Inspiring Interview | Susan Winter
On my recent work trip to New York City, I was lucky enough to be invited to meet and interview the fabulous Susan Winter – such a great opportunity to get the lowdown on this leading US dating expert. She worked in classical theatre, before going on to host a TV show for the equivalent of today’s CNBC before becoming an evolutionary dating expert. She has written two books and been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show among many other things. So – you can probably imagine just how excited I was to head to her fabulous apartment in the heart of Manhattan, a few blocks from the famous Times Square and a stone’s throw from Central Park, to meet her back in late September.
We touched on so many cool topics and literally chatted for hours on the terrace of her gorgeous Manhattan apartment (Giles, the bf, had to come and find me wondering where I’d disappeared to all morning) but here are some of the highlights. (Please note I have paraphrased in places – so my apologies Susan if I have ended up misquoting you). I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed listening. You have to imagine lots of laughter and the background noise of New York taxis and sirens…
Saskia: I have to ask about Oprah before we get started. She’s such a legend. What was it like meeting and chatting with her?
Oh yes, Oprah is the real deal. Now, I have never had a publicist in all these years, but her people found me and invited me on to the show. They like people who have a purity of intention and who are the expert on their particular topic, but it also helps to be controversial of course. I’d written my book ‘Older Women, Younger Men’ a few years earlier which came with quite a bit of controversy and a strong message. Oprah likes people with a message. Her whole aim is to inspire people to have a bigger vision of life. She has been working hard all these years to create a step-change in people, in society. She has always encouraged people to do something positive with their lives and it was great to be able to play a part in that.
The controversy in my book wasn’t about older women being with younger guys, that goes on a lot obviously, no what was controversial was older women loving younger guys. I was promoting a different kind of love. It has always been hard to be truly unique and true to yourself and not worry about people judging you for doing things differently.
On living an authentic love life
Saskia: Yes, I hear that. My parents are from different races (Jamaican dad and British mum) and got married at a time when it was still illegal, in some places, for blacks and whites to marry, so I totally understand what you mean about promoting a different kind of love.
Wow yes, absolutely and people who struggle through barriers like this often end up with a stronger love. As we become more authentic in love, we become evolutionary. I’m an evolutionary dating expert, I’m addressing the way the world is today. The cookie-cutter formula for love isn’t working any more. Women now have their own power / money and can choose their men. It should be an exciting time for them. They have the luxury of choosing who they date and they can date down if they like but they don’t. Many of these intelligent women want to date CEOs and the equivalent. Well there are tonnes of intelligent women and not many CEOs so there are lots of disappointed women out there. Something has gone wrong.
Saskia: Let’s talk about the cookie-cutter formula for love in a minute. I ‘m really keen to find out how you became an evolutionary dating expert.
I have a theory – the universe has a plan. It dangles a dog treat, in my case a gorgeous man, and it got my attention. I leapt into where I was supposed to be. (To find out how this man helped her leap into where she was supposed to be, check out her book, Allowing Magnificence.) The key to our truth is following our path. When we have a calling or a purpose and you are open to that purpose, life kicks you sideway. There is no roadmap, you have to trust yourself – one of the hallmarks of personal evolution is getting off the charted road. An authentic life doesn’t look like anyone else’s. There are some similarities but it’s uniquely yours and that’s when you’re living your truth. That is when who you are and who you date changes.
Saskia: How many people are living this authentic life? When you look around do you see many of these people?
The younger generation are, for sure. Look at their commercials, kids with purple hair, jumping around, doing their thing.
Saskia: You’re talking about the Millennials?
Yes, that’s why I can sit down and talk to a 20 year old guy (who’s gorgeous) and relate to him as thought we haven’t skipped a beat. The younger generation come pre-programmed with what we’ve learnt and spread into the social consciousness.
Saskia: Yes, they are so lucky. I love how they approach work for example. They know there is no job for life anymore so they are growing up entrepreneurial. They know with a good idea and an iPhone they can make money. It’s exciting. Work in a bank? No, instead they figure out what skills they have and boom!
Yes, they have no roadmap, they have to trust themselves. What worked for their parents doesn’t work for them. This is also why dating is so confusing for Millennials. Dating is such a mess. What I love about these guys is they are open with me, they tell the truth and have no game. I’d rather have a guy be straight up and say to me that they don’t do relationships so I know where I stand. I can then say, ‘what can you do?’, ‘what are you good for?’ I negotiate. I’m all about monogamy, no toe-dipping. If you’re with me, then you need to jump in. If you can give me a month or a year, make sure you’re all in for that time. No games.
The difference between me and a lot of women today is that I am open, my heart is open but when it comes to the bedroom, well that is VIP. Nowadays, most people the bedroom is open and their heart is the VIP area. Yes, women are in control of their love lives and sex lives but it doesn’t mean it’s authentic. What’s empowering about sex being open to all? It’s the same model (choosing marriage and children) superimposed in a different format i.e. doing what everyone else is doing. Everyone is living out someone else’s plan. I’m glad we have open sexuality and can sleep around, test boundaries and test out the fluidity of our sexual preferences but do we have to have it the way society says we should have it? We need to be asking the question, ‘What is right for us?’. Make our own choices. It’s not working out that well for these women.
On working with clients
Saskia: Are your clients mainly women then?
No, I’d say 80% of my clients are men. Women love what I say and some follow my advice but women in general listen to girlfriends and don’t tend to pay for ongoing coaching. While men don’t have friends to talk things through with and so they have stellar results working with me. They follow my instructions well. I give them permission to know they’re phenomenal. The women I work with go from a revolving door of hook-ups to marriage in a short amount of time because they trust me. My words are different to other coaches. Once they listen to me, I’m committed to staying with them on their journey. I’m asking them to open up their heart and show up and that’s hard. I know that, which is why I stay with them.
Life uses pain and pleasure as a motivator. Pain, in particular, is a significant motivator. It got me to write my second book, Allowing Magnificence. The pain was so tremendous, it needed to come out. Not just for me but for other women living in similar situations with younger guys.
I’m living my truth and trying to create an infrastructure for people to find comfort and security as they pick what’s right for them on an a la carte menu of love. I’m trying to be there for people as they authentically choose their truth. This is a time where we get to choose a model that works for us. My only job is to help people do that with integrity and authenticity.
On knowing exactly what her job is
That’s it. That’s my job. To help people reconnect to their truth and make it ethical. Empowering people to live their true lives, their true love lives. Then I’m done. When we live our true selves, when we are connected, the choices automatically become of a higher level. If we’re disconnected, we become vindictive. When you’re really connected to yourself, to the source within you, you’re much stronger. You can’t function outside of that. People can suss out if they’re being lied to. But lets face it, only a small percentage of people wake up to do damage and those people are mostly terrified. Afraid of being hurt, not being approved of, or not being accepted. They are the ones that do the greatest damage.
What I teach and share is the long way. There are easier ways to make money. All those packages / courses, e.g. Teach any man to love you for $600, are just garbage. It’s a much longer journey to help people find their own strength and connect with themselves but that is the only thing that creates change.
The individual journey is the only journey that creates mass change.
I understand human nature and what people need – whatever their issue is, you need to figure out what is motivating them and you’ll know how to help them.
A lot of negative behaviour is driven from a place of fear. Everyone is scared. In Manhattan, we live in a posturing society and at the core of all of that are people who are afraid that they’re not good enough in someone else’s eyes. And that is amplified when we’re not together with ourselves.
The big news is….
The big secret is that we don’t need all those products and goods. Do you need to pay $1000s of dollars to sweat in a tent, half way up a mountain. No, the big news is that we already know the answer.
We were born with the knowledge inside us. The job we actually need to do is uncover layers of misinformation.
God, the Creator, whatever you want to call it did not leave us without direction. Our guidebook is inside us. Imagine when people know that and they never need to ask anyone else, we’d put everyone out of business. Imagine if you put trust in yourself and asked what if I trust myself to know the answer? You are now in the process – you’ve got to dig deep. The time that you feel most lost is the time you’re most on target. You have to figure it out yourself. There is so much noise around us, people selling us ‘the answers’, that generally people don’t have the chance to think for themselves. We have it all programmed in ourselves.
In my professional opinion, we are all scared that we’re not good enough. People are spinning all these plates in the air and we try and hide the areas where we feel challenged. When you feel pain, that is when you need to act. Pain is a great motivator, it’s like life’s cattle prod, telling you that you need to move, do something. Pain is there to help you figure out a solution to your problem. Don’t try and escape from it, but move towards it, transform it, get new tools to tackle it. Every time you do this, there comes greater understanding of your situation and less pain.
Saskia: I love that – I know everything myself. I have my own guidebook inside?
Yes, and my job is to guide people to empower themselves to find the answers. It’s like meditation. All meditation does it to help stop the noise and chatter long enough for you to hear yourself. There are lots of techniques for this and I’m helping people find the fastest way to do this.
And finally…please complete the sentences:
I’m currently inspired by.… the brilliance coming out of Silicon Valley and other startup hotbeds around the world. Today’s entrepreneurs are changing our entire business model by fusing purpose with passion and passion with a purpose.
I’m at my happiest when…. I’m in the company of dogs, horses, and good friends.
Saturday Nights are for….. pleasure; whether that means indulging in alone time or dancing till the sun rises.