Sue Stockdale - From a Business Leader to an Adventurer

Life is not a prison to be bound to one place or one job. Life offers you the chance to spread your wings and fly all across the globe touching the skies. Here is the story of one such inspiring personality who broke the shackles of limited mindsets and set records instead
IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 16th May 2015
“My life is my work and vice-versa. So, it never feels like there is any difference between life and work because I love what I do. It is about integrity and being true to oneself. I believe that if you are doing what you love and getting paid for it, you will be happier and radiate that to others. I think that people, ultimately, pursue happiness and think that money will provide it. Happiness is often right in front of their noses but they just don’t see it.” - Sue Stockdale, the ever shining motivational personality.

Sue Stockdale based in the UK, is helping leaders around the world to achieve exceptional performance through her work as a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership development consultant. She is helping people achieve exceptional performance and things that they did not imagine were possible by providing coaching supervision while she is also helping coaches to become better too.

The decision to be a motivational speaker was initiated in Sue by listening to Robert Swan speak and she began to think that maybe her story would inspire people too and with the help from the best people around she got going. Her favourite topic is when someone says, “I really want to achieve this outcome but something is holding me back and I don’t know what it is. I am committed to making this happen and need some help to overcome these obstacles.” Sue brings to work her listening skills and intuition to work out what is really stopping people, and these are often both psychological and practical issues. Then they set to work to find ways of addressing them.
Sue Stockdale
A spark for running ignited in Sue on seeing Allan Wells, the husband of Margot Wells who was her Physical Education teacher at school, who won the Olympic 100m title for GB at the games in Moscow in 1980. “He (Allan Wells) came to school and brought his medal and it inspired me to get into running. The teacher encouraged me and I found that I was quite good at it. So, I wanted to run faster and further and hence kept up my training,” says Sue.

She chose her steps to climb the corporate ladder and left school after 16 years of age. She knew her love for the corporate world and that made her excel at her job at British Gas initially in Scotland and then in London. She rapidly developed her career and was one of the youngest employees in the company to reach a Senior Management position at the age of 25. According to Sue Stockdale, the important attributes an entrepreneur must seize are risk taking, resilience, ability to delegate, envisioning and adaptability.

“Many of the roles I had within British Gas taught me the importance of listening to other people and trying to understand their view of a situation, as well as, to think about what was motivating their behaviour. For instance, I was an IT Trainer and taught employees how to use early versions of email and windows based programs along with a mouse! Running a technology training course can be fraught with problems because people can press something on their keyboard that you were not expecting them to, and it brings up a different command or screen. I learned that people learn in different ways and that things will go wrong and you can learn from these situations rather than limiting what people do,” narrates Sue. At work, the company had a running team that competed in corporate races, which imparted Sue a chance to represent British Gas and travel to many different places to race.

As an athlete she competed for a running club in 3000m and cross country competitions. “We often won as a team, and were able to compete in national and international races. I used to run every day and it took a lot of time, but I had a good social life as we trained in a group and others became my friends,” says Sue smiling.

Sue was intrigued on spotting an advertisement in the newspaper to apply to join a team of novices to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. “I had never cross country skied before, but I did not worry about this because it was really just the mode of transport to get to the North Pole,” she says. At the first selection event they narrowed down the applicants from over 500 to a few. She realised that many other people there were just like her and strongly felt that she had a good chance of being selected for the team. It was only when people began to ask if Sue would be the first to get there that she realised that this would make her the first British woman to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. They had accomplished the objective in 30 days which Sue considers as an amazing adventure experience and getting the accolade of being the 1st British woman was just an extra benefit!!

Her book To the Limits and Beyond is a photographic journey compiled from all the expeditions she has undertaken and is an illustration of what can be achieved if one is prepared to explore what is possible. Her other books are:  

Secrets of Successful Women Entrepreneurs and The Growth Story, which inspire people to start and grow businesses and tell real life stories of women who have founded and grown multi-million pound companies.

Kickstart your Motivation and Motivating People help readers to understand what it takes to motivate yourself and others to achieve improved performance at work and goals that you did not imagine were possible.

Cope with Change at Work enables those affected by changes, who are often the workers not the managers, to find ways to cope with the changes that they encounter.

The Personality Workbook is written to help people understand how their personality impacts on how they set and achieve goals.

Her latest book “Risk: All that Matters”  helps readers to understand more about how their attitude to risk influences their day to day lives, and how risk pervades our work and society in many different ways.

These books are all very practical and readers can dip in to the content at times when they want some ideas or help. They inspire people to look at themselves and think about what they can do in different situations in order to take responsibility rather than being helpless.
She wanted to become an entrepreneur in order to be in control of her destiny and to have a way of earning money whilst inspiring others. For Sue, it was all about helping others to make their “mission possible” as she was primarily focused on supporting women entrepreneurs. With this urge and aim, Mission Possible Ltd., was born and built. Having worked on the company’s brand and reputation for 10 years, Sue didn’t want to get stuck in it and hence thought of selling it.

“I wanted to go back to just being “me” in the business and not having others rely on me so that it would be more flexible and I would be able to travel and run my life in a more flexible manner which turned out to be the turning point in my life. When I found that I could be happier, more fulfilled and make more money by just being ‘Sue Stockdale’ it was fantastic,” says Sue.

“We can all achieve amazing things, often the only person stopping you, is you” – Sue Stockdale.
On a scale of 1-10, how inspiring did you find this article?