“To change ourselves effectively,

we first had to change our perceptions.”

― Stephen R. Covey,

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


Habits have a way of holding a person back from living their dream.

A couple of years ago a woman came to me because she had been dreaming for years about opening a business.   Whenever she thought about taking action on her dream, she had 2 problems that held her back: no spare time and short of money. She would swear to starting saving, but each week it was her habit to shop for clothes, shoes or something for her house.

Although she looked great, this obsessive shopping was working against her desires for a better future. “How can I break this bad habit?” she asked with tears in her eyes. She felt out of control. In her mind, she was “the type of person that couldn’t pass up a good deal”. Her self-worth and self-image were caused by her self-beliefs.

We worked together on changing her beliefs and how she identified with them so that she would be able to change her habit.

Her previous attempts to save money were failed because they involved sacrifice. She was trying to throw all her willpower at fixing a problem. When those attempts failed, she felt even worse about herself, which led to an even bigger shopping spree.

Rather than sacrificing or using brute willpower, beliefs are changed through the acceptance of new ideas. It’s simply a matter of raising awareness and making a choice.

My recommendation to her was to read a book that I first read back in the mid-70’s, which had a profound impact on me. I’ve re-read it many times over the years. The book, Psycho-Cybernetics, authored by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, is a guide to changing your beliefs.

I first heard about it when I was starting out in my sales career. As soon as a friend told me about it, I studied the book daily and used the ideas in changing some of my own beliefs. That book played a huge role in my successful career in sales.

Dr. Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon and he realized the power of limiting self-beliefs with many of his patients. Each one of them were certain if their physical issue was fixed, their confidence would change allowing them to achieve anything from a better job to marriage or even fame.

However, Maltz quickly found that changing the physical image did nothing to change the psychological viewpoint. Some of the patients were so stuck in their self-beliefs, thought patterns, they couldn’t even see a difference in their before and after physical image. When Dr. Maltz began helping people to change their self-beliefs, they actually made progress in changing their lives.

His book has assisted over 30,000,000 people and it can help you change any area of your life.

I remember using the ideas in the book to quit smoking. Initially I was using the sacrifice and willpower method that somehow get me through the day, but once I went home and relaxed, all my resolve went out the window. After 2 weeks of doing this, I realized that I was looking at myself in the wrong way. You see; I saw myself as a smoker struggling to quit.

Whether it’s trimming down your size, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, eliminating coffee or whatever, these new habits all begin with a change in how you see yourself. When I started looking at myself as a non-smoker, it became easy. Who I was with and how I spent my time changed as non-smokers don’t hang out with smokers. Any temptation was completely removed as there were no reminders.

Each day my new identity as a non-smoker increased. As Maltz says, this isn’t a “fake it ’til you make it” approach. It’s based on your belief and you know you can do it. Then it’s just a matter of time to turn that into a new self-image.

This is the first step to make a dramatic change in your habits with ease. Every positive new habit begins with the belief that you can do it.

When this woman started looking at herself as a saver instead of a crazed, out of control shopper, things changed for her. Once she changed her belief, she began to see other benefits. As she was now spending less time in the shops, she decided to enroll in my course on how to start a business.

By becoming a saver and learning more about starting a business, she soon saw herself as a businesswoman and within 6 months, she started her first business. Belief comes from behavior. It all started with her belief in herself. And that’s where your better behaviors will start, too.


Susan Bagyura, a leadership coach and Amazon best-selling author, works with leaders to create healthy, sustainable businesses by inspiring success from the top down.





Setting an intention in whatever we are going to do and defining your purpose creates a solid foundation for your life and certainly a business. It’s your purpose that will keep you inspired, motivated and on track. When obstacles appear, keep your focus on your purpose knowing that everything you need will be given to you. Trust that it’s on its way.

The relationship between purpose and vision affects whether or not we reach our goals. Each one of us has a purpose that is distinctly ours. The line of business that we have chosen should reflect that. Most of us try to find our dream job when we start out our careers. Others settle for what they can get until they find something better.

In the same way that you’ve found a successful career, you’ve followed a path that began with thoughts as to what you believed your purpose to be. Then, you moved on to the vision of what life could be professionally and personally. Finally, you reached the goals that you set out to accomplish, or you may still be on that path to accomplishment.

I want to share with you 3 very different stories of people that are making a huge impact in the world by powerfully transforming negative situations. The purpose for each leader was revealed as a result of their questions.


In 2001, David Batstone discovered that his favorite restaurant in San Francisco had been the center of a local human trafficking ring. He was shocked by this and began asking, “Where else is this happening?”

He realized slavery is an international problem affecting every industry and corner of the world. He formed Not For Sale with a mission to create a world where no one is for sale. This group is fighting slavery around the world by using business creation, supply chain evaluation and aftercare aid.

There are over 30 million slaves in the world and a small community deep in the Peruvian Amazon was badly affected by this. The residents, 7 hours from the nearest marketplace, finding it difficult to sell goods or get jobs were easy targets for human traffickers promising employment but actually selling them into slavery.

Not For Sale formed a mastermind group of people from various walks of life with the mission of creating a business enterprise that would support the entire community.

One member of the mastermind was a professional baseball player feeling overwhelmed by the caliber of the group surprised himself by offering the idea of making tea using the natural herbs growing in the lush environment.

Money raised through an online portal called Causes went through creating a supply chain, warehouses and training staff. They are now using crowdfunding to raise further capital to take REBBL to the next level.

Currently REBBL is producing 3 organic tea tonics that are being shipped worldwide. This is completely changing the community, giving hope to its residents and empowering them to be fully responsible for their outcomes.


Clint Ober is a wealthy, successful entrepreneur that owned the largest provider of cable television marketing and installation services in the US. In 1993 he developed a serious abscess in his liver that completely changed his life. Rather than follow traditional doctors’ advice of preparing for death, he opted for experimental surgery, which saved his life – and changed it too. He realized he was tied to his possessions so he got rid of everything and purchased a motor home. He travelled for the next several years trusting that his true purpose in life would be shown.

In 1998 he was sitting in a park observing people and noticed almost everyone had thick-soled rubber or plastic shoes. A question popped into his head, “Could wearing rubber or plastic soled shoes affect health?” Knowing what he does about electricity, he started testing the electromagnetic fields (EMF) and the affect on his body throughout his apartment.

He discovered that his bed had the highest level of EMF. He then wondered if these were affecting his sleep as he always had sleep problems. Ober put together a makeshift earthing system that he tested with the meter and it showed zero. He laid down and had the best night’s sleep in years.

Friends started requesting that he help them. They started reporting sleeping well and chronic pains were disappeared. Ober continued to research and test. As it became clear that earthing could improve people’s lives in a multitude of ways, he eventually designed a line of earthing products that are sold online.

Homeless No More Survival Pod

After a divorce, Gary Pickering was homeless for 3 years. That experience left him sympathetic to people he met who had no place to live. In 1988, four homeless people lived in a van outside his shop during the cold winter.

Then in 2009 while driving Pickering saw a homeless man and starting exploring what he could do to help. His question was simple, “What can I build that’s not too expensive?”

From there, he started building small, portable ‘micro-houses’ that people living on the streets could use against the weather. Pickering was quoted as saying; “Every person deserves the dignity of something they can call their own. Even if it’s only this, it’s theirs.”

Although this may not be for every homeless person, he believes it will help people trying to rebuild their lives. Pickering said, “If people can find jobs of course they will move on, they will get a house back and their cars, but until then, this will help them.”

He donated 4 of his shelters to an organization that helps the homeless in Utah and continues to work to raise the awareness about the homeless.

Seeing the impact these 3 men are making in the world demonstrates that entrepreneurship education should not be limited to a focus on start-ups, which is often the case in current programs around the world. Rather it should be focused on shifting mindsets, behaviours and developing skills that can be applied in many forms and entrepreneurial settings. Working in community with others all of the world problems can be solved.

Susan Bagyura, a leadership coach and Amazon best-selling author, works with leaders to create healthy, sustainable businesses by inspiring success from the top down.


The 8 C’s of Leadership

Being in a leadership role isn’t easy. If it were, you’d see more people stepping up and insisting on the opportunity.   It seems that most prefer to follow rather than taking the risk of standing out and making mistakes. When one approaches leadership from the standpoint of ‘being’ instead of ‘acting’ or ‘doing’; then it changes the focus and the potential.

The 8 C’s of leadership are in no particular order because the order of importance will shift and change depending on what’s happening or the point of the cycle the leader is in at any one time. Just like life, leadership has cycles and is ever-changing. It’s not something that someone masters and that’s it as if there’s nothing more to learn. The world is constantly changing and we need to continually adapt. Having this understanding while being willing to learn, adapt and make mistakes takes a lot of pressure off, which allows the leader’s strength and true essence to come through.

  1. Character: This is where the leader determines the values, ethics and integrity that will underpin their leadership. The simplest way to describe this is a code of behavior. Anyone can talk a story, but the truth is always determined in the behavior. One leader I worked for always said he would rather err on the side of the employee or the customer. I watched over the course of 7 years as that leader held to his principles building a highly successful business and very loyal followers. Another leader I worked for told me his word was stronger than any contract. However after working almost double the agreed hours and performing services that weren’t specified in the contract based on his direction, he refused to pay the promised bonus stating I hadn’t meet the criteria in the contract. Which leader do you want to emulate?
  2. Clarity: A major downfall of many leaders is the lack of clarity. Every leader would benefit from developing their intuition and knowing their internal ‘Yes” and “No”. “Maybe’s” really stink because they keep people stuck but meanwhile the world is changing. Copying what others are doing doesn’t work either. Having clarity on each aspect of one’s leadership, particularly the leadership purpose, is empowering and an energy booster. Clarity brings everything into alignment.
  3. Connection: Connecting with people is one of the most critical components of leadership. If it’s a business, then the employees must feel a connection to the leader, their vision and mission. In building brand loyalty, it’s equally important for the customers to feel connection. A person in a leader role recently told someone that he wore gumshoes so that people wouldn’t know if he were around. He sat hidden in his office, afraid to do anything and lacked support from everyone around him.
  4. Communication:   To share ideas and information, the leader must communicate. Typically it’s done through speaking or writing, but until the leader knows the message is received and understood, it hasn’t been fully communicated. Communications are generally 2-way—just like with a radio. The message is sent and then it is received. Just sending without making certain that people are receiving the information is futile and leads to misunderstanding and potential problems. Today the modes of communications are much easier and faster, but still require us to know that we are being properly understood.
  5. Competence: As with each of these points, they can apply to the leader, to the organization, to its business/function, to the employees, etc. When examining competence, look at the competence of the organization to deliver on what it is that it does. Do you have competent people working for you? It’s not unusual to find ‘bad hires’ within organisations. A bad hire is never going to turn into being a good one and ignoring the situation actually de-motivates ‘good hires’. Some areas to look at when determining competence are:
    • Experience. There’s an old saying that states: Experience is life’s best teacher. There are many things that can’t be taught; it must be experienced. A neighbor of mine thought he was an expert on sales because he studied selling for 100s of hours and knew all the points. Then he went out to sell and failed miserably. Experience teaches problem-solving, people management and leadership skills that can be applied to everything.
    • Education. Does the person have the knowledge they require in order to do the job?
    • Skill Set. I’ve seen people promoted as a manager because they were doing an excellent job, but weren’t taught the necessary skills to manage. Determine what people need in terms of coaching, mentoring, training or further education to do their job competently.
    • Lifelong learning. Is the organization looking at how it can improve and update its knowledge and skills in its chosen field or industry? Is it leading or following? Then look at each person within the company and prepare a personal development plan. Set milestones and time frames.
  6. Courage: It takes courage to stand out as a leader. Each of your decisions will be scrutinized and some of them will be unpopular. It requires courage to believe in yourself; to take risks; to invest in people; to believe in others and allow them to prove themselves; to confront conflicts; to lead change and to stick to your path when things aren’t going well at the time. Having clarity will certainly help build courage.
  7. Commitment: Leadership is all about relationships and commitment sits at the core. People will want to see and feel the leader’s commitment. How the leader demonstrates commitment is the axis point for the passion, excitement and fun. The staff’s level of commitment will be deepened when they understand the reasons behind decisions. Commitment is very much a synergistic arrangement.
  8. Change: Change is constant and inevitable. There’s always resistance to change even when people know it must happen for growth so the effective leader is willing to lead, push and pull people through the change. The ineffective leader leaves them to figure it out. By embracing change and showing a willingness to learn, make mistakes and take corrective actions, the leader paves the way for growth.

Great leaders don’t always have all the answers, but they are able to courageously lead people through times of change by communicating the new vision, with clarity and passion, gaining commitment and support of people both inside and outside the organization while connecting all the points and people for a smooth transition, and improving the competence through better hiring and great support.


Susan Bagyura, a leadership coach and Amazon best-selling author, works with leaders to inspire success from the top down.



While touring the US doing TV and radio interviews, I had the chance to listen to the story of a once very successful business in Connecticut which was announcing the layoff of 475 workers. What had gone wrong?

The CEO was interviewed and he said that their business started hitting bad times 4 years prior and their strategy was to cut, reduce and eliminate expenditures since then. He went on to say that they had been trying to avoid these layoffs for sometime but they no longer could.

He had excuses as to why this had to happen, including blaming the economy. The way he recounted the past, he made the company and the employees all victims of circumstance.

In other interviews, I saw the despair of some of the workers that were losing their jobs. They talked about events and circumstances as well as their fears of this happening. It was obvious that they never made any connection of their thoughts, feelings and actions to what they were seeing in their outer world.

Never once during all the newscasts, interviews and subsequent articles did I ever hear or read about the creative measures that the company took to turn the business around. Instead everyone from the CEO on down continued to focus on lack, limitation and outside influences as the basis of their problems. The responses to their creation are tactics that are killing the business.

People in this company, including the CEO, showed their ignorance of the law of sowing and reaping; also known as the law of cause and effect. It is absolutely impossible to create a healthy, wealthy, thriving business while holding thoughts of worry and doubt; feeling fearful and full of anxiety and taking destructive actions. Whatever we think in our minds and focus on must grow.

The condition is the effect that we see; it is not the true cause that we see. One must dig down deep into their mental storehouse to find out what is that cause. If they cannot discern it, there are others who can. Now I have no doubt that there were people that supported the actions that the CEO took; so therefore it is critical to look at the results of any advisor. If you are going to follow someone, make certain that they are achieving great results.

This business is not where it is today because of outside conditions. This CEO programmed the company for failure by the very actions he took based on the wrong thinking. The very things he feared are what he has created and he will continue to do so until he changes his vision.

There are many people who live and die and never know anything different from what has been handed down to them. However once you change your vision, you will change conditions. Only when we cease to recognize a condition do we cease to attract or create it. The only way we can cease to recognize things is to change our minds about them.

There are 3 enemies which must be cleared out in order to achieve success in any endeavor. These are fear, worry/doubt and indecision. They always go together. If a person is timid, backward or fearful, fear will act as a brake to retard their progress. Fear is main cause of failures; it cannot be eliminated by either drugs or a surgeon’s knife. The only remedy known for fear is understanding. This requires a commitment to studying and applying what is learned. It definitely requires getting out of the comfort zone – to stop doing the same old things that aren’t working.

Indecision is the seed of fear. Indecision turns into doubt. The two blended together become fear. This blending process is often slow, which is the main reason why these 3 enemies are so dangerous. They are insidious and grow without their presence even being noticed. Many times people fool themselves to think that they are being cautious when they are actually breeding fear.

Fears are nothing more than a state of mind. One’s state of mind will set the course and direction of their future. Doubts and fears about the future are pointless, but even worse; they will create an unwanted future.

Conversely, success is predicated on bringing one’s self and actions to a higher standard. When the heart is right, the head thinks right. The fact that someone desires to succeed is evidence that they have the power to succeed; otherwise they would not have been urged to aspire towards success. Understand that you cannot aspire to succeed unless you have the power to succeed. Desire creates the power; power inspires the mind of the person, and success is the result of that inspiration rightly applied.

Success then is the way we learn to use 2 valuable things – our time and thought. Knowledge alone is not success; it is the way we use that knowledge.


Susan Bagyura, a leadership/business coach and author of The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success From The Top Down, helps businesses owners, executives and entrepreneurs to transform their business through visionary leadership