Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, the podcast that teaches you how to build your dream coaching practice and how to significantly increase your income. If you’re a coach and you’re determined to start making more money, this show is for you. I’m master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I’m psyched for you to join me on this journey.
We all face challenges in our lives and careers. Your next challenge might be something big like being harassed by online trolls, or your next challenge might be something relatively small, like a paper jam in your printer, or a website payment form that’s just not working.
Actually, I consider that a major ordeal because people need tone able to pay you, hello. But I’m willing to bet that some type of challenge will arise for you by the end of this week. Maybe even by the end of today. That’s for sure because new challenges are continuously arising.
So when that road block shows up, how will you face it? How will you handle it? Will you allow yourself to sink into despair? Or will you approach this challenge with an unstoppable spirit? Of course, the big question is how do you become an unstoppable woman, or an unstoppable entrepreneur?
How do you become the type of person who refuses to give up, who goes back into the arena to keep fighting the good fight again and again? How do you become someone who just won’t quit? That’s what this episode is all about.
I’ve got some ideas for you, plus a powerful interview with a woman who has endured major challenges in her life, including losing her brother in a terrorist attack, big career challenges, and more. You’ll be riveted by these stories, so stay put and keep listening. Here we go.
We’re starting with a segment that I call your two-minute pep talk. This is the part of the show where I share some motivation and encouragement to get your week started off right, and I try, don’t always succeed, but I try to keep things to two minutes or less.
So today we’re discussing this question. How do you become the type of person who will not give up? How do you become resilient, tenacious, unstoppable? One way to become an unstoppable woman is to spend some time thinking about death.
Okay I know, you might be like, “Susan Hyatt, what the hell? It’s 6am on a Monday morning and I’m just having my first cup of coffee and you want to talk about dying?” Yeah, I sure do. Because contemplating death can really eliminate how you might want to live.
What’s most important to you? What’s worth fighting for? What do you want to contribute to the world before you die? What do you want your obituary to say about you? How would you like to be remembered by your family, your clients, your community?
Think about your coaching practice for a moment. When it comes to your coaching business, what are three things you want to contribute to the world before you die? Try to come up with three contributions that feels so important to you, they almost make you cry or they literally make you cry. Write them down, make a list, read this list back to yourself often and pledge to complete this list and make these three contributions before you die.
No stopping, no quitting, because this is your one and only life. I have a couple of things on my before-I-die list, in terms of my coaching practice. One of those things is I am writing my next book, which is called Bold and it’s basically the Bare process for girls ages, say, eight to 12. And I would love before I die for the Bold process to be in public school education and private school education, but basically in middle school health class.
I would also love that by the time I have granddaughters, that they say things like, “Y’all used to diet? Really? That’s so weird.” That that couldn’t even conceive of a world where dieting was something that you did. Kind of how smoking is today.
It’s important to me to make these contributions because I really believe that if girls and women can stop spending their time trying to shrink their waistlines, they can use that power to expand their lives. So there was an author named Todd Henry who wrote a book called Die Empty.
Todd basically says most people die full. Full of goals they never accomplished, full of dreams they never pursued due to various fears, full of beautiful art, beautiful work, projects they never completed because they got stuck, scared, defeated. Do you want to die full or do you want to die empty?
Every day in big ways and small ways, we face this choice. Die full or die empty. The next time you encounter a challenge in your life or in your business, remind yourself, I want to die empty. Don’t allow yourself to sink into defeat. Get up, get back in, get your mindset back in the right place so that you can keep moving forward and ultimately die empty.
Okay, so this wasn’t exactly a pep talk. It’s more like a death talk, but sometimes we need to be confronted with the stark reality that one day, all of this ends. So with the time you’ve got left, how are you going to live and lead and coach, and how will you show up?
Show up as the unstoppable force that you are. Don’t allow critics, trolls, bullies, or the bullies inside your own mind to block you. Choose to be unstoppable and choose to die empty.
Okay, now we’re moving into the part of the show where I give shout-outs to you. Shout-outs to listeners, clients, all the wonderful people in my business community. And today, I want to give a shout-out to Doc Drema. Drema gave me a five-star iTunes review on the podcast and it’s entitled, “Humor and straight talk.”
“If you’re a coach, you know the biz is full of ups and downs. Susan’s straightforward talk, combined with great stories and examples is a refreshing delight. Grab your tea and settle in with a friend.”
Drema, I love you. Thank you. And that’s my shout-out for today. So if you have something to say about this show, I want to encourage you, please send an email to my team, [email protected] You can also go and leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or Google Play, wherever you listen to podcasts. And you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout-outs to people in my community so holler at me. Thank you for the love. I love you right back.
I recently had a conversation with Ellen Fondiler, a career and business coach with an incredible life story. Ellen started her career as an attorney working for the state of California, specializing, oh my gosh you guys, in death penalty appeals. Every day her work was literally a matter of life and death.
And later she left the field of law and became an entrepreneur. She’s run four businesses over the course of her career, winning major awards, including a prestigious honor from the governor of California. Today she runs a coaching program called Relaunch, which is all about reinvention. Relaunching your life, career, or both, getting unstuck, bringing fresh energy into your world.
And speaking of getting unstuck, one of Ellen’s mottos that I’ve always loved is go back in. No matter how many times you hear no or experience a challenge, always get up and go back in. I know you’ll love this interview, so without further ado, let’s dive in.
Susan: So welcome to the podcast, Ellen Fondiler.
Ellen: Thank you Susan Hyatt. It is so great to be here.
Susan: So we go way back, and I obviously love everything you’re about. You represent grit and reinvention, and of course, listeners to this podcast are entrepreneurs who are trying to make it work. They’re trying to make the money they want, serve the clients that they love, and I just thought you would be such a great role model to have on the show because you’ve done so many amazing things in your life.
Ellen: Well thank you, and before we start, I want to say that I’ve spent the last few days getting ready for this conversation, in all things Susan Hyatt. And I am so impressed and moved by everything you’re doing. I watched your documentary, I listened to your TED talk and a bunch of your podcast episodes.
And I was moved to tears at your documentary. It’s really extraordinary. And I just also really love that you’re bringing this work to young people. It’s just so important and wow, so thank you.
Susan: That means so much to me, thank you. We’re really going all in on helping spread this movement so that we can free up girls and women to really reach their full potential. And this is something I know that you’re all about. So you are focused on reinvention, and so what do you think, if somebody listening to this is considering – probably there are many of you listening to this considering starting your own business, or doing something new within your business, what do you think are some of the signs that reinventing is necessary?
Ellen: Well, I think for me, what happens is it sort of starts with like, different whispers. Like you’re not happy, or you’re tired, or you don’t want to get up in the morning and go to work. And so there are those classic ones. And then there are things that are sort of pulling you in another direction that your mind is saying, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that.”
Or I can’t leave my job because it’s a good job and it pays me well and in 15 years I can retire. So we have all these stories that we tell ourselves, even though the universe is sort of trying to tell us to move us in another direction. So those kinds of things.
Susan: Yeah, I think whispers for sure. And I don’t know about you Ellen, but when I ignore those whispers, that’s when the universe starts doing some really interesting things to get my attention.
Ellen: It hits you over the side of the head with a frying pan sometimes.
Susan: That’s absolutely right. Sometimes it’s like, okay, we need to be a little more obvious with this one because she’s ignoring us.
Ellen: Exactly. And you know, so often we listen to voices that are not ours. We have our parents’ voices in our head and our spouse’s voices in our head and our friends, and I’ve come up with ideas and people have said to me, “Oh, that’ll never work,” or, “Why would you risk what you have to do that?” And if I had listened to everybody, I wouldn’t have done half the things that I’ve done. And not to say it was easy, but I would have felt imprisoned not to be able to listen to what my spirit was telling me to do.
Susan: Yeah, because you’re the queen of reinvention. So what is the latest reinvention that you’re the most proud of?
Ellen: I started out, I went to law school, and everything that’s ever happened to me has been because of serendipity. I walked down a hallway, I saw a little card on a bulletin board saying this job is available. I read an article in a newspaper, something serendipitous happened. I talked to somebody that just set off a little something in my brain that went oh, that could be really cool.
So anyway, I went to law school, I got this job, at the time Jerry Brown was governor. He then became governor again years later. And he started these programs for indigent defendants. In California you get represented all the way through your appeals. And then the death penalty became legal right around that time.
So the office just focused on death penalty work. It was like a start-up. It was like an early start-up way back when and it was great. And then I moved to a smaller town but I kept doing the work and one day some friends and I, a doctor and a marine biologist, and I was sitting around sort of like a joke, a lawyer, a marine biologist, and a doctor was sitting around.
And we just said, at the time, where cookie shops were big and we lived in a town with like, a main street, we said, “Let’s start a bakery.” And we did it. We just said yeah, let’s do that. And so I stopped practicing law for a while. I knew nothing about baking other than making cookies for my kids.
Ellen: So anyway, that became my kid for about three years and we did wholesale bakery and retail bakery. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Baking, you get up at 4am, you’re inhaling chocolate all day long, which sounds better it is.
Anyway, I went back to the law, then I had kids and I was reading about rapes and murders all day long and I just said, I can’t do this anymore. So I read this article about school gardens in the newspaper. It just struck me as fascinating, that you could garden, kids could learn math and English and history through outdoor hands-on activities.
Again, I had never gardened. I had never put my hands in the dirt, but there was just something, I think my right brain was just calling out to me. And I went to this workshop and I got hooked. And that actually became my life’s work for the next 15 years. I became a master gardener, I became a garden designer, a floral designer, but really, it was school gardens that had my heart.
Once my son got to middle school, there was this 10 acre piece of land and I started with another teacher this non-profit that served kids all over Monterey County, sustainability, we had bird programs and gardens and native plant programs and ocean literacy programs and it became – this was not what it started out to be, but it kept growing and growing and growing and it became this beautiful, wonderful organic thing. And I raised over five million dollars for it and that became my life’s work.
Susan: Oh my gosh, just that. Just five million dollars raised.
Ellen: I know, I know. And through all of that there was life. There was, as you know, I lost two kids. My first children were conjoined, so I went through that whole thing, and one died at birth and one died 10 months later. And then my brother was killed in Pan Am 103, and then I had a painful divorce.
There was life that came in. And then there was my work, which I loved very, very much and it sustained me. But those experiences reinforced in my mind how important it is to wake up in the morning and love what you do.
Susan: And I think it’s important that you brought up all of the different life traumas that you’ve experienced because I think something that can happen when women are in business is that something happens and they think, “Well, who am I to think that I can have this business? Look, this is proof that I should be just collecting a paycheck or doing something else. This is too risky, this is too much, I’m being selfish.” It’s like, no, there are things that are going to happen in life that happens to everyone. Everybody has the shit hit the fan.
Susan: And so this love and the devotion that you’ve had for each reinvention, each phase of your life, what do you think are the skills necessary to surf the waves of life and keep reinventing yourself?
Ellen: I personally think that probably the most important characteristic somebody can have is grit. I think that obviously, intelligence, a desire to learn, interest in what you’re doing are all important. But for me, what gets me going every single day is that I have grit. I just like, no matter what, I wake up and I move forward. And not only is it important, but it’s something that I really value and treasure.
Susan: You know, and I consider myself to be pretty scrappy, to have a high level of grit as well, but there have been times in my life where I could have used some more grit. What do you think creates grit within someone?
Ellen: That’s a great question. I happen to have had a father, I had a very optimistic, upbeat father, and I am very fortunate to have whether astrologically or whether through birth, I inherited his optimism. So I have this great belief that whatever is happening either is for a reason and it will get better.
He also taught me a lot about grit. He always had such a belief in my brother, my sister and I, that we could do whatever we wanted to do, and he taught us to hang in there and he taught us to just have this sense to keep going. He was born mid-Westerner, he just had the mid-Western values of hard work. And so I think grit actually can be taught.
Susan: Yeah, I, in listening to you describe this, I’m smiling because grit really comes down to, I think, belief primarily. So you mentioned he instilled in you like, you’re giving a nod to perhaps in the belief that you could do anything, the belief that if something goes wrong, keep going, the belief that things happen for you or for a reason, and combining that with action, hard work.
So it’s interesting when I work with people who think, “Well, I’m just lazy or I’m just this or that,” I’m with you. I mean, I do believe that we have a chemical makeup. So for example, in my family, I think it would be easy to prove that I was born with a more optimistic baseline setting than say, my brother. But each of us could grow our capacity for grit no matter what our chemical makeup, and that starts with what you tell yourself.
Ellen: I remember when you and I first met at Alex’s many years ago, and you were just starting to run, and you were just starting CrossFit I think, but still not a fan of exercise. I mean, it was hard to get up and do it. Oh my god, look at you now. And I think it’s through grit, but also through the dailyness of doing it, just showing up and even just putting on your shoes, walking out of the house at five o clock in the morning and starting to run. All of that, it’s part of the dialogue that you tell yourself in your head, and that’s what grit is.
Susan: And honestly, I agree with you. I think it’s like, the number one skillset to have. When I think of what kind of flower am I, I actually choose the dandelion because the dandelion will grow through the cracks in the sidewalk.
Ellen: I love that.
Susan: Like, hey guess what, you can pour concrete over me but I’m still going to bust through. And I think in terms of reinvention and grit, one of the things that has happened recently is the very traumatic, terrifying helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant and how sad he, his 13-year-old daughter, seven other people on board perished.
There’s a little bit of controversy about the Kobe death and that he also was accused of rape, and prior to the Me Too movement, and so it’s a very complicated grieving for a lot of people. That being said, there is a famous quote of his that has been circulating, which is really – I think it’s entitled what’s your 4am?
And I have been teaching it in a lot of my classes this week in that basically he says like, hey, yeah, all of us who are on this team are here partly because of our talent, but it’s mostly because – he was like, I’m not the most talented athlete out there, but I got up at 4am, I will do the two a day workouts or the five a day workouts that’s required for me to perform in the way that I need to.
And so it’s really thinking about what are you willing to do? What are the tough choices that you’re willing to make that most people aren’t willing to make in business? And I’m constantly thinking about the risky moves that you described with each time you reinvented yourself.
Most people would never, first of all, hear the whispers. Secondly, act on the whispers and say like, okay, I don’t really bake but I’m feeling a calling to do this or I don’t really garden but how amazing could this be? And I mean, look at what you’ve created over your career. It’s outstanding.
Ellen: Thank you. And believe me, there are many, many day when I woke up and I said, oh my god, what have I gotten into? Or oh my god, I don’t know what to do next. And basically, I just took the next step. I just like, especially with the non-profit, I just had a vision like, it was vague. It wasn’t like I knew when I first started I’m going to build this 10-acre site and I’m going to raise millions of dollars.
I just had a vision. Wouldn’t it be great to use this? It was an empty piece of land, it had been a Christmas tree farm, there was no habitat on it. And I just like, saw it. I just had this moment where I saw what it could be. Just like you see your Bare movement and you don’t know what it’s going to look like in five years or 10 years but you have a vision. But it’s going to be something so different than what you can even imagine today.
But it’s just so important to just take the next step and the next step, and on the days when you’re feeling, what have I done? That’s why it’s important to have other people around you and to have a support system and to have people that give you accountability because it helps you wake up and move forward the next day.
Susan: Yeah, I was going to ask you because I’m with you. I mean, there are plenty of mornings I wake up, for example, you mentioned the documentary, and I get a vision for something like you described, and I’m a quick start. So I just jump and start moving towards that vision. And there were times I would board a plane and go, what the hell am I doing? Who thought this was a good idea, to try to film a documentary in a couple of weeks?
But I just really had this idea that I wanted to kick off the year with a documentary to show people what was possible for them. And you answered the next question, which was, okay, so when you have those moments of I don’t know what to do, what have I done, having a support team, I agree, having people around you that can remind you of why you’re doing this and rally the troops with you, anything else that’s helped you in the midst of reinvention when you’ve had freak outs?
Ellen: Well, I think certainly Susan Hyatt’s Fun Fridays. Taking time off, of filling yourself up, taking a break, shutting off your mind and watching Netflix or whatever. But also, I’m a major list person and thank god Alex Franzen has just written a great list book.
Susan: Oh my god, Ellen, can I just tell you, I don’t know what rock I have been under, but I just – I’m like, how do I not know? I ordered 35 copies yesterday as a surprise for my mastermind, which thankfully this episode won’t air until after they receive it. But I was like, what rock have I been under? Alex, you produced another book? She is unbelievable.
Ellen: Unbelievable. And it’s a great book. And I love – lists sustain me. Like, before I go to bed at night I make a list. First of all, on Sunday night I make a list for the whole week, and then I break it down day by day by day. And of course, we never get done each day what we think we’re going to get done.
So each night I sort of reevaluate my list, figure out what I’m going to do the next day, what clients I have, what things I need to do. And if I wake up in the middle of the night and I have 10,000 things on my brain, I just make a list. And somehow, it just orders my world. It’s just very soothing to me.
Susan: Well, and I think for people listening, what you really have just described is an evening ritual, which is something – we talk a lot about morning rituals, which I do think are paramount. But I do the same thing that you’re describing. I think an evening ritual of just looking at the day ahead, making a list can really help settle you down and keep your mind from freaking out about there’s so much and I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m with you. I am a list maker.
Ellen: And the other thing that really helps me is to read about – I love people’s stories. And you know, as you know, I did that How Did You Do That series. I love interviewing people, but I love hearing how they came to do what they do. And I love looking back in history and seeing how I just wrote a thing on my Instagram about this woman who was the first woman to – bicycles actually became a very big symbol of the feminist movement. I guess before women could drive.
They went from wearing dresses to wearing bloomers. And they started to ride bicycles. And there was this woman, she decided at 24 years old on a bet that she was going to leave her husband and three kids to ride her bicycle around the world, and she did in a year. And she was a self-promoter, she was a cross between, I don’t know, P.T. Barnum and some great feminist because she just did what she needed to do.
So there are these amazing stories of all sorts of people and all of the founding mothers, and Gloria Steinem and people who just lead the way. And I am just so fascinated by it, and I also love reading about everyday people who somehow decide to open that bakery or open a painting studio or become a graphic designer, or visual designer. I love the book…
Susan: Are you talking about the one that’s In the Company of Women?
Ellen: Company of Women, yes.
Susan: Ever since you sent that to me, I send it as client gifts a lot as well. And I’m with you, sometimes if I need inspiration, I’ll just pick it up and start paging through it. Yes, other people’s stories of – and you’re right. Everyday people to people who’ve accomplished major things, it’s just so comforting, which is why Ellen, I don’t know if you have watched the new Netflix documentary called Cheer?
Ellen: No, I have not watched it yet but it looks amazing.
Susan: It is so good. And I’m a little bit torn. These cheerleaders are such incredible athletes. The only hesitation I have about it is that I do think there’s a lot of danger in the stunts that they’re doing and I get worried for them. But you have to watch it because I think they do a great job of showcasing each kid.
And they all have such amazing personal stories. That’s what entices me to keep watching. I was crying, I wanted to adopt half of them. They all just have – they embody this grit that you’re talking about because these cheerleaders train all day long for one routine that’s two minutes and say, 15 seconds. And we complain.
I mean, we’re talking hours a day for two minutes and 15 seconds. And it’s like, okay, if they can train all year, I can get off my butt and do whatever it is I need to do. And the other thing I wanted to say is I’m so delighted to know that the bicycle is sort of a symbol of feminism because you know I’m obsessed with my Peloton bike.
Ellen: That’s so interesting.
Susan: It’s so funny. It takes new meaning.
Ellen: I love that.
Susan: So Ellen, here’s what I want to know. I ask all my interviewees this question if I remember, and I wanted to make sure I asked you this for sure. Can you name something that is free or almost free that makes you feel rich?
Ellen: Well, for me, it’s just like, having dinner with my kids. Spending time with my sons and just being together and cooking and laughing and watching movies. To me, there’s nothing better.
Susan: I love that answer. And now that I’m an empty-nester, I aspire to that kind of relationship with my kids as they grow into adulthood. So amazing to see. You’ve raised a couple of pretty amazing kids.
Ellen: Thank you. As have you. Your kids are finding their way and they seem to be doing great.
Susan: They are. They are. I’m really proud of both of them. They’re doing some pretty brave things themselves. So hey, I would love for you, of course in the show notes we’re going to tell people how to find you, how to consume all the podcasts and read all the things you’ve done. How do you most like to engage with people?
Ellen: Well, I am now a career coach because I figured I had so much experience starting and developing careers, so I try to do that for people. And I try to give people actionable tools to become unstuck and create a more meaningful life and career. And I do it through this designing your life process. It’s life design, where instead of thinking your way to what you want to do next, it’s action oriented.
You build your way forward. So as if you were Thomas Edison and you were inventing the lightbulb or whoever invented the bicycle and they tried it, it didn’t work, they tried it, it didn’t work. So through a series of prototyping exercises that I do with people like run courses, which the silver fox was in one of my Relaunch.
Susan: I know, he loved it.
Ellen: I loved having him. He was the best. And I do courses, I do one-on-one work, but I help people look at their lives closely and what’s working, what’s energizing them, what’s engaging them, what’s not, and then we mind map and we brainstorm and we do life planning.
And then usually something rises to the top that you want to prototype, that you want to go out in the world and you want to see, is this what I want to try? And you find people that are doing it and you have conversations. And maybe you volunteer. But through a series of steps, you figure out what your next steps are. And so often, it’s not even anything anybody has thought about.
Like you could be an accountant and decide what you really want to do is be an aesthetician. Or you might be somebody that all of a sudden decides that what you really want – you love cooking and you love traveling and you want to take women to Europe on cooking tours. So, so many wonderful things have surfaced from doing this work.
And we look at your life close in, how’s your work, how’s your health, how’s your play, how’s your love, and like you do with Bare, you look at the smallest steps that you can take, the low-hanging fruit that could maybe start changing your life a little bit. And once you take a step in that direction, things really start changing.
Susan: So awesome. Highly recommend, you guys. Please check Ellen’s work out. She is such an amazing mentor. And I want to thank you for your time today, Ellen. As always, it was a pleasure.
Ellen: It’s such a pleasure to talk to you as always. I miss our old go-get-it days.
Susan: I know, I know.
Ellen: And a lot of what we both do has so many elements of go get it in it, but those were fun times.
Hey, one more thing before we finish up today’s episode. A while ago, I wrote the unstoppable woman code of conduct. And if you’re on my mailing list, then you definitely received this. This is a code of conduct with daily habits to help you feel unstoppable. Like what kind of habits?
Well, you can read the whole thing again online. It’s a quick read but I’ll mention a few key points right now. Number one, fuel yourself daily. By making self-care a top priority, self-care before email, self-care before clients, self-care has got to come first.
Self-care is anything that gives you more energy and the more energy you’ve got, the better you feel and the more unstoppable you will be. This is so true. I mean, the first thing that I do every single day is my morning ritual and self-care is a huge part of that. I get my Peloton or my run in or my weights, my quiet time. That happens before anything happens and it makes a huge difference.
Number two, floss your brain daily. Identify the types of thoughts that drain your energy, thoughts that slow you down, and clear them out. Do your daily mental hygiene, just like daily dental hygiene. Number three, get emotional about your work. Find a reason to keep showing up, a reason that pulls at your heart and brings you to tears.
Those are just a few quickies from the unstoppable woman code of conduct. If you adopt those practices and do them consistently, you will feel unstoppable. To see the full code of conduct, head on over to the show notes. There’s a link in there for you for this episode.
I’ll also post a link on Instagram this week too, and I’ll post a link inside the Rich Coach Club Facebook group as well. The unstoppable woman code of conduct is a free resource, so definitely check it out. Share it with your friends. Read it, live it, choose to be unstoppable.
Thank you for listening to today’s episode. Whatever challenging you’re dealing with right now, decide that you’re going to keep marching forward, live fully, and die empty. A great time to quit is never o clock, y’all. So thank you for listening, I’ll see you next week.
Thank you for listening to Susan Hyatt’s Rich Coach Club. If you enjoyed today’s show, please head over to shyatt.com/cash where you’ll find my brand new money magazine. Now listen, we designed this magazine to be entertaining, educational, and help you make serious bank.
So you can download the magazine, there’s a money quiz inside, there’s an interview with one of my favorite clients who went from making no money and being served eviction papers, to making over six figures in a very short amount of time. So the magazine includes that feature, lots of resources to help you do it, lots of resources about creating wealth and investing money.
It’s pretty robust, y’all. So head over to shyatt.com/cash to get that magazine. And you’ll also find a link to join my free Facebook community, especially for coaches called Rich Coach Club. So bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level at shyatt.com. See you next week.