|It’s all starting to make a sh*it ton of sense. I’ve been in business for 22 years. And until a few weeks ago, I was still struggling with stories and BS that I didn’t measure up. Clearly, I’m doing something right to have reached this 22-year milestone. But why was imposter syndrome (based on the C-Word) still running my life? After all, I was trained in “brain science” and communication. WTH?? How do I coach myself through my own sad story?? Over the past 6 months, I became emotionally unglued and cracked open in so many ways. I felt like I was unraveling; my coaches and friends assured me I was evolving. The story I was stuck on had crossed the line between work and personal. It started with this rhetorical question around work: Why can’t I have a six-figure launch? A few months ago, I planned it all and had every last detail buttoned up. And like so many other launches, this one went sideways|
Look, I’ve been hell-bent on having a 6-figure launch for a looong time. And it has ZERO to do with money. Call me stubborn…it’s about ME proving to ME that I can do it. That I am worthy. Online coaches with a fraction of my experience have wildly successful launches. This means it IS possible, and I want to do it, too. It’s simple until the deprecating self-talk kicks in. I am …A rebellious black sheep middle child Not smart enough Not creative enough Not tech-savvy enough Not focused enough…. This is what happens when you listen to the BS that feels like reality when it’s only someone else’s story. That story—that truth—is about the C-Word..The story belonged to Mr. Purro (Pure-oh), the principal at my elementary school. What role could Mr. Purro possibly play in derailing my online launch…five decades later?? In 1972 when I was 10-years-old, Mr. Purro called my parents to his office. He said I was too interested in world events. Then, Mr. Purro dropped the C-Word. Curious. I was too curious. He said my 5th-grade teachers were frustrated. I was drawing peace signs and reading about the Vietnam War. I was listening to the soundtrack from Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. And my constant roaming the halls wanting to know what everyone else was doing was pissing them off.
While I felt trapped, they labeled me a disruptor who roams. I was told I was never where I was “supposed” to be. Ouch. My parents agreed. Sit in the classroom and keep your mouth shut, they warned me with their stern voices and thick Brooklyn accents. Don’t “worry” about everyone else. This, however, was not my truth. I wasn’t disrupting anything. And I wasn’t “worried.”I was CURIOUS. I was exploring so I could…Heighten my senses and explore the (Woodbrook Elementary School) world Watch people and overhear (interesting) conversationsStir my curiosityLearn without being limited to doing worksheets at my desk Yes, I loved reading, writing, and social studies. I could tolerate most of the worksheets. But my brain didn’t function anywhere near peak performance when I sat stuffed in a box of mediocrity.
To me, the classroom was a coffin that was above the ground.
Curiosity was my ticket out.
Roaming and exploring allowed me to learn in ways that engaged my brain, heart, and spirit. As a little girl, I couldn’t explain it to Mr. Purro or my parents. We didn’t talk about “feelings.”And if f Mr. Purro had this conversation with parents today, I imagine it would be very different.“Children learn in various modalities,” he might say. “Susan’s curiosity and interest in the world is her ticket into our esteemed experiential learning lab.”Any parent would be proud to hear this. If Mr. Purro told parents today that their kids’ curiosity had no place in school, he’d probably be unemployed. School leaders aren’t paid to stifle learning and development. You see, Mr. Purro’s opinion about my roaming kept me paralyzed for 5 agonizing decades. The self-doubt that came with my curiosity kept me wondering: “Where am I supposed to be?” Mr. Purro nearly convinced me that I was damaged in some weird way. This is typically the intersection that entrepreneurs come to when we try to separate our business and personal lives. The line is way too blurry. My 1972 detriment became the superpower that’s fueled my 38-year career in communications.
So, F**K you, Mr. Purro. I became a radio news reporter who got paid to be curious. My curious brain sparked interviews that won awards. I learned that quality questions based on curiosity almost always illicit interesting conversations and heartwarming responses.
Curiosity helped me…
Pay attention to the nuances that most people miss
Capture the essence of a good story
Teach storytelling to others so they can make a bigger impact it’s what I am really good at.
It’s what I teach and coach on today. Curiosity and asking good questions. It’s about up-leveling our stories. And being confident as we explore, speak up, and use our voices to engage and impact others. To stand out and be memorable in a noisy chaotic world. It’s the curiosity that Mr. Purro despised. Today, I know there is nothing “wrong with me.”And there never was. I’m sad that Mr. Purro, my teachers, and my parents didn’t encourage me to embrace curiosity in a healthier way.
But, let’s get real. Mr. Purro is dead. And he left behind that 1972 story for me to figure out. I guess Mr. Purro was “doing his job.” I’ll give him –and my parents—that grace because it was all they knew. Allen Purro was the administrator, and I was 10 years old. As hard as I pushed back on my parents when I was growing up, know this. It’s been heartbreaking for me to overcome the belief that something was wrong with me. That I didn’t measure up or fit in.
Here’s the key.
Ninety-five percent of successful entrepreneurs have done the deep personal work because they know it carries into their businesses. I’m here to remind you that YOU have the power to turn the page, burn the damn book, and re-write your story. My new story is about the insatiable curiosity that allows me to see the world through an interesting and inspiring lens. This is my life’s work. I needed to be cracked open six months ago with the 6-figure launch conundrum and the old story from Mr. Purro. It was time. These kinds of breakthroughs up-level our businesses. And they transform us. So…I’m curious …Are you ready to walk away from the stories that are keeping you stuck in mediocrity? When will you give yourself permission to see and tell your story through a fresh, more empowering lens? People are waiting for you to share even just a bit of your journey.
They want to connect, engage, and get to know what you stand for. Maybe they’ll even hire you If you’re ready share your story so that people are curious and want to hear more…hit reply. We’ll talk.
On we go,
You can catch Susan’s show with Sara Troy right here.