The 'Inspire your Life' Podcast with Arthi Rabikrisson

S2E2 In conversation with Susan Heaton-Wright: Thriving beyond limiting beliefs

February 03, 2022 Arthi Rabikrisson and Susan Heaton-Wright Season 2 Episode 2
The 'Inspire your Life' Podcast with Arthi Rabikrisson
S2E2 In conversation with Susan Heaton-Wright: Thriving beyond limiting beliefs
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On episode 2 of the second season of the Inspire Your Life podcast, Arthi explores the positive side of limiting beliefs, and how one can thrive beyond it, with guest Susan, who has had to overcome tremendous limiting beliefs imposed by others, at a young age, and became her burden to carry and fend off.

And fend off she did, despite being an introvert. She found the courage on a number of instances, which she shares with us in the episode, but the one that sticks out is the courage to reach beyond what was expected of her in terms of tertiary education options, and how she defied the judgements, created an ally, and eventually studied at a top 100 university in the world!

Some key words of wisdom shared by Susan include:
"We are allowing somebody else to limit our potential"
"Take a moment to step back and enjoy what you've achieved every day"
" If other people push back with microaggressions and triggers, recognize them. And it's all about them, not about you."

Listen in to hear the practical advice, real ideas and feel inspired by Susan's journey and optimism.

About Susan Heaton-Wright
Susan is a Global Virtual impact, communications and speaking expert for emerging leaders and the creator of the Superstar Communicator™ methodology. She is an international speaker; the MD of award winning music company, Viva Live Music, podcaster and a former prize winning international opera singer. Susan is regularly interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live; BBC2, local radios and international podcasts, like the Inspire Your Life podcast. She is a contributor to articles in Forbes, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, The Scotsman and trade publications. In 2020, she was named as an #ialso 100 top inspirational female entrepreneurs in UK.

Connect with Susan at  and also find the  Ten Top Tips
For social media:

If you enjoyed this episode, then do rate, write a review and share with others.
Share too, your own insights from your journey based on themes from the episode - what has worked or hasn't for you. We can all learn from each other.

Connect with host Arthi here:

#findyourprerna #prernaadvisory #bebold #bebrave #podcast #growth #entrepreneur

Support the show

Arthi Rabikrisson  0:15  
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Inspire life podcast today with me your host, Arthi Rabikrisson.

I believe we find inspiration all around us, especially from the stories that we all have within us. My aim with a inspire life podcast is to bring some of those stories, real stories to light stories that my guests are willing to share. And that will resonate with you. And it's by listening to these stories that we can be inspired and become motivators, because our stuff to overcome and to find that new path making us rise even higher, and we thought possible.

Joining me on the podcast episode today is Susan Heaton-Wright. And she's someone who is so dynamic and brilliant at what she does, we're going to be talking about thriving beyond limiting beliefs. Now Susan is a global virtual impact communications and speaking expert for emerging leaders, and the creator of the superstar communicator methodology. She is an international speaker, MD of an award winning music company podcaster and a former prize winning international opera singer, Susan I love the variety is incredible the things that you're doing. She's regularly interviewed on BBC on local radios on international podcasts like the Inspire live podcast. She's also a contributor to articles and Forbes, The Guardian, Huffington Post, thrive global and so many others. As I said, Susan, your credentials are exemplary. But I think truly what really shines through from the time that I've known you is really the humanity that you bring to anything and the way that you guide people and help them gain confidence so that they can speak authentically and, you know, just be even more and rise even more, as I said earlier. So welcome, Susan, to the podcast today.

Susan Heaton-Wright  2:27 
Thank you so much for having me. I'm really honored to be on your amazing podcast.

Arthi Rabikrisson  2:33 
Aww, thank you so much. I really appreciate that. You know, I just did a very, very short, high level intro. But I really want to know a little bit more deeper about uses. And so tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Susan Heaton-Wright  2:45 
What is it to know it's always quite quite interesting when people put the spotlight on you, and I'm a natural introvert. So when people say that I'm thinking, oh, what shall I say? Which sounds a bit pathetic being the superstar communicator. But, but but that's the thing. I'm, I'm just me, I don't think of it in any more depth than that, trying to be the best version of myself, and be the best human being I can be towards others.

Arthi Rabikrisson  3:20
Ah, I mean, that's really authentic. And really, really genuine. I think that's important. We can only really be true to ourselves and true to the purpose I suppose that we find in ourselves, isn't it?

Susan Heaton-Wright  3:30  
Definitely. And it's really interesting that you focused on the purpose. Because if we can find why we do what we do, and the reason why we're here, and how we can make a difference to other people, rather well, there are some people their purpose is to make loads of money. That's not who I am deaf, and that's absolutely fine. If that's what they feel is their purpose. I'm not being judgmental. But for me, certainly, my whole thing is about empowering people to be the best version of themselves and to manage their fear and show up with confidence so that they'll be noticed that they'll be respected and they'll be able to influence in a positive way.

Arthi Rabikrisson  4:19  
Ag, that is that is so beautiful. That really really is Susan, because, you know, I think all of us are walking around with some version of an imposter that's actually making us doubt ourselves that's causing us to lose confidence. And the fact that you want to take on that role of actually saying to somebody, he but it's in there with you, you can actually do this and yourself coming from as an introvert doing something like this. I mean, I think it's just very, very inspiring. Absolutely.

Susan Heaton-Wright  4:48  
You know, it's it's very interesting because people often say to me, it was okay for you. You can do public speaking, it's easy for you, but my entire journey has been from A quiet, anxious schoolgirl that was told to be quiet when I had an opinion, or an idea or laughed at because I didn't always pronounce words correctly when reading things. As a school girl, you're I don't know if you have this when you were at school that everybody would have to read out a paragraph, oh, yes in English. And, you know, the anxiety levels, because I knew that I would mispronounce things. And, you know, the girls would laugh, of course, you know, I would do the same if it was the other way around. But I went from that, and somehow later on sound a way that I realized that I needed to sing. Once as a postgrad to to music college, I was surrounded by people who had been soloist, and I'm, you know, I'm center stage since the age of five. And I had to navigate myself around that and also give myself permission to own that stage. Because, you know, somebody else would take that from you quite quickly. So that was quite against my upbringing, but also my natural character.

And I would say to everybody, who isn't that, an introvert, there are lots of performers and lots of speakers and lots of leaders who are introverts, they might present themselves as extroverts. People often think I'm an extrovert, but essentially, they're introverts. And you can still make a positive impact and influence

Arthi Rabikrisson  6:34  
Beautiful, beautiful words, Susan, thank you so much. And you so right. I, myself know so many, you know, high profile leaders who are introverts, yet, when you see them, they obviously find a way to bring across that dynamicism when needed, and showcase what exactly it is that they that they need to do. And, you know, thank you also for sharing a little bit about your journey. And that's so personal, you know, and I'm sure it's going to resonate with so many of my listeners, because we've all had that sort of experience in some shape or form, where we've stumbled, where people have judged us or perceived us in a way different, and put us in a difficult position as well to be able to elevate ourselves on that. And, you know, it got me thinking, as you were talking about, you know, what, what did that potentially do to you in terms of, you know, leaving you with triggers, as you were growing up? And as you were trying to find your own voice and and build yourself up, you know, did those triggers sort of last as, as you as you grew? And what were some of the things that you did to overcome those triggers, as you started to identify them?

Susan Heaton-Wright  7:46  
Triggers are a really, really interesting point. And I'm so pleased that you brought this up. Of course, things that happen to us, and, you know, I haven't alluded to the fact that I've had some major traumas in my life. But also the way that we're brought up, the way that we are, you know, the messages that we have to ourselves are, play major factors. But at some point, I believe that when we recognize certain triggers, instead of saying, oh, it's not fair, this person's done this to me, and I'm getting triggered, unless it's major trauma, that that's another thing. But But small things like, Oh, you're blonde, that therefore you must be thinking.

 Susan Heaton-Wright  8:30
Yeah, yeah. Which is, or you're just a girl? Or why are you here, usually you don't hurt, you don't deserve to be here, at some point you need and you know, and that you're going to have a natural response to that, at some point, if you can recognize some of those things, and be able to take a deep breath and to be the bigger person. I mean, stop blaming the other person.

Arthi Rabikrisson  8:57
Yeah, I was, I was just gonna say, Susan, those triggers that you're mentioning are not even, you know, difficult triggers, it's things we actually hearing in normal everyday sort of passing. But yet, you know, it does actually have some sort of an impact or effect on us in the way we behave and react. I that's what I'm getting from you

Susan Heaton-Wright  9:17  
Absolutely, definitely. It triggers a memory of another situation.

Arthi Rabikrisson  9:24
The thing is, though, Susan, I don't know if you found this though. But you know, when you when you have those triggers happening, they become a habit. And yet we react in such a yes, in such a negative way that it actually becomes a self limiting belief. But it may not necessarily be something we've sort of put on ourselves. It's because somebody else has said it. Now, how dangerous is that? How dangerous is that? Yeah,

Susan Heaton-Wright  9:49  
it's very, very dangerous. And actually we are allowing somebody else who limit our potential

Arthi Rabikrisson  9:57 

Susan Heaton-Wright  9:59
And I mean, I'm I'm not saying that we should ignore microaggressions. And that we should we should put up with them. Because as women, we have had to deal with that thought civilization hadn't we negative comments and things like that there's a balance, when there are microaggressions that make you feel that you don't feel safe psychologically, or physically, that's another matter altogether. But if you've got these little things going on, and you have it in families, don't chew saluting that people have have a role in life within the family, don't they? Oh, the pretty one, the bright one, the thick one, the silly one, I will say, you know, the thick, silly one, I went to a top 100 university in the world in the end.

Arthi Rabikrisson  10:49  
Mm hmm.

Susan Heaton-Wright  10:51  
So I had to push against a lot of a lot of microaggressions and labeling on once you can understand that, but it's more about the other person than it is you. Right, that making them feel better.

Arthi Rabikrisson  11:06
That's very important, I think you hit the nail on the head here, because it is almost a bit of a projection. And yet, unfortunately, when it does come to us, we take it on board as it's ours, and we take ownership of that, isn't it. And that's I think, where the difficulty arises in when we tried to overcome it, or trying to figure out how each rise above it, we fall short, and we get stuck. And I would love Susan, I know you've you've been giving us a little bit about your journey and a little brown about the obstacles that you've been facing. Share with us some of the ways that you've actually elevated yourself and, and tried to bring these as opportunities to move or move past the microaggressions. And I know it's working progress all the time.

Oh, absolutely.

Arthi Rabikrisson  11:52 

Susan Heaton-Wright  11:53  
You know, when when I was 17, I went to a highly academic, selective girls school. And at the time when you're 16/17, you're working out what you're going to do next. Yes. And my four Mistress would not give me a form to complete to apply to university. You're too thick. Why don't you do this, all of this stuff. And that's not what I wanted to do. I don't know how I managed to do but I'm managed to get an application form. Don't ask me, I was naughty. But I still did it myself as best I could, without any guidance. And then I banged on the door of the headmistress. Now, she was a formidable female leader. I mean, she was a goddess. And so that took quite a lot of courage. And but I my focus was on university. So when you have fear quite often, if you've got a target, it overrides that, you know, neuro scientifically, it overrides it. And I knew as soon as I asked, she had a glint in her eye, I knew she would support me. And within within two weeks, I was getting interview requests from top universities, not Oxford and Cambridge that I was applying to those. But, and I went, I ended up at a university. If I had not had the courage, and the focus of where what I wanted to do, I would not have managed that my life would actually have been quite different. Different. Yeah. I mean, I would, you know, possibly, I would have ended up what I'm doing now. I think it's highly unlikely.

Arthi Rabikrisson  13:42
So that courage that that, you know, finding that courage, first of all, is so important, but look at the impact as you saying that it's had a new just by you, being you know, that sort of steadfast around, I'm going to be doing this and your headmistress, you know, noticing this, so so that support as well, from her was even as and that's what started you on the journey that you are now. I mean, I think

absolutely, and, you know, a 22 Well, 18 as well, I have two terrible traumas. And one of the first people that contact me contacted me at age 22 was my headmistress who'd now retired and she said, can I help in any way? How about if I write a reference for you a testimonial that you can take for interviews, something really practical, and then later on when I went to music college when I retrained? I got scholarships from various places. It wasn't until she had died that it was revealed that she was one of my benefactors.

Arthi Rabikrisson  14:50  
Wow. Look at that. I mean, somebody who, you know, started off sort of not really believing in you to seeing something because you Put yourself out there and become this this sort of backbone support through so many different legs of your life. I mean, that's beautiful, beautiful,

Susan Heaton-Wright  15:10  
incredible. And in fact, in fairness, she wasn't the one that didn't give me the university form. She wasn't involved in that.

Arthi Rabikrisson  15:19  
Okay. Okay.

Susan Heaton-Wright  15:21  

Arthi Rabikrisson  15:22
Sure, that's incredible. And so, you know, what I'm taking away from that is, firstly, there's that there'sthat little bit of, chutzpah that we need to bring to our from ourselves, to give us that, you know, let's just take that one step forward. And then just to be pleasantly surprised, but where, where the support structure actually comes from the ecosystem?

Susan Heaton-Wright  15:41  

Arthi Rabikrisson  15:42  
And, you know, I know you've had quite a journey, being a businesswoman, and entrepreneur, a singer, you know, I'd love to share, I'd love for you to share, you know, what have been some of the pleasant opportunities that have arisen I know, there's been obstacles all of us as entrepreneurs.

Susan Heaton-Wright  15:59  
Oh, absolutely. But how, and you know, how important it is to focus on those opportunities, and those successes and those wins? Because we can get stuck to oh, there's been so many obstacles. And, and, you know, I'm often asked about those obstacles rather than the wins. Do you notice I look back on when I was a singer, and I went as a sort of more mature ms student, I had to catch up with all of those people that have been performing since they were five and all of those things. And at the time, I remember just working hard and working towards getting the next work and things like that. And my singing teacher said at the time, take a moment to step back and enjoy what you've achieved every day. And after every, every performance because one of my other singing teachers said, all you've got to do really well, then you'll get more work and see what you can do to get what you know, rather than and looking back on my singing career. I mean, I did some really good things. I of course, my career was shorter than other people's. But what I achieved in that time, you know,

I performed as a soloist, in some incredible venues for incredible conductors and orchestras I premiered mute, I premiered music as a soloist I performed in Europe, I got a scholarship to study. And so you know, how lucky I was to have those opportunities. But to be honest, I don't believe that my calling was to be a singer. And when I said I was retiring people horrified.

But actually, I feel that what I do now is my calling, because I can hold my hand on my heart and say, You know what, if I can do it, you definitely can. So when I hear from somebody, somebody's lovely, like you who wants me to come on your podcast, or one of my clients that says that pitch went really well, or I've got to be a partner, because we've worked on my meeting, impact, or at the end of a workshop, the organizer says, You know what, that's the best we've had, we're gonna we're going to really move forward with this. Those are successes, however small,

Arthi Rabikrisson  18:29  
And we celebrate even the smallest wins. Susan, I firmly believe that I firmly believe that, because that's what motivates us, right? And it helps us from from squashing those limiting beliefs. It's like the saying, you know, we want to find those opportunities to thrive. Why do we want to sabotage ourselves with things that didn't work out? And you know, I always find it so useful, you know, as you were talking about the reflections and to start stand, take a step back, reflect on what's actually happened on where you've come from. And I find when I do that, it becomes sort of a journey of, okay, this didn't work out the way I thought it did. But here's what happened. And here's what I could do better the next time. So you still almost looking at it from a very positive sort of way so that you can build upon yourself going forward. It sounds like you do that, too. And I think that's really beautiful. And really,

Susan Heaton-Wright  19:23 
Absolutely. And you know, the interesting thing is that I was trained as a singer at a time we call it old school now, yes. And the focus was on everything that you got wrong. And there was a famous situation where I did a recital, and as I came offstage, my singing teacher was waving a long list of things. She said you did 30 things, one things wrong. You breathe wrong here. And now at that moment, that's the worst time neuro scientifically to have that. You know, you need that moment to rebalance the the adrenaline And, and all of those things to just calm down. And that was very typical of that era, you know, 25-30 years ago, when we are training, and I know that there are plenty of people who are better. And you were saying about self sabotage, they want to sabotage other people to belittle what they have achieved rather than well done. And sometimes it can stick in the throat content. However, you know, I'm human thing, that thing of well done. In fact, it rebalances that the green eyed monster with something more positive.

Arthi Rabikrisson   20:42
I love the way you putting it, because it's so true. It really is. You know, I'm one who believes in the energy that you've put out there is the energy that you're going to get back. And if you're, if you're sitting with energy, that's so negative, it actually does radiate from you, and you attract more of it. So the more you do, the more gratitude, the more positivity thankfulness, you know, all those brilliant things that we can exude, the more it actually comes in many fold. Let's put it in that way. Susan, you know, I think it's, I'd love to hear now about you know, where you're at, in your journey, the superstar communicator program, share more with us about what's exciting and inspiring you to continue with your purpose the way you are,

Susan Heaton-Wright  21:27
Well, hasn't life changed in the world of communication and impact and influence in the last two years? Yeah, we can't get away from that. I'm sure it was the same in South Africa, as it was in UK, all of a sudden, bang, we were all working remotely, not able to see other people in real life. And we've navigated our way around that. And now it's hybrid. Yes. So hybrid working hybrid events. And this all excites me, because it's coming up with solutions, how we can still still influence people. And in this new world, and I don't believe it's going to go back to totally face to face, I would agree. Yeah, yeah. And we need to navigate this and come up with ways that we can get to work and influence people in the best way.

From the point of view of the superstar communicator methodology, I identified key areas that I believe are essential for spoken communication. It also worked for written but but my area of expertise is is some spoken communication. I am just about to go out to Dubai. And I have a client out there. And now they are going to be my agent out there to reach Middle East markets, which is really, really exciting. Yes. So you know, fingers crossed with that. But also I'm doing more work. Yeah. And more work in the United States. So I'm doing somewhat tomorrow, really looking forward to that. And that the some more work in the United Kingdom with my existing clients and new clients as well.

Arthi Rabikrisson  23:17  
Lovely. Lovely! So 2022 is looking very exciting.

Susan Heaton-Wright  23:21 
Well, I said that in 2020, I looked at my diary and thought oh this is gonna be a good year and look at what happened! But yes, there are some really interesting things. It's all work in progress. It's all working hard to.

Arthi Rabikrisson  23:35  
 Yeah, yeah,

Susan Heaton-Wright  23:36  
Nothing's come to me on my lap. You know,

Arthi Rabikrisson  23:39
I completely understand it. I'm in the same boat as you. But you know, what, you make lemonade out of lemons, as they say, and look at this now. I mean, you've got somebody who's going to be basically saying, you know, we vouch for Susan, in a in a in a different country than then where you've been operating in? And how interesting that even just us having a conversation like this not south, you know, could this have happen pre COVID, as well. So we see opportunities to have to change for the better, right, and to meet and do different things, too. So I like that you're embracing that. And you know, as part of what you're doing, and seeing some nice tangible opportunities coming in this new normal that we're finding.

Susan Heaton-Wright  24:22  
Absolutely, and I'd always done some work with corporates but I've done a lot more in the last two years. And it's met, you know, from from a purely business point of view, it's added credibility to what I offer. Now, as part of my business development. I'm contacting a lot more corporates. b2b work, and I feel that that's going to make my business more sustainable, long term.

Arthi Rabikrisson  24:50 
Good, beautiful. I'm very pleased to hear that, Susan.

Susan Heaton-Wright  24:54  
Aw, thank you!

Arthi Rabikrisson  24:56  
 And I just, you know, we're coming to the end of the day show now and I think I'd love for, for my listeners to kind of because we ended on such a high, you're talking about all of these opportunities that you're experiencing. And and and my wish for for my subscribers and listeners is that they can look at the start of 2022. And also see the possibilities. So if you could share some ways, words practical advice as we end up around, how can they harness that? How can they thrive, and wherever it is that they're standing in and look beyond and find something really tangible that they can look forward to and work to? What would you say to them?

Susan Heaton-Wright  25:34  
Okay, so if we go back to that 17 year old, me, and my teacher wouldn't give me a form. I genuinely believe if I'm honest, that I didn't present a version of myself that people that she felt she would be confident to put forward to go to university. Okay, there were things in what I did, maybe I was self deprecating. I didn't show confidence, things like that. And for the listeners, we have a responsibility to make sure that other people have confidence in our ability. Yes, yeah, yes. And it's not just about them working hard to understand who you are. But for you to give verbal or nonverbal cues, that you're credible, that you're up for this. And that is what the superstar communicator methodology is all about.

So in meetings, not you being the loudest person in the room, but you contributing in a professional, credible way with confidence and clarity, so that people say, ah, you know what, I believe she's right for the job all. Why don't we get Susan to do that? And I'd be happy to share the I've got a downloadable checklist to be a superstar communicator, if listeners would like to download it, you so I'll send that to you.

Arthi Rabikrisson  27:13 
Thank you. We'll include that as part of the as part of the show notes as well. Thank you, Susan, that's, you know, I love that advice. It's practical. It's things we're experiencing now. And it's just saying, let's just just, let's just put ourselves a little bit out there. Let's just see what we were thinking. And we wanted to say, Yeah, you never know, we could actually land.

Susan Heaton-Wright  27:31 
remember that if other people push back with microaggressions. And triggers, recognize them. And it's all about them, not about you.

Arthi Rabikrisson  27:41 
Not that it's all about them. It's not about you. So let's not take ownership of it. As I said earlier, it's it's actually moved beyond this season. It's been such a pleasure to chat to you on the show today. Thank you so much for joining me. Really appreciate all the insights and advice you've given us today.

Susan Heaton-Wright  27:58 
Thank you so much for having me on the podcast.

Arthi Rabikrisson  28:02 
It's an absolute pleasure, you take care Susan,

Susan Heaton-Wright
and you bye bye.

Arthi Rabikrisson  28:05 

Arthi Rabikrisson
Thank you so much for joining me on this episode today. If you like what you heard, rate, the episode and podcast and feel free to write a review. Plus, of course, share with others too. I love talking around topics like be so if you like my perspective or insight on a subject close to your heart, or something that you're grappling with, reach out to me in your comments or send me an email via my website, or connected me by LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, or my social media on the podcast information. If it's important to you, then it's important to so I'm happy listening to the inspire your life podcast and catch you soon on the next episode.

More about Susan
Susan talks to purpose and its importance
Susan speaks to her journey as an introverted anxious schoolgirl to become an opera singer
Susan motivates introverts about making impact
Susan's triggers and how she dealt and overcame them
Susan on the danger of self limiting beliefs becoming habits
How Susan elevated away from microaggressions successfully
The impact of having support on hand to help one along teh way
Susan shares motivation to grab those opportunities
Moving away from focusing on what we get wrong
What keeps Susan motivated and excited to continue on her purpose
Key advice from Susan on how to thrive beyond limiting beliefs in 2022
Thank you Susan for joining the show today!
Thank you listeners!