By Suzanne Young, MSA Participant

I’m pretty new to exploring a career in speaking so I am very thankful that I decided to join Michigan Speakers Academy this year. I’ve been taking advantage of all the support NSA-MI has been offering us because I’m constantly learning that the more I know, the better I do.  My most recent experience was when I attended my first NSA-MI Fireside Chat on May 13, with guest speaker Debbie Peterson. Debbie has written many books on the subject of finding clarity; one lucky attendee won the drawing she offered and walked away with her newest book. Clarity: How Smart Professionals Create Career Success on Their Terms.

She followed the simple structure that I’ve been learning at MSA of “Story, Point, and Evidence” as she began first with her own story. She briefly took us through her 25 years of experience in corporate America. She became very accomplished in all the areas she tackled, starting as a secretary, moving into administration, and then on into project management. At the height of her successful career, she began to feel that something was missing in her life. She had accomplished everything she’d set her sights on and was being paid excellently for it. She seemed to have reached the top of her mountain, but an unexpected side effect came along with her success as her health began to go downhill. She found herself overwhelmed and began experiencing heart palpitations, her fingers were going numb, and she had shortness of breath. She was prescribed many medications but none brought her relief. She said she felt like she was living in a glass jar with a lid on it; even though she could see out, she didn’t know how to remove the lid.

She began searching and discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). She intuitively felt like this would help her find a way to open the lid off the self-imposed glass jar in which she was stuck.  She dove deeply into this field for the next three years. Through her study of NLP she began to recognize how and why her life had begun to crumble despite her successes. She learned how NLP could help people develop realizable plans, carry them out, and at the same time improve their self-confidence. She loved seeing that NLP was effective in both the workplace and her private life. During her years of NLP study, even her own personal life showed remarkable benefit when all of her serious health issues disappeared.  She was inspired to use all of her NLP training, knowledge, and personal experience and opened her own business, Getting to Clarity, LLC.

Debbie took us through several processes so we could see, hands-on, how she helps others find clarity. She had us rate how we felt about where we were at in our careers from 1 to 10. Number 1 would be very painful and number 10 would be utopia. She pointed out that if we were closer to the bottom, it would hinder us from helping people get what they really needed simply because you can’t pour from an empty jar.

Our next activity included the concept of making a bucket list, but instead of a lifetime bucket list, it would be a career bucket list. We each wrote on a sheet of paper twelve goals we wanted to achieve in our businesses. Then we created a “3 (column) bucket list” marked as A, B, and C. Under the A column, we wrote the goals we absolutely wanted to achieve the most in our career. The B list included goals we’d like to achieve but not as much as those in column A. The C list included goals we wanted to achieve, but felt no urgent timeframe other than just somewhere down the line, in the future.

We then began to learn how to prioritize each of these columns into smaller achievable goals. She worked with us on using the power of six, which meant we would pick the six goals we knew we could and wanted to do within each day. We chose these six goals knowing that, no matter how small they are or what time of day we complete each one, they will move us closer toward achieving the Column A list.

This is one of the many techniques Debbie used to help us move from frustration to clarity with our speaking businesses. By the time the presentation was over we also had clearly learned that when we change our mindsets, we change our results. Debbie saw for herself that her health was suffering after working 25 years in the corporate world. She changed her mindset, left the corporate world, and began to study NLP. With this new decision, she got the new results that will always follow a new mindset. She’s now back to great health and enjoying the pleasure of running her own business.

Suzanne Young is a writer, inspirational speaker, and intuitive life coach specializing in Law of Attraction. Her programs and articles, available at, help others learn how to improve the quality of their lives by improving the quality of their thoughts. She writes about this in her book Stepping Into a Life of Joy, published in December 2018. Contact Suzanne at