THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 110: Susan Ascher, Author, Coach and Speaker

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 110: Susan Ascher, Author, Coach and Speaker

Where I live: Roseland, New Jersey
Job: Author, Business Development and Communication Coach, Speaker and Chief Networking Officer
Kids:
A daughter, 26

Susan at George V Paris 2015Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Not really. I believe in living everyday like it is my last, and I have been fortunate to prioritize family, business, and fun. Don’t want to sound like Pollyanna, but I truly believe living a balanced life is the key to social as well and business success, and to longevity!

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
To me, that concept has always sounded like feminist theory. Some days you have it all, some days you get it all, and some days you wonder what the heck is happening to you. Yes, I think it’s overrated because people have to find their own raison d’etre. Remember, and you’ll excuse the metaphor: one (wo)man’s pleasure is another (wo)man’s pain.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Since I am a 150% social animal, at this point in my life, I will always figure out a way put friends, family, and fun ahead of work. Meaning, I still get my work done, but since I am on the back nine of my life (yes, 62 x 2 = 124), I will always figure out a way to take care of my family, myself, and relationships first.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance?
I always make time for exercise. Pilates is my fav, and I walk 3 miles at least 3-4x a week. I am a TOTAL golf nut, so in the summer, I walk even more because I always walk the course. I play 75 rounds a year, preferring chasing the ball to taming it (meaning, I prefer the social and business part of golf to taking lessons). One of my favorite hacks is getting to an appointment early and making calls from the car. Another one is turning on the shower (sorry, all you green peeps, but it takes a minute in my house) and making my bed while the water warms up. Making my bed everyday gives me a sense of order to start the day. Also, I try to abide by “the one minute rule.” Anything I can do in a minute or less I try to finish: answer an email immediately instead of flagging it or putting it in a folder, hanging up my coat or, like I said, making my bed every day.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor? “Stay one step ahead of the competition.”
From your mother?
 “Be nice to everyone.” In German the word is Herzensbildung. You can Google it. It literally means “nobleness of the heart.” Being noble seems to have gone out of style for most.
From your spouse/partner?
“Slow down.”
From your daughter?
“LISTEN, MOM!”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Getting a blowout or taking a nap.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That getting older changes the way you look and your outlook.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
I already know I only have time to be with genuine, authentic people. I have weeded out users and takers.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Food shopping. I know there are companies that do that, but the first time they send me a bruised apple and I have to ask for a refund, I’m done.

Whose job do you wish you had?
A country music rock star: Taylor Swift. She’s gorgeous (yes I AM a woman and I DO admire good looks), she’s prolific, and as far as I can see, she lives a fun, authentic life and is a philanthropist who supports women, as well as many other important  charities. Or Stephen Colbert, because he is funny.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
The garbage man’s.

Favorite books?
The Power by Rhonda Byrne. Changed my life.

What are you reading right now?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Driving fast ( I drive a stick shift) with the windows open and country music blasting.
Food? Bagels and potato chips. Not together, though.
Website? Facebook and LinkedIn.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
Hopefully 7… but it seems to be closer to 6.5. My active mind even wakes me up in the middle of the night.

What do you read every morning?
The New York Post.

Complete the following sentences:
I think: I am funny and happy.
I wish: I will find the love of my life the second time around.
My daughter:
is my best teacher and reverse mentor.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Think like a man, work like a dog, act like a lady.” AND “Life is short and then you die.”

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sam and me BG photo shoot 3.10.13About Susan:
Susan P. Ascher is president and CEO of The Ascher Group, an award winning national consulting firm, an executive coach, keynote speaker, and founder of The Sphere of Excellence in Communication™ and Course Connections. Susan is the author of Dude, Seriously, It’s NOT All About You!, a humorous rant on how communication and protocol have forever changed how we connect and interact with coworkers, friends, and family in the new millennium. Her second book Dude, Seriously, Get Your ASK In Gear! is a compilation of the things we must ask ourselves if we are to be successful leaders in the rapidly changing landscape of the internet age.

Susan’s coaching programs have helped countless corporations and individuals raise the bar in communication, leadership development, teamwork, and client relations. She has coached individuals and teams for clients ranging from the Fortune 50 to emerging growth companies, as well as healthcare organizations, non-profits, and numerous nationally ranked colleges and universities.

An avid golfer, Susan is also the founder of Course Connections, her popular instructional program which teaches golf and its corresponding etiquette in a low-key professional setting, while simultaneously introducing the proven value of networking through golf.

A graduate of Lehigh University’s first class of women, Susan is a sought-after national media resource. Susan has been interviewed on Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CNBC, CNN, News 12 and My9TV, and is a frequent commentator on TV 8 in Vail, Colorado. Susan presents workshops at universities throughout the country including Lehigh University, Colorado Mountain College, William Paterson University, Caldwell College, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has been published in Forbes, Crain’s New York Business, The Star-Ledger, NJBIZ and New Jersey & Company.

The Ascher Group is an INC 500 company. In addition, Susan has been a four0time finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and has been named Small Business Person of the Year. Susan’s most recent award was being honored as one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs in the state of New Jersey. She is a member of The National Speakers Association.

Susan is an advocate for women’s and children’s causes. She is an officer of the board of The Metro YMCAs of the Oranges, and the founder of its annual Kids’ Care Club Golf Tournament. She is also the Chair of Play for Pink’s annual golf tournament at Montclair Golf club and involved in giving back to her alma mater, as well as Spence Chapin Services to Families. Susan is a founding patron of The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.

Find out more about Susan:
www.susanascher.com
Twitter: @susan_ascher
Facebook: susan.ascher.50
Instagram: susanascher50
Pinterest: sascher

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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