The Design Business Show 237: Getting the Courage to Become a Leader with Steph Tuss

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | July 17, 2023
Check out episode 237 of The Design Business Show with Steph Tuss to learn about stepping into leadership.

Steph Tuss is the CEO of multimillion-dollar global consulting company Life Is Now, Inc., and frequent stand-in cohost of Business Daily News’ top-ranked podcast – The Successful Mind.

Steph discovered her love for teaching at a young age, beginning her career as an educator. It was during this time that her firstborn child was facing health difficulties, and she decided to completely overhaul their diets to figure out the root cause. She went back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition and went on to open a practice to help families who faced similar challenges.

Fast forward a few years, Steph hired David Neagle and his team at Life Is Now, Inc., as her health practice’s business coach. As she continued to scale her business, her love for entrepreneurship and growing businesses shined through. She sold her business at the age of 33 and joined Life Is Now, Inc. as the Director of Sales in 2009 before taking on the CEO role less than a decade later in 2016.

In her six years at the helm of the company, Steph has become the primary driver behind all of Life Is Now’s marketing, business development and brilliant team culture. As a recent empty-nester, she lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and cattle dog, Jack. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the country in her Airstream.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

How Steph Became a Leader

  • As a child, Steph was always told to quit being bossy, which caused her to fly under the radar in grade school, but when she went to college, she became a teacher because it was an acceptable way to be a leader 
  • In 2001, Steph had her first child, who had a lot of health issues – after extensive research, Steph discovered she was suffering from food sensitivities and wanted to teach and share what she discovered with other people
  • Steph went back to school and got her master’s degree in holistic nutrition, and began to build her business which grew very quickly
  • The business started to plateau, so Steph hired David as a business coach, who is now her business partner – though his coaching Steph fell more in love with business building and mindset work than with nutrition
  • After 3 years, Steph sold her business to work with David at Life is Now, where she started in sales and is now the CEO
  • Steph talks about what led her to seek out a business coach to help her see what she needed to change to grow her business 
  • How Steph said yes to every opportunity within Life is Now so she could learn all parts of the business and become a part of the leadership
  • After the current CEO left, Steph took on the responsibilities of the CEO without her role changing – one day, she walked into David’s office and told him he needed to make her the CEO, and he did 
  • Now, Steph isn’t just the CEO; she is also a partner in Life is Now 

Establishing Good Culture + Team Synergy 

  • One of the first big changes Steph made as CEO was establishing psychological safety because of the previous CEO, people were scared to share their opinions
  • As a CEO, you have to model what you want to see other people do; that means being transparent about what you’re learning, telling them when you don’t feel confident, sharing when you make mistakes, and celebrating the good
  • Steph would host workshops on how to give to receive feedback to get people comfortable with conflict because businesses are here to solve problems, and you need people to share their ideas to come up with solutions
  • If you want to know more about psychological safety, which is the most important when it comes to developing culture, Steph recommends the book, The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson
  • Next, Steph shares that they established a clear vision by taking the team through a vision process that’s outlined in Cameron Herold’s book, Vivid Vision
  • When you follow this vision process, Steph says you’ll usually hit your vision goals within one or two years because it creates focus synergy for your team
  •  Big lessons Steph has learned are that mistakes are required and to not take results personally  
  • By creating a visionary leadership assessment, Steph was able to see that there are 4 different types of leaders: Catalyst, Charismatic, Limitless, and Legacy Leaders 
  • Go to, and you can find their visionary leadership assessment 
  • Steph talks about the rebrand they recently went through that switched the company from being about a person to being about their ideal client 
  • How a lot of business owners get stuck doing tasks that shouldn’t be on their plate because they aren’t good at delegating 
  • Check out the Life is Now Website and connect with Steph on Instagram for lots of free industry and business resources


Links mentioned:

Life Is Now Inc. Website

The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson

Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold

Visionary Leadership Assessment

Connect with Steph on Instagram


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