By John T Martin Evansville Courier & Press, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Self-Help coach Susan Hyatt targets her programming towards women. She focuses on two areas -- encouraging entrepreneurs and managing weight without dieting.
Evansville Courier & Press, Ind.
Susan Hyatt remembers the day vividly. It was 2006, and she was driving through Evansville in her Toyota Sequoia, her two young children and a bevy of real estate signs in tow.
She was on her cellphone, having an animated discussion with another agent about a termite report. And she pondered if selling houses was how she really wanted to spend her life.
"I looked in my rear-view mirror and thought, this isn't the legacy I want to pass on to my kids," Hyatt said. "I didn't want them to remember their mother being a burned-out, tired-all-the-time person."
Hyatt said she began to wonder "what color my parachute was." To help her find out, she hired a life coach named Martha Beck, author of a book called "Finding Your Own North Star." Under Beck's tutelage, Hyatt became a believer in self-help. It's the direction she took her own career.
"It's full of exercises to help you figure out what you want, what's working, what's not working." Hyatt said. "I had never really understood what life coaching was, but I thought if I can make changes like these, I would love to help others."
Nearly 10 years later, Hyatt has built a substantial social media following. She does a weekly podcast and frequent webinars, while planning retreats throughout the U.S. and the world. Her programming is for women, and it focuses on two areas -- encouraging entrepreneurs and managing weight without dieting.
For entrepreneurs ("lady bosses" as Hyatt calls them), Hyatt's goal is to help someone start a business or make an existing one grow. She has a six-month program called Mastermind, which involves weekly meetings and a retreat where business-minded women share ideas.
Hyatt's coaching in weight loss shuns trendy diet routines. She said diets might bring short-term success but are really "cycles of deprivation." Her coaching strives to help women find the correct weight-loss approaches for them.
Societal pressures to look a certain way are different for women than for men, Hyatt said. She's writing a book on the topic and said it will "give a big middle finger to diets."
"I remember my daughter came home in the fourth grade saying every girl at my cafeteria table is on a diet," Hyatt said.
"They're getting that from their moms, they're getting it from TV shows. It's quite ridiculous that a woman is considered more successful, the smaller she is."
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Hyatt moved to Evansville, where her husband, Scott, grew up, about 18 years ago. Hyatt said her first life-coaching clients were mostly local women, but social media has broadened her following.
"I get emails and private messages from women on Facebook daily about what they're facing, what's not going right, and who need to figure it out," Hyatt said. "I think the reason I'm super passionate about the anti-diet movement is because I see so much potential for our world tied up in whether skinny jeans fit. I want to help women stop obsessing about that and focus on what to be passionate about."
Sally Rideout, a former ATHENA Award winner, got to know Hyatt several years ago while Hyatt was her real estate agent. Rideout said Hyatt's pivot to a new career has been impressive.
"She's transformed her life personally and professionally," Rideout said. "She has a very significant following in Evansville, across the country and even outside the country. She's transformed in ways probably she herself she couldn't even imagine possible."
Hyatt in April will celebrate 10 years in life coaching and wants to continue down that path.
She said the ATHENA Award nomination "really means a lot to me, because what the ATHENA Award stands for is really the mission of my business. I've received a lot of international recognition, so it's sweet and special to me that my own town would recognize me in this way."