In this episode, Scott Robison, LMT, interviews business coach Susan Thomson, Partner at ActionCOACH Madison. They discuss:

  • Susan’s personal daily mindfulness and gratitude practices,
  • the results she’s seen in her business coaching clients,
  • the nitty-gritty of time blocking, and scheduling your work,
  • how to say “no” more easily,
  • and more!


ActionCOACH Madison,

ActionCOACH Madison on Facebook

Click here to email Susan, click here to give her a call.


Scott Robison Welcome to this week’s episode of the Integration Bodywork Podcast. My name is Scott Robison. I’m a licensed massage therapist in Madison, Wisconsin. And if you’re anything like me, getting control of yourself and your use of your time is a major point of focus, maybe, you’ll call it; or a struggle, maybe that’s a better word, which is why I’m so excited today to talk to Susan Thomson. Susan is a partner with ActionCOACH of Madison. They’re a business coaching firm, and my business coaches. And we’re going to talk today about mindfulness, having an abundance mindset, and gratitude practice, and how that helps you be more present and take life in stride without sort of overreacting. We’re going to spend a lot of time talking about how to schedule your time, schedule yourself, so you know exactly what to do, when to do it, and you have a little less chaos in your daily running around.
Scott Robison So if that sounds like you, or sounds like something you need help with, this is the perfect episode for you. Let’s listen in on that conversation.
Scott Robison All right, Susan, welcome to the Integration Bodywork Podcast.
Susan Thomson Thank you, Scott.
Scott Robison I’m really excited to have you on. This is take two, soft start today. And I want to talk to you about mindfulness. You know, we just talked to Emma Rose, who’s the health coach, and we were talking a lot about mindfulness as it applies to changing your eating habits. But I know you’ve had a mindfulness practice for quite a while, so tell us sort of what that looks like and why you started it.
Susan Thomson Okay. So I’m going to start with why I started it. And it goes back to my corporate days, before I became a coach, and before I bought this coaching business. I was the president of a manufacturing company, and a big, old, just ball of stress, all the time. So I didn’t sleep well. I would wake up at 3:00 in the morning pretty regularly in a cold sweat, you know, thinking about, “Oh, my God. What am I forgetting? Are my employees doing what they’re supposed to be doing? What if they don’t? You know, what happens if the sales meeting doesn’t go well?” [crosstalk 00:02:21] And I was so wound up all the time.
Susan Thomson And so I started meditating in the morning, really out of, I need to do something, because I need to sleep. And I could not … That whole like not sleeping thing, I’m one of those people that can sleep anywhere, any time.
Scott Robison Sure.
Susan Thomson So not sleeping was just adding to a level of stress that I knew wasn’t healthy. So I started meditating for 10 minutes in the morning. That was about all I could do to sit still that long. And it never really felt … Like, I didn’t feel any different when I did it. But what I noticed over time was that my ability to just handle life improved dramatically. My father passed away during that time. That was very, very difficult. You know, he wasn’t local, so I was flying back and forth to see my parents every weekend. And it really just, what I found was that it, over time, something was building up in my resiliency, and my just ability to handle life.
Susan Thomson So I started adding to it as I started studying mindfulness. So I still do that 10 minutes of meditation in the morning. Then I do a gratitude journal every morning. And so every single morning, I whip out my gratitude journal, and I have to come up with five things that I’m grateful for that don’t repeat.
Scott Robison Yeah. What do you mean, don’t repeat?
Susan Thomson So I can’t say like, “I’m grateful for my dog,” five days in a row, right?
Scott Robison Okay, sure.
Susan Thomson Okay?
Scott Robison Yeah.
Susan Thomson It’s really meant to focus me on the little things. You know, what are just the little things that I’m grateful for, every single day? I’m grateful that we had a wonderful party last night. I’m grateful that the food tasted great. I’m grateful that I got to connect some people with other people. I’m grateful that my dog made it through the party without barking at anybody; and that kind of stuff that really gets you focused onto just the really wonderful things that are happening each and every day.
Susan Thomson So I do that. And then I do, after that, I’ve been working with Michael Losier, the Law of Attraction guy, and one of the things that Michael really encourages you to do is find proof of abundance.
Scott Robison Okay. What does that mean?
Susan Thomson So I do another one through five after I do my gratitude journal. And I specifically look for, where did I see abundance in my life yesterday? So it might be that somebody took me out to lunch yesterday. Somebody connected me with somebody in the community yesterday. I found a penny and picked it up, right? I didn’t walk past it; those kinds of things, to get myself focused on and seeking out abundance every day.
Scott Robison Yeah. That’s an interesting thought. Like, so you’re creating these things that you’re aware of so that you can notice them elsewhere.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison You know, we talk more in detail with Emma last week about neuroplasticity and how it’s important to create these pattern interrupts for your brain, to make it easier to make a change or notice things. You know, and I guess it can be something as simple as switching hands when you brush your teeth, or doing your normal routine in a different order, is enough to then create, like help your brain start looking for those things. So having these daily practices helps you find them elsewhere, right? It’s a transferrable skill.
Susan Thomson Yeah. Oh, that’s cool.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Susan Thomson That’s very cool.
Scott Robison So the gratitude piece, I guess, I feel like is, seems like it has a straightforward benefit, right? It helps you feel sort of more positive about your day, and sort of keeps you on that track. What do you notice about the abundance journal? Like, what does that sort of result in for you, do you feel like?
Susan Thomson What I’m noticing is that where I focus, I find things.
Scott Robison Tell me more about that.
Susan Thomson So we talk about your reticular activating system, right, sort of the [inaudible 00:07:06] for your brain. And what it basically says is, where I focus is what I’m going to get. That’s why we do goal setting, right? That’s why every week, or every quarter, or every month, you’re specifically writing down goals, so that we get your brain focused on them, so that you are putting your energy and attention towards those goals, and they happen, right?
Scott Robison Sure. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Susan Thomson So this is the same, this is kind of the same thing. If I want to be a more abundant person, and I want to have an abundant business, then I want to start noticing and being very intentional about abundance as a concept, and seeing where I see it, and getting used to seeing it, so I can put intention, energy, and focus toward it.
Scott Robison Okay. So people aren’t focusing on abundance, usually. What do they tend to focus on, then?
Susan Thomson They tend to focus on how busy they are, or what’s not happening, right?
Scott Robison Sure, like all the places where they’re falling short, or the things that they’re-
Susan Thomson [crosstalk 00:08:18] All the places where they’re falling short. So guess what happens.
Scott Robison Yeah, you keep falling short.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison Right. You got it. Yeah, that’s an interesting thing. You know, I think, at least in our community … So I’m an ActionCOACH client, full disclosure. And you know, listening to, being part of this community, really focusing on that abundance mindset, I think has been really helpful for me. But it’s helpful, also, in the sense of like, as much of learning to focus on abundance, but also focusing on not having a scarcity focus.
Susan Thomson Yes.
Scott Robison So I know what that means. But what does it mean to have a scarcity focus or a scarcity mindset instead?
Susan Thomson So I actually, in my corporate life, I came out of a very scarcity-focused environment, where for me to do well, someone else was going to get passed by or not be given an opportunity that I might be given. It was sort of the eat or be eaten kind of an environment. And I didn’t do well there. That was very, very difficult. So when I actually went and ran the manufacturing company, that was something, from a cultural standpoint, I wanted to be very intentional about not happening.
Susan Thomson In our ActionCOACH world, abundance is one of our points of culture. And it’s something that I had to get my head around. And the abundance basically says, “There’s plenty of people who need help for everyone.” We’re not the only business coaching company in Madison. We’re not the only business coaching company in Wisconsin. I’d like to think that we’re the best, but there are other … You know, there’s more people who need help than we can help. And so the more we, as a business community, are coming together and saying, “Look, there’s help out here for you if you want it,” and not focused on selling against another company, or not focused on, “How do we squash the competition,” you know, that was our old life.
Susan Thomson That, in ActionCOACH as a franchise, so one of the first questions that I asked when I bought the franchise licenses, now 11 years ago, was, “How many other people are you going to let buy licenses in Madison,” you know, thinking that there’s only … You know, I need to own this thing. And what we’ve found is that actually, the more coaches we have, the better, because it’s easier to get the word out. We actually have, you know, more resources to pull from when we bring in clients. So that is-
Scott Robison [crosstalk 00:11:09] Different people connect with different coaches, because they have different personalities, all that stuff.
Susan Thomson Right, right.
Scott Robison So some, like in a situation like, you know, marketing, if you wanted to be, it can be easy to have an abundance mindset, because there are so many people out there, no matter what your service is, no matter what your product is, there’s a big enough market for it most of the time. But in something that’s like explicitly competitive, how do you maintain that abundance mindset?
Susan Thomson So that’s more of like a structural scarcity. And the only recommendation that I could make is to walk into it with a mindset of really, “Is this culture a culture I want to be a part of? And is there opportunity to grow and develop within this position? Or is it a very … You know, is it a box that I need to fit in,” and really realizing that, you know, there might be 10 people applying for that position. And maybe, I guess I just wouldn’t see it as a competition, as much as I’d see it as a two-way street. Like, you’re looking at me to see if I’m a good fit for where you want to take this particular university track. And I need to be looking at you and saying, you know, “Is this something that’s going to make me excited to go to work every day? Or is it, you know, eh?”
Scott Robison Sure, yeah.
Susan Thomson It’s good. There aren’t that many jobs out there. I’ll take what I can.
Scott Robison Yeah. I love that, because I think that’s an unappreciated piece of application processes, right? Like, it’s as much … You should be assessing them as much, right, as vice versa, because maybe if you don’t get it, maybe you would have floundered there. Maybe it would have been a bad fit for you.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison When you’ve … Because I know you’re talking about these concepts with your coaching clients. What do you notice … Sort of, right, so that’s your sort of internal thing that you’ve noticed. What do you notice in your coaching clients when they adopt these mindfulness, and gratefulness, and abundance mindset practices?
Susan Thomson You know, what I know with many of our clients is, they start working with each other. And what I see in them is just more of a confidence; you know, more of a confidence, more of a, “You know, it’s fine. I know we’ll all have our niches. And sometimes, you know, we’ll be bidding on the same work or whatever. But you know, I respect you as a fellow contractor, or tree care company, or healthcare professional, like you are.” And really, what they end up being able to do is grow the size of the pie, instead of fighting for their piece.
Scott Robison Gotcha. So a rising tide lifts all ships?
Susan Thomson Yeah, yeah.
Scott Robison I love that. That’s great. All right. This sounds like a good moment here to take a break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk more about how else you apply that sort of mindfulness skill, to actually getting the things accomplished that you set out to at the start of the day.
Susan Thomson


Speaker 3: I have worked with hundreds of massage therapists and bodyworkers over the years. I’m kind of a massage snob, and I probably even mentioned that to Scott when I first signed up for a session. My background is in fitness, and I’ve been an elite athlete. And it’s always been really important for me to have bodywork. And my first session with Scott, I explained to him my hamstring issue, which is 25 years old, and my neck issues. I was a gymnast, so I have a lot of chronic issues.

Speaker 3: And he, I was so impressed with his professionalism, and the system that he went through in actually evaluating my biomechanics, and really looking at what needs to be worked. And then once I got on the table, and the second he laid his hands on me, it was like, “This is exactly where I need the work.” And I’ve never had bodywork that has lasted for weeks after the treatments. It’s usually like, okay, you feel relaxed, and you feel better for a couple days. And then it’s all right back. Because of their techniques, my results have lasted for weeks. And I can go even a month or two in between treatments and still experience the benefits. So I have been extremely impressed with Integration Bodywork. I will never go anywhere else. And it is absolutely worth every penny. These guys are professionals and know what they’re talking about. And I respect that personally and professionally.

Scott Robison All right. And we’re back. So Susan, I want to talk, now that we’ve sort of talked about these mindfulness practices, and again, how they are, right, it’s a transferrable skill. So once you’re sort of where, be able to kind of step out of the experience of the moment and sort of notice what’s happening, how do we transfer that skill to getting the things accomplished that we want to accomplish? Because if there’s anything a business coach should be helping their people with first, right, it’s actually finishing the day, having accomplished the things they set out to.
Susan Thomson Right. So this is near and dear to me, okay, because I used to be the 70-hour-a-week CEO. And I get more done now in 40 to 45 hours a week than I used to get done in 70.
Scott Robison That’s impressive.
Susan Thomson So, yeah. It’s impressive, and I’m a lot happier person, and a lot more productive. So what we’re really talking about, it terms of translating something intentional, like mindfulness, into action and into results, involves putting them into a routine or building habits. So those things that I listed out, the meditation, the gratitude journal, the abundance-seeking exercises, are all part of my daily routine. I get woken up by my dog at some ungodly hour in the morning, usually around 5:00. You know, we sort of argue for 15 minutes, and I might get another 15 minutes of sleep after that. But it’s generally fairly early. And it takes me about a half an hour to get her fed, and outside, all that kind of stuff. And then I come in, and set the timer on the stove for 10 minutes, and do my meditation. That’s the routine.
Scott Robison I love that you use a stove timer. You know, there are so many, like Headspace, and so many other like focus apps, and all these things. And a kitchen timer is all you actually need, right?
Susan Thomson And I’m kind of in a coma in the morning. It’s not my time of day, so easy is better.
Scott Robison Sure.
Susan Thomson And then, so that mindfulness stuff is planned and happens every morning. Now, I know you have kids. So you know, you have to find sort of that quiet time for you-
Scott Robison Yeah.
Susan Thomson … or quiet room.
Scott Robison Well, yeah. So that’s true, except that they are also on their own schedule, kind of like the dog. Like, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have, the baby’s going to want to be put back to sleep at a particular time, and I might as well just get up.
Susan Thomson Okay, okay. So that works.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Susan Thomson So that works. And then, you know, at the end of the day, I’m much more of an afternoon and early evening exerciser, than a morning exerciser. I could do it if I have to. I’m pretty good about getting up and running and things like that, if I’m traveling. But I take Jazzercise. That’s my sort of exercise of choice. And so at 5:15, you know, my calendar pops up and tells me to get my patookie over to class. And what I’ve found is that if it’s in my calendar, I’m much more likely to do it.
Susan Thomson So, and then from a business standpoint, when we’re working with clients, even if you’re in a business that you think is all over the place, you know, and very reactive, we’re able to build what’s called the default calendar, and insert some routines into your day that allow you to either get things done more efficiently, or get things done, period, because you know you’re going to do the same thing at that time each day. It’s almost like, you remember when we were in school, right? What we were all taught was, I’m in chemistry class from 8:00 to 9:00, and then I have 10 minutes to get to my next class. And then I’m in English class for an hour.
Scott Robison Sure.
Susan Thomson And you know, the key is, I didn’t stay in chemistry class until I learned everything there was to learn about chemistry. I had an hour, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And I knew that every week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, from 8:00 to 9:00, I was going to be in chemistry class. And that’s the way we block out people’s calendars from a business standpoint.
Susan Thomson So for example, Scott, as you’re adding to your team, you’re going to have to do some business development. And once we’ve identified how many people you need to touch to get the number of new clients in the door, right, then we know how many business development slots, or how many consultation slots we need to have in your calendar every week. If they’re always the same time, you know how to plan.
Scott Robison Right. So how do you handle … Like, that seems like a good way to handle some fairly amorphous things, or when you have lots of small tasks. But when you have deadlines, or you have big projects, how do you fit those into this idea of a default calendar?
Susan Thomson So there’s sort of in-the-business time and on-the-business time, and your default calendar needs to have both. So in the business time, for you, is working with clients, right?
Scott Robison Sure, yeah.
Susan Thomson And your on-the-business time might be business development. It might be pulling together, I don’t know, a series of podcasts, maybe.
Scott Robison Maybe.
Susan Thomson It might be just meeting with people, other health and wellness professionals in the area, to form strategic relationships or partnerships. And some of those are kind of farming exercises, and some of them are very immediate. And what we tend to get caught up in is sort of the immediate stuff, right; the busyness, “I have to get this done.” And the problem is, is if that’s all I’m doing, I’m in constant firefighting mode. And you’re going to get burned out pretty fast.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative), fact.
Susan Thomson [crosstalk 00:23:10] Yeah. If we put, in your default calendar, the farming activities and the on-the-business activities … And when you start, it might just be an hour a week. That might be all we can find … over time, the emergencies are going to become fewer, because you’re heading those things off upfront.
Scott Robison Got it.
Susan Thomson Yeah. I speak a lot. I do a lot of public speaking. And my, if I were left to my own devices, I would be cramming for those the night before, every single time. But there are other people here that are depending on me to get information to them, so that those speaking engagements work properly. Like, people need the presentations ahead of time. People need to be able to pull together workbooks. People need to, you know, we need to do followup work.
Susan Thomson So I have time in my default calendar, which actually, that time shifts a little bit week by week, depending on what day I’m speaking, so that I’ve got a forced block of time to dedicate to that speaking engagement that’s not the night before-
Scott Robison Right, got it.
Susan Thomson … because I’m a crammer, too.
Scott Robison Yeah. You know, you sort of touched on this briefly, like how do you plan for contingencies with this sort of system, right? Like you know, when you have … And I don’t necessarily mean like, you know, the fire that explodes, “Oh, no. I forgot I have this.” You know, my kid’s school calls or something like that, like how do you plan for that shifting, right, those shifting demands on your time?
Susan Thomson So the way I block my calendar out, maybe that’s an easier way to think about it. The way I block my calendar out, Monday is really my get-my-act-together day. So we have our team meetings on Mondays. We have our sales meeting on Mondays. I meet with my coach on Mondays. Tuesday’s a coaching day for me. Wednesday and Thursday, I’m out in the community. Part of my role is to be our face to the community. And so I’m doing public speaking. I’m on a bunch of boards. I’m doing committee work. I’m at chamber events. All of that sort of community-facing stuff, I try to put on Wednesday and Thursday. And then Friday’s my catch-up day.
Susan Thomson So Friday, I deliberately try to keep open. And what ends up happening on Friday is, “Okay, Scott couldn’t meet this week on Tuesday, because his kid got called home from school, right? So I’m going to meet with Scott on Friday instead.” And, yeah. It ends up being, by the time I get to Friday, Friday’s full, every week. But I really work to keep that day free for stuff that’s going to just naturally shift and change.
Scott Robison Yeah. That’s an interesting point. Yeah, Mike and I were talking about that last week in my coaching session, basically trying to create white space in my calendar, so that when, you know, when there’s a parent-teacher conference, when there’s, somebody’s home sick, where I can move some of those missing blocks, right? I know what my priorities are, so I’m able to like move that block to the white space.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison Right, yeah. So for me, it’s marketing and training, really. The sort of, like the meta task for the quarter, for me, is getting my time organized. So I’m kind of constantly operating on that. But the two big, like sort of on-the-business tasks are training, right; training systems and creating that stuff. And so being able to move those blocks to that free space, or move the free space somewhere else, gives me some slack a little bit.
Susan Thomson Right, yeah.
Scott Robison And then-
Susan Thomson And then I also do some things, like I don’t bump my coaching sessions up, back, to back, to back. I give myself 15 minutes in between coaching sessions-
Scott Robison Oh, for sure.
Susan Thomson … to get any … I need to send somebody a document, or I need to just finish up with that set of files or notebooks, and get them put away so I can be present for the next person. I’ve found that giving myself that buffer between meetings works really, really well.
Scott Robison Yeah. That’s been helpful for me, too. When I first started, you know, I actually got my license in April of 2014. Then we moved here in July, and I started in August-
Susan Thomson Oh, my gosh.
Scott Robison … working for somebody. And she, just as part of the business, just always booked 30 minutes between appointments. And it was so helpful for me in getting my mindset organized, like rejuvenating myself, get a snack, right, so that I actually can give them, give clients the full value of the appointment time, right?
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison So they get 90 minutes with me, not 75 minutes with me, but pay for 90.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison But then also, I’m able to give great service to the next client, and maybe get my notes done, and the laundry turned over, and all that stuff, too.
Susan Thomson Yeah, yeah. So with people who come to you, my massage is scheduled every month, you know, Wednesday, on the fourth week of the month. My visit with my chiropractor is every six weeks-
Scott Robison Totally.
Susan Thomson … same day, same time. Do you find that your clients do that? Or what do you, how do you handle it?
Scott Robison [crosstalk 00:29:02] Yeah. The folks who come in consistently, after a while, yeah, like we see them every four weeks, or we see them every two weeks. And, yeah. They’re consistently walking in with something, right? Like, “Why don’t we just … Is this a good time for you? Why don’t we just make this a regular appointment.” [crosstalk 00:29:19] Then everybody’s automated, and it’s easy to keep track of. If you have to schedule around it or bump it around, you can see it coming in advance, right?
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison With my schedule, my schedule tends to get pretty full at times. So you know, if you show up sometimes, well, I can’t get you back in for six weeks. Like, it’s nice to have that on the books for folks.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison So I come out of the structural integration, sort of Rolfing community, too. And we do sort of a five or eight-session series, where we sort of move through the body systematically, almost like a checklist or punch list fashion, right? Just make sure you touch everything, even if you don’t think it’s important, right?
Susan Thomson All right.
Scott Robison But like, the momentum is useful in that scenario. So I would rather start it, like, “Come in. Let’s see if this is a good fit. Okay, let’s start this in six weeks, so that we can do all five sessions in five weeks, or all eight sessions over 16 weeks,” and just get it [crosstalk 00:30:17] in a convenient time, right, so it’s there; rather than like, “Well, three weeks, and then four weeks, and then one week,” and it’s much more convenient for everybody.
Susan Thomson Right, right.
Scott Robison How useful is it, or how important do you feel like it is to say no, to keep your … Like, do you feel like, I mean, I feel like that’s a big … Like, I heard that a lot as I was starting my professional career, back when I was a teacher, right, at a triple-threat boarding school in the Northeast. And you don’t really know what that means, until all of a sudden, your calendar is full of other people’s stuff. Like how, can you talk a little bit about the importance of saying no?
Susan Thomson It’s huge, and I am definitely a work in progress on that. And this is really where the default calendar has probably helped me the most, because there are only so many available times in my calendar.
Scott Robison Right, turns out.
Susan Thomson If they’re not there, they’re not there. So you know, for example, I like to eat lunch, so that [crosstalk 00:31:22] business development time is lunch time. And I look to make sure that I’m either meeting with a prospect, or somebody who’s a leader within the community, or you know, that kind of thing, over lunch. And oftentimes, people will say, you know, I’ll be like, “I’m booked out until the end of October on lunches.” And people will say something like, “Well, let’s go grab a cup of coffee.” And my answer is, “You know what? I can’t.”
Scott Robison Yeah, you’ve got to say no to that.
Susan Thomson Yeah. And it’s a lot easier, because I’m a pleaser, I like to please people, it’s a lot easier to say, “I can’t,” than, “No.”
Scott Robison Oh, interesting. Yep, I like that. Yeah.
Susan Thomson Right?
Scott Robison “I mean, I just can’t fit it into my calendar. I’m sorry.” Yeah.
Susan Thomson Yeah. [crosstalk 00:32:15] a little bit. And I also, in our sales process, I used to meet with people who really weren’t good candidates for coaching, either, you know, in my gut, I knew wouldn’t do the work, or wouldn’t show up fully prepared, and things like that. And I would know that 45 minutes into a 90-minute meeting with them. And so-
Scott Robison Oh, brutal.
Susan Thomson … we actually added a step to the sales process that’s a 20-minute screening call.
Scott Robison Oh, okay.
Susan Thomson And that, only about 60% of the people make it onto the next step. So then I’ve, upfront, determined, “You know what? This isn’t going to be the right fit. Go do this instead.” And it honors their time, and it honors our time. But that screening step was a big, from a “no” standpoint of, “I’m going to ask you a whole bunch of questions about this business and where you want to take it. And at the end of 20 minutes, we’ll know whether it makes sense for us to have a longer meeting.”
Scott Robison Yeah, got it. Yeah. You know, that’s an interesting point. That’s something that we’ve started doing as of two days ago. But that’s something I’ve added to our process, too, because a lot of people will give us a phone call, and leave a voicemail, or they’ll send me an email, like, “Hey, I’d love to schedule with you.” Like, great. We could either spend like four days going back and forth with email, trying to find exactly the right time for you; or you could use this convenient online scheduling tool, right?
Susan Thomson Perfect.
Scott Robison So what I’ve added, now, is just a 15-minute consultation on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Like you know, if you’re ready to book, cool. Here you go. If you’d like to talk to me first, you could also schedule that time; because otherwise, it’s a bad experience for the people who are trying to work with us, trying to go back and forth.
Susan Thomson Yeah.
Scott Robison So speaking of the clients who are working with you, what does a business coach do, exactly?
Susan Thomson Do?
Scott Robison Right? And we asked this question of Emma last week, as a health coach, like what does a health coach do; because we understand like sport performance coaches. Like you know, we’re going to teach you how to kick a ball, or we’re going to teach you how to run this play. Like, what does a business coach do?
Susan Thomson A business coach is going to teach you how to build a profitable, growing business around your craft. So they didn’t teach you how to run a business when you were off becoming certified, right?
Scott Robison Kind of, but not really.
Susan Thomson Yeah, kind of, but not really. I have a business degree, and guess what. They don’t teach you how to run a business in business school, either.
Scott Robison Oh. Well, what do you do in there?
Susan Thomson They teach you how to market, or they teach you how to manage, or they teach you how to do finance, right? They don’t teach you how to put all those pieces together.
Scott Robison Got it.
Susan Thomson So that’s what we do, is teach you how to put all those things together, and actually build a business, ultimately, that can work without you. Now, if you love what you do and you want to keep doing it, that’s fine. But we want the business itself to not be dependent on you, if you ever want to take another vacation, for instance.
Scott Robison Right. Yeah, that’s interesting. So can you talk a little more about that? Because I think that is an uncommon idea. I was really fortunate when I started my business, my practice, to get hooked up with a business coach, basically right away. The same time that I started full-time, I had a business coach. So that idea has been in my brain the whole time, but that seems, the more I talk to people outside of the coaching community, like that’s a weird idea. Like, talk more about that.
Susan Thomson Yeah. So here’s the thing. If your business is dependent on you being there, then you have a finite capacity. And that means your impact is limited to what you can handle. And you’ve basically bought yourself a job, as long as you want to continue working.
Scott Robison Sure.
Susan Thomson Okay? So where we want to get to, the whole payoff for owning a business, is that some day, something happens to it. So we want you to think about your business, not in terms of just what’s going to happen some day, when I physically can’t do the work anymore, right; but, what’s this business look like 100 years from now? What kind of impact do I want to have on the world? And that means it has to be bigger than you, right?
Susan Thomson So there’s a, you know … If understanding why I got into this to start with, and what kind of an impact I want to have, if, you know, for us, once I got into business coaching, you know, I’ve lived both sides of the desk, here. I was a CEO. I know how hard it is to sit in that chair. And for us to limit what we do to the capacity of any single coach, I think, is unethical.
Scott Robison What do you mean? That’s a bold statement, Susan. Don’t be mean.
Susan Thomson So we get … Ultimately, when we build a business that works without you, that business is going to make a ton more money, and it’s going to free up your time, okay; those two things.
Scott Robison Okay, sounds good. I like that idea.
Susan Thomson Okay? Once we’ve done that, once the business is systematized, your team is performing the way they should be, there’s cause and effect in your sales and marketing efforts, all of those kinds of things, then the question becomes, “How big of an impact do you want to have?” And I know, you know, when I was a CEO, I looked for this kind of help and couldn’t find it. I asked my accountant. I talked to my attorney. I asked my banker. And they all kind of went, “Yeah, no. We don’t.” I didn’t know what it was called. Coaching was kind of new back then.
Scott Robison Sure, yeah.
Susan Thomson But I looked hard to find something. I just didn’t know what the something was called. And our clients get … I mean, most of them are growing between 20% and 50% a year in net profit.
Scott Robison That’s impressive.
Susan Thomson So to say, “Sorry, I’m full. You can’t have this great secret sauce,” I think it’s unethical.
Scott Robison Yeah. I see what you’re saying, yeah. I’ve heard that sort of elsewhere. And again, I think this is an unusual mindset, but you know, from a health and wellness standpoint, like if I feel like I have something, like useful information that makes people’s lives better, and I do, because they tell me that I do-
Susan Thomson [crosstalk 00:39:34] keep it to yourself-
Scott Robison [crosstalk 00:39:36] Yeah, I feel like I have the obligation. Like, it’s an obligation to share it and spread it as far as possible.
Susan Thomson Yeah.
Scott Robison The thing that I always have trouble reconciling that with is like, so I’m a big dreamer, too. You know, I have lots of big dreams of where this is going to go, or the one that I start after this is going to go. But you know, how do you … What about people who just like want a small lifestyle?
Susan Thomson You know, that’s fine. If you want a small lifestyle business, then have a small lifestyle business. Just realize that, you know, there’s a limited, you have a limited capacity at that point. The other part about growing the business and having a broader impact, is that once we get that business working without you, you have options. You could sell it. You could acquire another business. You know, we had three or four businesses acquire competitors last year.
Scott Robison Yep, yeah. You could, I mean, you could put all your time into your church, or whatever volunteer group you want to be a part of.
Susan Thomson Right, yeah. I could find some, yes, personal passion-
Scott Robison [crosstalk 00:40:46] Yeah, it can be personal. It’s not just the business impact.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison Got it. So who, you kind of touched on this already, so who is a great fit for you guys? And who’s a bad fit? And the bad fit question always trips people up, I think, because like, “What do you mean? I’ll work with anybody.” But I think you’re going to have a different answer to that.
Susan Thomson Yeah, yes. A good fit for us is any business that wants to grow, will do the work, will participate in the community, and wants to have a big impact in this world, wants, seeks that abundance. That’s a good fit. A bad fit, people who know everything already, people who don’t want to grow, right? There’s no reason to invest in a coach if you don’t want to grow.
Scott Robison Right. That’s a great point.
Susan Thomson Or people that are just like … How do I say this? Is this like, can I swear on your podcast?
Scott Robison You could say whatever the fuck you want.
Susan Thomson Okay. I call them the arrogant assholes, like the people who are just so full of themselves, and it’s all about me, and that whole abundance thing, what’s that about, you know? That’s not a good fit.
Scott Robison Totally, yeah. Okay. That is a good answer. So if people are interested in this, and they want to get, right, they want to work with you, or Mike, or Kory, or Sharon-
Susan Thomson Or Sharon, or Kory, or-
Scott Robison Yeah. How do they get ahold of you guys?
Susan Thomson The best first step is to either email me,
Scott Robison How do you spell Thomson? There’s a lot of different versions of that.
Susan Thomson I was going to say, there’s no P in my Thomson.
Scott Robison Okay, got it.
Susan Thomson T-H-O-M-S-O-N, at ActionCOACH, all one word, .com. Or call me, 608-441-5374.
Scott Robison Awesome. Any parting shots, Susan, before we sign off?
Susan Thomson Just for people to understand the real power that comes in building good routines and habits. So be intentional about what needs to be in your calendar. That’ll help you say, “I can’t,” to all the stuff you should say no to. And if it’s in your calendar, the likelihood of you doing it increases dramatically. So just to really, you know, it’s going to take a couple of months to dial in a default calendar, but it’s worth the work.
Scott Robison Yeah. I’m working on it. I put it aside when the baby came, but now I’m, I had another idea, then Mike was like, “No. That’s not going to get you where you want to go.” I was like, “Okay. Thanks, Mike.” And that is why I pay for a coach.
Susan Thomson Right, right.
Scott Robison I learned that lesson-
Susan Thomson “You can do that later.”
Scott Robison I learned that lesson after two weeks, not after like six months.
Susan Thomson Right.
Scott Robison Right, awesome. All right. Susan, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day. I really appreciate it.
Susan Thomson Thanks for having me.
Scott Robison Yeah, all right. Well, we’ll talk to you soon.
Susan Thomson Okay, thanks.
Scott Robison Well, that’s it for this episode of the Integration Bodywork Podcast. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, formerly known as iTunes. That’s how other people find the show. If you’d like to find out more about us and what we’re up to, go to, where you can find the show notes for this and every episode, subscribe to the famous weekly newsletter, or schedule an appointment. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.

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