00:33:37] Jolie Downs: [00:33:37] no, nothing at all. It's just a matter of having that balance in your life. So you're getting all the different things that you need to


[00:33:42] You. Yeah. So now what about habits? Are there any specific habits that you've developed for yourself that you feel help make you succeed?

[00:33:53] Suzy Vadori: [00:33:53] Oh, my goodness. How many times I was a consultant in the mid nineties seven habits is second hand. But Yeah.

[00:33:59] but. And that's what it is that Stephen Covey's seven habits and the quadrant, the magic quadrants. But habits, I think again, really time management is a skill that's really important when you're running your own business, because it can be especially an online business.

[00:34:13]I have a Facebook group. I support people. I could spend all day in there supporting people, but I try to time box it. So I use time-blocking and make it, I also, I have very strong I make it, I have a bullet journal with lists and check boxes and I feel really good. Sometimes I write something down that I already did just like it, check it

[00:34:31] Jolie Downs: [00:34:31] Yeah.

[00:34:31]Suzy Vadori: [00:34:31] Yeah.

[00:34:32] of course. Cause you gotta be like, what did I do with my day? But Yeah.

[00:34:36] I have very strong habits. I have a journal with. With to-do lists because there's a lot of moving parts to running your own business or to creating a new career. It can be really disorienting. It really helps me manage a lot more things all at once and having a very detailed schedule of what I plan to do.

[00:34:54] Things allows me, especially as a book, coach and editor, not to over-commit. I had a circumstance this week where, I had somebody asked me for a coaching package. It was a particular help them with a query letter. Which is when you're submitting a book. And I had told her I gave her a date three weeks out and I said, Hey, this is when I can do this package.

[00:35:13] She was like, great.

[00:35:14] And then two weeks ago, and that was today and two weeks ago she's Hey, I'm done early. Can you do it early? And I'm like I looked at my schedule. I said you can send it early, but I can't see where I could fit it in, but I'll try. And I did try, but I couldn't like, cause because I'm so down to the minute in terms of that, and then at six o'clock I'm, five o'clock or six o'clock depending on the day I'm done work and I'm off with my family.

[00:35:39]So I don't try to cram things in anymore. I try to be really realistic, understand how long it takes me to do something and not over commit. And that means that my editing schedule currently is booked out three months, but it just is what it is. Sorry.

[00:35:52] Jolie Downs: [00:35:52] though. That's you're living your best life.

[00:35:54]Suzy Vadori: [00:35:54] I'm trying,

[00:35:57] Jolie Downs: [00:35:57] So I, I obviously being a writer, you read a lot, I'm curious. Are there any books or even a talk or video that has had a really big impact on your life that you think others would benefit from it?

[00:36:06]Suzy Vadori: [00:36:06] There are a million books that a lot of them are really specific to writing. So do you think your audience is more general? What I would say is I point people to Simon Sinek a lot. He talks about your why, and he's got a Ted talk that's it's called how great leaders inspire action, but it's really about finding your why in your business.

[00:36:25] And even though I use that as business before, it?

[00:36:28] means so much more now, from a marketing perspective, when I was marketing things and trying to come up with ad campaigns, it's let's come up with a why for the company. And it's the more shallow interpretation of it. But when you look at that, if you want to watch the video, it's only 18 minutes long.

[00:36:45] You can just Google Simon Sinek. Why it's. If you think about it in the context of the book that you want to write or the business that you want to do, it's all about how. We talk about the what you want to do. I want to write a book and how am I going to write a book? And maybe going to hire a book coach, or I'm going to do it on my own, or I'm going to get a ghost writer to write it, or however you do it, but the why is often skipped.

[00:37:09] And if you can connect with your way of doing things, that's where the motivation comes in. And that's where everything is. It's such an eye-opener. I have. All this. Like I talk to people all the time that I send a way to do that and they come back and tell me, oh my gosh, I've been writing this book for six years.

[00:37:27] And I had no idea that I was actually writing my own story. I'm writing about dragons. I'm writing about high school and writing about somebody completely that I thought was a totally different story. And I just realized that I'm working through something that happened to me.

[00:37:42] Jolie Downs: [00:37:42] Yeah.

[00:37:43]Suzy Vadori: [00:37:43] It's an amazing exercise.

[00:37:44] So I totally I think that one is a game changer and I watch it when I start a new project. I'll think about it again and really try to connect with that. And if you don't have a strong, why don't do it,

[00:37:55] Jolie Downs: [00:37:55] Okay.

[00:37:55] Suzy Vadori: [00:37:55] do something else.

[00:37:56] Jolie Downs: [00:37:56] Yep. This is a recurring theme as well, but knowing your why it is

[00:38:01] Suzy Vadori: [00:38:01] Yeah,

[00:38:01] Sorry. It's a bit pedantic, but it is true, right? Like it's such a simple concept. Probably not unique, but

[00:38:09] Jolie Downs: [00:38:09] no, that's perfect. Now. So as far as the listeners go, if anyone's interested in contacting you, are you taking on new clients at this point for.

[00:38:20] Suzy Vadori: [00:38:20] Absolutely.

[00:38:21] Jolie Downs: [00:38:21] Your website. Is there anything else that the listeners should know where to find you?

[00:38:26] Suzy Vadori: [00:38:26] You know what come and find me in our Facebook group. We just started it this summer, actually just about a month ago. And it is a lively discussion. If you were looking to write a book or you're trying to write a book or you've already written books we have a super supportive group of writers and it's called inspired writing.

[00:38:42] So if you just plug that into Facebook and I can send you the link to include come join me. I have a weekly blog that I also do with writing tips. And so there's all kinds of stuff, but the central place that I'm hanging out with these days and supporting people is through that Facebook group.

[00:38:55] And so you can find me there and talk one-on-one also with the group there and get some support for your writing projects and figure out how to work with me. And then again in the fall there'll be the the wicked good fiction bootcamp is going to be running again. I'm super excited to run that again.

[00:39:10] Cause it was such a blast. We had a great group of writers in the spring and just the amazing things that came out of it for them. It's just totally worth doing for me.

[00:39:19] Jolie Downs: [00:39:19] When are you doing signups for that?

[00:39:21]Suzy Vadori: [00:39:21] The sign will, again, you can the information is on my website, but signups for that will open in September. So the program doesn't start until September 20th and we'll be running a few things up.

[00:39:32]Like there'll be a challenge and some webinars and things that you guys can do for free. Leading up to that to see if it's a good fit.

[00:39:39] Jolie Downs: [00:39:39] Perfect. And we'll make sure we have all those links in the show notes for listeners. So before we go, I'd love to ask you my final question. What are you sure of in life?

[00:39:49] Suzy Vadori: [00:39:49] Oh, my goodness. What am I sure of in life? You know what, I am sure that I am doing what I am meant to be doing.

[00:39:57] Jolie Downs: [00:39:57] Oh,

[00:39:57]Suzy Vadori: [00:39:57] And I couldn't have said that 10 years ago.

[00:39:59]Jolie Downs: [00:39:59] It gave me chills. I love that.

[00:40:01] Suzy Vadori: [00:40:01] Yeah, I couldn't have said that 10 years ago. Every day when I wake up, I some of the things along the ways, some of the stuff today right before this, I was doing invoicing.

[00:40:09] I hate doing that. And I do have an assistant that does some of it, but I have to at least prepare, what it is that she's supposed to be doing. But yeah.

[00:40:18] Jolie Downs: [00:40:18] Yeah, that's great. Thank you so much, Susie. This has been a wonderful.

[00:40:23] Suzy Vadori: [00:40:23] Thank you so much for having me and thank you for the work that you do and helping people discover what it is that they're meant to be doing.

[00:40:29] Jolie Downs: [00:40:29] Thank you.

I found Suzy’s story incredibly inspiring.

Suzy always had a dream to write a book, writing many half books as teenagers. As she entered the working age she put that dream to the side and took a corporate role, becoming very good at what she did. Suzy moved her way up the ranks all the way to the C-level upper echelon, holding COO, of Chief Operating Officer, roles.

For so many, this is the ultimate goal, but Suzy had this niggling, that desire to write a book had never left her. When she had time at home during a maternity leave, Suzy finally satisfied that itch and wrote her first book, which became a success and eventually led to a series. The success of her writing snowballed until she it became time for her to make the leap into all things writing.

I love this. I love that Suzy didn’t let that dream die and found the time to fulfill the fantasy that began so long ago.

What was your dream?

What fantasy did you have that over the years, you let go?

What would happen if you revisited that desire?

For Suzy, it led to an entirely new career. One in which has led to speaking engagements, conferences, coaching, online programs and the creation of new writing community.

I can’t say what would happen if you were to pick up that forgotten dream, but I can tell you, that at the very least, you will bring more joy, energy and vibrancy into your life and anytime you raise your energy in such a positive way, good things follow.

Remember, Suzy didn’t just jump from a well established role, she built this passion of hers into a career on the side before making the change. Even with the busiest of schedules, you can carve time of your week to focus on you and your dreams. You owe yourself this, mentally think about an hour you can schedule each week just for yourself, and re-acquaint yourself with your long lost wishes.

I appreciated that Suzy shared how terrifying it was for her. Many people won’t take a risk because they think, that’s just not them, they aren’t that type. Suzy is a perfect example that there is no type. It’s just about what you want and what feels right for you. Suzy never thought she had it in her to be an entrepreneur, to make those decisions to take the big risks but when it came to her passion, when she knew her WHY, she found she was able to do all those things.

And you can to. The only thing holding you back is the belief that you can’t do it.

I want you to know.

You can.

Anyone can.

It simply requires making the decision and following it up with persistent action. Taking a step in that direction every day or even every week to begin with. As Suzy suggested, get in touch with your own WHY.

People may ask, what does this mean? It means, knowing why you want to do something, What are your motivating factors? Why are you doing what you are doing? When you understand the why behind your actions it brings everything into focus and gives you great deal of clarity. It will help you deflect from procrastination, overcommitting and other forms of self sabotage allowing you to move towards your goals with more energy and ease.

If you don’t know your purpose, then finding out your personal why can help you figure that out. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get more in touch with your purpose.

What makes you come alive?

What are your personal strengths?

Where do you add the greatest value?

How will you measure your life?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help lead you to discovering new and inspiring opportunities as you move forward in life.

Which goes along with Suzy’s advice for anyone feeling stuck at the moment. She suggests taking time to sit with yourself, remove the self limiting beliefs, strip away everyone else’s story and listen to your own voice. What do I really want to do? Incorporate this into your daily life. Keep asking yourself, Is this what I really want to be doing? Is this serving me and my purpose? And when the answer is yes, this is what I want to be doing. Follow it up with, why?

These are the consistent questions you need to go from existing to really living.

I love that for Suzy, her greatest success is the community and relationships she has built with writers. It’s the help she gives others that fills her up, and I promise you, this is true in life with whatever you do. I appreciate that Suzy shared how hard it was to put herself out there, because it really is. It’s incredibly hard. You feel vulnerable and worry about being criticized, I know I felt the same way when I was starting my podcast. It’s hard. But it’s so worth it. Any knowing my WHY, and Suzy knowing her WHY, is what gives you the correct focus to move forward. There is growth and power that comes from feeling that vulnerability and moving forward anyway. Sharing yourself with others allows them to open up and do the same. It one of life’s greatest teachers, both for yourself and for those around you. Being vulnerable with others brings connection and understanding and we all need more of that in our lives. Next time you are holding yourself back in fear of putting yourself out there, take Nike’s advice and, Just Do It.

I’d also like to point out that it was the challenge of the Pandemic that led to Suzy making the pivot to get a coaching license, starting her coaching business, creating online programs and building this community that has become one of her greatest successes. As they say, in every crisis, there is opportunity, you just have to find it.

What is your crisis right now? Where can you find the opportunity?

Suzy had excellent advice for those looking to climb the corporate ladder. She suggests that you simply start doing the job you want, not only the job you have. Start doing the extra work to show people that you ready for the transition. The decision makers need to be able to envision you in the role. If you start taking some of those up leveled responsibilities voluntarily, that vision will make itself clear. Successful people are not sitting around wasting their time being bitter about their work or their boss’s decisions, they are busy taking action and doing what is needed to get to the next level. If you want to make it to the next level, you need to go the extra mile.

Suzy’s habits were all great to note. Keeping a detailed schedule and planning out your day in advance are huge productivity hacks. Being trained as a recruiter, one of the requirements is that you plan your day the night before. Before you leave your desk, you would have the days plans, call lists and schedule all set and ready to go because this boosts productivity. When I started my business, I began to slack on that daily planning and the result was felt in a very big way. Taking the time to plan the day the night before is an amazing success tool. I’ve extended this to life in general, visualizing before bed how the next day will look if everything went perfectly, with work, with my family and with my personal wants. These practices lead to smoother days. It’s a wonderful life tool.

Finally, I absolutely loved what Susie was sure of in life, that she’s doing what she is meant to be doing. And that is my wish for us all, that you feel that same happy satisfaction with what you are doing in life and if you don’t, that you will make a promise to yourself right now, to find it.

Until next time.

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