PR Suzanne Monroe | Personal Principles


Embrace the freedom to rewrite your rule book and create a life that aligns with your purpose, for life is happening for you, not to you. In this inspiring episode, host Adam Markel engages in a captivating conversation with Suzanne Monroe, the founder of the International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP). Suzanne shares her personal journey of overcoming career burnout and a family health crisis. This led her to discover her passion for holistic wellness and helping others. She discusses the concept of “rule book burnout” and the importance of finding freedom and agency in our lives. Through her experiences, Suzanne explains how you can reawaken your purpose and create a career you love. She explains the transformative power of holistic wellness, encompassing mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience. Suzanne’s personal principles and rituals for resilience, including the practice of pressing pause throughout the day, will inspire you to recharge and restore your energy. Get ready to discover the art of rewiring your rule book and stepping into a life of purpose and fulfillment. Tune in now!

Discover the International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP): Website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Show Notes:

  • 04:40 The Rule Book Mindset: Why It Isn’t Working Out
  • 09:09 The Reevaluation Moment
  • 15:01 The Corporate Culture Still Hasn’t Shifted
  • 18:39 Personal Principles
  • 28:54 Three Things: Natural Talents, Passion, And Personal Story
  • 35:41 The Importance Of Pressing Pause

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Rule Book Burnout: Embracing Personal Principles And Rediscovering Your Purpose With Suzanne Monroe

In this episode, I have an amazing guest, Suzanne Monroe. You’re going to love this conversation. She’s the Founder of the International Association of Wellness Professionals or IAWP if you’re into acronyms and the Director of IAWP’s Holistic Wellness Coach Certification and Training Program. After experiencing career burnout and conjunction with a family health crisis, Suzanne had a wake-up moment that led her to discover her passion for holistic wellness and her purpose of helping others.

She aims to help people to reawaken their purpose and find a career they love where in 2022 alone, she helped eleven and a half million people with a message of holistic wellness and living a life you love. Given so much of what we talk about here and the good fortune of giving a TED Talk about loving your life, which was a joy for me as well, Suzanne is a wonderful guest for us. I want you to sit back and enjoy my conversation with Suzanne Monroe.

Suzanne, I don’t know how many times you’ve heard your bio. When you’re in the authorship space or the public speaking space or you’re in corporate consulting and things, we tend to hear our bio or introductions a lot. I wonder if the people don’t even listen to them anymore. You’ve heard it so many times. You know what it’s going to say and all that kind of thing. Regardless, it’s an impressive bio. My question to you isn’t about that but it’s related. Our audience and I would love to know one thing about you that’s not a part of the standard bio or introduction that you typically hear.

Thanks for having me on. I call it the brilliant bio. Our bios always sound so amazing. It’s a good question because people do often hear those stories, whether it’s your bio or even maybe some of the conversations we’re going to have. Especially hearing my story, I was in a corporate career and ultimately went on and carved my path. I created success following my passion. It can look from the outside to people like, “You did it and it all came together for you.”

The one thing that’s not in my bio is a couple of things. One is that I am a risk-averse person. I wasn’t some super adventurous person. When you hear my story, you’ll hear I played by the playbook and I like to follow the rules. For me to go out, go a different path and do something out of the norm or out of the box was not something anyone would’ve ever thought I’d done.

Keep that in mind for everybody. If you want to do something, you can do it. You don’t have to have a certain personality. You don’t have to have a certain background or experience or be of a certain type. You can do this. That’s what I would say for people as we especially get into the topic of following your purpose and maybe getting out of a career that’s not in alignment with you anymore.

I’m curious. When you say this wouldn’t have been what you did or wouldn’t have been what people might have expected of you or what you might have expected of you, you know where I’m going with this already, why do you think that’s the case?

From a very young age, every kid gets asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was asked that question. More than the average kid, I would hang on to this. I was always thinking, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I never landed on an answer. I remember it being somewhat stressful for me. I’m like, “I don’t know.”

Even as I went into my teen years and young adult years, I never landed an answer. It was because of that that I ended up following the rules that were set out before me by my parents, which many of us do. The rules that I followed were a formula my parents had, which was, “You go to a good school, get good grades and get a good job. That’s the formula and path to success.” Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I followed that formula. That landed me in my very first job. I was working in Chicago in this corporate consulting firm.

A couple of weeks on the job, I realized my coworkers were sleeping under their desks. Even a couple of them happened to bring their pillows along on a weekly basis because they knew they’d be pulling all-nighters at the office and sleeping under their desk in that little cubby. I thought, “That’s strange.” It’s my first job out of college so I’m thinking, “Maybe this is what you do when you go to work for a company.” I even saw my boss wearing his pajama pants and carrying his toothbrush as he was going off to the bathroom after spending the night at the office.

This was concerning. I never spent the night at the office but I did pull a lot of all-nighters at the office. I was traveling internationally at the time for the company. I spoke Spanish. I am fluent in Spanish. That was part of what I was doing. That might sound glamorous but it made things challenging. Not only were we expected to put in these long hours but if you were traveling, that was what you were doing on your time on the weekends to get to the location.

Here I am, I’m in Argentina. I’m working with a team on a project. It’s 3:00 in the morning. This is after several nights of 3:00 in the morning. I finally put my head down on the desk and I’m like, “I can’t do this anymore.” I go back to my hotel room and realize, “It’s not that I can’t do this project anymore. I can’t do this job or lifestyle anymore.” Even though I had followed the formula to success and followed the rules, I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.”

To answer your question, in my mind though, I’m thinking, “This is what I was supposed to do. Why isn’t it working out?” Even though I ultimately left that position, because of this rule book mindset, I stayed stuck for many years after that in other jobs where I also continued to experience career burnout. It wasn’t an overnight fix but this was the pattern I was following because I was like, “I got to play by the rules.”

That resonates with me. We’re in a very dynamic environment. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to call it a VUCA environment or a blast. There are a lot of words being used for it. It’s constant change and disruption. I remember when my parents would get frustrated. Mostly my mother would say this. My dad had other things when he got frustrated. My mother would say, “I can’t even hear myself think.” I don’t know, with your parents, if you ever caught them saying something like that.

In the environment we’re in, even our basic thinking is disrupted on a routine basis, especially if we’re on our phones. Everybody is on their phones to the point where it’s practically in appendage. It could be a thirdhand or something. I’m not going to rail against the phone but I feel as though we have to personally decide to what extent is this a tool that we use or a tool that uses us.

There’s the fundamental question we have to all come to answer about that, like how you start your day when you pick up the thing and when you put it down. Is it in bed with you at night? Many people go to sleep. People who are reading this are going, “I can’t believe he’s going to do this.” It’s not a joke anymore. It’s not bullshit. People sleep with their phones. They engage with it the last thing they do before they go to bed or before they close their eyes and go to sleep. It’s the first thing they engage with it before they do anything else in the morning.

We could talk a little bit about what the causes of the burnout that you’re referring to are. What you described is something I can relate to having been an attorney for eighteen years, pivoting and writing a book about pivoting out of the law. I slept in the office. It wasn’t a routine thing at all. Nobody put a gun to my head to do it. Yet, there was an unspoken, to use your word, rule book that said, “Do you want to win? This is how you win. You win at all costs.” I grew up in an environment where and I won’t digress on that, to win at all costs is what you do if you want to win. Otherwise, you lose. That’s a BS story. There’s more than one way to win. The way you were playing by the rules to win wasn’t working for you, was it?

It wasn’t. What’s interesting about all this is that, first of all, this was many years ago, my first career burnout story. I did not have a cell phone then. I can’t even imagine what people are going through because technology has changed so much. To that point, our minds were thinking, “We have more technology. It’s going to make life easier,” but it has added to the stress. It added to people caring so much, being in overwhelm and ultimately leading to burnout.

There comes a point in everybody’s life where they have these moments that happen to them. I call them reevaluation moments. We either skirt around them or pause and pivot. We pause and say, “What is going on here? What is the opportunity here?” For me, there was a career burnout going on but I had this other thing going on in my life where my husband, at that time, was diagnosed with an incurable illness. Many years ago, the path was pretty much like, “Take a pill. There’s not much you can do about it. Life is going downhill from here.” When that didn’t work, we were like, “We got to start looking into other things.”

We started exploring holistic health and wellness and all these things. That ended up becoming my passion because what we found was this worked. We found a path forward. Twenty years later, he is doing fine. The point is it was a reevaluation moment. It was a wake-up moment for me. I could have said, “This is horrible and challenging.” It was all of those things but I dove in head first and allowed it to ignite this passion in me, which ultimately helped me to make that pivot.

People are going through so many challenges. Over the last couple of years, it has amplified. We’ve got the Great Resignation. Everyone’s leaving their jobs. It was 4.5 million people in 1 month alone in 2022 that said, “I’m going.” The interesting thing is they surveyed those people. They had two reasons why they were getting out of the path. One was that they were burned out and the other was that they were unsupported. To me, this is the perfect storm for, “I need to exit and pivot because I’m not only burned out but the support isn’t there for me to make a change and do something a little bit differently even within my current position.”

Where are we? People are being called back to work after having a little bit more freedom and flexibility of designing their life a little bit or maybe not doing the commute and having a little bit more time for themselves to create a little bit more balance. We’re taking that away. People are not thrilled about this. We’re going to see another reevaluation moment coming here.

People are not thrilled about this. That is a classic understatement. Let’s dive into this a bit more. Do you have kids?

Yes, I do.

I don’t know what generation that is. The one that comes after Z, which I don’t know. It is Z Plus or something. Maybe it starts with A again, ZZ or something. We have Gen Z and Millennial kids. Our oldest Millennial child wants a certain feeling out of her life. She’s a mom. She’s got another one on the way. She’s a brilliant writer, communicator and marketer. She is in demand and all that kind of thing but the marketplace is the marketplace. Money is important but it’s not the only thing that’s important.

She has been careful to find an environment that meets her where she is. For a period when she was unhappy, it was because there were so many demands on her time. It was unforgiving demand. It was demands that don’t take into account the fact that you’re a mom or that you’ve got responsibilities outside of work or passions, desires, interests and things outside of the launch numbers, results, KPIs and whatever other thing she’s being asked to obsess about without equity.

It’s a different distinction. When you own something and you have an equity interest in it and there’s an exit that’s possible, like a 7-figure or 8-figure exit, you’ve got a different equation to weigh. When you’re an employee with talent and you’re deploying your talent for hire, people are paying you for that talent. You’re not a slave.

Often in the mindset of leaders for very long periods leading up to 2023, we’ve looked at our human resources or our talent as a commodity. I’m making that statement. I’ll get off my soapbox and ask you. How do you feel about that? Do you think that the employees have been seen and looked at as commodities in the past? Do you agree with that or am I off base?

It’s interesting as we think about corporations. I’ve been out of the corporate world for a while but I know a lot of people who have transitioned. We train and certify coaches. Many of them are coming from corporate burnout positions and then saying, “I want to do something on my own. I want to create my path and share my message.” I hear from a lot of these people.

Corporations have come a long way. We used to have very light information on health and wellness. They have more wellness programs and there are more benefits in that aspect. I still think we have a long way to go because my understanding is a lot of it’s fluff. It is like, “We’ll do a wellness program, Lunch and Learn. You can call into a coach if you want,” or whatever it is but the culture or mindset itself hasn’t shifted.

I have spoken with one person who had all these great benefits in wellness but the way the company was being run led her to complete burnout. Ultimately, she had to leave and go on a mental health leave. It’s the mindset. You look at other countries. I was talking to a podcast host who lives in France. He is like, “The story I’m telling doesn’t resonate as much,” because over there, people work hard but there is a focus on this idea of balance.

There’s a focus on, “You are a whole person. You’re an employee here. We’re committed to the results of this company but you’re also a mother or a father. You have other interests. We get that that is a part of well-being. If you’re creating balance over there, you’re going to show up more powerfully over here.” Something about our culture hasn’t quite gotten that yet.

If you're creating balance over there, you're actually going to show up more powerfully over here. But something about our culture hasn't quite gotten that yet. Share on X

Culture’s the right word to use there too, not in this corporate culture even though that’s its thing we can talk about, for sure. It means culturally as in North America versus Europe or elsewhere in the world where these things are seen differently. To close the loop on that story with my daughter, she found another employer that was willing to meet her where she is.

She’s getting compensation that makes sense for her but she’s also getting four weeks of paid leave for her when she has her child. That’s a big deal. I have another daughter that works for a major media company that’s doing the same thing. That four weeks of paid leave is part of their standard practice as well for people having babies. That’s a big deal.

There are a lot of companies that don’t meet people in that one micro conversation. There are many companies that don’t look at it that way. You are maybe thinking, “I can’t afford that. What are you talking about? We’re not rich. This company’s not a billion-dollar organization so I can’t afford that.” It doesn’t have to be that specific thing.

What you pointed out is key, which is it’s a shift in paradigm in terms of what creates organizational resilience. In our language, we talk about how you operationalize the resilience of that organization. It can go through anything like in our relationships. We can go through the best relationships and know that it’s not always a sunny day. You’re not always going to agree. There are going to be things, even tragic things, that occur. The best relationships don’t weather those things. They come out on the other side stronger. We don’t bounce back. On some level, we bounce forward and are stronger than we were before. For sure, that takes a change in philosophy. The paradigm has to shift there.

I wanted to have you on the show because you’ve already, long ago, dialed into the fact that a paradigm must shift. You chose to shift it for yourself. As I understand it, your work in the world in ways is helping people to shift their paradigm even if the company they work for isn’t ready to shift. The work that we do in the world that our company does called Work Well is we help organizations create that paradigm shift or cultural change to meet their people where they are and focus on that harmony. It’s not even a balance. It’s that harmony between work and not work. Your work is with individuals that are coming to that realization themselves. Is that right?

I want to pick up on where you left off with your daughter there for a minute because it’s interesting. When I made this shift, I got a raised eyebrow look. People were like, “What are you doing, leaving the study and securing a day job that you’ve got all this education for? This is going to fail.” People are still going to get that from concerned family members and friends.

What we’re seeing with this generation is exactly what happened to your daughter. First of all, they’re not willing to say, “That’s okay.” She was willing to look elsewhere to see what other things were available. We’re also seeing this generation saying, “What really matters to me?” What helped me to make the shift was that I had to get clear on what I call my principles. We spent 90,000 hours over a lifetime working, which is a huge number. If those hours aren’t tied to what we deeply care about which are our principles, that’s a pretty big waste of a lifetime.

We spend 90,000 hours over a lifetime working, which is a huge number. If those hours aren't tied to what we deeply care about, which are our personal principles, that's a pretty big waste of a lifetime. Share on X

I’ll give an example of personal principles because we’re seeing more people saying, “I need to do what matters for me. At least if I’m going to be on this corporate path, career path or whatever it is, it better be in alignment with who I am as a person. Personal principles can be different for everybody. For example, some of mine are wellness, family and another one is freedom. These might sound like core values but where they become more personal is when we take a deep dive into them.

For example, freedom has evolved for me over the years to become what I call self-sovereignty. When you think of sovereignty, it’s like kings and queens have this rulership or authority over people. This is rulership and authority over yourself. Self-sovereign, to me, is about being willing to listen to that inner voice to guide you to make those decisions as your daughter made. She could have gotten caught up in the, “The company says no. Here’s what everyone else is saying.” If we can listen to our inner truth, I truly believe it’s going to continue to guide us on the path where we’re supposed to go.

It’s something important too because there are so many voices out there, especially with social media. We were talking about the phones. It’s so much coming at us. It’s even more important that we tap into that inner voice to say, “What am I meant to do here? What’s next?” When we start looking at our principles for younger generations or anybody who’s stuck on a path that they’re like, “This is not all there is to life. This is not what I’m meant to do,” take some time to craft out those personal principles and say, “Does this align with the work I’m doing?”

Maybe you find that in the current career you’re in, what you’re doing does align with your principles but maybe it’s the wrong organization because of the culture. You could make a shift maybe like she did. Maybe you’re like, “What I’m doing here doesn’t align at all with my principles. I need to do a complete career change.”

I am fortunate enough to be supporting a lot of people in making that shift or that pivot over to tapping into what their purpose is and going out and sharing that message with other people and carving their path. Many of them go on the entrepreneurial path but still, other people work within teams, communities and organizations and do it differently.

The Millennials and Gen Zs get a fairly bad rap or have done so from people who are older, frankly and don’t understand. I’m not saying that there isn’t some level of truth. Almost always, you can find some aspect of something, even broad generalizations, that are true. That’s the slippery slope with it. You go, “There’s some aspect that’s true,” but that’s where you slide down what my law professor used to call the trap door because it’s not always true. It’s not because some kernel of truth exists that it makes even the entirety of the theory viable, accurate, truthful, useful or any of that.

My feeling is are there some lazy Millennials? Are there some self-absorbed Millennials? There are like there are some lazy and self-absorbed Gen Zs and Baby Boomers. Even the greatest generation had its share of people that were not the best. It’s more like what’s true. You’re expressing that younger people are looking at the rule book and calling BS on the rule book.

On some level, they go, “Nobody’s promising me a pension the way they promised my grandfather or grandmother. There’s no pension that’s being promised.” Thankfully, that bit of a shell game is not on the table anymore. There’s not much loyalty either. They’re calling things out for what they are, which is, “I need to find an environment where I could be nurtured and feel good, where I can get up in the morning and feel in alignment with what my purpose might be or what makes me feel good,” and all those kinds of things. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Those people that are in your organization that does feel aligned and purpose-driven is going to be the people who stay and perform. They’re going to be the people you want to be around. Those that are not in that position do have to go anyhow. It’s a good thing if that’s the case. In running those organizations and being a leader, you have to ask yourself the question, “If people are leaving, is it because they’re not the right fit? Is it because the environment that we’ve created here doesn’t cultivate retaining those folks and attracting more people that will feel,” to use a term of art, “psychologically safe to push back to say what’s on their mind and object in a healthy but respectful way so that we don’t abide by the status quo bias that exists?”

That creates mediocrity in any system. I could not agree with you more. When we think about our autonomy, that word is agency. It is a great word. People want to feel that. Your principles are helpful. I would love to know what your thoughts are on the future of what work is. Do you think that organizations are going to learn their lessons? As you hinted, the pandemic is over. Five years from 2023, it will be in the rearview mirror.

Do you think it will be back to business as usual where they’re requiring people to be in the office more? I’m not saying more than the company wants. I get it that the company thinks they want people back in the office. I get that and I understand it too. I’m not saying that’s even wrong on some level but what if the company wants people back more than the people themselves want to be back?

This ties into the story of what you’re talking about with Millennials. It’s easy for older generations to point the finger at the younger generation and say they’re being selfish. Is it selfish or is it selfless? When we do get an alignment, we can make a bigger impact, which points to what you’re saying. We can show up in a better way for the organizations and companies we work with or maybe we go out and do something else that makes a bigger impact on the world. If we can start to have that shift, that’s going to be important.

From a company perspective, we’re probably going to see some shift where some companies start to evolve and then there are always the older ones that don’t. We may see a hybrid model for a while. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the immediate near future but I do believe more people are like, “I need to have that balance.” It’s the wellness piece. They’re like, “This is important.” Maybe you’re going to see people exiting or companies struggling. They’re going to have to make that shift.

On an individual level though, it’s like, “How do I get to this place of being in alignment?” For me, I was following the rule book. Ultimately, everyone gets a formula or a rule book passed down to them either from their parents society or whoever’s guiding them on their path. We have to be willing to look at that and say, “What is the new formula I’m going to follow?” It isn’t all about me but I have to look at myself to determine what that is.

PR Suzanne Monroe | Personal Principles

Personal Principles: Everyone gets a formula or rule book passed down to them, either from their parents or society or whoever’s guiding them on their path. We have to be willing to look at that and say, “Okay, what is the new formula I’m going to follow?”


For me, I had to create a new formula. I call this my alignment formula before I had the, “Go to a good school, get good grades and get a good job.” These are three other components. These three components are a combination of adding up your natural talents with your passion and story. The more that people can do this, we’re going to show up differently in the workplace. We’re going to be able to create these better environments.

What are these three components? Your natural talents are what everybody says you’re good at. They’re like, “You’re amazing at interviewing people,” or whatever it is you’re good at. The thing about natural talents is that sometimes, we don’t even know what our natural talents are because it comes so easily to us. It’s like, “I thought everybody was good at that.” That’s something you’re good at. We got our natural talents.

We then got to combine that with our passion, which we’re seeing a lot of the younger generation do. They’re like, “I have to do something meaningful to me.” What is your passion? Maybe you don’t know what it is or maybe you do. Oftentimes, it’s a thing that you can spend hours doing and getting lost with. 4 or 5 hours go by and you’re like, “What the heck happened?” Where can you get lost?

I saw this quote out there by someone named Christine Mertz. She says that your passion is where you can pass hours away doing something. You lose yourself in the things you love but you also find yourself there too. I love that. You get lost but found at the same time. The big piece of this formula is your personal story. This is what adds the greater meaning. This is what gets you fully in alignment. This is where you put it all together and you’re like, “This is the path to go on. This is why I’m here as a person,” if we think of it on a bigger scale.

I’ll give you a quick example because sometimes, people hear those three things and they’re like, “That sounds good. How does this play out?” I always like to say I have many of them but one of my natural talents is creating systems out of a bunch of information. It sounds weird. It is taking a lot of information, somehow processing it in the brain and then creating a system that people can use and apply. I have no idea where this came from.

My passion became holistic wellness because I went on this journey with my husband at the time. We saw how it was so life-changing. It transformed our lives. I could spend hours researching books. I dove into this for years. This became a big part of my life. With my story, what was my story about? My story became about what we’re talking about. I was willing to break the rules even though I was risk-averse, willing to carve my path and see that it was safe and better to do it.

I’m the Founder of the International Association of Wellness Professionals where we support people to follow their passion for holistic wellness and carve their path. How do they do it? It is by using our system that they can create success. I share all this because you’re like, “Those things all came together.” For people who are either facing career burnout or like your daughter and they’re trying to find the right path or anybody who’s working for organizations where they feel things are out of balance, following this formula to see, “Where do I line up,” is powerful.

The other thing is it may not all come together in some light bulb moment right away. You might have to play with these things for a few weeks, a few months or maybe even a year. If you start bringing them forward, I truly believe the opportunity for these three things to line up for you is possible. Oftentimes, it gives you, “What is that next step for me?”

It may not all come together in some light bulb moment right away, but if you start bringing them forward, the opportunity for natural talent, passion, and personal story to line up for you is possible. Share on X

Go back to the time when you made what is a brave decision. It probably was quite counterintuitive. People must have looked at you like you were out of your mind, having gotten the brass ring or in the hunt for it. You stop and change direction and pivot. My question is what did resilience look like for you then and what does it look like for you in 2023? That includes potentially, what are some of the things that you do?

As we wrap things up here in our conversation, it’s great to come back to the fact that from a definitional standpoint, our philosophy is that resilience is how you recover. It’s not about how you endure. The older paradigm of resilience was all about the grind. There are a lot of grinders out there and I’m a pretty good grinder myself. You live in the Midwest. That’s the grinder central. Culturally speaking, people in the Midwest farm stock. They are people that have worked hard. They know how to work hard.

Grind and grit have great societal value. I’m not denying that’s not true. To me, in work terms, it’s a twentieth-century philosophy. What we have to understand is that resilience is born out of recovery and wellness. It’s not born out of how much juice you can squeeze out of the lemon or orange. My question is what did resilience look like for you when you were making this very important and difficult life change back then? What does it look like for you in terms of maybe the rituals that you have for recovery?

I don’t think I understood what resilience was from the empowered perspective that you’re sharing. I had the old mindset, which is why I stayed stuck for so many years. I was carrying a narrative that was passed down to me from my dad. It was that you never risk a lot for a little. In my young mind, that meant, “You certainly wouldn’t leave your day job to go out and do something different.” Back then, resilience meant hanging in there and staying the course.

It wasn’t until I was willing to look at those narratives and realize that these narratives that we all carry are stories that get passed down to us. We then lead them and carry them like badges of honor. They are phrases we say. I was probably saying, “Never risk a lot for little,” in my mind all the time. They’re almost like unconscious thinking that informs what we end up doing.

We have to ultimately replace those narratives with the narratives we want. That might sound cliché but the truth is our narratives inform the choices that we make, which then inform our behaviors. It ultimately adds up to the life that we’re living. I had to start to replace those narratives. Resilience, as a big part of that, is saying, “What do I want my life to look like?” Fast forward, it doesn’t mean that I’m not faced with challenges or I don’t have hard times. That’s never going away for anybody. It’s perspective on how you look at things and how you choose to do things a little bit differently.

PR Suzanne Monroe | Personal Principles

Personal Principles: It’s really a perspective in how you look at things and how you just choose to do things a little bit differently.


We have a saying in our community, which is, “Life is happening for you, not to you.” That’s how I think about resilience in a way. If we feel like everything’s happening to us, everything seems overwhelming and we’re stuck in fear and challenges, we never make those pivots. If we see that life is happening for us, it means that every moment is here for us. It’s a choice. When I found out my husband was diagnosed with an incurable illness, it became an opportunity and one of the greatest things that happened in my life. How can we see how life is happening for us? From that, we can say, “I can be resilient because I can look at this challenge differently.”

It’s a reframing tool. It was Victor Frankl who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. That was born out of his experience as a prisoner in a concentration camp in World War II when he was surrounded by death. It’s a miracle he survived and lived beyond that. Part of what he did, while he was in that unthinkable situation, was to think about what he would teach people and how he would share what he learned from that when he was liberated and would have his freedom back.

Ultimately, he did gain his freedom again. He wrote and taught it for years. He transformed the lives of millions of people with his meaning therapy. That’s a fundamental resilience skill. It is a marker of resilience. I wrote a book called Change Proof, which talks about these markers of resilience. That’s one of them. What is something that you do on a ritual basis in terms of your routine that is building your personal and professional resilience?

I always like to say pressing pause. Pressing pause is big for me. It’s playing out in a couple of different ways. First of all, we all need to press pause to get into whatever that stillness or space is. To me, that’s where the clarity comes in. If you’re stuck in career burnout or you’re having other challenges in your life and you’re the hamster in the wheel, running the rat race and pushing, on to the point of burnout, you are never going to get that clarity.

We have to be willing to press the pause button. It might even be five minutes a day. For me, I love to start my morning by pressing pause before even getting into anything. To me, that means getting outside, getting in nature and connecting. It will be movement and some meditation. Every day looks a little bit different. That’s the pause.

There’s also this pressing pause for me that I’m trying to incorporate. It is not carving out those times at the beginning or the end of the day but throughout the day. Pressing pause looks like noticing the little moments. There’s magic in every moment but when we’re going at such a high speed and we’ve got that phone tied to us, we miss out on those little moments. Isn’t that what life is all about? I’m noticing my son was laughing at a TV show that was so funny. I was noticing his laughter instead of being busy doing something. Bringing this mindfulness into this pause has been transformative throughout my life but even more so as I continue to look for these little magical moments.

PR Suzanne Monroe | Personal Principles

Personal Principles: There’s magic in every moment. But when we’re just going at such a high speed, and we’ve got that phone tied to us, we miss out on those little moments. And isn’t that really what life is all about?


That’s a perfect way to bring us in for a landing. We started a little bit by talking about the phone and how the phone is such a wonderful tool but is also a tool that depletes us, especially when we don’t take a pause from it. The pause is powerful in so many respects and I don’t think I would even state it half as well. I love what you said earlier. This is what life is about.

If you don’t pause and, the old expression, smell the roses, what have you got at the end of your lifetime? I’m not sure you want to go down that road and try to figure out what that going to look like. It’s a bit of a zero-sum game. You don’t want to wait until you’re at that point where you realize have that difficult realization that you haven’t paused to live. That is such sage advice and thank you for it. Also, thank you for taking the time to be on the show. We appreciate you very much.

Thanks so much for having me. It was wonderful connecting with you and your audience.

If you’ve got questions for Suzanne or myself, you can go to Leave a question or comment. I will get to those questions and our team will get to those questions to Suzanne. We will answer them. We would love it. If this is an episode that resonated with you and/or you think there’s somebody else in your life, whether it is a friend, family member or colleague that would benefit from reading about some of the wonderful things that Suzanne shared with us, we’d love it, as always, that you share this episode with them. It’s how we not only grow our audience but it helps when you rate the show.

Whatever the platform it is you’re consuming this, if you can give it a five-star rating or whatever rating makes sense to you, it’s super helpful. The algorithm does the rest. We don’t know how that works but we’re trusting how that works. We want to be good citizens in that respect as well. Thank you as well for your time and the support that we feel from all of you. We know this is a growing loving community. We want you to be able to be well, work well and live well. Harmonize those two things. That’s our goal for all of you. Ciao.

I love that conversation with Suzanne. She has a story that probably resonates with so many people. It is this idea of how we are brought up and programmed to follow certain rules. We get those rules from our parents or grandparents and society at large. She had rule book burnout. She didn’t call it that explicitly but I was taking notes in my discussion with her. I thought, “That’s an interesting turn of phrase, rule book burnout.” I know what that’s like. We all can understand when we don’t feel as though we have agency over our lives or we don’t feel freedom. That is probably one of my highest values. In terms of the world around me, that freedom is so important.

She called them personal principles and talked about how it is that we dial into what that is. She had her principles called into question due to a family illness. Her husband got very ill life-threateningly. The good news is he’s okay but twenty years later, the thought was he might not be around very long. He’s still here and doing well.

What she learned in that journey about holistic wellness and mental, emotional, physical and spiritual resilience, as maybe how I would phrase it for myself, is she learned what she needed to learn to be able to walk away from what was no longer working for her from that rule book. That wasn’t the rule book or the playbook for her successful living or ultimately a life that she could love. She wasn’t doing it that way. She learned what she needed to learn to be able to pivot and make some minor adjustments so that she could get on the path to loving her life, the whole of it, which is her career life and personal life.

She gave us a quote that is a great one, which is, “Life is happening for you, not to you.” Often, we do get caught up in our narrative or the “story” where we can feel victims in some respects or feel as though things are in a state of chaos, uncertainty or out of control. I can resonate. I can relate to that so well, the seeking control and being almost like a control freak or not even almost but being a recovering control freak. The shift or the reframe there is to look at where life is happening for you and what is the creative opportunity in the moment, as my wife would say.

She also talked about her ritual for resilience. She presses the pause button not just at the beginning of the day or the end of the day but at various points throughout the day to pause, look around, be present, appreciate and experience life. That’s a profound message that the pause from the standpoint of resiliency is about recharging ourselves. It’s about how we restore our energy that is being constantly drawn upon or depleted by the work in the world that we do, the people that we lead or the people that we are answering to or even by social media, news and our responsibilities all around including to family.

We must have breaks. Pressing pause even for a few seconds intentionally throughout the day will pay massive dividends in terms of your resilience bank account. At the end of the day, it keeps us perpetually in surplus as opposed to being in a deficit where so many people live and reside. We got to talk about some personal things to do with career paths and career decisions, including one that occurred in my family with our oldest daughter. It was a wonderful conversation. I felt enlivened by it. I hope you did as well. If you did gain something from it, please share the episode with somebody else that you might think would gain something as well.

Also, in terms of your resiliency, how well do you feel you are aligned to go back to Suzanne’s content? How much alignment do you feel on the inside at a value level between what you’re doing in the world and what is most important to you? Is there a sense that you are in the right livelihood? That’s a question that comes up in our resilient leader assessment. You can take that assessment for free. It is three minutes. That is it. It might even be between 2 and 3 minutes more often than not it. It’s closer to 2 minutes because it’s 16 questions that you answer in Rapid-fire succession.

You get a snapshot of four specific zones of resilience, which are mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. All you need to do is go to to take your free resilience assessment. One of those questions is going to give you clarity about the question that Suzanne brought to the table in this conversation. Thank you so much for being a part of our wonderful community. I will see you soon. I hope to feel your energy in the form of your comments and questions. The way in which you interact with us is vital. We’re here for you. I wish you a wonderful, resilient day.


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About Suzanne Monroe

PR Suzanne Monroe | Personal PrinciplesSuzanne Monroe is the Founder of The International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP) and Director of the IAWP’s Holistic Wellness Coach Certification and Training Program. After experiencing career burnout in conjunction with a familial health crisis, Suzanne had a wake-up moment that led her to discover her passion for holistic wellness and her purpose of helping others.

Now, she aims to help people reawaken their purpose and find a career they love where last year alone she helped reach 11.5 Million people with the message of holistic wellness and living a life you love. She’s also the author of Live Well Dream Big: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Your Best Self & Living Life On Your Own Terms and the podcast host of Live Well Dream Big.