Happy 10th Birthday to The Leader’s Digest!

Ten years ago yesterday, stomach in knots and feeling like a fraud, I pressed ‘publish’ on my first blog for The Leader’s Digest.

And so began one of the best endeavours of my professional life.

Writing this blog has improved my writing skills. It paved the way for me to write my bestselling book, Beyond Burnout. It has brought clarity and rigour to my thinking around leadership. And the discipline of having to write several posts a month, year after year (at times when I’d rather not tbh) has, ironically, fuelled my passion for creativity.

Perhaps most importantly, it has helped me connect with so many people and have many insightful conversations about leadership. 

So, here’s my first-ever post below. When I first decided to share this post, I thought it needed an update – and I still cringe slightly when I read it. Let’s just say I have ‘found my voice’ a bit more since then! But I decided to leave it be. It’s more authentic this way and it was a reflection of where I was and what I was thinking in that moment.

Using the Difficulty – How to Transform a Challenge into an Opportunity

A big thank you to my friend Amy Cunningham, who suggested I write a blog in the first place – to which I replied gushingly, “That’s a great idea!… What’s a blog?”

And most of all, a big thank you to you, dear reader. You have given me feedback, added your pearls of wisdom and walked alongside me on this leadership blogging journey.  You too, keep showing up and doing the work to become a better leader. My celebration is also your celebration.

To say thank you, I want to give ten people a copy of my book Beyond Burnout. Given my first blog post was about using the difficulty, to go into the draw to win:

Read the post – and simply comment below, or when I share this post on social media, and tell us about a time when you have used your difficulty and transformed a challenge into opportunity. 

I’m off for a celebratory piece of cake and a glass of champagne.  


  1. Paul Donnelly on October 19, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Well done, a belated happy birthday

  2. Nicola Hewitt on October 5, 2022 at 9:16 am

    I love your blog Suzie! I often share your insights with my team at work. Especially all the posts you’ve written about change management! Oh and your reading list on the app is the business!

  3. Krista on October 4, 2022 at 11:01 am

    I’m new to this site and, really needed the “difficulty check” to help frame the perspective that the “interruptions” in the day are there for a reason and we need to keep an open mind about how we view them.

  4. Helen on October 3, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Well done Suzie.
    Fabulous working with you.
    Here’s to another 10!!!

  5. Donna on October 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I have just read your blog thank you for reposting, really helpful advice! At times people will say to me that I can find a positive out of a negative and I guess this is another version of ‘using the difficulty’. An example would be when my husband and I wanted to see as much of Europe as possible whilst on our O/E. We did not have much time on our visas and working it was difficult, so we decided to spend a year cycling across Europe, from Dublin to Rome, we spent $5.00 a day after we finished cycling we walked the Camino de Santiago. We did not spend any money on transport and camped along the way. It was awesome, we got fit, took just under a year and had some amazing experiences and opportunities. This is just one story of using the difficulty, Recently I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, what I can learn from this is the need to stop, pace myself and give myself time. I am not going to give up on doing stuff, but give myself time to learn some coping techniques on how to pace and reflect. The pacing and reflecting mean I will have time to appreciate experiences and have a better quality of life.

  6. Robyn Ritchie on October 3, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Congrats!!✨🥂🍰❤️ Many times I have saved your blogs or taken a screen shot to remind me of some of your pearls of wisdom to improve my leadership – thank you

  7. Christina on October 3, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Yay – Congrats Suzi!! 10 years on this journey is massive – but look at all the great benefits it bought you 🙂
    Love the idea too of transforming a challenge into an opportunity. My best example: a redundancy 12 years ago was the push I needed to start this business!!

  8. Nicole on October 3, 2022 at 11:38 am

    First of all, congratulations Suzi on 10 years of blogging!

    To be honest the first thing I thought of when I read how I have been using my ‘difficulty’ lately is when I have been dealing with my strong-willed 3 year old daughter! So not an official work situation, but very relatable all the same.
    I know that she won’t be calm (or calm down) if I am not calm in my response back to her meltdown situation. Things are pretty tough when you are 3 😉
    I gather my thoughts and try to respond my best to her needs – whatever might be going on for her that is causing her to be unhappy.

    I have always said that both of my children will be Leaders in some respect during their future careers!! So my role modelling now needs to be on point so that she learns the best way to react to those difficult situations throughout her life.

    Hope this makes sense x

  9. Scott Tibbutt on October 3, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Love the blog, i find it always gives me pause to reflect and consider – which helps me greatly! Keep it up 🙂

  10. Jo on October 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Well-timed – I have been having difficulty lately and am struggling to keep my normal optimism in place. I will be using the difficulty to launch forward rather than seeing it as an anchor pulling me back.
    I appreciate your blog Suzie, thank you and enjoy your anniversary! Eat cake and drink champagne 🙂

  11. Nicola on October 3, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Congratulations Suzi, what a marvellous journey of becoming the writer and creative that you are. I am in awe of your discipline with the weekly posts and finding your fire (or at least a flicker at times) to keep producing good reads, plus writing an excellent book and showing up so fully with heart, generosity and humour in all the work you do. Just want to say, Yay!

  12. Krishna Guda on October 3, 2022 at 10:17 am

    Congratulations…I enjoy reading your blog! Liked your statement on Transforming a Challenge into an opportunity. We were recently reviewing our Enterprise Risk Matrix and while it seemed to be all doom and gloom we anchored a specific identification of unique business opportunities from the documented risks.

  13. Jas on October 3, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Congratulations Suzie! Well deserved cake and champagne! Enjoy 🙂

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts from The Leader's Digest

Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

Welcome to

The Leader's Digest

Subscribe to The Leader’s Digest

Receive trending leadership topics and tips, straight to your inbox.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Internationally Recognised


The Leader's Digest App