What Challenged Me … Disney movies about Romance!
What Inspired Me … The Circle of ❤️ Love ❤️ Sisterhood is for women in their forties to 70+.
What Intrigued Me … Your On Line Profile. The importance of optimizing!
Suzanne Oshima reminds us that You are never too old and it is not too late to date. She inspires you to lean into Your Next Amazing Story!
Knowledge Bomb from Pew Fact Tank Dating Facts
About the Guest
Suzanne Oshima is a Life & Love Transformational Coach and founder of Your Next Amazing Story.
About the Show
Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane
A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.
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Intro: [00:00:00] You're listening to life and leadership, a conscious journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane's weekly conversation on how to have a positive impact on people, the planet, and the wider world. If you want to live a life of intention to be proactive with your time and bring your vision for the future to life one today at a time you are in the right place at the right time. Let's get started.
Michelle St Jane: [00:00:36] Welcome to your Next Amazing Story with Suzanne Oshima. She is a life and loves transformational coach who empowers smart, successful women. Listen up. Suzanne's going to talk to us about how to transform midlife into your best life. Suzanne guides women who wish to find love again, start the next chapter. She joins the series around online dating for global leaders to give you a taste of what your future could be on a conscious journey.
[00:01:03] What's cooler than hearing how she's turned her client's courage and adventure into opportunities to connect and court.
Suzanne, your online dating career has beautifully evolved alongside the exponential growth of online dating in the 21st Century. Can you speak to this?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:01:21] First of all, thank you for having me on your podcast. I'm super excited to be here. Yes, my career has grown along with online dating. It started when I launched an online dating site in 2002. As I was going along in the process, as you know, with any business, it could be, there are going to be challenged.
[00:01:50] I was trying to compete against the big players back then, which were matched.com, e-Harmony, Yahoo personals and it was a challenge. I realized I was like, can I really compete with them and keep pouring money into this company, or should I transition? It's always hard to like transition your business when you thought that was the path you were supposed to go down.
[00:02:16] I decided at the time that the Millionaire Matchmaker, the reality TV show was really hot here in the United States. I said, “Oh, I could do that.” I transitioned into a matchmaking and date coaching agency. I worked with both men and women in matchmaking and date coaching. In working with both men and women at the same time, I started to realize that there was a complete disconnect between what men wanted and what women thought that men wanted.
[00:02:47] I was like, “Oh my goodness. If I could teach women how men think and what they want, infinitely women would become better daters, get into relationships and ultimately get married.” Then that's when I launched ‘Single on Stilettos,’ that was like this show ‘Sex and the City,’ right. I was living in New York City at the time. I really wanted to focus on women and helping them with coaching and helping them understand men.
[00:03:15] As I got older, more mature, I should say I started to outgrow the name single and stilettos as much as I loved it. I started to realize that my audience at the same time was growing with me. Right, I said, “you know what, I feel like I need to go into the next chapter of my life and name it.”
[00:03:37] It's something different. I shifted the brand name to your next amazing story. It's never too late because I really wanted women in mid-life to really understand that it, number one, it's truly never too late and that you can transform mid-life into your best life and find love again in your next chapter. So that's the whole journey that I went through from 2002.
Michelle St Jane: [00:04:01] I just love your wisdom. I have been proposed to believe it or not 13 times, and being a rubinesque woman, my friends would be like, “Oh, you're fat. You know, men don't want fat women.” I'm like, you are habituated by what you see in magazines.
[00:04:18] I am having no problem attracting men, in fact, a little too much. So consequently, that was my issue. The other thing I don't go in and tell him my whole life story. Ladies! Keep a little mystery, listen to him because you are not listening to him. He’s not listening to you.
Here's a Rumi quote that I love:
“Silence is an ocean.
Speech is a river.
When the ocean is searching for you,
don't walk into the river.
Listen to the ocean.”
I find that that's a big issue for people is failing to pause and listen. Be able to have conversations that engage the backward and forwards. The hearing, the responding, the caring, and the contributing.
Suzanne Oshima: [00:05:04] That's so true. I love what you said. How I always envisioned it, is that we are strong, independent women. We're very much in the doing phase, right? In our business or in our jobs. We're very much in the doing and getting things done, which is the very masculine side of us. Right. We can look feminine on the outside, but that's the masculine side.
[00:05:27] When you were talking about that in the quote, that was so beautiful to me, because it really said to me, to really step into your heart and really step into the being versus doing right.
Michelle St Jane: [00:05:39] Well put. Absolutely. I'm glad you said that because I'm at a stage in my life where I want to be relaxed into my being.
[00:05:48] I've done plenty of doing. I'm a high achiever been there got the sweatshirt. I’ve had a few careers, done three degrees, pivoted out of the traditional world into podcasting last year during the pandemic pause. Yeah and loving it because I can bring my creativity and engagement to a level that is not all linear and driven. It's more relaxing into enjoying people, which is what I like to do. Speak to this sort of overwhelm.
There are over 1500 dating apps and websites. So nowadays there's an efficient way of expanding your choice pool. Jumping into the pool of courtship or drowning in it.
How do you help your clients manage to overwhelm?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:06:29] Well, it's an individual thing, right? I always say, as my business coach says to me, “it's your journey. Your journey is your journey.” Whenever he says that I love that because it really takes the pressure off of us, especially us high high-achieving women who always feel like we need to get to that end goal. The end goal is just to relax into that.
[00:06:51] Wherever you're at is where you're supposed to be as long as you're moving forward. Stop the comparison like, “Oh, she's so much further ahead of me, Oh, how come she achieved that right.” Really step into yourself and your journey. But it's important to realize that not everybody is sometimes ready to date.
[00:07:12] Like if you've gone through a traumatic divorce or a breakup. Or like some of my clients, because I only work with women in midlife who have gone through where their husband passed away and they are now unexpectedly single. You have to go through that healing process right before you get out there and date, and that's super important.
[00:07:33] When people are just starting out like that after, you know, a long hiatus from dating is I always say to take it slow and just join one dating site.
I know there's like you said, I don't know what the number was 1500. I don't even know how many there are. Use one, just one when you're first starting out because I don't want someone to get overwhelmed.
[00:07:56] If you're in a different place in your life, though, when you're doing online dating, you've been doing it for a while and you feel comfortable with it. Then that's the only time I say now do two. When I say do two, I mean one paid site and one free site, because you want to optimize your chances and the sites that I do recommend, and I do not get paid by them.
The reason why I recommend match.com. is because 90% of my clients have met their match on Match. I know that sounds like a riddle, but it's true. Also because they were on their first online dating site. Match has the biggest database.
[00:08:42] When you start off with a company or a site that has a small database, then it becomes even more narrow. Your chances of meeting the right one. So that's my recommendation. Then the second one really depends on where you live. I know you live in Bermuda, so what may be a little bit different you know, then in the UK, in Europe, it's a little bit different than Australia and New Zealand.
[00:09:04] It's just different. You have to decide what will work best for you, depending on where you live.
Michelle St Jane: [00:09:11] Absolutely. Being willing to take on some new skills and new ways of dating. Before I get to that, you usually are pretty good at statistics. What is the current sort of statistics right now?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:09:25] Yes. I love that you asked that. When people are like, “Oh, there's no good men online.” I'm like, that's not true. That's actually not true. It is now the number one way to meet Your match, whether you're looking to meet men or women, it doesn't matter. It's the number one way couplers are meeting, whether it's in a relationship or marriage.
The statistics are growing exponentially year over year. What a lot of people don't know, and this is going to be good for females in the audience, there are more men online dating than women. Women actually have the advantage. Honestly, the numbers, “if you have a great profile, then you will get results.” I'm going to say that again. Cause a lot of people don't realize this, “if you have a great profile and your pictures are 90% of your profile. You will get great results.”
A lot of times when people complain that they're not getting results, it's because they don't have a great profile. If anyone is hemming and hawwing, when I said Match and they're like, “I’ve tried Match? I didn't get results,” it's honestly, because of your profile. I can look at anyone's profile and within the first 30 seconds, I could tell why they're not getting results.
[00:10:50] I've turned around plenty of my client's profiles to get results and get married. Both men and women.
Michelle St Jane: [00:10:57] I call that your superpower. I have been the beneficiary of some of your amazing wisdom as well. You are definitely the go-to girl. When you're ready to go online dating, get your profile, right. Get your photos right. Get yourself a really good coach or into a group like Suzanne hosts. For sure.
In terms of this conversation and for very busy global leaders and in particular women, what are the top three mistakes that you see across a profile, a virtual date, or a real-time date? What are the top three?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:11:38] I already mentioned the first one. People don't have the best profile. I've seen it with both men and women. They'll assure me, “no, I have a great profile.” Then I look, I'm like, “no, you don't!”
[00:11:52] Thank you for saying that’s my superpower. I never even thought of it that way, but it's true. It's number one is what I always say to people. You don't know what you don't know. What I mean by that is if you've never done online dating or you've been doing it and it's not working, then why would you, per the Albert Einstein quote, “keep doing the same things the same way, you'll keep getting the same results.” If you're not getting results then you need to do something different and/or seek out the expert.
[00:12:21] That's number one. If it's not working, it's probably the profile. That's a mistake, number one. People always think it's because there are no good men online or no good women online, or they're not looking for anything serious. No, that's not true. Okay. So that's number one.
I would say number two, is people taking too long to take it from online to offline. Let's just pretend there's no pandemic. I'm going to talk in terms of that they go back and forth on email exchanges or texting. They never get to actually meeting in person. That's where the new Yorker comes out of me like:
● Let's get to it.
● Let's move along.
● Let's figure out if we're our match because I don't have time for this.
The general rule of thumb is two to three email exchanges, jump on a phone call, or on a zoom date. Then meet in person. Pretend no pandemic. If there is a pandemic going on, depending on where you live and you can't meet in person, then do a virtual zoom date. Everyone looks great on zoom.
Michelle St Jane: [00:13:27] Well put. I've never done a virtual date. What is the number one thing to avoid?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:13:33] On a virtual day, you and I are doing this right now over zoom. People listening to the podcast can't see us. But the important thing to know about virtual dates is the lighting, the angle of your camera. I always suggest zoom. Not FaceTime. I don't know about you, Michelle, but sometimes when I jump on FaceTime and I thought I looked good on a mirror, I'll jump on FaceTime and I'm like, “Oh God, what happened?” When I jump on zoom, I'm like, I look good. So. You know, zoom, what people don't know, has a little touch-up feature. I don't suggest using it too much, just a little. The lighting is very important.
Notice your background. Cause people notice. I've gotten on zoom calls just in general with people and you notice their dirty kitchen or their messy bedroom. You want to think about surroundings, lighting, and the angle of your laptop. That's the other thing. I always suggest doing it off your computer versus an iPad or your phone because no one looks good when it's too close. So it's important to practice.
Jump on a practice date soon. Now we're also good at zoom, it's important to practice with somebody and say, okay:
● How do I look?
● How does the angle look?
The lighting, everything like that, treat it like a real first date. Just because you're meeting over Zoom does not mean you don't have to dress nice or do my hair and makeup. No show up like how you would show up on a date.
Michelle St Jane: [00:15:06] Great point. I've had two incidences happen. One, I was talking with someone and they looked really good from the chest up. And then they had to jump up and get something. I'm like, “that's very funky pajamas.” The second one was talking with a professional in their bedroom. I'm trying to be gender-neutral here. At first, they had things positioned. I didn't realize it was a bedroom. Then something happened and things got moved and I'm like is that the unmade bed? Then I had to work with my committee in my head chiming in. Really people I understand we are using whatever space we've got and got my head out of this bedroom. You know, I live in a very small, humble space by choice. I have to pick my spots, but I must confess, I don't know what it is, but I always check what's around. What can you see?
[00:16:07] For example, I have a very busy whiteboard with all my work laid out on it. Actually, it would be really good if I could turn my computer that way, but I'm like, Oh man, I would making public all sorts of information. I'm not sure I want out there.
Where does supposedly post-pandemic post-COVID isolation? Do you think there's going to be kind of a big bounce with people jumping into relationships?
Did somebody use the word cuffing? Have you heard of cuffing? Apparently, that’s when people hook up for the winter? Any thoughts around those two areas?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:16:39] Yes, I do. This is really interesting. Now we're a year into the pandemic. Again, depending on where you live, you may still be in it, or things may be loosening up. But it's interesting because, at the beginning of the pandemic, I actually predicted when it first started, I said, online dating is going to search and everyone was like, how do you know that? Here's how I knew that?
[00:17:03] Surging happens. I lived in New York City when I launched my online dating site. 911 happened when I was about to launch my online dating site. I almost scrapped launching my online dating site because I thought, “Oh, well, who cares about online dating?”
[00:17:24] After that happened I couldn't have been more wrong. That was a wake-up call for people. They realized that they didn't want to be alone in times of tragedy. You don't want to be alone. Well, most people. That's why I knew when the pandemic hit, people are going to wake up and they're don't want to go through something like this alone. That's why online dating surged and it's still surging. As you come out of it, it's still gonna do really well. I think that what I'll add, is that it's different now. People are going to be able to meet organically as we come out of it. I still feel like online dating is going to be the number one way people meet. You still need to be careful. Let's be frank, right.
Michelle St Jane: [00:18:13] Also the diversity, you could be talking to anyone around the world, it’s so global and mobile. You've got Australians or Chinese or Fijians, you could meet these people and get to know them. If it worked out, it's not impossible to go from the virtual world to the real world at some point.
Have you heard of the term ‘cuffing?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:18:42] I don't know what it is, so I can't comment on it. Can you define it for me? What it is? Then maybe I can comment on it. All of a sudden I feel a little old.
Michelle St Jane: [00:18:55] Well, perhaps it's a 20, 30, or 40-year-old thing. It was explained to me that cuffing is when people go online to get into a relationship for a reason. In this sense, it happens in the winter months. When people want to snuggle down. They don't want to be out on dates. They don't be going to look for people. They just want to cuddle up.
[00:19:22] Suzanne Oshima: [00:19:22] yeah. Okay. Now I can call my donut now that I know what it is. Here's what I would say to that. I think that probably happens for the younger generation in their twenties, thirties, early forties, but also I believe that it also happens in places where it's colder during the winter because people don't want to go out.
[00:19:42] Like when I lived in New York, The winner, no one wants to go out. It's exhausting putting on all those layers. Right. So I could see that happening in New York, but you know, not that it doesn't happen for people in their forties, fifties, and sixties and seventies and beyond. What I would say is that's obviously totally fine.
Go in with no expectations. I think the problem with that is men can do that and have no emotional attachment. What I find for women, because I've been doing this a long time is women aren't going, “No, I'm good. I'm fine. I can just do this and I'll be fine.”
[00:20:23] Then sex gets involved and they're like, “I can do that with no emotional attachment. I'm a grown woman.” Then there's always a shift. I see it all the time. It's just then she starts to have feelings. She wants more and she can't understand why he can't give her more. And he's like, “No, we had an agreement that this was just for now.”
[00:20:46] So it's important for people to get really clear on what they want. Don't short-change yourself. If you want a relationship, a real relationship, not a cuffing relationship then don't do that because you're shortchanging yourself.
What I feel is that if you have standards, stick to them. Don't lower your standards just for a short-term relationship to me, that's not worth it. Honestly, causes a lot of emotions and that takes time, energy, and work.
Michelle St Jane If you don't clean that stuff up, you take it with you wherever you go. It’s called your baggage
Suzanne Oshima: [00:21:26] Right. That's what I say to everybody. I'm like, if you don't heal and you don't work through it, you're dragging that baggage up the hill with you into your next relationship or marriage.
Michelle St Jane: [00:21:40] Do you see a difference in dating in Miami, New York, or California. Are there differences across the States?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:21:51] There are. And I say it with caution. Here's why. A lot of times I find that people will make excuses for where they live. What I mean by that is they'll say, “Oh, Suzanne, there's no good men here in New York City or Los Angeles or San Francisco or Miami,” whatever it is, it can be a small town too.
[00:22:16] People tell me that. And it's just the story they're telling themselves in their head. Quite honestly, is dating is as good as you think it is. If you keep telling yourself the story that there's no good men or women out there, then that's all you're going to find no good men are no good women out there.
[00:22:43] It doesn't matter where you live. The dating dynamics shift. I've lived in New York. I've lived in San Francisco. I've lived in Los Angeles. I know there is a slight difference in that man in New York are more alpha male. They take the lead, they're more gentlemanly. In San Francisco, they're a little bit more relaxed. In Los Angeles, they're a little bit more relaxed. But dating is what you make of it. If you keep telling yourself the story, that it's not great and you're never going to meet someone. Guess what? You're probably not. It's all about your belief system about dating. But also about yourself.
Michelle St Jane: [00:23:23] Absolutely. If you believe that you can achieve it that applies to good results as well as bad results.
[00:23:27] I must confess I really like people. So I enjoy dating because I really like people. I've been a global traveler, both in my personal life and professional life. That's been one golden thread that's always come through.
Having been widowed at 27 and divorced. I also know people are in your life for a reason, a season and/or a lifetime. I'm also on that journey of what does that now look like? You know, I have choices about what that looks like. For me, it's an exciting adventure that I'm priming myself to consider.
As we wrap up Suzanne, I would love for you to share your services and programs with the audience.
Suzanne Oshima: [00:24:18] Thank you so much. I work with women in midlife. I really focus on this because I really want women in midlife to realize that it's never too late to create their next amazing story and find love again in their next chapter.
The main program that I'm so proud of is called the “Circle of Love Sisterhood” it's about supporting women finding love again in their next chapter, in all parts of their life.
What I find is finding love does not happen in a vacuum because things are going on in our life. Whether, as we're getting older, we're losing our parents for example. Like when I went through that, that was traumatic. Or things are going on with your children as they're growing up. You need that support system. A couple of the women in the group call it their support group. I love that. I want women to understand finding love again. It isn't just about a destination. It's about supporting you along your journey.
Michelle St Jane: [00:25:20] I think the Disney princesses have a lot to answer for. Because all we get to is that he proposes, they get married. We don't see the year two issues, the seven-year itch, the 20 years, 30 years marathon. Are these Disney Princesses still all married, widowed, or divorced? I wish Disney would rewrite or extend these stories' endings because those girls are older than I am.
We're still priming people to believe in the fairy tale and often Prince charming is an adolescent in a man suit. So it doesn't always work. The Princess too is an adolescent in a ball gown. Neither of them is quite ready to make a long-term relationship work.
[00:25:55] Then add some babies to the nest and it gets a whole lot tougher. Add careers and becoming the sandwich generation with children. Add aging parents and addicted family members. Without a good foundation and keeping your side of the street clean relationships don't have much of a chance to do that.
Suzanne Oshima: [00:26:14] I love how you put that. That is so beautiful.
Michelle St Jane: [00:26:16] Any last words as we wrap up, Suzanne?
Suzanne Oshima: [00:26:20] I just want everyone in your audience to just really enjoyed the journey and realize that it's never too late to go after whatever you want in life. It really isn't.
Michelle St Jane: [00:26:33] What's the oldest age for a woman in your group that you've seen settled down America because you have some amazing outcomes for you.
Suzanne Oshima: [00:26:40] Yeah, my, well, my best success story is a woman who is 74 and she lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, and she was at the point where she didn't want to get married again. She just wanted to a life partner. She was really active doing hiking and doing the traveling and all these things. I helped her find love again. The Circle of Love Sisterhood it's for women, anywhere from their forties to their 70s.
Michelle St Jane: [00:27:05] Suzanne. I appreciate you being here and your work in the world.
Suzanne Oshima: [00:27:11] Thank you.
Outro: [00:27:17] Dr. Michelle St Jane is a conscious steward of meaningful leadership in the world and the wider cosmos. Tune in every Thursday for real talk around life leadership and your conscious journey. Be ready to create and cultivate your dreams and wholehearted desires. Your support is valued. Please follow, subscribe, leave a review and a rating. More importantly, share with your connections.