How Shannon Made the Leap From a Corporate Finance Job in D.C. to Solopreneur Life Coach in Miami
“The decision to feel empowered is a choice you make every day.”
Life Coach + Solopreneur + Free Spirit
Shannon, like so many women in the Yay! (You’re Already You!) community, you felt stuck in the daily grind. How did you make the leap into starting your own business?
For 8 years, I worked in corporate finance in Washington, D.C., but didn’t really feel fulfilled at work. I had the opportunity to move to Florida, and saw it as a chance for a change.
At first, I thought that changing my environment would make everything better. But, after 6 months as a recruiter at an agency, I felt stuck again. That’s when I hired a coach to help me. I thought she’d look at my resume, and just tell me what career I should pursue and then everything would align itself.
But, through coaching I realized that I was creating boundaries within myself and that until I changed something in myself -- my mindset -- it wouldn’t matter which industry I was working in. I realized that I thought of myself as being at the effect of my circumstances, but through coaching realized that my experience was my choice. I could choose to be at the cause of my life instead of at the effect which would enable me to create the life I wanted. Having a coach helped me see that I was in control all along and it was time to embrace that responsibility!
The hardest part was coming to terms with the fact that the real blocks and barriers weren’t around me, but within me -- my perceptions at a conceptual level. The real shift happened when I realized that it wasn’t just about me changing my mindset. In order to lead myself into a new life with sustainable results, I would need to back up my new choices with action steps that took me beyond my level of comfort.
Coaching had such a profound impact on me that I felt excited and empowered to actually pursue coaching as a career to help others who feel stuck. So I became certified in 2015 and started my business while going through training, and Ishiki Insights was born.
It’s so inspiring to see someone make the decision to pursue their passion, and then actually take action to do so. How do you now help others with their own breakthrough?
It’s somewhat complicated to explain with words but when you experience coaching firsthand the pieces come together and something clicks within my client. The process starts by understanding that who we are is formed around how we view the world. We live by unspoken rules that we accept at face value and rarely question. But these thought patterns directly correlate to the results we see in our lives.
That said, we first start with thoughts. What are the thoughts you have? Are they energetic or draining? What is your mindset, what are you thinking about? Thoughts cause us to feel a certain way. And those feelings will impact our results because feelings cause us to either take action or hold us back.
People often start by wanting to change their circumstances like a career path or relationship in order to increase their happiness. But you have to dig deeper to change your life and get the long term results you’re really looking for. Coaching isn’t about a quick fix where I tell you the five step action plan to overcome perfectionism. Why? Because you take yourself (and your unspoken rules) with you wherever you go. So the root core of your perfectionism will be overlooked if I just give you advice.
Throughout the coaching relationship, I help them bring their thought patterns and unspoken rules out into the open. Once we shine a light on those beliefs, they’re able to make a conscious choice about what to do with their rules. They may choose to keep a belief as is or reframe it in a way that serves them more effectively. This can be uncomfortable because we’re questioning things they’ve believed their entire lives. But, without prioritizing this essential inner work, any action plan they jump into won’t yield sustainable results.
I help them question those perceptions that are holding them back, and generate a new set of beliefs that they work towards integrating into their life each week. Then, when you start adopting the new mindset, we create a plan to do what they want to accomplish with action steps that evolve and shift over time. The actions are more ephemeral at first, and then become more tangible. But they’re all about recognizing you have a choice and deciding on a new pattern that gets to a sustainable change.
I like that you create a sustainable plan that starts from within to change what’s around you. Can you tell us the story of someone who you helped?
Yes. I recently had a client who had a great track record with her company but was ready to round out her skill set and change job functions. In her mind, she thought a career change would require changing companies because she firmly believed that her company valued her too much in her current role and would be opposed to her interest in transferring to a different department.
With this belief in mind, she had started looking elsewhere for opportunities when she hired me. But she was running into roadblocks. Other companies weren’t interested in taking a chance on her in the new function area because her experience spoke to her current job function.
As she started getting these rejections, she froze with insecurity. She took it personally and thought there was something deeply wrong with her that was causing these rejections. Her confidence waivered.
She was too scared to talk to her company about making a change (per fear of backlash), and too scared to leave (because of opportunities she’d be afraid to miss out on at her company), so she did nothing. She essentially shut the door in her own face by operating from her limited mindset about the options available to her.
After we surfaced those paralyzing beliefs that kept her from making an empowered choice, I then helped her make a plan to speak to her company and she’s now in the final interviews for a position she’s excited about in the department she’s interested in transferring to. And, more importantly, she realized that she was holding herself back and it was time to get out of her own way if she wanted to get the job.
What I end up telling most of my clients -- in one form or another -- is: You’re already living your worst case scenario. The thing you’re most avoiding is what you’re already creating with your mindset.
You’re already living your worst case scenario. The thing you’re most avoiding is what you’re already creating with your mindset.
As with this client, she was trying to move out of sales because she was more passionate about crunching numbers. In the process, she became caught up with worry around the ‘what ifs’ and paralyzed by insecurity. During one session I stopped her and said, ‘You’re already living your worst case scenario. Your biggest fear of being stuck in an unfulfilling career is already your reality.’
She immediately breathed a sigh of relief because she finally realized that she already didn’t have her ideal job so she really had nothing to lose by taking a chance at finding a finance job. The worst that could happen was already her reality. If she stepped out of her comfort zone and went for it, she would have a real shot at getting the finance job she wanted all along!
Yes, that is often so true when you feel disempowered in your life. What advice can you give to someone who feels stuck?
Well, I think the best advice to give is that you always have a choice. We all have an inner critic that voices self doubt messages and that doesn’t go away no matter how much inner work you do. But, you have a choice. Will you listen to it or will you honor where you are and see the opportunity in every situation to create your life? The decision to feel empowered is a choice we make every day.
The decision to feel empowered is a choice we make every day.
Often, people have this idea that “once accomplish x, then I’ll feel y” and it delays how we want to feel by attaching it to a future outcome at a future date, so it doesn’t allow us to enjoy the process.
When you’re in school and a work environment the default is an external goal to accomplish. Don’t be attached to a specific outcome -- making it all or nothing. There is a healthy in between.
So, rather than attaching the good feeling you want -- of success, happiness, etc. -- to an unknown occurrence in the future, ask yourself “What small step am I taking today in order to feel how I want to feel? And, how can I continue this momentum?”
The decision to feel empowered is a choice we make every day. Not just something that happens when we reach a goal.