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GYWD #17: Building Resilience, with Susan Scott

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In this episode…

Today I sit down with Susan Scott, counselor, leadership coach, author, and founder of Life Inspired, Inc., a company that provides life design and coaching for leaders and life coaches.

Our topic today is resilience. As I discuss in the 12WY for Writers, resilience is a critical element of the writer’s mindset. Every writer – no matter the type or genre, has to deal with rejections, criticism, false starts, and negative reviews that all writers. Without resilience – an ability to confront the tough parts and keep going – it’s hard to imagine making a go of things as a writer. But it’s far easier to tell folks to “be resilient” than to understand exactly what that means. In our conversation today, Susan explains what resilience really is and outlines a set of steps we can all use to build greater resilience.


Susan Scott, Life Inspired, Inc
Larry Crabb, Understanding People

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Trevor Thrall 0:00
Welcome to the Get your writing done Podcast. I’m Trevor Thrall, author of the 12 week year for writers. If you enjoy today’s episode, please submit a review wherever you get your podcasts that would really help. And for weekly updates on the podcast and other writing resources, you can subscribe to my newsletter at get your writing done calm. Today I sit down with Susan Scott, counselor, leadership coach, author and founder of life inspired Inc, a company that provides life design and coaching for leaders and life coaches. Our topic today is resilience, as I discussed in the 12 week year for writers, resilience is a critical element of the writers mindset. Every writer no matter what type or genre has to deal with rejections, criticism, false starts, and negative reviews. Without resilience and ability to confront the tough parts and keep going. It’s hard to imagine making a go of things as a writer. But it’s far easier to tell folks to be resilient than it is to understand exactly what that means. In our conversation today, Susan explains what resilience really is, and outlines a set of steps we can all use to build greater resilience.

Susan, welcome to the podcast.

Susan Scott 1:20
Hi, Trevor. It is so nice to see you today.

Trevor Thrall 1:24
Great, great to have you on the podcast. Usually, we see each other in writing group, it’s wonderful to get a chance to pick your brain about one of your many areas of expertise today. Today, we’re talking about resilience, one of the five principles or attitudes that make up the writer’s mindset in the 12 week year for writers. But obviously, resilience is a much bigger and more important issue than just for writing. And so you know, I want to explore this topic with someone who could speak to sort of the broader range of questions and things we think about when we think about resilience. And so maybe we can start though by just having you explain a little bit about what your company life inspired does, and and how it is you sort of came around to realizing the importance of resilience?

Susan Scott 2:16
Well, my my business life inspired Inc is sort of like many of us, it was part of a journey, you know, it’s grown out of a lot of past stuff that has happened to typically a lot of what I do is consulting with small businesses, helping them with employee development. But when COVID hit, oh, that just stopped, I lost so many contracts, like all in a month, everything stopped. So I started the website in a way to reach out to individuals who are looking to grow. I’m primarily people that are in that midlife transition area where they look at their life and gone. It’s not as fulfilling as I thought you reach a certain amount of success or career growth. And you thought that that was what you wanted, that that was going to give you the fulfillment you wanted and you look around and go, suddenly, it’s not so fulfilling anymore. All these roles that I’ve taken on these expectations that I’m filling for other people to get approval, it doesn’t mean as much so what is meaningful, what can I do with my life, to contribute to to find a purpose. So life inspired is about helping people basically do life design. And a big part of designing your life is to grow personally. Now growing personally growing in your relationship to yourself to other people, to your resources, that would be your time management, like what you deal with. Because there is a mindset behind it. It’s a relationship, growing in your spiritual life, if you have one, understanding other people, and all of those have a certain amount of resilience that’s required. You have to grow in your resilience, to be able to step back, see what the whole picture of what’s really going on, not what you think is going on, listen to what people are really saying, not what you assume they’re saying, because we get into those habits. So a lot of what I do is help people learn to step back, think about your habitual responses, and go is this really true? And that is part of what will build resilience. And maybe we’ll talk a little later about some of my experiences that led me to that. But oh, you know, I started writing my first website probably 12 years ago, and I’ve done a lot of speeches. I’ve done webinars for people and you get rejection, you get criticism. We had a pretty serious betrayal by a family member, which, you know, that was really hard to come back from, but I learned resilience and I learned why it’s important and how it works.

Trevor Thrall 4:57
Okay, so before we dig into that, let’s Let’s define terms just a little bit more, because maybe people have different ideas of what resilience means. But what so what are we talking about when we talk about resilience?

Susan Scott 5:08
Well, typically what people think is the ability to bounce back to persevere. And that is sort of the symptom for the outgrowth of having resilience. I define resilience itself as the learned ability to separate what happens to you from who you are as a person.

Trevor Thrall 5:27
Right? Because a lot

Susan Scott 5:30
of times, you’ve probably seen it in your students, you know, I’ve got a failing grade. So I’m a failure. I’m not good enough. And that’s a very common situation, particularly the younger we are nodding your head, maybe other people can’t see it. But he’s like, Yeah, I know that one,

Trevor Thrall 5:50
nodding right along both sides, both as the critic and the critique or so yes, absolutely. Everyone deals with that when when they hear criticism, it triggers all sorts of emotional reactions that aren’t really dialed into the actual factual sort of situation, it’s just someone’s telling you that something’s wrong with your work, or what you know, ever, but all of a sudden, you think they’re telling you, you’re an awful person with no value whatsoever. And, and that’s just a reality of having, you know, becoming an adult person, I think, is learning to manage those feelings.

Susan Scott 6:25
Well, my backgrounds in counseling, that’s what I have my degree. And so I’ve dealt with a lot of people, and they live in this life of it comes from childhood, it’s we learn it long before we think cognitively, we learn who we are based on how we’re treated, you know, and somebody who’s important to our life treats us badly, we think it’s my fault. It’s me somehow that I’m lacking, I was bullied really bad in school when I was like 1314 years old. And at that age, you literally don’t have cognitive thinking ability, that prefrontal cortex isn’t wired to the rest of your brain very well. So the emotional part of your brain takes over. And when you’re treated really poorly, in a situation, you, your memories are more about the emotional feeling. And you feel like I’m not good enough, I don’t fit in whatever and you feel shame, or embarrassed, or, you know, ridiculed in some way. So when that comes back up as an adult, you get treated poorly bullied online, that happens all the time, when you’re in the social media. If you’ve had those experiences in the past, before you’re really cognitively able to process what the other person and why they’re behaving the way they are, then you start to think in those same situations, when you get it again, when you’re being triggered. Again, that feeling comes up, I’m not good enough, I should be ashamed of myself. And there’s no logic involved, because it’s triggering something that was put in your brain before you could logically think about it. So that’s where we tend to put our identity in how people treat us, and how it continues to go through our entire life, if we don’t stop and think about it.

Trevor Thrall 8:12
And the the problem is that when you get those outsized emotions in response to something, it makes it very difficult to move forward. And I see I see some people getting criticism on their, on the work, they’re writing or whatever. And, and sometimes they’ll just give it up entirely, I’ll put the manuscript in a, you know, trash basket, and never touch it again, or put it in their desk, because actually, too scared to go through that feeling, again, if someone would criticize it. And that just I’m so mean, finding strategies to cope with these sorts of setbacks or challenges, criticisms, or just the hard things of life, I guess, I mean, that that’s a really critical toolset to develop.

Susan Scott 8:54
It is because we set stuff aside, something was triggered in us, and we lack resilience to move forward through that criticism, especially with writers. I mean, my sense is, and tell me from your experience is that writers tend to be more we’re very curious about the world. We’re very curious about ourselves and what’s going on with ourselves. So I think we’re more sensitive to what’s going on around us more observant. But the sensitivity means we take things more personally, because we’re processing so much so that we because we’re creative. So we notice things and we process it, we put it out in our work, whatever it is, have you would you say that writers or creatives tend to be more sensitive in your experience?

Trevor Thrall 9:42
You know, I haven’t done a survey. But yeah, but gosh, it does seem like that

Susan Scott 9:47
I really being compared to like stem experts. Yep.

Trevor Thrall 9:51
I think you know, just and it’s not that that other folks can’t have the same issues. I think that’s certainly possible but I do feel like people who are, you know, creatives are I do think tend to have more tendrils, more sensors. And I think these are more sort of potential landmines out there to trigger some of these emotional sort of responses. So yeah,

Susan Scott 10:17
and how many of us right out of our own pain, a lot of times, I want to help others because at least I’m a nonfiction writer. But I would say even fiction writers, a lot of times their stories can be generated out of their own emotional experiences, and helping to process through that with a character even would would help them to their readers to go, oh, I can relate to that and see how it can be made better, by the way you handle it to a nonfiction or fiction story.

Trevor Thrall 10:46
So how did you how did resilience come to play a big sort of part of your thinking about helping others and, and in your business and things like that? Well,

Susan Scott 10:58
I think it was because I’ve been through so many really, really hard things. I mean, devastating stuff. That led me to go look, I can either crawl in a corner somewhere and curl up and die, or I can find a way through this. And I chose to find a way through it. And I think a big part of that ties into some of what you said about the mindset behind resilience is you know, the people that are to some degree that are around you. Yeah. be around other people that support you. You have to have that. Was the you that mentioned the other day about do the things that writers do? Yeah, right. Was it in your book? I’m sorry. About that. Yeah. On the podcast, maybe, maybe. So I apologize.

Trevor Thrall 11:46
Dyslexia just like the rest of us. I’ll never

Susan Scott 11:49
overload Yes, too much information. But by hanging around people that do what you do, and support and encourage you become like them. And that was part of what I had going for me as well. Yeah, happy to share the story, if you want, it depends on how much time

Trevor Thrall 12:06
you have. Bring it on. We got time. Love Stories of the best. So

Susan Scott 12:10
well, at one point, I was a counselor, and I had a family member who was running a business that had been in the family for a couple of generations, it was sort of our it was our identity in the neighborhood was this business that my grandfather had started. And my parents needed help with it. So my husband and I came in part time, I homeschool my kids at the same time. And I was helping them in the business and my husband would help on the weekends. And we lived on our house on the property. And the plan was down the road, we would take over my parents would retire we would pay them a continuing stipend, that of the business. So they could, you know, retire comfortably. So we were going to have the house debt free, we were going to have the business have all the income. So we really invested almost 20 years of our time or effort. We put a lot of my money back into the business, we didn’t take out much out his income. So one day, if had effect it was Easter, I remember very well. About six years ago, we got called into a family dinner and we’re told the business is being sold. The new owners are coming next week, here’s all the stuff you need to do to get ready. And you’re going to train them to run the business and they’re going to take it over, because we want to cash out and retire. So after 20 years of this was our future, this was our plan. This was we’d invested everything this was family that we were with. It was a family business, everybody knew us, as you know, in town, you know, it’s a whole identity. It’s who you are. And in one day, it was like gone. Wow. We walked away with nothing. Um, had to buy us a different house had to go back to work, you know? Wow, I had to train the people that took over.

Trevor Thrall 14:05
I might have drawn the line there. Oh, like, that’s just that’s asking a lot.

Susan Scott 14:10
Well, it was hard. It was very hard. I went through probably nine months of some pretty severe mental health issues. Oh, absolutely. Um, stuff that was like, you know, how could my own family member do this to us? After all these years of talking about how this is our future and it’s our legacy and you know, it’s our history, and this is who we are and, um, but when it came down to it when I was able to step back and really look at it. My dad was very unhealthy. He had a lot of physical issues, a lot of mental issues going back to a lot of stuff in his past. When I was able to rationally look at it and step out of that emotional response. I understand. I understand why they did a lot what they did and why they had to do it for themselves. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it fair. But life is not fair. And that’s something that I write about, it’s a little bit of a, I hate to kick people in the face and say it, but crap happens. And if your sense of happiness is based on how the external circumstances are working, that’s right. You’re not ever going to be a happy person. That’s right, as COVID happens, you know, jobs are lost. It’s, the reality is Life is tough.

Trevor Thrall 15:39
It is tough, it has bumps, there are no clear paths, you know, it’s,

Susan Scott 15:43
you know, we lay everything out, you know, we set all our goals for how things are going to be I mean, that part of that’s why I really love the 12 week year for writers set up 12 weeks, I can control 12 weeks beyond that,

Trevor Thrall 15:57
we think we can a little better than certainly

Susan Scott 15:59
Beneful year.

Trevor Thrall 16:01

Susan Scott 16:02
Yeah. But I mean, I was really faced with that choice of, do I just get into bitterness and resentment? And I thought we were gonna be

Trevor Thrall 16:12
feeling and feeling in, you know, what do you feel about yourself, when your parent does something like that to you? I mean, you know, a parent does something like that, it’s hard to separate it from who you are as a person, like, what are we talking about who I am? And what is my value? And so the resilience question becomes a real serious one at that point.

Susan Scott 16:31
Right? And it’s the same for anybody that’s had an important relationship torn apart, like that, or some kind of betrayal. You it is who you are. That’s how we define ourselves. I mean, if you’d started this by asking me, tell me about yourself, I would have listed all my roles. You know, I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m self employed, I have this degree, I’ve written that book. But what that’s how we define ourselves. And when those things are taken away, who am I? And if you don’t know who you are, then your resilience is out the window.

Trevor Thrall 17:07
Absolutely, really, right. If writers define their happiness by I’m a person who writes things that everyone says nice things about all the time, and I get no rejection letters. And I have, you know, I never have trouble writing or any of those. Well, guess what, you’re gonna face situations where each one of those things is taken away from you. And what do you do, then? What do you do that? So good question. Let’s pivot to that. What do you do that? So one of the important things, Susan, that you talked about, in an interview, I’ll put in the show notes, a great interview you had with Huffington Post, you talked about how, and I’m a big fan of this argument, that resilience is not something that’s fixed within you as like a personality trait. It’s something that like a muscle that you can build, that you can over time, you can work on. And so you’ve sort of talked about different steps, you can take five steps that you can take to become a more resilient person. And so I thought, let’s, let’s talk through those and you know, sort of first talk about them kind of generally, and then we can sort of spit ball. What does that mean for writers? Maybe in particular? So So let’s, let’s walk let’s walk down those those steps. What what’s the first step? And we were talking before the show about, you know, what’s if you’re gonna ask a writer, or maybe anyone, like, one question to get the ball rolling, right, this first step is kind of that, that question?

Susan Scott 18:26
Oh, yes, this question the stories you tell yourself about what events mean to your life? Yeah. When when we lost the business, you know, what’s the story you tell yourself about? Does that mean that we’ve been completely rejected by my family? Does that mean we’ve been betrayed? And then our, I mean, we were going to be debt free. That’s all gone. Does that mean that you know, that whole hope of retirement for my husband cuz this happened when I was 50? Okay, so we were starting over at 50. I had to rewrite those stories. And that’s what I talked earlier about stepping back and looking at, you know, what my parents were going through what my dad’s history was, it was really about what they were doing for themselves. It wasn’t about a reflection on me, at all. Or even you could relate that to something as simple as somebody trolling you on social media. What they’re doing is about them, we take it personally. But when you can step back and think about it, it’s who they are. And they’re living out of who they think they are. Yep. So you have to question those stories. And really think about what’s really true here.

Trevor Thrall 19:35
Yeah. And I can relate that directly to the writing world because as someone you know, it’s true for I think, probably most writers in all genres, fiction, nonfiction doesn’t matter. Most of us throughout our writing careers will will get receive many, many more rejections than we will acceptances from, wherever you’re talking about and and You know, the idea that you can go through that process and not be able to disconnect? Like, if the story you tell yourself every time you get a rejection is that your work is no good, that you’re too terrible up to be a writer or you’re too dumb, or you don’t have the skills or whatever it might be. I mean, I don’t see how you’re going to last as a writer, if you if that’s the story, you tell yourself. And yet, I see that story all the time. Like, as you sort of mentioned earlier, a lot of my students I need to be, you know, very careful with when I talk to them one on one about their work, because, you know, especially high flying students who have gotten a lot of praise, this dangerous, there’s a fragility there, sometimes, they haven’t had that setback, yet. They’ve been cruising along at the top of the class, but then they get to the level, sort of reach their level of incompetence, where they don’t know how to do the next thing. And boy, some people have so much trouble getting through they’re so so how do you how do you question the story? Like, what what do you how do you start that conversation with yourself? Like, how do you tell yourself, I am not the rejection?

Susan Scott 21:03
A lot, that’s an identity issue. That’s really about figuring out who you are internally worthy as a person, I mean, you’re gonna get deep in the weeds of psychology here. But you have to know who you are as a person outside of what you do. And honestly, a big part of that is maturity. You’re not really because when we’re younger, especially teens, young adults, the way we find acceptance in the world, the things we need the most if you think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need love and belonging and acceptance, we find those in the people around us. So if the people around us are berating us, or telling us we should be differently, like the kid who’s pushed to be a star athlete, you know, that’s how they get acceptance in the world, that’s how their dad approves of them, because he gets to brag about him to his friends. That becomes who you are. Because that’s where you’re getting your acceptance, and your sense of love, or belonging, or whatever those core needs are that you have in the moment. So to find an identity outside of that, it’s a process, it’s something you have to grow into. Part of it is finding your tribe, you know, finding those people that they’re writers like you are, or, you know, they are, you know, in some way, believe something that you also believe in, so you have that commonality, it’s a little bit of the echo chamber thing, but you need that, yeah, unless you can, there’s another stage of growth, where you learn to accept yourself for who you are your flaws, your imperfections, and understand who you are separate from what you do. That that’s that’s time that that’s just maturity, its growth, its experience gets. And one of the the other steps of building resilience that I’ll talk about in just a minute, is cataloging your successes or making a distinct effort to write down keeping them ahead, the things you’ve done, well know where you’re good at, know what your innate strengths are. And that would be a good one for anybody who struggles with their identity, is to look at personality tests, strength tests. Strength Finders, I think is one of the big ones. Yeah. And there’s a very simple personality test called disc, di SC, any of those kinds of things to really learn about who you are innately what you were born with. Because if you know, for example, your personality type of the strengths that come with it, those are just baked in, you know, that’s not what anybody else can tell you about or, you know, affirm within you, those are in you, and you can cling to those as this is who I really am. Right?

Trevor Thrall 23:57
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You know, and I think you’re so right. I was just thinking as you were talking about, sort of the tribe, and one of the things that’s sort of cropped up in the last year or two, maybe on on academic Twitter is people sharing their rejections. Like, because because one of the things that’s very difficult for writers, I think a lot of times is to imagine as you get the 10th, or the 11th rejection or the, you know, the 30th place that doesn’t respond to your submission or whatever, you start thinking that you are uniquely terrible at writing. And that, you know, it’s about it’s not, you know, you’re putting in the work, but it actually it must be you and it must be your writing. Well, what’s happened on academic Twitter now is that people who are in some cases quite well known are sort of saying another rejection, you know, sucks, but you know, it’s important for everyone to know that I get more of these rejections than I do. Acceptance is still at my stage. So don’t, don’t feel bad about like, just keep going. And I think that can be really, really helpful just to know that, you know, it’s not personal. It’s everybody deals with these things. And it’s not unique to you. So, but I think your your point about maturity also rings. So true. I mean, it’s and maturity, it seems to me to be gained by not running away from these battles, right by leaning into the difficult Yes. Yeah, you’re gonna feel bad. But that’s not the feeling is not real thing. It’s not killing you it’s a feeling. And it’s a feeling as you pointed out that’s triggered by long ago it’s a long ago echo, you know, and the work of today is to press on being yourself and doing the things that you want to do. And not letting those feelings sort of run your your life today.

Susan Scott 25:41
So and that’s exactly word for word, what the second tip is for holy moly, it’s what’s the second, let your feelings control your life? Your life,

Trevor Thrall 25:49
you led me right to it. I mean, don’t let emotions run your life now. So for a lot of people who are passionate people who think that they’re following their passion and stuff like that, how does that square with, with those kinds of advices out there?

Susan Scott 26:02
Well, passion isn’t necessarily the same as a feeling. I mean, I’d have to think more thoroughly about that. But that’s the first thing. I think you’re exactly the difference there. Yeah, I haven’t processed through that completely. But when I talk about not letting your feelings run your life, it’s more about those triggered what we might call negative feelings, where you know, somebody trolls you online, so your first knee jerk response is to lash out, or to hide or whatever dysfunctional result you’re getting. Or, you know, your partner always says this thing. So you always say that thing. And that always makes you mad. And you get into this same fight all the time. Those are the areas when you have to step back. Because, honestly, nothing, no event can make you feel anything. We choose how we feel. And a lot of that choice comes from the stories, we’re telling ourselves about the event. So like, if your partner comes in and says the same thing every night, when they get home, and they’re upset about something, you’re telling yourself something about that person, and you’re coming up with this knee jerk response that causes you to start down this whole cycle of the same argument. Um, it’s the stepping back and saying, wait a minute, that emotion is not giving me the result I want. Or responding to rejection? By going I’m done. I’m throwing in the trash. Yeah, this is a well, wait a minute. Yeah, that’s the emotional response. How can I reframe this? How can I think differently about it? But that it’s, it’s not easy, because so much of what we’re taught is I’m entitled to my emotions.

Trevor Thrall 28:00
Yes, you know, you should, and almost like, you somehow are owed a good day, every day. Um, you know, like, there’s some of that too, out there. I think for a lot of sort of, especially, you know, upper middle class kids who, you know, are raised in very sort of fat and happy conditions, if you will. I mean, I think some people think they deserve to live a life without any bumps and bruises are bad, or tough. One

Susan Scott 28:24
of them the most empowering things I learned when I was going through that really hard time after the business was, emotions are like the six of our senses, the five senses emotions, the sixth one, instead of telling us about what’s going on in the outside world, it all it is, is a messenger telling us about what’s going on to the internal world. So if you listen to the message, and go, Okay, what’s the story that what’s going on, then, especially if it’s a difficulty motion that you’re you’re getting stuck in, like depression or anger? You obviously we don’t want those emotions. We don’t want to live with them. But if you don’t listen to the message, they get stronger. Yeah. And you and so we tend to want to deal with the emotion, drug it away, take a medication, go shopping, whatever, give up writing. But if we don’t listen to the message, and deal with the underlying message, the emotion just gets stronger and stronger and stronger.

Trevor Thrall 29:25
That’s very interesting. Yeah, you know, I was, I was thinking, as you’re talking there about how you know, don’t let your emotions control you. I was thinking about when I tell when I talk to students about sort of the revising process and reviewing and revising process where we’re, you know, I often have my students sort of peer review their each other’s stuff and I say, Look, you know, this is we have to be constructive and gentle here because this is a fraught process for people you know, you and I, I find it often encourages people to find that empathy when they know that they’re Getting aimed at by someone else at the same time they get processed, but but one of the things I mentioned to them, because then I’m going to be giving them a lot of reading on their papers is, you know, you’re going to feel terrible. When you see this, I’m guessing, like, no one wants to see this. And especially because when they see mine, they haven’t gotten beaten up to that level before typically. And so they really can, it can be very bracing. I say, Look, you know, everyone feels that way. So what you’re going to do, here’s what I do that so not let my emotions run me is I just make a list without judgment, I just make a list of every single thing that the reviewer noted, big or small, I just put it in a big list. And then, and then I walk away from it, I get angry, I get upset. And then the next day I come I sit back down, and I just fixed them, I guess I I need a process myself that time I have to you have to give yourself time to have the emotional response. Because it’s not what you were hoping for, or it’s upsetting or whatever it might be or you feel misunderstood, or there’s a lot of things that can happen, right? Somebody’s not understanding your character or whatever, you know, could be fiction, nonfiction. So you have to have that. But you also have to have a process for getting back on your horse and continuing to rise in the direction that you were, you’re moving in. So you, you can’t let your emotions sort of run you forever. I mean, that’s clearly not a. And so the third step, I think, is this partly for the next step of that right. Is,

Susan Scott 31:27
is how do you control your thing? Yeah, right. How do you do that? And how do you step back? And one of the things I didn’t mention in the interview that really ties into what you’re talking about, though, is why are you writing? What is your definition of success? That mindset can make a huge difference in how you respond, criticism, my personal definition of success is the continuing journey to become the best person I can be. Okay, so it’s all about me continually growing and learning and becoming better. It’s got nothing to do with how many likes I get on social media, or how many publications I get into that, if that’s just the context of doing those is an opportunity to continue to grow and be better. Yeah. So feedback becomes it sits right into what I’m doing. Yep, it becomes a positive in that, okay, here’s how I can improve, or this person is way off base, and I’m not going to even deal with them anymore. They are not my tribe. But it becomes a much more rational, practical, logical thinking process, which is controlling your thinking is, where are you coming from with what you want out of the situation? Because if you can tap into the logical part of your thinking, one of the resources that I mentioned in the article is this lady named Byron Katie. It’s not Katie, Byron, Byron, Katie, she does this thing called the work. And it’s a bunch of questions about questioning your story’s it’s very logical, practical step back and say, Is this true? What else might be true? If it’s not true? And this other thing is true? How would that change my life? So is it true that Professor Trevor hates me? And I’m a terrible person? Or could something else be true? But it means that your sense of self isn’t wrapped up in does my teacher like me?

Trevor Thrall 33:31
But it’s another opportunity for maturing? Yes, as we started, but we need to end up somewhere else.

Susan Scott 33:39
Yeah, right? Or is my definition of success all about, you know, making sure that I’m getting all these likes and strokes from people so that I feel good about myself? You know, right back to that whole identity? Yep. Right. Getting the approval of other people that is so foundational to everything I write about?

Trevor Thrall 33:59
No, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So we’ve we’ve controlled our thinking a little bit. Step four, for building resilience. Building a storehouse of success, memories, you say,

Susan Scott 34:11
right, again, that’s that’s a very logical, practical, separating it from the emotional and going, let’s take a look at what I really have done well, and acknowledge that I’ve done those things. Well, we are so wrapped up in this false humility stuff of Well, that was just luck. You know, you talk about it in the imposter syndrome podcast, you know, oh, well, it just was a fluke that I, I hit it this one time, but next time, I won’t be so good. We downplay our own achievements. And we think we’re being humble or practical, but really, we’re beating ourselves up. Yeah. And if you can make a list of the things you’ve done well, and say, you know, even if I’ve done it in the past when I’ve broken it down, this ties back into, you know, Bill Your your resilience and your identity a little bit about your successes and your personality and your strengths. You sit down and you identify seven year blocks of your life, okay, in the first seven years, and what did I do? That was good that was, you know, you only kid but you know, what are some of the things I enjoyed, and I conquered at that age between seven and 14? What are some of the things that I did? Well, I conquered, or I achieved, and acknowledge that those are worth fee. They’re valuable things that not everybody can do. And you start to develop this picture of yourself in your in the things that you have done well, and we have to be very intentional about thinking about those things. Because we are so 10th normal tendency is to go to the negative machine up on ourselves, to see what’s wrong with our lives to keep track of the failures and the criticism. Oh, yeah.

Trevor Thrall 35:53
I’ll be honest, I can remember most of the most the particularly snarky criticism from my reviews than I can’t remember any of the praise. To be honest, at this point, it’s it’s a lot harder to keep the negative stuff out of your brain. So you do you have to be very intentional about those things. I remember, I got a rejection letter one time, and one of the reviewers literally said that the writing was so poor, that what was the phrase? Exactly, I mean, but it was sort of like that it didn’t even deserve to be reviewed, it was so poorly written, I was thinking to myself, That’s but you know, and what I had to do is I had to go back and remind myself that, you know, in previous published work, like people would review it and say, Hey, really well written like, okay, I guess that’s probably not true about me or whatever. But I mean, it’s, it’s hard to keep the negative thoughts out of your brain. So being intentional about buttressing yourself with reality, I think, you know,

Susan Scott 36:50
I was in a class once with a bunch of others, we were I was when I was doing my certification for a leadership coach, we would review each other’s work in terms of how well we coached each other, we would have these peer coaching sessions. And when we did the feedback from them, one of the things I always did for the other students was, I would write down everything positive, that was said in the feedback and send that to them. And say, here’s what everybody really said, What did you hear? Yeah. And that was so valuable, because they would remember the one bad thing, of course, and not remember that there was 10 good things there. Yeah. So that’s, that’s just really powerful, powerful stuff to be able to do.

Trevor Thrall 37:33
All right, step five, bring us home. Step five, setting goals out control. Yeah, this,

Susan Scott 37:40
this ties back into what we were talking about earlier about trying to set our life circumstances up in a way that you know, everything works out fine. And that’s how I’m happy because I got the right job, the right partner, the right reviews, I mean, the right publications, if those are your goals, then those are outside your control. So part of building resilience is to set goals around things that are within your control. Like my goal of becoming a better person, I can control that by the habits that I pursue each day, the routines that I set in place. So for me, and I mentioned this in our in our writers class, some of the things that I check off each week, as you know, my tactics to work on is, you know, did I show up for myself and sit down at my desk on a daily basis and do the hours of work that I said I was going to do? Did I do my weekly review? You know, did I set up my tactics for the following week? Those are success building habits that I can control and will build up to success, but not always the success? You invention? Yeah, because a lot of times, that outward success is under the control of other people. And things just blow up like I had happened to me, or COVID. Or,

Trevor Thrall 38:58
you know, sometimes you do

Susan Scott 39:00
everything to all those sets. And once those things do fall apart, if you’ve got these habits in place that you’re successful at that you can control, you can keep doing those in the midst of that complete chaos and breakdown.

Trevor Thrall 39:15
Yeah, because, you know, I mean, I think we’ve all had, you know, experiences where we did everything, right, I’m using air quotes here, and still didn’t get the right with air quotes, answer or outcome that we were hoping for bargaining for or whatever, but the rest of the world has a vote in these things. You can’t determine how many units your book sells or how many people love your piece of writing or any of those things all you can do is control the the act of writing it and getting out into the world and hanging your your feelings, hanging your sense of self and identity and worth on what the rest of the world thinks of that is really a dangerous game. But you can be proud of the fact that you took the steps to build it right to make Nice to build to write this book or whatever those are the things I think you should celebrate in your life is that you were able to put in the effort, you know, to do a good thing and you know, you don’t you don’t get to control what happens after that.

Susan Scott 40:14
So Well, again, that comes back to having your identity in who you know you are. Because you feel good about what that you’ve kept your integrity with what you promised to yourself, yes, instead of needing to get your approval from other people, because that’s where you get into trouble. If they’ve had a bad day, their boss gave them a hard time they lost their job, whatever, they’re not going to give you the approval that you want. So does that mean you’re a failure, and need to beat yourself up? Or like the guy that you know, really gave you that super harsh review? Maybe you were poking his area of expertise? And he does, I can’t have anybody be more expert than him about it. So he’s got up pushback and shut you down. It’s got nothing to do with you. Oh, right, had everything to do with his feeling about himself and what he who he identified as, so he had to, you know, tear you down in some way. If you’re relying on that approval, you have no control over people’s lives and their feelings. Yeah,

Trevor Thrall 41:18
you’ve signed up for a tough a tough road. So Susan, as we as we close off, here, you’re writing a book right now, tell us a little bit about that book, and what you hope to do with that book?

Susan Scott 41:29
Well, my book is basically about building the pillar relationships that help you get from where you are to where you want to be, I envision kind of a bridge over the chaos of life. You think of a chasm that’s just full of all the rocks and boulders and chaos that we deal with. As we build up these four core relationships like pillars, they create a bridge, that rise above all that daily chaos, that stuff I’m telling you, we have no control over and can affect us if we’re bogged down in those weeds. But if we have these relationships solid with, you know, with ourself what I’ve been talking about, with our spiritual life with other people, and with our resources that I mentioned before, those pillars when they’re all solid, that’s the support system, that’s going to help you to walk through your life to get to wherever you want to go. So it’s called four pillars to purpose right now, that’s sort of my working title to keep it straight. And from, you know, the other stuff that I’ve written, may not be the final title. But it’s essentially about designing your life and building in a way that’s not all about you. Um, so many times, that’s what goal setting stuff is, you know, it’s all about me out there getting stuff and doing my work and getting what I want out of life. And ultimately, people that have done that they look around and their life is not terribly fulfilling. They may have you know, gotten there, maybe they’re an Instagram influencer, you know, or maybe their their, their book got on the New York Times bestseller, but because they left behind all those other relationships. It’s a very unfulfilling achievement in the end.

Trevor Thrall 43:09
Yes, totally. Well, I’ll tell me when I can preorder, I’m ready for it. But until until your book is done, can you give interested people who want to build resilience or think more about it? Give us a book that you would recommend somebody read. To learn a little bit

Susan Scott 43:27
Oh, I like this one called understanding people by Dr. Larry Crabb. It’s about relationships, and resilience in relationships, a lot of time hinges on what I was talking about earlier, is understanding where other people are coming from and what their identity is like your harsh reviewer there. If you understand what people are wrapped up in in themselves, then you’re more able to step back or like me with my parents, and go, This isn’t about me. You know, I may have felt the consequences. You got that bad review. But it’s not really personal. Because of the way they’re dealing with stuff in their life. That’s how they’re having to act. I may have gotten the Fallout, but it’s not anything I need to take personally. So if you can understand other people better understand their personality, their strengths, their weaknesses, then you’re better able to see them. As you know, their own life there are we all get so wrapped up in ourselves. I’m sorry, it’s

Trevor Thrall 44:28
absolutely so true.

Susan Scott 44:30
We’re all pretty self absorbed. And that’s why we’re so worried about what other people are thinking about me and how they’re treating me, right? They’re doing the exact same thing about me, how are they treating me?

Trevor Thrall 44:43
So I think that’s a great recommendation. Because you’re absolutely right. You know, as I’m thinking about it here, you know that so much of the struggles we have to be resilient are about our relationships, whether we think of it that way or not. I mean, I think a lot of times people think of resilience is like, just it’s inside me or something like that. But But what it really is, is it’s is it’s a measure of your relationships, or your relationship ability with others, because it’s your ability to read people. And to understand the relationship you do, or maybe actually don’t have with that random troll on Twitter, or whatever, right? You’re, they say something, but you don’t have any relationship to them. But what you’re feeling is actually the echo of a different relationship in your past. And so getting those right, and those, you know, more accurately. Sounds like it’d be a really big boon for building resilience. So and

Susan Scott 45:37
I’ll say, you can tie that also into your relationship with how you manage your time, which is what you talk about in your book. When you understand how you’re using your time, and where your habits are not really good enough, you may have you know, stuff fall apart, you don’t meet a deadline, you’re not getting stuff done. You blame other people, you blame outward circumstances, but what’s your relationship to how you deal with your time? And what are you telling yourself about when I can get this done? Can I get this done? Do I have the wherewithal to get it done? What’s your relationship to how you’re using your time and that’s gonna determine how you’re how productive you are? How effective you are?

Trevor Thrall 46:18
Fascinating stuff. Susan, final note, tell people where they can learn more about you and your work.

Susan Scott 46:25
My website is life inspired.

Trevor Thrall 46:28
Fantastic. Susan, thank you so much for a fantastic conversation today.

Susan Scott 46:33
Thank you, Trevor. I love talking about this, and I’m so glad we had this time together.

Trevor Thrall 46:37
Me too. Fantastic. Thanks for listening, everyone. And until we meet again next week. Happy writing

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