Meet Coach Susan Tolles

Susan Tolles

Age: 57

Tell us about your background.

For most of my adult life, I was a stay-at-home mom, raising my three children and volunteering in the community. I had a few part-time jobs along the way, including women’s ministry at my church and nine years as a school board trustee, serving four as president. Soon after my youngest left for college, it hit me hard: I was an over-50 empty-nester with at least 30 more good years ahead of me, and I had no idea what I was going to do. I was intelligent and energetic, with a degree in finance and experience in banking and accounting. But I was terrified of re-entering the workforce, thinking I had nothing to offer. Who on earth would hire someone like me? How would the “rich life experiences” I’d had over the past 24 years look when comparing me to someone who was younger, had more current skills, and had a better memory than mine?

After searching my soul for what I wanted to do, I realized that I wanted to be independent, to find something that used my God-given gifts and strengths, and that would be meaningful to me and for others. I knew I couldn’t find that new identity sitting at home, so I mustered up the courage to get out and start networking. The dynamic women I met energized me, and I discovered that I had an entrepreneurial spirit.

I took a giant leap out of my comfort zone to try something I had never done, following my intuition and allowing myself to be creative and take a risk. On February 1, 2010, I launched FlourishOver50.com, and it has been an exhilarating ride ever since.

The website has led me to become a Certified Dream Coach®, published author and a professional speaker, more than I had ever allowed myself to imagine. I have emerged as a woman over 50, following her passions and becoming the amazing woman God created me to be.

When I was focused on my website, I measured my success by my Google ranking. Today, I measure it by the lives I am changing on a much deeper level.

Embrace “good is good enough,” quit comparing yourself to others, and set your standards at human levels.

Wonder Woman does not exist!

Tell us about your family.

I have been married to Jim for 34 years, and we have three totally amazing adult children. I couldn’t be more proud as a mom! We have a very close-knit family and still travel together when we can.

What brought you to coaching?

The more I got to know the women in the Flourish Over 50 community, the more I began to understand that so many of them were searching for their identity in midlife as they were transitioning through the empty nest, divorce, career burnout and were just wanting to live life on their own terms for a change. I wanted to inspire and equip them to flourish, inside and out, so they could find the clarity and deep sense of purpose they were longing for. I became a Certified Dream Coach®, and soon afterwards wrote my own coaching program, based on my own transformation and what I had learned from other women. When I saw lives being changed through this process, I knew I had found my true calling. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than to be part of the “aha” moment when a woman discovers her life purpose and is truly excited about life again.

What is your mission as a coach?

My Life Purpose Statement is “To inspire and equip women to flourish, inside and out” and I do that through coaching, speaking, and writing. My heart’s desire is for each woman I work with to find clarity, direction and a renewed sense of purpose about her future, and to let her brilliance shine!

Are there any particular life experiences that inform your coaching?

I can truly say “I’ve been there, done that,” when a woman tells me she has lost her identity and is fearful about the future. I have been through the roller coaster of emotions that accompany midlife transitions, combined with menopause, and have emerged with a vision bigger than I ever thought possible. When a woman is describing her lack of confidence in herself, I can say, “I get it. Now let’s walk this road together as you learn to let your brilliance shine.”

This also has been a deeply spiritual journey for me, and I have grown tremendously in my Christian faith. Many women want that component in their coaching, and I freely share that part of myself as I lead them through a faith-based process.

Tell us about your programs.

I wrote the ”Reinvention Road Trip” based on my own midlife reinvention and what I had discovered about living with clarity, purpose and freedom to be who you really want to be. I kept hearing ‘I feel like I am stuck in a rut,’ and ‘I am just spinning my wheels, going nowhere fast,’ so I created a system that gets women unstuck and moving forward with confidence and ease. This program teaches women to:

  • Unload the heavy baggage of guilt, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism and toxic relationships
  • Vision their “dream destination,” their ideal life in the short and long term
  • Unpack their unique gifts, skills and values to make the journey fulfilling and reduce stress
  • Identify their “custom license plate,” their life purpose statement
  • Create a detailed road map for the future, aligned with their life purpose
  • Say NO without guilt! It’s easy, once you align your life with your purpose

I use this process with my VIP Clients, and it is also available as a self-study program.

For women who say ‘I just don’t have time for all this!’ I have “30 Days to Get Out of Your Rut in 10 Minutes a Day,” with inspiration and quick action steps to get them moving a little at a time.

Tell us about your speaking presentations and workshops.

I love to speak to women’s groups and lead retreats, and one of my most popular presentations is “Focused or Frazzled? 10 Keys to Finding the Balance When You’re Overwhelmed, Over-stressed and Unfulfilled.” Women walk away with tools to help them remain focused and stress-free when chaos is all around.

Two others that really resonate with women are “From Paralyzed to Productive: Conquering perfectionism and procrastination to reach your highest potential,” and “Reinvention Road Trip: Your Amazing Journey with God.” It’s hard for me to believe how much I enjoy professional speaking now, because I have always been such an introvert!

How do women most sabotage themselves?

Perfectionism is a huge obstacle for most women, causing stress, low self-esteem, exhaustion and disappointment. In their never-ending quest to be manager of the universe, women think they have to be all things to all people, looking like they have it all together on the outside when they are crumbling on the inside. It is so important to lighten up! Embrace “good is good enough,” quit comparing yourself to others, and set your standards at human levels. Wonder Woman does not exist!

Also, most women spend their lives putting themselves at the bottom of their to-do lists. They sacrifice their own dreams, and often their emotional and physical health, because they have been taught to put everyone else first. Then, when they finally want to do something nice for themselves, they feel guilty. I teach women to “fill their own cup first,” because they can’t give away what you don’t have. It is a major shift in mindset, but it will re-energize and renew anyone who commits to it.

What kind of client do you most enjoy working with?

I love working with women in their mid lives who are seeking greater purpose in life, especially those going through a major transition. Reaching the empty nest period, going through divorce, becoming a widow or experiencing career burnout all lead to the questions “Who am I, and what am I going to do with the rest of my life?” Sorting through the emotions and creating a plan for a fulfilling, joy-filled future can seem overwhelming. I provide the support, guidance, encouragement and accountability women need to make powerful, positive changes in midlife.

Where and how often do you meet with your clients?

I have had clients from Australia to Canada to Florida, so there are certainly no distance limitations. We meet via phone or Skype, for either two one-hour sessions per month, plus two 15-minute check-ins, or four 30-minute sessions. I require a 90-day commitment in the beginning, because real change takes time, and I want my clients to have a solid foundation before they leave the coaching relationship. Many choose to continue long past those initial 90 days.

What is the most important thing a new client should know about you as their coach?

I connect with each client on a deep level, and lead her gently through these major life changes. I see her as immensely valuable, with an inner radiance that is meant to shine brightly, even when she can’t see it herself. Together, we will throw off the heavy weights that are holding her back, and then we will open up the future with a vision that allows her to grow into the amazing woman she was created to be. I will be right there beside her all the way as her cheerleader, navigator, accountability partner and friend.

Susan offers complimentary 30-minute CLARITY Sessions that may be scheduled through her online calendar.

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One Response to “Meet Coach Susan Tolles”

  1. Laura says:

    What/how did you get “certified” to “coach” women?

    REPLY

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