Suze Orman on the Joy of Leadership Podcast

Shar McBee
August 21, 2022

Shar McBee

Leadership with a Twist of Yoga

Welcome to the Joy of Leadership Podcast on KMozart brought to you by Cobblestone Wine. I am your host Shar McBee.

In a moment you will meet our guest Suze Orman, who is undeniably America's most recognized expert on personal finance.

First, we begin with today’s leadership secret:  Dharma.  

Dharma is a Sanskrit word that loosely means to do the right thing.  When you do the right thing, you will be protected.   You will have power.  It gives you courage.   When you don't do the right thing, it makes you weak.  

People often ask, "What is my great work?"  If you do the work in front of you greatly (ethically)  it will lead you to your great work.

Dharma is about living the life you were meant to live.  It can be as simple as not comparing yourself to the person next to you.  Dharma is about standing in your truth as you will hear from our guest,  Suze Orman.  

Suze is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, two-time Emmy Award winner, and as the host of the very popular Women & Money podcast with her co-host KT, Suze has nearly 22 million downloads.  

Shar McBee:  Suze, thank you so much for being here. I’m thrilled to have you as part of my new Joy of Leadership Podcast on KMozart.  

In all of my leadership trainings, I always include some yoga. A little bit of the physical and a lot of the philosophy of yoga.  Being flexible yet strong is  important for a leader. Over the years I have seen you, Suze, come through the highs and lows.  You are so flexible and so capable of enduring.  

Even in the hard times, you do the right thing. I think this is something that would be helpful to anyone new at leadership.  Can you give some thoughts on that?


Suze Orman: Well, two things, Shar, that go into that.  The first thing is when things are going good, when things are going bad, you have to believe that everything happens for the best. Because you can’t even have those words (good and bad) be part  of your vocabulary, because then you always have the ability to praise something or blame something.

True grace in life is really above praise and blame. So, first, to be a leader, you have to have faith. And you have to have faith, not only that everything happens for the best, but you have to have faith in who you are.  Therefore you have to know who you are because you just said it’s important to do what’s right, but right for who? Right for your bottom line? Right because it will appear that everybody will love you more?   Or right for you?  

When you stand in integrity, when you know who you are, then you know what’s right for the universe, you know what will help others even if it might not help you at that moment in time.  

When you always do what’s right versus what’s easy, the outcome always is one where everybody gains and nobody, in the end, loses, which is the quality in my opinion of a good leader, because you always emerge on the right side of goodness,

Courage is a true quality that a leader needs the courage to be okay about being criticized, the courage to be okay, if everybody doesn’t love you.  

You know, Shar, one of the greatest sayings in life is that the elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking. So, I let all the dogs bark as much as they possibly can and I just keep walking."

So for those of you out there who want to be leaders,  for those of you who just want to be leaders in your own lives, for those of you who want to lead where you want your money to go, for those of you who want to have more, the key is you have to be more.  You  have to know your self-worth because without self-worth, net worth will never be what it’s meant to be.

Shar : Oh Suze that’s so beautiful.  You’ve helped me for a long time ago. You told me to just remember that I always have enough… and it’s so true. I mean it’s just turned out to be true, and yet people would poo poo that kind of philosophy.

Suze Orman: Yes. But what’s important with that Shar is that for a leader, their words, their thoughts, and their actions have to be one. You cannot lead anybody else or yourself, if you think one thing yet say another.  You cannot lead if you think one thing,  say another or feel another.  You have to have all three of those thoughts in one boat. 

They always say the hardest thing in life to do is to jump a chasm in two leaps.  So many of us have one leg in one boat and another leg in another boat. We have our professional life, we have our personal life in those two different boats. If those boats start going in different directions, what’s going to happen to you? 

You have to put your whole life in one boat, and you have to be the master of that boat, You have to know where you want to go, you have to know how are you going to get there. And it all starts with your thoughts, your words, and your actions. 

Listen, if you think you can’t be somebody, oh, you never will be. If you think that you’re never going to have money. Oh, you never will. If you think you’re never going to be the number one personal finance person in the entire world, you won’t.

Right now I’m 71, but when I was 30, I was a waitress making $400 a month. Having been a waitress for seven years and I knew nothing about money. I never really got a grade above a C when I went to college. I never really thought any of that. But look at me today. 

So, how does that happen? I didn’t grow up with money. I didn’t marry money. I never had good self-worth or anything. And it happened when you find a teacher or you find somebody in your life that can help you get to know who you are, maybe better than you have the ability to do so. So, for me, it was rooted in a spiritual path and that spiritual path led me to who I am to this day, and it keeps me being who I am to this day, because without that, what do you have? You, in my opinion, have nothing.

Shar McBee: A lot of what you are talking about is about energy.  It’s been said in every tradition:   In the Upanishads it says, “As you think, so you become.”  In the Bible it says, “In the beginning was the word.”  Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” 

You have endured,  Suze, and I think that endurance is what gives you, power.  It is said that  if you do your dharma, it makes you powerful. In the story of David and Goliath, David was just a little kid with a slingshot and Goliath was the biggest giant in the world, but David was doing the right thing. And Suze I think that is a lot of your success.  You have always told it like it is, you have always done the right thing. I’ve watched you.

Can you give some advice to people about endurance? Because that’s another issue that people who take on leadership roles find hard.  To endure because there are a lot of dips.

Suze Orman: You know why, in my opinion, it’s hard for people who are in leadership roles to endure? They’re leading others versus leading themselves.  They’re not understanding the power that they have to lead themselves through the ups and downs, to lead themselves through financial success and financial hardships, to lead themselves through getting older, to lead themselves through success versus failure. They stand up in front of people and they teach others with words how to be a leader. But you can’t teach with words, you have to teach with truths. And the reason that I’ve been so successful is I have never spoken in words ever. I’ve only spoken in truth.  If something is true for me, it’s true for every single person that’s listening. When somebody hears a truth, it resonates with them. It transforms them because you always have to stand in your truth. 

Shar McBee:  There is one more thing I want to ask you about, because I feel that people who rise up the ranks in a leadership role in a company or their own company, have to lighten up.  You are a lighthearted person. You always knew how to have fun. You still totally know how to have fun.

Suze Orman:  I know as soon as we’re done with this, everybody’s waiting for me to get on the boat and go fishing. It’s perfect fishing weather right now. What am I doing?

Shar McBee:  Any advice on accepting people as they are, or about lightning up?

Suze Orman: You  don’t take things so seriously, honest to God, because you never know when something really serious is going to happen. It’s been no secret that over the past two years, I’ve had a tremendously difficult time with my health. Two years ago I had surgery, you can look it up in people magazine if you want. Honestly, I had two choices.  I was told that this surgery was going to lead either to a life-ending surgery or, best case scenario, a lifestyle-altering surgery, where they expected me to come out a minimum of paraplegic and probably a quadriplegic.

Shar McBee:   Oh,  wow.

Suze Orman:  And so you never know.  Now obviously that didn’t happen. They’re not exactly sure how, but that’s beside the point that again is grace in life. Everything happens for the best, but you never know when your life is going to change dramatically. And so you have to be happy and have faith that everything happens for the best. And if you spend your time being heavy and being miserable and being whatever, when it’s not that bad, what are you going to be when you get news that’s seriously bad? 

So, the one key thing, and I’ll never forget this, Shar, that started my big career, especially with Oprah is that the very first time I was on the Oprah Winfrey’s show, she had gone over time and they had a minute left for her to interview me. So, of course, I sit down with her, and her question to me was very simple. “What is the key to life?” 

Now, all leaders need to know the key to life. Because if they know the key to life, they could be maybe happy. They could be a great leader, but that was Oprah Winfrey’s question to me.

I looked at her and  said, Oprah, “When you can be as happy in your sadness, as you are in your happiness, then you know the key to life.”  She looked at me and said, “Oh, we’re going to have to do an hour show on you,” and that was the start of 31-hour shows I did on the Oprah Winfrey show.

It wasn’t this heavy-duty da, da, da, and this and that. It was, “Can you just be as happy in your sadness as you are in your happiness?”

If you are heavy, if you are miserable, why would anybody want to be around you? Their own lives are heavy. They’re trying to figure out what to do. They’re trying to make the best out of a situation, and you’re as a leader, adding to their misery because you’re heavy, then stop being a leader because at that point you’re following the wrong key to life. 

Be happy, and make this world a better place. This world doesn’t need your negativity. This world does not need your heaviness. This world needs your lightness and your love. You want to have the best happen for all,  including yourself.

Shar McBee: Thank you, Suze.



Shar McBee

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