I'm Susan Wilkinson.
I live, relate, create, and serve in the space between soul-suffering and personal excellence. That's the space where hope resides and growth happens.
Hope for growth in the face of suffering. Yeah. I'm all about that. It's why I wrote my book, Getting Past Your Past almost 20 years ago. And it's why I now create unique tools for personal growth.
Creating tools for independent reflection came about through my own need to counsel and coach myself. I explore lots of reasons we sometimes need this approach to growth over on the blog, but let me share a few of my reasons.
Why I Counsel & Coach Myself
When we're suffering, we have a choice to make. Go the way of hope and growth or the way of resignation and withdrawal. It would be an easy choice if it was that simple. But the way of hope and growth takes courage because it demands honesty, humility, and vulnerability.
Like most of us, I like the concept of vulnerability, but I don’t like feeling vulnerable.
I can be very open once I believe that I understand myself, but if I can’t explain myself either in my pain or my desires, sharing makes me feel exposed. Sometimes I want to work through it myself as far as I can go before risking letting someone else into my struggle. I want a way that first allows me to be honest, humble, and vulnerable with myself, to drop the masks I wear and let go of the untrue stories that I recite in my head about who I am and what is real.
Even if I'm willing to be vulnerable, some pain is too deep to be accurately articulated. At the intersection of my deepest losses, desires, and failures there are many feelings, but not many words, and the words that are there would only be meaningful if they were shared with the right person. When that’s not possible, when the only answer is acceptance, I have to work it through myself.
I also counsel and coach myself to feel powerful. To subdue nature is one thing. To subdue myself? That's a Whole. Other. Thing. Leading others is much easier than leading myself. I believe the most powerful we can be is ruling ourselves by overcoming our struggles and developing our talents. The work I do helps me do both.
What I'm Not
Competent professional counselors and coaches are both needed and sometimes necessary. I’m not a professional counselor or coach. I'm seeking to fill a need for those who don't have help or who would prefer to work alone.
I’m also not your judge—definitely not qualified for that. I won’t tell you how you need to heal, or what methods for growth will work for you. I definitely won’t sit as a judge to condemn or to bless your lifestyle or choices.
My life is a work in progress too. I experience incredible losses and stunning failures. I certainly don't have all the answers (no one does). I just keep walking, seeking, hacking through the brush, creating a path behind me as I go. And like a reassuring big-sister, I beckon you to follow, showing you how to stay on the path of safety.
The tools I create will provoke you to rethink things, to be brutally honest, logical, and courageous, inside. The danger you'll be in for being misunderstood, the risks you'll take for being harshly judged or underestimated will be defined only by your degree of self-understanding and self-compassion.
I will offer you perspectives that you've never heard before, helping you consider new ways of thinking in light of your pain and your desires. I will tell you what works for me and why it works and I will be open about what I believe is true, valuable, and good.
I consider myself a thought-provoker, challenging what I consider bad thinking and pushing good thinking to greater clarity. My job isn't to fix you, but to guide, challenge, and provoke you to reconsider things in new ways.
That is what you will and won't get from me.
Occasionally, I take on things that I'm against. Mostly, I stick to what I'm for. Like:
—Moving beyond mere personality tests to more personal ways of increasing self-awareness.
—Getting our ideals and reality more in sync.
—Getting our actual choices more in line with our stated ethics.
—Being and feeling freer and more in control of ourselves and our lives.
—Recognizing and developing our personal power so that we lead AND follow in wisdom.
—Developing our talents to their fullest for the benefit of all.
—Getting better at knowing and articulating what we believe and why it matters.
If you’re for these things too, I consider you a curated soul and someone I’d like to know. I hope you find something here to help you improve your life story. If not, thanks for stopping by.
Above all, keep seeking,
P.S. There's more of my story here.