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susan@susansu.com
susan@susansu.com
   

31

Aug

2014

How to find Happy from nothing (when you’re grouchy like me)

My grandpa turned 85 this year, the first year without his wife. I’m going to die soon, he said. He decided to buy us all early parting gifts. Some people got an unlocked iPhone 5S, and I was the recipient of a spotless new Macbook Pro. ********** It wasn’t the first time I’d spilled something […]

22

Mar

2014

The Endless Summer

It’s exciting to rally around a beginning. But, even in the middle of winter spring is making its moves underground. In nature, and in all our lives, there’s no single moment to start.

This week, I found myself continually thinking about the beginning that is contained within the ending — the spring that’s incubating inside winter’s belly.

When I look at it that way, I start to see the beginning that’s happening all the time.

Some belief systems remind us that every second we’re dying, every moment is here passing away.

This is true. But every moment also contains a birth, continually refreshing, reemerging, re-starting.

You can start again now. I just did….

19

Mar

2014

Achievement Unlocked

Today Iain was given the last asana of the Ashtanga fourth series by his teacher, Rolf Naujokat. For all the non-yoga people out there, “finishing fourth” is an enormous achievement, beyond reach for 99.99% of humans and maybe 100% of Canadian ex-tree-planters/backcountry hikers/science nerds.

I’ve spent many months carefully studying Iain’s success formula, and it basically boils down to this:

STEP 1- Work hard
STEP 2 – Don’t give up…

12

Mar

2014

How I Focus

A reader wrote in to me and asked me how I focus.

Here’s the thing — you don’t have to be focused to get things done. You can get a lot of things done when you’re unfocused, distracted, muscling your way through with tension and frenetic tab-switching.

I grew up watching tv while reading a novel while doing my language arts homework, and somehow I got a lot of stuff done. I multi-multi-multi-tasked my way through school, work and life, and all the while I got a ton of stuff done.

But, I wasn’t relaxed, and focusing was hard for me.

When it came down to doing things that required creative ingenuity, and especially things that required enterprising courage, it would suddenly become very hard for me to focus and very easy to just switch tabs.

Focus is relaxing. It’s finding a point of repose on the inside — and sitting there, weighted and relaxed — as you glide through productive creation on the outside.

Here’s how I bring *relaxed* focus into my life…

05

Mar

2014

The Love Machine

I had two problems in my life at that time.

One was that whiteboard, how it didn’t feel right but it seemed to work (and people whose names weren’t on it applauded me for creating it). My whiteboard problem was a big shiny plastic-coated symbol of my uncertain leadership.

The other problem was love.

Love sparked unsettling questions for me, namely:

Where did love live? How could I find its address? How could I get invited to its party?

If only I could find love, then I could focus my attention back to Whiteboard Leadership.

Eventually, and only by dragging myself through months and months of unlove, I began to understand what love had to do with my whiteboard problem, that love is itself a form of leadership inside your own life…

21

Jan

2014

3 Ways To Break Through ‘Stuck’ — and Hack Your Productivity from the Outside In

Today, a little how-to for a change of pace. Tip: it’s detailed! So bookmark this set of recipes for whenever you need them. When I lived in Austin, I was miserable. I loved Austin very much — the weather, the food, the rolling hills of Central Texas all around — but circumstances in my inner […]

03

Jan

2014

Unsolicited Advice Letter to Self

Dear self, I want to take this chance to tell you some advice I think you should hear. I know you’ve never been one for arbitrary new beginnings like January 1st, but I also know this New Year thing still works on you. Every single person in the calendared world has this chance to start […]

19

Dec

2013

How My Sabbatical Changed My Life (All the Juicy Details)

I’m living out the nightmare I had when I was 10. When I was a kid, my biggest fear was to be shipped off to do Manual Labor on a Chinese farm, my back bent against the sun, having to use the local pig shed as my toilet. Where would an American fifth grader get […]

05

Dec

2013

Thank You Note to an Enemy

Friends are nice, but enemies are the money. I have a little Thanksgiving tradition of writing a thank you letter to someone. Today I’d like to give a belated thanks to a recent ‘enemy,’ and share my “Gratitude System” for how to bring more gratitude into your life. (ps – the stopwatch read time for […]

21

Nov

2013

How is s/he loving you back?

A simple action framework that I use for career questions, dating, what I should do with my weekend, etc. I’ve recently been talking to a cool company about doing some work with them. They approached me with exciting news about their expansion, and they wooed me with phrases like “we don’t make job descriptions, we […]

18

Nov

2013

Third Chances

A friend, Frank, passed away suddenly, recently. He was healthy and successful, he was great with relationships. The standout thing about Frank’s life wasn’t that he died suddenly in his sleep with robust health and in youthful mid-age. The astonishing thing about Frank’s life was how much he managed to experience for himself and contribute […]

30

Oct

2013

The Secret Leak in My Life

There’s a special something that makes it hard for me to write to you some days. It’s the same thing that makes it hard not to burn toast, and it’s the same thing that sabotages your creativity when you need it most. I’m writing a draft, and I feel a sudden urge to stop and […]

24

Oct

2013

How is it loving you back?

A simple action framework that I use for career questions, dating, what I should do with my weekend, etc. I’ve recently been talking to a cool company about doing some work with them. They approached me with exciting news about their expansion, and they wooed me with phrases like “we don’t make job descriptions, we […]

09

Aug

2013

My “Time-On” Sabbatical, or Where the Heck I’ve Been These Past 10 Months

“Aren’t you done relaxing yet?” a well-intentioned entrepreneur friend once asked me.

I was startled. For an overachiever plowing through life, taking time to be with myself and not have anything important to do was the most un-relaxing thing I could imagine.

In fact, it was excruciating.

Last fall, I left my position running business operations at a web startup in Austin to spend what I thought would be four months with myself, the person I’d somehow lost touch with over the years and had been awkwardly avoiding for most of 2012…

09

Oct

2012

How to thank a mentor

A friend recently asked me, “How can I ever thank my mentor?” —– My simple 4-thing checklist of “giving back” 1. Listen with full attention God, it feels so good to be truly listened to. Most of us have only felt this a few times in our lives, and when it’s on… you never want […]

14

Dec

2009

Dear Panera Marketing…

After a long drought of posts here (but many on I Will Teach You To Be Rich and Inside Facebook), I’m trying out a new series: Dear ______ Marketing, alternately a love note or a chain letter to brand marketing teams. Today, it’s Panera, and this one’s a long time coming. Dear Panera Marketing, First […]

02

Dec

2009

Why You Should Negotiate (even if you work at Walmart)

Is negotiating right for everyone? Recently, my friend Ramit and I recorded over two hours of video footage all about negotiation: We got an overwhelmingly positive response from all kinds of different people – guys, girls, established professionals, college students, people making lots of money, and people making less all found useful ways to apply […]

25

Sep

2009

Win Me Now or Lose Me Forever: What Happens When Companies Let Service Fail

You’re a big company, I’m your customer, and you have a choice: You can either keep me as a loyal customer singing your praises to anyone who will listen or read, or you can make me hate you. It seems easy, but there’s a trick – it’ll cost you $600 to win me over. Yes, […]

09

Sep

2009

Time Management For Ambitious People

This is not what you think. This is not another thing on how the ambitious person should optimize his or her little free time in order to get closer to all those ambitions. It is, instead, some ideas for ambitious people on how not to manage time. The problem I’m writing this in the wee […]

09

Jul

2009

Stuff I never learned at Stanford

Grad school rants are becoming a theme in the blogosphere. Charlie Hoehn wrote a post this week about failing cheaply. When trying to figure out your dream job or project, you might fail. Better to fail cheaply – doing something you initiate on your own – than to pay a grad school $100,000 so you […]

18

Jun

2009

On Personal Branding and (Not) Being Fake

I started thinking about fakeness today after I had a job interview. I know that sounds bad – like it’s somehow implicating me in this guilty contemplation of what’s fake. Actually, I didn’t feel fake during my job interview, because I was truly talking about myself as the person and candidate I’d previously represented myself […]