Clarify Your Definition of Success: Joan Bunashe


Does fear of success sometimes stop you?

It used to stop Joan Bunashe but it definitely doesn’t now. Once Bunashe, “The Optimization Coach,” got clear on her own definition of success, fear flew and joy-based choices became her norm.

I first met Joan on Twitter. She stood out in the often noisy twitter universe initially because we’re both Joans (though I’m J-o-n-e), we both have the initials JMB, and we’re both leadership coaches. But its Joan’s joy and positivity that truly attracted me: she shines so brightly–in just 140 characters!

Joan is a certified professional coach currently based in Southern California. During her 15 years working in Real Estate and Homebuilding in a broad range of roles, Joan was continuously drawn to helping others grow potential and better their lives on the job. Joan holds a B.A. from UCLA in Philosophy and a Minor in Anthropology with an emphasis on socio-cultural fieldwork. She started her own coaching practice in 2010, and is devoted to helping executives optimize their leadership abilities and build thriving teams and cultures.

Fearless Females 5Cs with Joan Bunashe


“Once I clarified that my definition of success is to help others succeed, and focused solely on that, my fears of achievement gave way to joy.” – Joan Bunashe

1. What’s the most courageous decision you’ve made?

Every day I strive to stay true to my principles at all costs, even if it means failing or losing in the eyes of others. My commitment to this helps me navigate through challenging situations and dilemmas with both grace and peace of mind. I’m passionate about helping my clients stay true to their principles as well by brainstorming solutions, strategies, and tactics that align with the beliefs they hold dear.

2. What choices are most important to you?

The choices most important to me are joy-based choices. Joy-based choices are ones that align with who I am, my deepest desires, and my purpose. Their source is positive thoughts versus fear-based choices that are aligned with limiting beliefs and driven by negative thoughts.

3. What fears have you conquered? 

There were times I passed up opportunities where I knew I could succeed because of fears of being alienated from people in my life who feared my growth and achievement. Success also comes with greater responsibility, and at one time, I feared a higher level of responsibility would eventually take more out of me than I could give. I broke through by ignoring the fear and forging ahead with my deep desire to help others succeed.

What I realized is that people who truly love me celebrate my wins with me. And instead of being resentful and critical of what I give to others, they are complimentary. I’ve also found that one of the greatest blessings of what I do is that it adds so much to my life. Every time I help another succeed, I receive an abundance of energy and motivation to give more.

4. What conversation had the most impact on you?

In my early 20’s I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The following idea changed the way I understood habits and the secret to breaking bad ones forever. He wrote, “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.” What’s so powerful about this is that many people are stuck thinking that their inner triggers surrounding certain stimulus is somehow fused with their outer response to it. For example, yelling at a driver for cutting you off, crying in response to criticism, or eating in response to stress. What Mr. Covey points out is how separate they really are. If a person wanting to break a bad habit can pause to think “in the gap between stimulus and response,” they can finally replace unhealthy responses with healthier ones.

5. What do you want women to get clear about?

Get clear about your own power to shape yourself as a successful leader. Instead of focusing on all the obstacles, including stereotypes, envision in vivid detail the exact leader you wish to be and move about your day as if you already embody this. Allow your vision of your unique leadership style to inspire and drive all of your actions and interactions. I love this quote by Sheryl Sandburg, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” It’s up to each and every one of us to believe in this and make it happen.

Deep gratitude to Joan Bunashe for sharing herstory with us! Joan welcomes conversations at and @joanbunashe.


Are you a Fearless Female ready to have the spotlight shine on you? Calling All Fearless Females tells you how to share your story.

Fearless Females Forum is a showcase for inspiring women who push past fears, find the courage to meet her calling, solve a problem, or take a road less traveled.


  1. I can appreciate staying true to oneself and retraining your thought process approach to success, Joan. Wonderful interview, Jone and Joan!

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