The unique attribute of human beings is their ability to learn until the end of life. Our learning curve starts with our birth and continues until the very end. This learning is about more than a formal degree or education; it lets us survive and adapt to the ever-changing world.
Both formal and informal education prepares us for various walks of life. When Sue Langley dropped out of college, not many, including her, thought she would go to formal study. Yet, in her thirties, she signed up for University. The hiatus didn’t stop her from learning and achieving some world firsts under her belt. Sue was the youngest female to get her International Transport Managers exam at 18 years of age. She did her IATA (International Air Transport Association) Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Marketing Diploma while working in the travel industry. She even did a proofreading and sub-editing course for fun! Sue completed her A-level in Psychology through Open University in the UK. Then when she moved to Australia, she did a BA – a double major in Psychology and Management. Sue went on to study Positive Psychology at Harvard, followed by a Masters in Neuroscience of Leadership and was the first person in the world to complete it.
“I have studied constantly in my life, yet most of my studies have been via distance education (before it was even popular). I love learning. There is always so much to learn and share,” says Sue. Since then, she has studied through FENS and the Neuroscience School for Advanced Studies and read as much as she can from the research.
Sue is currently the CEO and Founder of the Langley Group and Academic Director (and co-owner) of the Langley Group Institute. Langley Group started in 2002, and its journey, as well as Langley Group Institute, is about inspiring and equipping individuals, teams, and organizations to be the best they can be. The team is now the consultant to the consultants, with many business owners, consultants, and internal L&D consultants coming to them to get certified in their programs and psychometrics.
Sue’s professional journey started as a lorry driver in Europe. She then spent a year travelling around the world, then moved into travel where she had roles as Sales Manager, General Manager, Operations Manager. Finally, she started her own business, which she absolutely loves.
Of Challenges and Finding Motivation
Sue believes that everyone faces challenges, and hers have been no more or less than others. Whenever adversity hits, she focuses on what she teaches – how do we pull towards the positive? How do we leverage what we are great at and do more of it? Following the same principle, Langley Group has never focused on trying to ‘compete’ or beat others in their field. The Group has its niche – the team is very good at it and remains focused on that. Thankfully others now recognize them for their expertise.
To counter challenges, one needs self-belief, hard work, persistence, and lots of motivation. Sue draws her motivation from all the people she works with. Her team motivates her, and so does every person who comes on the leadership programs, Langley’s certification programs, the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, and her Learn with Sue membership community.
She says, “Each person I meet and the ripple effect they have based on what they learn motivates me every single day to make a bigger difference.”
Bending the Gender Rules
Challenges, feels Sue are gender-neutral. Every person faces challenges. As soon as one categorizes oneself by age or gender and then buys into the ‘rules’ of that category, one can find them holding themselves back. “I was a lorry driver in Europe at 18 years old. I didn’t see myself any different from others, and it didn’t stop me from doing a great job.
I have always done the best job I can and tried to show up as the best version of myself in every role I have had, so maybe I haven’t noticed challenges that others would see. I have been busy ‘getting on with it,” explains Sue.
Changing World, One Course at a Time
As with many consulting firms, Sue started Langley Group Institute as a ‘one-woman band’. She had no experience, no contacts, and was in a new country. It was a challenging journey, yet perhaps it allowed her to think a little differently.
From just her, it became herself and Roxanne (who still works alongside her), then grew from there. At Langley Group Institute, Sue and her team help individuals, teams, and organizations be the best they can be. They do that through the practical application of positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and neuroscience.
The Langley Group service is unique based on how they deliver and their focus. Whilst there are many consulting firms out there, none focus on the practical application of the sciences of emotional intelligence, positive psychology and neuroscience and the sweet spot where these three fields cross over. Langley Group works with corporate clients to design leadership and culture programs. It supports many of its clients around wellbeing and mental health. They also offer certification programs on the MSCEIT (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test) and the Strengths Profile and its fabulous Work on Wellbeing survey (one of the most robust in the field), as well as the global LG Certified Trainer programs.
Langley Group Institute also creates ripples all around the world with its Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. Sue adds, “We have graduates from every walk of life, from 18 years to 88 years and in every industry. I love that they are transforming their lives and organizations in their own way, based on their learning.”
COVID ensured Langley Group changed its business model, and unlike many other organizations in their field, they have had the most successful year ever, thanks to the changes they have made. “These changes we made came from what we teach – we used Appreciative Inquiry to ensure we focused on what we do best – and did more of it,” explains Sue. “We turned our business around in less than four weeks and have been busier than ever.”
On her many firsts and next
Sue has had many world firsts to her credit:
- She was the youngest female to get her International Transport Managers exam at 18 years.
- She was the first person in the world to hold a Masters in Neuroscience of Leadership
- She created the world’s first government accredited Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing
What has helped her stay afloat all these years was her early decision on her own purpose, vision and values and then sculpting a business and life around them. A piece of early advice she received that took her a year to follow was ‘find your niche and stick to it’. Once she implemented that, the business has gone from strength to strength.
Sue also uses science very methodically as it helps her shape every day. She has a saying, ‘treat yourself as a scientific experiment’. Every day Sue uses science on herself. She finds the answers are usually there, which helps her be a better person, a better leader, and support her wellbeing to handle adversity.
She keeps her focus on doing what she does well and being the best she can be instead of competing. “Only you can be you, don’t try to be someone else,” advises Sue.
In the future, Sue will continue doing what she is amazing at and what she loves – sharing knowledge and facilitating learning. She loves to see the ripple effect around the world of people who have completed the Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing and are now using their learning in their workplace, school, family, and community. She loves seeing the impact of her leadership programs and people changing how they lead and run their teams and businesses. Sue’s ideal is to see people worldwide engaging in development through Diploma or the LG certified trainer programs and being a part of the Learn with Sue community – and making an even more significant difference. “Our programs are proven – they work! One Diploma student said, ‘imagine if everyone did this course, what a different place the world would be’ – that is a world I would like to see!”
Sue’s Words of Wisdom for the Young Entrepreneurs:
“Be you! Find your niche and stick to it. Be really good at something, be the expert, be you, as it is something no one else can be!”
“Mentoring can be wonderful, although I still say don’t just follow what someone else has done – find your path.”