Striving for Success: Feed Your Soul with Dr. Susie Wolbe
Meet Dr. Susie Wolbe, a 22-year veteran of public and private schools, a classroom teacher, principal, Certified Academic Language Therapist. She is also the author of her own journal and book and a Huffington Post contributor. Dr. Wolbe serves as an experienced educator for parents and children and educators in both group and individual settings who need assistance in reducing levels of anxiety and stress while increasing performance and satisfaction at school and in their lives. Through her experience, Dr. Wolbe has realized that children growing up need much more than just an academic education to achieve success in life…they need an understanding of their own personal strengths and weaknesses and their social and emotional needs to reach a significant level of success. Under Dr. Wolbe, children, parents, and educators learn to improve their focus and attention, develop and improve responsibility, improve peer and family relationships, increase empathy for themselves and others, improve school/job performance, and lastly learn mindfulness meditation. The educator has an amazing commitment to social service and lifelong learning, and hopes to leave a positive mark on the world around her. How cool is that? Dr. Wolbe seems to be the master of educating on success. A program that educates but also teaches meditation?? Sign us up, Doc! How does Dr. Susie Wolbe feed her soul? Education, writing, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, and quotes that inspire and motivate.
Are there any consistent activities or rituals you do to maintain a sense of inner peace? I practice mindfulness to maintain calm and sense of inner peace. I make it a point to give thanks for even the smallest thing that comes my way: anything from finding a parking space to missing a disaster. I think it's important to notice and appreciate all of the gifts life has to offer.
When you are in an emotional rut, what are your go to ways to bring yourself out of that feeling? Music speaks to me, so I can typically use that to turn myself around. But, these days, with a more flexible schedule, I allow myself the time to be in that rut. I may end up spending the day on my own, in silence, with nature, and really focusing on the miracles around me in nature. My mood will soon pass, and, again, I have that "Ok, next challenge...I'm ready for you" attitude. If you have the time without compromising firm commitments, I think it helps to allow yourself the time for "that shot in the arm" that lets you end up reflecting on the wonders and gifts we have been given.
Before beginning a creative process, what type of preparation do you normally undertake? I'm a "dive right in" person, but I have learned that I will waste less time if I brainstorm first...so that's what I try to make myself do. Also, if I hit a "brick wall" I don't fight to get past it. I let it sit there and don't worry about it; eventually the answer reveals itself. I no longer "chase" the answers; I let the answers find me...and they always do. It's kind of miraculous, actually!
Describe a time you underwent a particularly stressful situation and what measures you took to move through that process. I had been serving as a K-8 principal. During the last four years in that position, I lost both of my parents, and two of my children got married. Plus, I had just gotten a new boss and we were not on the same page. The life cycle events of my family, whether happy or sad, took a tremendous toll. Added to that was the situation with my boss; that was the icing on the cake, and I lost any shred of confidence in myself that I had ever had. It was a very dark time for me personally and my relationships with my husband and children suffered, as well. That's when I started my mindfulness practice and also joined a women's leadership program called Power of Self. The two of those combined...life-changing. I found my way back to my happiness, and gained so many more coping skills and a renewed belief in myself. After 14 years as principal, I did resign from the position, but have since written one journal, “Protect Project Empower”, written a book, The Empowered Teacher (publication date August, but should actually be available before then), write blogs for my website and Huffington Post, speak, provide continuing education, and, best of all, have repaired the damage to relationships with my husband and children. Life is good:)
Do you have any favorite movies that always revive your spirit? Anything without violence and with a positive message.
Is there a particular genre of music that brings you calm? Again, anything upbeat and positive...with words.
What is the most inspiring book you have ever read? Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers taught me that it's okay to be afraid. It's just not okay to let fear stop me from making hard decisions and moving forward.
Are there any particular exercise routines or practices that you use for grounding? If so, describe how you discovered them. Yoga and tai chi are grounding for me; I found them years ago, but they were reinforced through my mindfulness practice.
Do you meditate? If so, how did you learn and what methods do you use often? I do. I spent 10 days at a silent meditation retreat that followed the practice of S.N.Goenka. What beautiful experience! I really learned to meditate through the Mindful Schools program and have since followed many paths to learn more. But, mindfulness is key for me. You can be any religion, and still use mindfulness to reduce stress, and become more aware of the positives in the world.
What’s your favorite motivational YouTube or Netflix video? Many from TedX---most of my motivational information comes from what I've read. I am a motivational/inspiration quote person. That's the reason I put together my journal.
Your favorite quote: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And one you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.
Who is the most inspirational person you have ever met, and what did they reveal to you that never left you? Marsha Clark of Marsha Clark and Associates (not O.J.'s Marsha Clark...not that there's anything wrong with O.J.'s M.C, but it's not the same one:)-she is an inspiration of strength, and personifies the ability of women to accomplish anything with grace, dignity, and humor.
Written by Katie Girouard.