Susan Carson

Speaker & Scientist

Southlake, TX

Lisa told me, 'Susan, only you can give yourself permission to do this.'

Talk about life changing moments. I can see it like it was yesterday: I was sitting on the floor in Lisa Nichols' suite. Lisa — a phenomenally motivating and inspiring speaker — had invited a group of us to chat after her keynote speech at a conference, a gathering of women in business.

I had gone to the conference to help me find my way after getting my coaching certification, which seemed contradictory to my background as a scientist with a doctorate degree.

I had fallen in love with coaching; it filled my heart to empower others to find their way to their true beings. My preceptors told me that I was very intuitive and a great coach. I could work with all kinds of clients—young or old, professionals or housewives.

At the same time, I was (and still am) a scientist. I love science, its logic, the understanding of how the universe works, the way it explains and provides a discipline, a mode of working in this world. I could go on and on.

But there was my dilemma: How do I get by with these two completely different worlds pulling me in two totally opposite directions?

I had been struggling so long and so hard to figure it out. As a result, I was going nowhere fast. The only place I was going up was on the scale, since food is my drug of choice when I am frustrated or fed up with being lost.

I decided to go to the conference, in part because I had learned a long time ago that the when a group of women get together to work, there is a phenomenal energy produced. And I was praying that I could absorb some of that energy to help me move forward.

I found myself in Lisa's suite because earlier in the day I was walking in the hallway at the conference and came upon a small group of women chatting and laughing, and for some reason I said, "There is no laughing in the hallways!" I don’t have any clue where that came from, but we all laughed. The joy, the energy—it was all so real. I was so attracted to it. And then one of the gals asked me if I was going to be around that evening and I said yes, and I got the invitation (the first one given out!!) to join Lisa.

I was not even sure at that time who Lisa Nichols was, but I knew I had to go to the event. I trusted my gut, listening to that voice inside of me, the one that the “scientist” said not to! The one I had ignored for many years because of lack of trust in myself.

I am so grateful that I listened to it that time. I found myself with about 25 other women sitting in Lisa’s sitting room, on chairs, on the floor, on the table. She was curled up in a chair, and said, "I will answer a few questions, who has one?" My hand shot up—I still don’t know who put it up! And I said, "I do not know what to do. On the one hand I love coaching, I love seeing the light in everyone, I love helping people see how wonderful they are. On the other hand I see science, its logic, its processes, its language. And I do not know what to do. They do not 'fit' together. They are antithetical."

Lisa said to me, very nonchalantly, “So create a new path."

My heart stopped, and I said, stammering, “But, but, but….” And she said, "Susan, only you can give yourself permission to do this."

The flood gates opened. I felt a release inside of me and I knew that not only could I do it, but I would do it. I am the only one who can give myself permission to do anything, and I could create a new path. Now I have, and it's called “Catalyst for Results,” a platform that empowers scientific and technical professionals to become the leaders they need to be to get the results they want.

My advice: Find those around you who will speak the words to wake up your heart, and then listen to it.

Get more from Lean In

Start a Circle

We make it easy to get started, and provide all of the materials you’ll need to run your Circle

Start your Circle

Join a Circle

Women around the world are meeting regularly in small groups to support each other and learn new skills–join one today

Find a Circle

Learn New Skills

Use our library of education resources to build new skills and support your career

Build your skills