So who exactly is Susan Dowdall you might be asking?
Well really I am just another person like you but now at an age to understand what my burning passion is – I will get to that a little later.
I live in Balclutha in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. It is a smallish town which is semi rural and in the heart of a farming district. I have a wonderful husband and loads of animals on our small piece of land. Sadly I was unable to have children, hence all the animals. We have a very large vegetable garden, plenty of fruit trees and berry plants. Plus flowers and native shrubs and trees. This is where I spend many happy hours on weekends.
I grew up in New Zealand with an English mother and a New Zealand father. It was a very happy home life although my parents were definitely of lesser means.
I was particularly close to my mother and while I did not understand when I was young, her beliefs and ways did still rub off on me. She used to say “Anything your mind can conceive, you can achieve.” The funny thing was she had not studied any of the teachers we follow as masters these days such as Napoleon Hill or Dr Wayne Dyer.
She was just instinctive or intuitive with her beliefs. I really did not think much about it at the time, my study came much later.
My mother was a freelance writer and contracted, from New Zealand, to write short stories for a couple of American monthly publications. Being a writer, she instilled into me and my two siblings, the value of books and reading.
Both my parents were avid gardeners. I spent many happy hours with my Mother in the flower garden and my Father in the vegetable garden – hands in the dirt developing a love of and connection with the earth.
My childhood passion was with horses and I got my first pony when I was 12 (I think my parents just wanted to stop my nagging!). No one else in the family knew much about horses so I had to learn fast to care for my pony and how to ride. Even as an early teenager I was smitten with the dream of competing at the Olympics – especially in the exacting discipline of dressage.
But by my late teens I was already studying to be an equine instructor and by my early twenties had national qualifications to teach both riding as well as the care of horses. During this time I also trained as a dressage judge. But the joy of training others was dominant in me and I knew I could not be a judge – all I wanted to do was tell the competitors how to ride better!
So my Olympics dream faded as the call to teach took over.
During this time I also started my working life. It began in retail sales, then onto office work. There I developed a good grounding within all areas of manufacturing companies – from PA work and onto purchasing manager and production manager.
My career then took a turn as I found my professional calling was far more towards sales and marketing – I was missing sales after my early days in retail selling. Over about 9 or 10 years I held several positions as a sales rep and onto sales/marketing manager. Plus I developed my own program for teaching sales, particularly to young and/or new sales people – my first experience in that type of coaching.
From there I built a couple of companies based on business to business sales. These were to supply promotional products and corporate apparel to businesses for them to use to promote themselves. I loved this industry and got such a buzz when customers of mine used products I sold them, to market their own businesses successfully.
Looking back on those 18 years, I see the real reason for liking the sales and marketing of promotional products – it was helping others to achieve their goals. It was not about me, it was all about them.
Although I have always had an interest in business, particularly sales and marketing, underlying this was a strong interest in health and fitness plus personal development. I firmly believe this is all one package. I had done some study into nutrition and fitness, plus skirted around the edges of personal development.
I thought my life was going OK. In fact I thought I was doing really well. Then one day during a casual conversation with a business associate, I had the beginning of my biggest ever wake up call. He asked me this simple question “Are you happy in your own skin?”. Looking at my life and achievements I replied (too quickly) I was probably about 95% happy. How wrong I was.
This simple question haunted me and was the catalyst which made me take a big look at myself. I saw some things I did not really like and right then decided to make some real changes. Although I had a reasonably good knowledge of health and fitness, I was overweight and getting out of shape because of a lack of exercise (had sold all my horses a year or so ago). I had an appreciation of personal development but was not doing enough to grow me. And although deep down I knew my calling was to teach, I wasn’t doing anything much to cultivate this passion. So for the next 7 or 8 years I studied nutrition and fitness. Plus I really got going with my own personal development; I began to read more books starting with Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and then anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I went to as many workshops as I could and I bought home study courses. I worked on my spirituality and intuition, including several courses from Mindvalley.
Also, I lost weight – 13 kilos and have kept this weight off since my early fifties. I still walk every day and four times per week do strength training (I bought my own home gym equipment). I feel better now physically in my early sixties (at the time of writing this) than I think I ever have before.
So the time came to move on and start teaching. I sold my business and decided to take a year off and actually complete the 3 books I had started and never got very far with writing (remember my Mum inspiring the love of books). I spent several months unwinding from the corporate world, which I needed to do – but still did not finish the books.
I procrastinated for another 12 months. I lost my direction and purpose. I just could not get going in any direction and started to beat myself up for that. Then something just clicked.
They say “when the pupil is ready, the teacher will come”. This happened to me in a couple of ways.
Firstly, I have always liked T Harv Eker – I see similarities between his style of teaching and my own teaching style.
Anyway, I already had two of his courses (both brilliant!) and then a new one was launched called ‘Getting Rich Doing What You Love’ or better known as ‘Passion, Purpose and Profits’. My first thought was it would probably be not too different from the two courses I already had of his about business and marketing. But my inner voice would not be silenced and I bought the course. One of the two best decisions I have ever made. Over the next couple of weeks doing the course, I learnt so much about myself – if there is one thing Harv can do well is to help you dig very deep! But only if you want to and are ready to! I thought I wanted to write, but learned what I really wanted, or actually needed, was to teach. I also figured out that I already knew enough from my studies to get going with my passion – to teach the whole package; health and fitness plus personal development.
Then the second impactful teacher entered my life – Marc David from The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
I already owned a CD set of his called Mind / Body Nutrition. I had listened to that CD set so many times – it really resonated with me. Honestly, to this day I don’t know how I found out about Marc’s course to study to be a Psychology of Eating Counsellor. But I did. I enrolled, studied and graduated (with a very good pass I’m proud to say). That was the second of my two best decisions ever.
So, the question again; “Am I happy in my own skin?” Now I can say “yes, I am getting there” and mean it!
Do I want everyone to be able to say the same? Yes I do. My dedication now is to show a way to anyone who will listen, learn and most importantly, do.
The world and internet is strewn with empty promises; get rich quick schemes, get 10,000 subscribers with just 2 clicks, lose weight fast diets, get rock hard abs in 10 minutes per day, eat this way and be healthy, and so on….
There is so much information ‘out there’ and all too often it is coming from people who have never done what they are trying to sell to you and they don’t really care. They mostly have dollar signs in their eyes.
I do care. Every time I learn something new or experience a new way of seeing or doing something, or find a new teacher, I want to stand on the roof and shout to the world – look at this, everyone should know this!
My life’s journey so far has been my own University – it still is and always will be as learning and growing never stops. It’s not just what I have learned (and am putting into practice) but the seeing now how my life so far has prepared me for becoming a counsellor;
- Teaching horse riding instead of being a competition judge.
- Retail sales showed me the joy of giving service (to anyone!).
- Working at sales and marketing, (as well as teaching it) and how to start and run a business.
- Being immersed in manufacturing companies taught me how to be part of a team and consider all those around us.
- Supplying products for other businesses to use to market themselves helped me understand what others need and I realised I had a genuine desire to give.
- Gardening with my parents, I learned to appreciate, in a practical way, the earth we live on and what we eat.
- Losing weight plus becoming healthier and fitter – it feels so good I want everyone to feel like this.
- And above all, my personal development to the point that I know and believe everyone deserves to grow to lead a happier, more successful and fulfilling life. To be more loved, loving and content.
Using my certification in Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition, as well as my studies into Personal Development, I am well placed to coach within many realms – read more here about where and how I work.
As my company name says; Think + Act = You Win.
My coaching works on putting together the pieces of the puzzle for many people who want healing, growth and a doable plan for their ongoing health and wellbeing.
I show the way with understanding, compassion and positivity. But it is up to the individual to do the work as that is something I cannot do for you. But I will be by your side along your journey without judgement or prejudice.
I too have been there….
I have had to do the work on myself – generally moving forward (apart from my reality check already mentioned) but not without many setbacks. Since my late teen years I have been plagued with bouts of depression. Something I would not wish on even my worst enemy (hopefully I don’t have one). In fact, it was only in recent years I finally admitted to suffering from depression. But 3 things have really helped; opening up and facing it, working out my triggers and channelling my energies into something really worthwhile – like being of service to others.
Using my knowledge base, I will walk along side those who have their own problems to solve and need a helping hand up.
This is what I love and was born to do. Of this I am certain.
Thank you for reading my story.
I so very much look forward to being of help with your healing and growth journey. Not just learning how to improve your health, fitness and grow personally, but to actually do what you need to do.
Wishing you Happy Learning and Doing.
Sent with love, hope and endless enthusiasm,