Can you believe we are already through the month of January? Quick update on the Pestikas household. Keep us in your thoughts because my daughter, Charlotte, and her Poms team are up for state champions this month. We are very excited for her since this is her first year on the Poms team at her school. It’s all about practice, practice, and more practice as her team prepares for the competition. She’s showing me a thing or two about tenacity and grit during this time.
With all the practices we are taking Charlotte to and picking her up from, it doesn’t feel like we are slowing down in our household anytime soon. My guest today, executive coach, Susan Ireland, and I talk about different seasons in our lives. I’ve mentioned this topic of seasons on Brave Women at Work before, but it’s been some time, so I’m bringing it back with Susan. With Americans being raised in a hustle or “rise and grind” culture, we are accustomed to pushing through no matter what our season in life or work, how we feel, where our energy levels are at, you name it. Susan and I dive deeper into this topic, and it was fascinating.
During my chat with Susan, we discussed:
- Susan’s 30+ years as an executive at Boeing and what that was like being in that environment.
- The transitions that Susan has had to deal with in her corporate career, and we touch on the concept of seasons in our work and life.
- If we are in a season of wintering, how can we stick with it and not try to rush through it with overthinking or over action. This part of our conversation is for me and all the overachievers out there!
- How Susan has weathered challenging times, including two divorces, raising her kids, deciding to retire a bit early from Boeing to start her business, and more.
- Susan’s thoughts on personal assessments, what the Tilt365 assessment is, and how she uses it with her clients.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE
Seasons Of Work And Life: Tilt365 Wisdom From Susan Ireland
I’m glad you’re here. Everyone, how are you doing out there? Can you believe that we are already through the month of January 2024 as I’m recording this? I can’t get over the fact that we’re already through January. It’s that time is flying. A quick update in the Pestikas household, keep us in mind and your thoughts, and ascend the good juju because my daughter, Charlotte, and her poms team are up for state champions for the State of Illinois. We are excited for her since this is her first year on the Poms team at her school.
The name of the game is practice, practice, and more practice as her team prepares for their competition. Please keep us in your thoughts, and I’ll report back in a future show to let you know how the team in Charlotte does. She’s showing me a thing or two about tenacity and grit during this time. This team is working hard. I’m proud of all of them and the maneuvers. They’re doing splits in the air. I don’t even know what all of the moves are called. They do these turns on their jazz shoes. I was never cut out for poms, not even at that age.
She’s showing me what it means to be great. With all the practices that we’re taking Charlotte to and from, it doesn’t feel like we’re slowing down in our household anytime soon. I hope that is not the case for you. I hope that you’re having a true winter season and it’s slower for you in your household.
My guest is executive coach Susan Ireland. We talk about the different seasons in our lives and our work. I’ve mentioned this topic of seasons on the show before, but it has been some time. I’m bringing it back with Susan. As many of us who read the blog, although we do have an international presence, if you know Americans, we’ve been raised in other cultures too. You can feel and recognize this. As an American, we’ve been raised in that hustle or a rise and grind culture. We’re accustomed to pushing through no matter what the season is in our life or our work, how we feel, or where our energy levels are at. You name it. We keep pushing, which we know is not healthy.
Susan and I dived into the topic of seasons. It was fascinating to hear her and her perspective. Here’s a little bit more about our conversation. During our chat, we discussed Susan’s several years as an executive at Boeing, what it was like to be in that environment, and the transitions that Susan has had to deal with in her corporate career. We touch on the concept of seasons at work and our lives. We also discussed that if we’re in a wintering season, how can we stick with that? Being in the winter season can be uncomfortable. We try to rush through it with overthinking or over-actioning so that we’re not in that fallow or low action period.
This is part of the conversation that was for me as I shared what was going on in my household. All of us overachievers out there that it is, it’s okay. We’re giving you the permission slip again to slow down when it’s a wintering season in your life or your work. Susan has weathered all types of challenging times, including two divorces, raising her kids, deciding to retire early to start her business, and so much more. I’ve not heard of this assessment type. We have talked about the Enneagram quite a bit, but we’ve never talked about the Tilt 365 assessment. I asked her about that. She dives into that and how she uses it with her clients.
Here’s a little bit more about Susan before we get started. Susan believes in the interconnectedness of life. Our unique value can positively impact others and the world around us. Because of this, she feels a deep responsibility to help others where she can. Transitioning to help in her own business, Susan wanted a path that would allow her to give back and appreciate the wonder and awe of others’ journeys.
Drawing on several years of leadership experience in corporate environments, Susan is inspired to help people in ways that she was supported and in ways she wished she would have been supported in her professional career. Throughout her professional life, Susan has strived to create success in the environment that she was in.
As a business operations executive and a global organization, Susan led geographically dispersed teams, developed key initiatives, and grew the business. As an ICF-certified professional coach, Susan brings this energy to her work with executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders at all levels to encourage self-awareness, create action plans, and achieve positive results. Susan is the Founder of her own coaching firm, SusanIreland.Coach and the Co-Owner of Seasons Leadership, a leadership development and coaching firm.
Before we get started, if you’re enjoying Brave Women at Work, please make sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcast and/or Spotify. If you’ve already left a rating or review, I thank you so much. Your support of the show means the world to me, and by me reminding you, we are seeing the traction of the show grow. We’ve reached a new level of countries in December 2023. We reached almost 45 countries worldwide. Thank you so much. I love that we’re getting this show into the hands of more people around the globe.
If you haven’t yet downloaded one or all of my freebies, visit my website at BraveWomenAtWork.com. The freebies that I have created for you include 24 Career and Leadership Affirmations, 5 Steps to Managing Imposter Syndrome and Getting Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips. You can use these freebies at your leisure.
We’re in February 2024 now, but I don’t know the schedule for your annual review or when you’re talking comp. I want to highlight the Getting Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips piece, which is a great one to use if you are still in that annual performance review discussion or if you’re looking to negotiate more pay or benefits this year. Go to www.BraveWomenAtWork.com to learn more. Without further ado, let’s welcome Susan to the show.
Susan, welcome to the show. How are you?
I’m great. Thank you, Jen. It’s nice to be here.
Likewise, I’m happy that you’re here. Why don’t we jump in by telling everyone about you, your background, and how you’ve gotten to where you are now?
I’m coming to you from Seattle, Washington, where I have lived all my life. I was born here. I am a leadership coach and executive coach. I focus on leadership. I have a business with a business partner, Debbie Collard, and it’s called Seasons Leadership. We focus on leadership development and trying to make the world a better place by helping leaders be better leaders.
I got here by working at the Boeing company for several years. I was an executive toward the end of my career, where I had responsibilities in the business operations or program management area, in the commercial airplane business, and mostly in development. That’s where I honed my management and leadership skills. I loved it.
When I was done with that, I wanted to try something on my own. I created my own business, which was coaching. A couple of years after that, Debbie and I reconnected because she also worked at Boeing, and she was my boss for a while. We decided, “Let’s create our own business and make a difference in the world.” That’s where we are now.
Tell us about your experience at Boeing. I have to tell you a quick story. I worked in Downtown Chicago many moons ago. I worked at a mutual fund company. Susan, I come from a financial services background. I worked at Scudder Kemper a long time ago before it was purchased or renamed. My cubicle faced the Boeing building in Chicago. I always wondered what it was like to work there. Why don’t you share about your corporate experience? As I was preparing for this, it’s been several years. You had a corporate career before transitioning. Tell us about your experience at Boeing.
I started at Boeing in the late ‘80s. The reason why I wanted to work at Boeing is I was a single parent of two daughters, and I was looking for a job that paid well and had health benefits. That was my criteria and the bar. The Boeing Company provided that. It also provided growth opportunities. That was a bonus. I started in industrial engineering, but I was not an industrial engineer. I was a communications major. It’s such a big company that you get in, they train you, and you start figuring out what you’re good at and what you like, and you focus on that.
I started learning about airplanes. I started in the fabrication division, which made parts. It was random, but I don’t know if the universe was supporting me because when you learn about airplanes and figure out all the parts and all the tools that made them put the airplanes together, it all makes sense to me. I started liking it. I liked how the business worked and the integration of all the functions. It sparked my imagination. I liked the people, and it stayed.
It was a wonderful career, and I worked with wonderful people. In the middle of the journey, there were times when I was frustrated. I wasn’t moving up in my career as fast as I wanted to, but it was a wonderful experience, and it enabled me to be who I am now. I learned a lot from there. Looking back, I also realized I wish I had known then what I figured out over the years so I could have more agency in my career, accelerate it, and do some different things, but at least be more conscious of it. That’s why I went into coaching.
You have to give us a sneak peek, Susan. What were the big learnings? You talk about agency. We talk about advocating for ourselves and speaking up. What are some of those things that you wish you would’ve learned sooner but you eventually learned?
I wish I had something profound to say, but I don’t. What I realized later was that I was always trying to fit in. Boeing, especially in the ‘80s, was a male-dominated engineering manufacturing type of culture. We built airplanes. The way that management style was maybe what you might expect back in the ‘80s was Type-A, do it this way and direct and sometimes harsh direction. I looked different.
I was a woman. Often, I was the only woman in a meeting. I was nice. I got a lot of feedback that I was too nice. I don’t even know what to do with that. The feedback was that people wanted me to do more and do better, but given the time of where they came from, what they saw as the need for the job was somebody more like them. I was always trying to do that. As you try to do that, it wasn’t my authentic self. I always felt awkward, and I was not as effective as I could be because I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t.
The biggest lesson for me is that we are always going to get pressure from the outside. Even good-intentioned people can give us pressure to be somebody we’re not. The ability to reflect, ground yourself in who you are, and act from that space is much more powerful than trying to be somebody you’re not.The ability to reflect and really ground yourself in who you are and then act from that space is much more powerful than trying to be somebody you're not. Click To Tweet
For fun, I looked it up because I heard this on another podcast, and to confirm it, Miriam Webster named the Word of the Year in 2023 to be authentic. What you’re referring to is not trying to fit in others’ boxes but to fit into, not even fit in your own, but to be who you are.
I had to have a job. I needed a job to make more money and progress. I had two kids to take care of. This is something that I wanted to be there, and I had to be there. I needed to play the game. I was trying to do that. It didn’t occur to me that I might get further in the game if I was playing my game rather than somebody else’s game.
Last question on Boeing. Do you think that you would have stayed as long at Boeing if you had been more of your authentic self? Do you think it may have led you down a different career path?
I have thought about that a lot because I’m glad that I stayed. There were periods of time when I thought, “I got to figure something else out because this is not happening for me.” The log jam broke open, and I got new opportunities. It was good. What I would’ve done is not leave Boeing, but I might’ve taken more personal risks and challenged more leaders. I went out on a limb rather than trying to fit in as much as I did.
We often give permission slips here at Brave Women at Work. We’re going to give everybody a permission slip to be themselves and to be authentic and damned with fitting in. Sometimes, it’s good to challenge, ask questions, and think about things differently.
This is easy to say, but when you’re living in it, and you have pressure because you don’t want to lose your job, it’s hard to do. What I would encourage everybody to do is to find people who can support, listen, and encourage you because it gets lonely if you think that you’re all alone and you can’t talk to people because you don’t want to appear vulnerable or weak. You do need that support system and people who say, “Yeah, you are good.” You need to show up better because you are that good. In addition to being authentic, get a support system around you.
One thing I found unique about your work is that you vulnerably talk about transitions, and you said in there. I was hoping we could tease it apart. You inferred on your site weathering challenging times. I’m assuming retirement from Boeing and raising children. You also mentioned divorce and other losses. I was wondering how these times have shaped you as a person, a leader, and a coach.
It’s been a lot like a lot of people. I’ve been divorced twice. That was hard and devastating both times. The first one was a difficult divorce, and I had two girls with that one. I got married again several years later. Several years after that, I got divorced, and I had another son. The positive is I had three great kids, but my life was not what I thought it was.
I don’t know about weathering it. It’s that I had to. I couldn’t collapse because I had these three kids to take care of. I didn’t think about it too much other than I have to keep going, show up at work, and be the best I can be at work. The one that was impactful to me came toward the end of my career. My second daughter was married, and her husband got leukemia and passed away within a few years. It was terrible. He was a wonderful guy.
I walked that path with her and them. We didn’t know that he was going to pass away. I provided them with a lot of support. They were in Texas. I saw them a lot. The Boeing Company, my boss, and my team supported me because I was dealing with that. It is helpful to have a work environment that supports you when you’re going through something tough.It is helpful to have a work environment that supports you when you're going through something tough. Click To Tweet
Thinking about this and watching all this emphasized to me again that life is short and we only get this one life. I needed to do what was calling me. My life was different. I was always driven by taking care of my kids and making sure that they were safe and secure. They were now. They were grown up and out. It was me, but I was on autopilot.
I decided sometime after Brandon died, not right away, but probably within the next few years, that I didn’t have to stay as long at Boeing as I thought that I did. I’d always had an idea that I wanted to start my own business, and I wanted to be a coach, but I always thought, “I’ll wait until after I retire.” I had this retirement age that was way out there because I had to make sure that I was safe and secure. What am I holding on to? I decided I was going to retire earlier than I had planned to start my own business. It was risky, but it was freeing to make that choice because I was clear on my values and what I wanted out of my life. It was my choice, which was empowering.
How did all of this change and loss? You’ve made some big decisions. You’ve had some big pivots in your life. Everyone has. As I’m listening to you, and it’s not a measuring stick, but you’ve had your fair share. How does that show up in the work you do with your clients?
First of all, it’s part of who I am. People see and feel that when they’re with me. I’ve been through a lot, and there’s a level of understanding. I might not understand exactly the specifics that they’re going through, but that feeling of loss and feeling of the life that you thought you had is not there. It never was, but it was an illusion. There’s a level of understanding. The fact that I know that it doesn’t mean it’s the end. There is something else out there. It’s better than what it was before, but you can’t get there magically. It is a transition, and it takes time. We have to allow ourselves the grace to go through that in order to get to the other side.
You’re living proof. You are in the moment of your divorce, your first or your second, and you are like, “How am I going to get through this?” You got through the other side.” Everyone has them. I had my dad pass when I was young. I didn’t know. It was devastating. I never knew. I don’t know if you ever healed from these losses, but you learned to move forward. I love the fact that you’re willing to bring your whole self and experience into the relationships that you have with your clients.
It’s backed by being authentic at work. It’s being authentic in life and being a whole person. When I coach, a lot of times, people come to me because of my leadership and my career. In reality, and I tell them this right up front, I don’t coach one aspect of your life. We talk about your whole life because we are a whole integrated person, and one aspect affects the other aspect. We integrate it all, and we talk about it all.
One of the things that I saw on your site is a blog that struck me about seasons. As we’re recording this, we’re entering what I call the quiet season, the fallow season of winter, with that time of hibernation. As I was thinking of as you were explaining these transitions, there are these periods of not knowing. I have to tell you, Susan. I struggle with the periods of not knowing. I’m sure I’m not alone. How have you used those times of not knowing to your advantage if you can?
The reason why seasons leadership is called that is because, like the natural seasons, summer, spring, winter, and fall, we go through metaphorically. It’s part of how things work. We don’t like it, especially in the West, in the United States, the winter season, the fall, and the time of not knowing is important. We try to ignore that. That gets us into trouble in the long run.
I’ll give you an example of the transition. When we make a decision to get a divorce or change jobs, it could be a good decision, but there is a decision. There’s a release like, “I did that.” There’s a what’s next? We have a tendency to want that answer right away, but it’s not always there. Having that time and allowing that space of not knowing is important because that’s where the magic happens. It’s the waiting. See what shows up. We’re allowing the space for something new to come in. It may be a quiet voice that you can start to hear. It may be that you’re tired that you need time to sleep and hibernate in winter.
This is a metaphor. Winter can come at any time of the year for you. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. That’s part of the uncomfortableness of it. When it starts to thaw, you will start to get ideas, and it’ll be more like spring. It’s like the Joseph Campbell thing, “Follow your bliss or whatever you start sparks your curiosity.” Give it a try. It’s like spring. Things are popping up. It doesn’t mean you have to make a decision, but you may follow something like, “That feels good. I’m going to try that.” It’s important not to make a decision yet but to explore and experiment. That will eventually merge into more of a full spring or summer where, “This is what I want.” You commit.
It takes time. It’s important not to rush that because what will happen is that we’ll choose something because we don’t want to stay uncomfortable. We’ll choose a job or move. We’re there, and it wasn’t right. You’re back starting again. A lot of times, people come for coaching when deep work during fall and winter is metaphorical times for them because they’re struggling with a decision or they don’t know what to do, and it is uncomfortable.
If somebody’s in summer, to take it to the other extreme, to help with description, summer is like riding the wave, and everything is going great. You’re at the peak of your career. You’re making money, your relationships are good, and you don’t want that to end. When people come to me for coaching, at that point, it’s more performance coaching. They want to take advantage of the energy of summer. They’re feeling good, and they want to do more.
One book that you jogged my mind about and that I wanted to share here is a book recommendation, Susan. I don’t know if you’ve ever read this one, but if not, I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s called Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. We’ll include that in the show notes. That one strikes a chord with what you’re talking about to me.
I know that one. It’s good.
I’m using myself as an example. I do that. I’m vulnerable. That’s what we’re here for. With wintering and hibernation, I still struggle to this day. What happens for me is when I’m in that not knowing, I start being frenetic with my activity. I don’t slow down. That’s what causes burnout or confusion. You get moving, and you end up in the wrong place. When you have clients, friends, or family that you see that trait with them that they cannot honor or struggle to honor those slower seasons, how do you help them? What advice would you give to them and to me, too?
First of all, we have to give ourselves grace. When you’re being frenetic, you told me you realize what you’re doing. Give yourself grace and say, “I’m uncomfortable. What can I do to back off?” People have different ways. Some people like to journal, or sometimes they only like to journal at this time. They put some of their energy into that. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way. She focuses on artists, but there’s so much application for everybody else. She has this process that she uses called Morning Pages. Have you heard about this?
I’ve heard about it, but you’re like, “Here’s my to-be-read pile for 2024.” You buy a book, and you’re like, “Yeah.” It never happens. You’re pushing me in a loving way to be like, “Jen, can you please pick up that book and read it?” I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never dug in. Share more.
These Morning Pages are magic, especially if you’re feeling like this, “I don’t know what’s next. I’m uncomfortable.” The first thing that you do when you wake up is these morning pages. It is to try to get it before your brain wakes up. It’s three pages. You write, and you don’t think about what you’re writing. You don’t compose an outline or anything. You write what’s on your mind, and you don’t stop. You say, “This is what I’m going to do now. I’ve been up all night because I’ve been thinking about my mom.” Whatever it is, you write.
When you can’t think of anything else to write, you write, “I can’t think of anything else to write.” It will start to emerge. It’s amazing. You start to talk to yourself. There’s part of your subconscious that starts to come out and you’ll learn things when you think, “I don’t like something. I do like something, and I’m curious about this.” It’s a way to get in touch with your deeper self and see what happens from there.
It’s a great practice.
When somebody is in winter especially, I’ll suggest that they do these morning pages, and even people who don’t like journaling will do this. What I tell people is do not get a cute, beautiful, fancy journal to do this in because you won’t write. Some people may, but most people will look at it and say, “I can’t ruin that.” I say, “Get three pages of computer paper or printer paper and write it on there so you’re not ruining your fancy book.”
The last question on the morning pages is that lots of people like digital planners, but I’m sensing that you’re like, “No, you need to put pen to paper with this exercise.” Is that correct?
That is correct. There’s something about the movement of your hand and your brain that works together that is not the same as typing.
Everybody gets your typing paper like a mead notebook, like your old school notebook. Go for it. I’d love to hear what comes up. If anybody wants to share a DM with me on social media, it’d be cool. I wanted to ask you if there are any other barriers that you see with your clients, like common ones that you’d be like, “Here are some other things.” We talked about the idea of wintering or hibernation, transitions, and struggling with that. Are there any others among your leadership folks, your executive folks, or anyone in business that you see any barriers that are commonalities? You’re like, “Yeah, there are trends here.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I coach in the hierarchy from entering to vice president. They’re not taking care of themselves. When you’re not healthy, and I’m talking about physically, emotionally, spiritually, creativity-wise, and time-wise, and when you’re not taking care of yourself, you don’t feel good about yourself. That shows up. We cannot be the person or the leader that we know we can be.If you don't feel good about yourself, it's really impossible to be brave. Click To Tweet
The trend is another hard one because we women especially have such a burden. They have society and our families, and we put it on ourselves. My daughter has taught me the term mental load, which I don’t know if you talked about before, but I get that. The women in life are taking care of the household. Even if they have help, it’s the mental load of thinking about what’s for dinner. Do the kids have their winter clothes and the right shoe size? What about doctor’s appointments? Who’s going to clean the toilets? Is it garbage day? They’re also doing it at work, too.
I saw that a lot of the women were taking care of all the things that help the organization run in addition to their jobs. We take on that and jeopardize our sleep. We don’t exercise and don’t eat right. We don’t connect with our friends as much as we need to because we need that connection. People come to me and say, “I’m unhappy in my job.” Sometimes, it’s not the job. It’s that they are tired and haven’t taken care of themselves, and they need a break.
They’re vilifying the job, or they’re saying, “I need to leave this job.” When was the last time you fed yourself? Are you drinking enough water? We may go a little erratic in our conclusions.
That’s one of the first things when somebody comes to me burnt out. Before you make any decisions, don’t do it. I’m harking back to the winter idea. Don’t make a rash decision that you’re going to regret. Let’s rest, take some time for yourself, reflect on what’s going on, and make decisions later.Rest. Take some time for yourself to really reflect on what's going on and then make decisions later. Click To Tweet
That’s cool because I’m assuming that you also bring in the season’s conversation with your clients to say, “What season are you in your life, work, and business?” It is for you to help them frame. How can you come from a place of strength as a leader? How can you make the right decisions and clear some of that confusion?
You can be in different seasons in different aspects of your life. For example, you may have a relationship with somebody, and you may be in summer. Everything is going great, but your career is in the fall season when you are making a decision. Are you going to switch careers? Are you going to take a promotion? You are struggling with that decision or with your parents. If they are ailing, you may be in winter and realize that you’re not going to have them around for a long time. You’re feeling reflective and lost.
One other thing that you’re making me think about with these seasons, I love this metaphor, is that if you are a big part, like your family, is this top value? Your daughter was losing her husband. Unbeknownst to her, he didn’t know that he was going to get leukemia. I’m assuming he was young and had vitality and got sick, unfortunately. We expect, as a Type-A ambitious career woman, that everything is going to be in summer mode or we’re trying to force things into seasons.
If the family is your top value and you’re in a winter period because you’re taking care of a sick spouse, for example, give yourself the grace and compassion to be like, “I can only do so much. This is the season that’s overriding everything else. I’m not going to try to varnish toxic positivity because my top value is family.” Stop getting them confused about trying to have everything in summer all the time or in one season.
It’s recognizing and being aware of where you are and not trying to force yourself back into summer because it’s a very American thing. You want to be on top, and everything is going great. Life isn’t like that. Recognizing where you are and what you need to do in that season is helpful. The other thing that is helpful is understanding that it’s all change. We are going through these seasons all the time.
You may feel like if you’re in winter, this is going to last forever. Know that it’s not, and think back on other points in your life when you’ve come across this time. It lasts for a while, and it moves on. You’ll be in summer again. When you’re in summer in whatever element of your life, it’s like riding the wave and enjoying it because it’s fun and good, but it also doesn’t last forever.
When I had my parent died when I was young, it also coached me into always waiting for the other shoe to drop. One thing that I want to caution everyone on the call is that you have to be fully present in the moment you’re in rather than being afraid of, “When is the next winter coming?” It diminishes the summer that you’re in. I’ve lived a lot of my life where it’s like, “When is the next catastrophe going to happen?” It does tarnish the experience. Be present, which is again a tall order, but it’s something worth reminding.
That is wonderful, Jen. I love that. That is profound. It lives in the moment. Even if it is fall or winter, that’s the moment. If we do live in the moment, it may pass faster. I don’t know, but it seems like by not acknowledging it and making a decision fast, you are prolonging that.
You don’t want to prolong, you know, a fall, winter, or challenging time, but you also don’t want to be anticipating it either. It truly is a balancing act. That’s why you do the work you do. That’s why I do the work I do. It’s because we want to help people through each of those seasons. Moving off-seasons, I want to give you a compliment. I looked at your side. A coach usually has 1 or 2 assessment types that they rally around. Susan, you have so much expertise on many different assessment types. For people reading, if you’ve never done a personality assessment, you can do a strengths finder assessment. These assessments give you a good baseline to work from and help you get clarity on things that you may want to work on with a coach.
One that I had never heard of that I wanted our folks to read about because I’m curious, and I want them to know. We’ve talked about the Enneagram, Susan. I’ve talked about Myers-Briggs, but I’ve never talked about Tilt 365. I was like, “What is this Tilt 365?” I’ve done some research, but I’d like to hear in your own words what it is and how you use it in your practice.
I will admit. I am not a huge fan of assessments. This is the reason why. Growing up in Boeing, I took every assessment there could be. They’re helpful and the science is crazy accurate. I don’t know how it works, but it’s accurate. What the way they were used, and it’s maybe because of the way they were administered or our expertise at the time was they’d say, “Susan, you are a blue. This is your Myers-Briggs. This means that this is where you go. This is what you can do.” I hated that because I wasn’t an engineer or a finance person. I hated to be pegged like, “This is who you are.” That’s why I don’t like them for that reason. I do like them because it give us some language that we can talk about and tease out some positive actions we can take to help our own development.
When I came across Tilt 365, I was curious. The reason why I give this to people is because it is a character assessment. Based on personality it is what you were born with. Character is how you develop those traits into characteristics. It’s something you have control over. It’s how you show up in the world. You can do things about these things like determination or integrity.
The reason why I liked Tilt 365 is because it is clear that we are all of these things that we’re being assessed at. We have a true tilt, which is our go-to move. It’s based on genetics, how you were born, but also how you were socialized. For instance, I am a connector, which is no surprise to people who know me. What I will go to when meeting people and leading, I will first say, “Who’s in the room? What’s important to them? What motivates them? How can we connect people together?” That’s my true tilt.
If you think about how I was raised, my mom always said, “Susan, you can get more if you’re nice to people. Pay attention to people.” When I was going to school, the more I did that, the more successful I became. It was encouraged that I was a connector. That’s my go-to move. I do it unconsciously, but if I overdo that, it’s a weakness. I might be over-accommodating to people. I will change my mind as people change their minds. I appear to be wishy-washy.
What Tilt helps me see is my true tilt. It shows me the strengths and weaknesses there, but it shows me my whole self. There is an impact part of the tilt. That person is more assertive, forward-looking, and blazing the path for a business or a family. We’re going over here. There’s the structure part of the tilt in a circle. That is an organized, disciplined personality. Interestingly enough, my job at Boeing for several years was more in the structure area. I was tilting to structure. I learned those skills because I had to. I was good at that, but it wasn’t my go-to move. First, I would connect with people, and I would put on my structure hat and move that way.
The last quadrant is clarity. That is the people who have a true tilt of clarity and want to understand data. They’ll go deep into subjects. We call it the quiet genius because they’ll understand the connections between things. They may not be as comfortable making quick decisions because they feel like they need more data.
The thing about it is that we need to be all of these things in life. The objective is to tilt to the context that you’re in to be comfortable enough to say, “I need some more data. I need to tilt this way. I don’t need to jump to a conclusion and move ahead. I need to be more structured and more direct with people. I need to connect more with people.” It gives you a whole framework of how to move in life and in work.
If someone wants to look at that Tilt 365 because we’ve never covered it here at Brave Women of Work, and that’s why I wanted to bring it out, could they go to your website? Did they go to the Tilt 365 website directly? How do they test?
They could go to the Tilt 365 website directly. If they wanted to, they could contact me.
That’s helpful because I’ve never heard of it. Thanks for clarifying that. Understanding that, with an assessment, we’re going to start and end with authenticity. Don’t allow a test and results to box you in because, for some of these assessments, you can change. You’re given that genetics, but through your life experience, you can change as you did at Boeing and how you reacted to your role at Boeing. Be authentic.
Do we have time for a quick example?
Yeah, as long as you do.
Part of my coaching is I offer Tilt to people if they want to do it because I find it a helpful baseline to coach from. I have a client. She took the test. She came out as a structured person. We were talking, and I said, “What do you think?” Another thing is most of the time, people will say, “It nailed me.” Other times, they say, “I don’t think so.” I say, “Take it again because who knows what was going on for you at the time.” She said, “Yeah, it is.” I said, “That’s interesting.” She said, “Why?”
We’ve worked together for quite a while. I said, “Knowing you, that doesn’t seem like that to you.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “I think you’re more of a connector, and this is why.” She looked at me. She had tears in her eyes. She said, “Yeah, that’s true.” I said, “What’s going on?” She said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I think your job requires you to tilt way over here to structure, which is fine, but you haven’t brought your connector part of you with you.” That awareness helped her.
She could be more authentic and use her natural tilt in her role.
It’s like a tool to help us bring awareness.
Thank you for sharing that story. You and I could talk all day. You’ve shared some of them. If you want to repeat this answer, that’s fine. What do you believe are 1 to 2 ways women can be braver at work?
Connect with other women and men who are allies? Don’t do this alone. Don’t be brave alone. That’s one thing. Take care of yourself. Get sleep and eat. If you have something creative to do, do that. Make time for yourself. Carve out some space, even if it’s ten minutes, so that you feel good about yourself because if you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s impossible to be brave.
Your tank is not even full.
You don’t have to feel like a superwoman because I don’t think we ever do. You can’t be depleted.
That’s a good reminder, especially as we’re recording this towards the end of 2023. If you’re reading this in the future, the end of the year is tough. Replenish yourself is your tip. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Little things are easier to sneak in than big vacations. Don’t wait. Have a cup of tea, walk around the block, or go to bed a half hour early.
They may sound small, but they can add up to big things. Thank you for that reminder.
Every time you do something for yourself, you’re also reinforcing that you’re worth it.
That’s a truth bomb right there. I’ll attribute it to, but I put it into a social post. Susan, how can women find you and your work online? Please mention Seasons Leadership because I know that you run a couple of companies.
We’ll link all that up, as well as those couple of books we referenced. Everyone, do your morning pages.
Everyone, check out Susan and Debbie’s podcasts as well. Susan, thank you so much for this insightful conversation. It’s been such a joy to have you on. I wish you the best in the new year.
Thank you very much, Jen. I enjoyed the conversation.
That does it for my discussion with Susan. I hope you found our conversation both valuable and inspiring. As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify. The show is also available on Google Podcasts or any other podcast platform you enjoy. Until next time, show up. Respect your season of leadership and be brave.
- Susan Ireland
- Tilt 365
- Seasons Leadership
- Apple Podcast – Brave Women at Work
- Spotify – Brave Women at Work
- Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
- The Artist’s Way
- Seasons Leadership Podcast
- Apple – Seasons Leadership Podcast
- Spotify – Seasons Leadership Podcast
- YouTube – Seasons Leadership Podcast
- Google Podcasts – Brave Women at Work
About Susan Ireland
Susan believes in the interconnectedness of life – that our unique value can positively impact others and the world around us. Because of this, she feels a deep responsibility to help others where she can. Transitioning to her own business, Susan wanted a path that would allow her to give back and appreciate the wonder and awe of others’ journeys. Drawing on 30+ years of leadership experience in corporations, Susan is inspired to help people in ways that she was supported and in ways she wished she would have been supported in her professional career.
Throughout her professional life, Susan has strived to create success in the environment she was currently in. As a business operations executive in a global organization, Susan led geographically dispersed teams, developed key initiatives and grew the business. Now, as an ICF-Certified Professional Coach, Susan brings this energy to her work with executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders at all levels to encourage self-awareness, create action plans and achieve positive results.