Three Emotions at The Root of Success Redefined

Let’s hang out in the heart space.

Susan Doerksen Castro
4 min readApr 12, 2022


Let your heart guide you through paths your eyes can’t see.
~ Unknown

As I began to write this piece, I thought of the above art piece. It is so on topic, and by an artist I adore… my mother. This is one of her Lola Series. I love how Lola is embracing her heart…it’s the exact sentiment I invite you into as you read on.

In this article I name three emotions worth giving more permission in your heart space as you redefine success. As you read, perhaps you can also allow your beautiful brain a wee break, yes, some mental rest — we already know she’s on board for a change! But success redefined isn’t simply the jurisdiction of our cognition, it’s also embodied, meaning, it is also experienced inside our whole self — the mind, the body, the heart and our spirits. So a deep breath, and let’s drop into our hearts.

On the journey of redefining success there are three emotions to embrace. Let’s dive into each and share why they matter and how they help.


Call on Curiosity

Drop into curiosity. What does it feel like in your body? Let your heart “define” what curiosity is.

You may experience curiosity as an openness, and a capacity to receive something new. Or, curiosity might be there asking you to explore the old in a different way. Sometimes curiosity is already active in our heart begging us to follow, and sometimes we have to call it in more consciously to be with us as we explore.

Curiosity is essential especially in the early days of redefining success as we ponder why we’re feeling at odds with ourselves or disillusioned with how things are. Curiosity helps us be open to new ways of living and working that are unfamiliar. Curiosity calls on our inner explorer who is following the threads of something new and interesting.

Whenever you’re in uncertainty, call on curiosity to support you. Curiosity doesn’t ask you to do or try anything new, she simply asks you to be awake to the possible. She is gentle, and never requires us to do what we aren’t ready for, she only shows up with questions but doesn’t ask you to have the answers. She is patient.

Cozy up with Compassion

Compassion… such a popular phrase these days. And what does it feel like for you? How does your heart know compassion?

Compassion invites us to soften, and to silence stale voices (in our heads) that ask us to toughen up. Compassion feels like a metaphorical shawl or cozy blanket that comes around us in all the awkward, uncomfortable moments of change. She reminds us that sometimes life is tricky and compassion then comes in with a right-sized hug to affirm that we’re safe, and loved and cared for. We can offer ourselves compassion as we travel.

Redefining success isn’t easy. Hanging out in your default life (the one you stay with because you know it, even if it no longer holds juice) is also hard. There is a certain amount of challenge on the journey of redefining success. Heaven knows I’ve tried to find the easy path, and it does not exist.

The journey of redefining success, however, is incredibly worthwhile. I promise you that you’ll never look back with regret for traveling this road. Bringing compassion along with you is what will allow you to consider risks or changes even before you take them. Compassion will acknowledge you and your bravery.

Choose Courage

What is your heart’s experience of courage? Is courage a color or a size? What feels good about courage and where do you notice yourself contracting?

For my younger self, courage was about taking big leaps into the unknown body and heart full of fear. And a “do it anyway” kind of mentality. My younger self thought it necessary to override my emotional experience on behalf of taking bold(er) steps towards what I want. Today I know courage differently, it’s less about taking giant steps forward, and more about taking small, steps into the unknown. Courage is not alone, in fact it brings along curiosity and compassion.

You are already courageous being on this journey with me. This is why I call you Brave One. You’re courageously opting out of age old cultural beliefs or family expectations about what success is for you. You’re accessing bravery when you pause and consider there may be an alternate way that could bring you sweeter success.

Courage is settling right into what you know to be true even if no one else does. Courage is reminding your heart she is safe and that you’ll never abandon her. Courage is being powerfully present in your life and wanting more or different.

Cultivating Curiosity, Compassion & Courage

Because these three emotions are essential for the journey of redefining success I want to give you a couple of ways to bring them alive right now.

1. Reconnect to previous experiences where any of these three emotions were present, scan across them, remembering what the experience was like for your heart. Allow the emotion to linger and feel familiar again. Breathe into it, allowing yourself to become more intimate with it.

2. Choose one of the three emotions and see how you could experience it now. What are you feeling curious about? Where do you need a taste of compassion? Are you feeling ready to invite courage into a part of your life? Consciously add this emotion in to that situation and see what shifts.

Remember that these emotional experiences do not need to be big or large or intense, rather they can be scaled to the size that feels just right for now.

I’m curious what emotions have been with you on your own journey of redefining success. Do share, so that together we can build and nurture the experiences of our hearts.



Susan Doerksen Castro

Entrepreneur & Integral Master Coach™ helping accomplished women redefine success so they can realize a new, more fulfilling agenda for their lives.