Susy Shikoda is an International Speaker, Mind Trainer, Neuro Coach, MCC and Master in NLP. She found her true purpose after an experience with breast cancer, and she now spends her life teaching and inspiring others with what she has learnt on her path.
What drove you to pursue a career in mind training and neuro coaching?
Everything started ten years ago when I woke up one morning and could feel a lump on my chest. Within three months, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and from that point onwards, my whole life changed. It’s pretty life-changing to think you might die, and it sort of shocks you into finding your true purpose. It really affects your life and your relationships, and you need to be strong to overcome something like cancer.
My daughter was what helped me to pull myself out of the shadows of my mind. She gave me hope, and I decided I was going to fight this illness for her. During my battle with cancer, I learned so much, I used techniques that I am still putting into practice to this day, for example, manifestation, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). I believe that using these techniques helped me to not lose my hair during the chemotherapy stage — I looked better than I ever had, so much so that people were shocked when they found out I was having chemotherapy!
Three or four years later, I decided I wanted to share my story. I found a mentor in Brazil, and he helped me bring my story to the public. Over the next 6 years, I started to realise the power of the mind. I launched my first book, Be Your Own Miracle, and I spent time becoming a master in NLP with Richard Bandler, the founder of the technique. I started to learn more about neuroscience and the mind, and I realised that before you can understand the mind, you need to know how to use the brain, because the brain is the computer, while the mind is simply software on that computer. So now I’m doing a postgraduate course in neuroscience and psychology to understand more about the physical side of neuroscience, which I then connect to what I know about the mind.
Every situation you go through in your life is there for you to learn from it. Whether that’s sickness, grief, whatever it may be, you can learn from it. Having cancer introduced me to a new career field, one in which I can express myself and do exactly what I’ve always enjoyed doing, which is working with and talking to people, teaching them, and inspiring them. Before all of this happened to me, I was an accountant, and it just wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. So, for me, I think having cancer was the wake up call I needed to find my true purpose in life.
What are your top tips for turning challenges into an asset?
The first one is that you need to know yourself. Take time to learn who you are, this is a basic skill that you will need to overcome challenges in your life. A lot of people, when they’re in a bad situation, find that they struggle to get out of it. Why? Because they don’t know themselves, they don’t know who they truly are. When you get to know yourself better, then comes the next tip, which is that you need to know how to control your emotions. Once you’ve taken the time to learn who you are, this should come naturally to you. Knowing how to control your emotion is key to handling the difficult situation effectively.
My third tip would be to know what your “why” is. Know why you are doing whatever it is that you are trying to do. For example, my daughter was my “why” when I decided I was going to overcome cancer. She came to me and she said “Mum, if you lose your hair because of the chemotherapy, then I’ll cut mine too, so I’ll be exactly like you.” She really just inspired me to keep going and to never stop fighting, and I think that’s why I’m here today. Without my daughter, maybe I wouldn’t have overcome my illness.
The fourth tip is that you have to move your ass! Literally, don’t just sit around waiting for things to happen for you, you need to go out and get things moving. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and set the ball rolling if you want to get anywhere in life. I do this every day, every single day I do things that challenge me, things where I need to learn something new, but I don’t let it phase me, because I know it will help to get me where I want to go.
My final tip is to manifest what you want in life. Your life is what you make of it. Realise that we can’t always put in 100%, but that when we can, we can manifest for the missing percentage. Manifest the smaller things, like getting a call for a job interview, or passing an exam. Once you’ve started to manifest the small things into existence, then you can start working on the big things, and eventually, you will be manifesting the life you always dreamed of, if you work hard enough at it. When you do get there, make sure to be grateful for it, or it will all have been for nothing!
You’ve lived in a number of different countries — have you ever found it challenging to adapt to a new culture?
I’m Brazilian, and in general, we Brazilians are very flexible when it comes to adjusting to new environments and new cultures. However, of course, there have been challenges, there are always going to be challenging when you move to a country with a culture that is completely different from what you are used to. I have lived in Spain, Japan, Russia, Croatia, Hong Kong, and the UK since leaving Brazil, and each of them came with their own challenges, there’s no doubt about it. But what I love about moving to a new country is the ability to explore. I love learning new things, so for me, it has been wonderful to have the opportunity to experience so many different cultures.
What would be your greatest piece of advice for someone who is battling cancer?
Embrace your pain. It is so important to feel and to not try and push down the pain that you are going through. You can’t just pretend it’s going to be fine tomorrow, because it’s not, you are going to have to really battle with this illness and to do so, it’s important to acknowledge the pain. Accept the pain, embrace it, and be grateful that you are still alive. Pain is there for a reason.
If you need to cry, then cry. If you want to throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream, then do it. Release your anger, release your pain and your emotions in whatever way you need to in order to get through this. It’s really important to be aware of your emotions, it helps cleanse you from the inside out. I wish I’d had a book like the one I am currently writing when I was going through my cancer battle because it would have helped me a lot to see that you can get through it.
On the topic of your books, could you tell me a bit more about your new book, The Essential 7 Senses: How to Use Your Mind to Live, Laugh, and Love?
So my new book is all about what I became through the journey of my cancer battle. My first book, Be Your Own Miracle, told the story of what I was learning on my journey, and now this second one is basically the story of how I’ve put all of that into practice. I want to show that the mind is the key to everything, but that first you need to learn to use your brain. It links the brain and the mind through the use of our seven sense. These consist of our five normal senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch, and then the sixth sense is intuition, and the seventh sense is our energy, or our spirituality, as some people call it. The book is kind of a guide on how to access each of the senses and how to use them to change the course of your life.
What’s your biggest career goal?
I would say to be famous, but I don’t like the term famous because famous is a dangerous word. What I want is to be able to share my story with a big audience, and to help people through what I have experienced in my life. The more people I can help with my story, the more I will feel that I have achieved. So although in essence, I suppose it could be said I want to be famous, my true goal is to inspire people to take control and to overcome any major challenges or setbacks they might experience in their lives.
How has holistic therapy helped you in your life?
Holistic therapy has completely and utterly transformed my life. The holistic approach is all about who you are as a person, and it uses that to target any sickness that has come from inside you, from your emotions. Effectively, it helps to treat your sicknesses more effectively, because it is looking at you as a human and using that to treat you. I think holistic therapy is essential because it opens up so many doors and allows you to learn things about yourself and your body that you never knew existed before. Of course, if you are sick, you cannot forget about regular medical doctors, but I would say that using holistic therapy in conjunction with medical doctors is the best approach in a lot of cases, as it can make treatments a lot more effective, in my opinion.