Are you trying to figure out “what’s next” professionally or personally? Do you want to find greater satisfaction in your career without sacrificing your personal life? Susan Peppercorn shares some valuable insights on career transition with her coaching service, Positive Workplace Partners. What’s unique about Susan is that her coaching and workshops are based on the principles of Positive Psychology, a research-driven branch of social science that studies how the resilient, creative and fulfilling aspects of behavior can be used to your advantage. It is important to provide training for organizations for them to reach higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.
Prior to becoming a coach, Susan spent 20 years in business development and marketing in high technology and higher education. She completed a Certification in Positive Psychology Coaching with Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener as well as a Certification in Positive Psychology from Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, both highly respected leaders in Positive Psychology. As a member of the International Positive Psychology Association and the International Coach Federation, Susan now inspires countless people at a crossroads in their careers.
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Ways To Thrive At Work Among Positive Workplace Partners With Susan Peppercorn
My guest is Susan Peppercorn and she is an executive transition coach. Susan has a passion for helping individuals thrive in their career. She’s made four career changes herself so Susan knows exactly what it’s like to feel unfulfilled in a job as the self-recrimination that goes along with it. I can relate to that. Frequently quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and US News are just some of the publications that have tapped her for her career advice. She transformed her career and develop a scientifically-validated approach to help others to do the same and she teaches it in her bestselling book, Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work. Hopefully, we can get some tips with Susan. Good to have you, Susan.
Thanks so much Terri. It’s really great to be here.
I’m excited to have you. I actually resonated with you. I was doing some research on you and I made the same kind of career changes, looking successful, feeling unfulfilled, and then, for the last twenty something years, being in business that I love and doing what I love and loving what I do. There is a scientifically-validated approach. Before we get there, how did you come to figure out what you were meant to do?
It took me a very long time. That’s why I’m doing what I do because I didn’t want others to take as long as it took me. I started out as a classically-trained musician. I realized early on that I was not good enough to play in an orchestra where there are only three seats for flutists. Flute is my instrument. Not having enough money to go back to school, I went into high-tech sales and then marketing. While I did very well financially, the industry really drained me emotionally. The company I was with was acquired and it was at that point that I started to figure out what I wanted to do. Business development for those fifteen years was in my background and I pivoted into higher education and two institutions use my business development skills. In one of those two institutions, I was with the career center. As an ancillary to what I was hired to do, I started to coach MBA students and realized this is what I love. I started to become much more mindful about what it is that I’d wanted to do. I eventually left there, joined the firm that trained me in coaching and in career coaching specifically, until the point where I started my own company. However, I realized through that process and in the ten plus years that I have been coaching executives in transition that there is a process and a methodology that someone can apply to find greater satisfaction and happiness in the work they do.
I love hearing this because there are so many people who I know who are almost beyond unhappy in their careers. They have a real day-to-day sadness and just not feeling happy, fulfilled, and constantly asking the question, “What is life for? Is it just about going to work every day?” I never heard of a scientifically validated approach. I don’t want you to give everything away but give us a clue.
Five years ago, I was fortunate enough to be in a certification program in positive psychology and I studied with Tal Ben Shahar, who was an entrepreneur. Tal’s a psychologist. He taught at Harvard and taught the most popular class ever given at Harvard on happiness. He created a program on the science of positive psychology and I was in this first program that he developed and went on to become his teaching assistant. What I learned from him was about the research that was done by social scientists in this field of positive psychology, which is only about twenty years old. It looks at how people thrive. What the research looks at is what is it that people do that enables them to thrive when other people don’t.
There are thousands of research studies that have been done that are published in quite boring periodicals and scientific journals that he brought to light in this program that I took with him, which became the basis of this field. It’s an applied science, meaning it’s meant to be used. It’s not just meant to be studied. It’s meant to be applied in people’s lives. Through that study, I then went on to get a certification in positive psychology coaching. This takes it to the next step, which is how do you apply this to a coaching model to help people. I then realized that this plan work to help people move forward in a positive way in their lives. When I wrote my book, my goal was to curate some of this research and make my book actually a workbook so that it incorporates exercises that people can do, take, bring, and put into practice in their own lives so that they can see how it can be used to silence that inner critic so that they can move forward in ways that they want to. I can share some examples with everyone as well.
Can you share maybe one quick example?
One way to do that is to get in touch with and be knowledgeable about the strengths that you have. A lot of the work that has been done in this field of science is around strengths identification. We all know what we’re good at and sometimes we don’t know what we’re good at because we take it for granted. Assuming that, when we go to work, there are certain things that we notice come naturally to us and we really feel energized when we’re doing those things. If we pay attention to them, we notice when we’re using those strengths, when we have the opportunity to use them at work, we tend to be more engaged.
Gallup Organization, for example, that has done a lot of research on employee engagement has shown time and time again that employees who are able to use those strengths at work tend to be happier and more engaged. For people who don’t know what their strengths are, there is an online assessment that they can take free of charge. It’s called the VIA Strengths. They can go to a website, VIAStrengths.org, and there are 24-character strengths that each one of us has. You can take this assessment and find out which are the strongest for you. That’s a starting point. There are other ways of finding out but that’s just one example.
Thank you so much for that. I want to make sure we get into this a little bit beyond. Your bestselling book is Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work. I find that so many people have these inner stories and most of them don’t even know that they have them where they know they have them and don’t know what to do with them. Tell us a little about your book as well, please.
I wrote this book because, number one, I suffered from having that inner critic constantly berating me for years to the point where it was making me physically ill. I had constant panic attacks and blamed myself for just about everything and anything. For those of you out there who suffer from any of this, know that you’re not alone. This is a very common phenomenon. I noticed with my clients that no matter how successful they are, no matter what level they achieve, there were certain types of events that seem to trigger the inner critic in us. It could be a setback, failure, a layoff, not getting promoted, or certain instances like that. I came to realize that this is a pretty universal experience. What I realized from my own recovery, from ditching my own inner critic or at least recovering, is it’s always a process. It’s never totally gone. If you pay attention to it, this is something that can be done.
I decided to challenge myself and write this book. I wanted it to be based in science, which it is. It’s based upon the research that I was talking about. I also wanted it to be practical. I wanted people to read the book, but to be able to do something with it. Not just read it and have it be like a self-help book where they feel good in the moment, but then a month later, it’s like, “What’s changed?” I wanted the reader to be able to feel like they could make a change as a result of it. It was part of my personal journey, but also a real goal of mine to help other people not suffer the same types of issues that I dealt with for so long.
Tell people the name of the book again and where they can get a copy.
It’s called Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work: Evidence-Based Strategies To Thrive In Your Career and it’s available on Amazon.
How can people connect with you? What’s the best way if they want to find out more, work with you, and discover more about you?
My website is Positive Workplace Partners. Anyone who goes to my website, I have two free e-Books that you can download there. One can determine if you’re in the right job. I have a free workbook that you can download there to help you determine that. I have another one on 25 Tips for Making a Successful Career Transition. That’s on my website. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m also on Twitter @SusanPeppercorn and I have a Facebook page, Positive Workplace. Please connect with me, I’d love to hear from you and please tell me that you heard me on Heartrepreneur.
Susan, you have added so much here at Heartrepreneur Radio. I just want to thank you for being here.
It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for having me, Terri.
You are so welcome. For the audience, please make sure that you subscribe to the show, so you don’t miss any episodes. We love your reviews of the show. We love when you share the show and again, as a thank you, I put together a transformational webinar for you. Brand new, just released this one over at Get HotPayingClients.com. Grab that and enjoy and we’ll see you here next time at Heartrepreneur Radio.
- Susan Peppercorn
- Tal Ben Shahar
- Gallup Organization
- Ditch Your Inner Critic At Work: Evidence-Based Strategies To Thrive In Your Career
- Positive Workplace – Facebook
- LinkedIn – Susan Peppercorn
- Positive Workplace Partners
- 25 Tips for Making a Successful Career Transition
- @SusanPeppercorn – Twitter
About Susan Peppercorn
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best everyday? Are you trying to figure out “what’s next” professionally or personally? Do you want to find greater satisfaction in your career without sacrificing your personal life? If so, I am here to help.
Partnering with individuals and working with teams to reach greater levels of satisfaction and success is my passion. I use proven solution-focused strategies to help clients envision new possibilities and gain the perspective needed to create and commit to purposeful action.
I specialize in working with individuals in career transition who find themselves at a crossroads either through circumstance or choice. I also develop training for organizations to help them create higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.
My coaching and workshops are based on the principles of Positive Psychology, a research-driven branch of social science that studies how the resilient, creative and fulfilling aspects of behavior can be learned and used.
Prior to becoming a coach, I spent 20 years in business development and marketing in high technology and higher education where the seeds of my fascination with thriving work environments were sown.
I completed a Certification in Positive Psychology Coaching with Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener as well as a Certification in Positive Psychology from Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, both highly respected leaders in Positive Psychology.
I am a member of the International Positive Psychology Association and the International Coach Federation.