Hey Soul Fam!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S. I’m secretly (or not so secretly) hoping that most of you are still relaxing and reading this newsletter in your favorite stretchy pants. For what it’s worth, I’m most definitely not writing it in my skinny jeans (or the top button would be at risk of taking out someone’s eye!).
Regardless of where you reside in the world, please know that I’m immensely grateful for this community. Thank you for showing up as YOU and being willing to embark on this journey with me. I’m excited that we’re growing and learning and exploring together. However crazy (and uncomfortable) it might feel at times.
This edition of Soul F.U.E.L. honors everything I’m celebrating at the moment: gratitude, kindness, and connection. The trifecta of fulfillment and a foundational place setting for the year and decade ahead. So let’s dive in!
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
The other day I gave my very first keynote presentation on Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead work. The idea behind it being that the future of leadership looks like braver leaders and more courageous cultures. And that means more of us bringing our wholehearted selves to work, embracing the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure of vulnerability. It’s powerful work that reminds us of the essence of leadership: people simply want to be seen, heard, and valued. Feels like the soulful essence of life as well, doesn’t it?
That got me thinking about how we can help more people feel seen, heard, and valued this holiday season. In the midst of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer orgy, it’s easy to be lured into the vortex of material things and forget about the gifts of gratitude, kindness and connection. Gifts that have real impact on others and tend to initiate a ripple effect of goodness in the world.
So, I’ve collected a few ideas from people I admire; tribe members who routinely practice wholehearted living and giving. Here’s a starter list of heart-centered activities we can all propagate over the holidays (and beyond): • Write a personal note of gratitude to waiters (on receipts), flight attendants (on a cocktail napkin), and anyone else who is showing up with love and courage, especially under duress. Recognition is rewarding.
• Write personal notes of gratitude to friends and family sharing with them what you love about who they are, how they inspire you, and what’s missing when they’re not in the room. I’ve never forgotten the one I received from my generous friend Mandy (pictured above). It hangs on my refrigerator as a beautiful reflection of my true essence when the evil gremlins in my head are trying to convince me otherwise some days. For what it’s worth, Mandy sent this note earlier this year as part of her commitment to send 100 notes to 100 people who made an impact in her life. I will be paying it forward in 2020. Want to join me?
• Purchase gifts that make a difference in the world. Two of my personal faves are both jewelry lines that benefit (and are produced by) underrepresented and at-risk populations: Branded Collective, on a mission to empower survivors of human trafficking in the U.S., and YEWO, which aims to sustainably fight poverty in rural Malawi (Africa) by investing in local leaders and artisans. I know there are thousands of others out there as well. Let’s help them tell their stories and fight the courageous fight.
• Spread inspiration in the form of small books that pack a big punch. As many of you know, I’m a self-professed book whore. I not only devour them myself, I’m a huge fan of gifting books with meaningful messages to friends, family, and clients. Here are a handful that punch well above their weight – and make for some pretty potent stocking stuffers, too. Click on the links for more detail on each.
Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
I’m re-reading and underlining my own manuscript as I prepare to record my audiobook this week. I’m downright giddy about the fact that Simon & Schuster Audio not only picked up the rights, but also asked me to narrate my story! So, for those of you who’ve been asking, YES it’ll be me and YES an audio version will be available on January 14th alongside the hardcover. As they say in the space business, t-minus six(-ish) weeks and counting! #happydance
And that’s not the only news. In the spirit of gratitude, kindness, and connection, I’m announcing for the first time that a portion of my proceeds from book sales are being donated to the Life is Priceless Foundation. The LIPF foundation supports the research and treatment of depression and suicide prevention, a cause very close to my heart not the least of which because it was established in memory of my soul brother David Price. It’s also a deeply vulnerable part of my own personal story (as you’ll discover in the book).
I’m incredibly grateful (and honored) that some of you have already pre-ordered Soulbbatical as a holiday gift for friends and/or team members. If you’re looking for something smaller than a breadbox, cheaper than a concert ticket, and more transformative than a bottle of vino, then Soulbbatical just might fit the bill (if I do say so myself). Here’s what a couple of advance readers had to say about it:
“This is an important book for all to read. It’s a raw, honest and at times heartbreaking reminder of how we waste away the importance of our time on this planet and ignore our true priorities in favor of a position, money, status, etc. We are here to live our most authentic life, one that feeds our soul and is in flow with what the universe has in store for us. Thank you for being brave enough to write this book and put this message out into the world, Shelley.”
“If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’, buy this book immediately. Soulbbatical is the guide to your inner landscape — a frontier too often left unexplored in conversations about conventional success. Shelley is a warm, witty, you’ve-got-this kind of guide through the challenging terrain of self-avoidance, excuses, fear and distraction. I wish I’d known about the concept of Soulbbatical years ago, when I crashed spectacularly after years as a corporate overachiever. Her edgy, been-there-too wisdom reminds us that success and fulfillment can, in fact, co-exist.”
If that piqued your curiosity, click here to pre-order copies now.
Stay tuned to the socials and the January newsletter for more detail on pre-orders, launch events, and more. A wholehearted THANK YOU to each and every one of you who sent love, pre-ordered the book, and spread the word. I’m forever grateful for the support of this generous and growing community of soul sisters and brothers.
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
This week has been a masterclass in connection (the real face-to-face kind of connecting). I’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving in Florida with my whole family (including teenage niece and nephew) and, as fate would have it, the Universe has been up to her wily ways in reminding us about the power of good ole analog together time. Our Wi-Fi has been spotty at best; my parent’s new cable service stubbornly refused to rent us On Demand movies at night; Apple TV sent us into a maddening loop of credential checking across three family accounts until one finally gave us the green light; and then, when we had crowdsourced a movie in the time it would have taken us to watch a full-length one, the internet crashed completely. Leaving us all laugh-crying hysterically and surrendering to the reality of our tech-less togetherness.
Don’t worry – I’m not sharing our first world problems with you in search of sympathy (though I know many of you can relate). My aim is to share the gift in it all: we turned to cards and games and deeper conversation than we might have otherwise enjoyed. And I was inspired to dig up questions that led us to explore new territory as a family. (Boy did they ever.)
So, I tapped my brilliant friend and creative entrepreneur, Garrison Cohen, who’s curated a list of intriguing questions designed to crack open our courageous souls and avoid the excruciating pain of blind-date-level small talk in group situations. Here are ten of my favorite questions from his list. Give ‘em a shot at your next gathering and let me know how it goes.
What’s one thing about you that people would be stunned to discover?
What is something you’ve done that you’re reasonably certain that no one else here has done?
Can you recall a choice point in your life where you made a decision from which you can say that your entire adult life unfolded from? Or the lead up to a major choice point.
What songs are on your favorite playlist? What is it about this music that moves you? What is your “anthem” these days?
What is one piece of wisdom you’ve learned for yourself in the last year that you can impart on us. But first share how it came to you.
If you could take your life values and design them into a tattoo what would it be?
Leave the room for 1 full minute while the group sits in silence, then come back. Wait 10 seconds after sitting down and Then ask the question, “what comes into the space when I come into the space?” Listen as the group responds.
Everyone share what is a purchase you made for $100 or less than has been a huge upgrade to your life?
What is the story of one of the most courageous and vulnerable moments of your life?
If you could live a simultaneous lifetime to this one what is a career path you would love to master that is completely different and separate from your current life? Tell us a story of your fantasy of what that would look like.
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
I’m spending a lot of time with my coaching tribe these days — dialing into their wisdom and the truth of my soul. In the spirit of what we’re diving into, I want to share some of my favorite questions to help you close out 2019 and lean gracefully into 2020 (and the new decade ahead).
Reflection on the past year: This is an opportunity to practice gratitude, kindness, and connection with yourself. Make a list of all the things for which you want to give yourself a medal. Anything and everything. Celebrate ALL the wins. Remember, it’s not bragging if it’s true! (Credit to Jenn Pastiloff for this exercise. If you haven’t read her memoir On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard, add it to your list!).
Reflection on the upcoming year or decade: What do you want to create in every aspect of your life – health, family, work, relationships, spiritual, financial, etc.? What do you want to be different? As Bill Gates has said, we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in 10. So, what are your “impossible” goals to be accomplished by 2029?
What’s one word or short phrase that encapsulates what the year 2020 will represent for you? (Mine is IMPACT. Look out world – we’re on a mission to liberate a billion souls! Who’s with me?)
What’s missing from your life and/or business right now? And how did you keep it out in 2019?
What are you tolerating in your life? (If an activity, person, or habit in your life is a 7 out of 10 or less, you are tolerating it!)
What five things do you want MORE of in 2020? What are 5 things you want LESS of in 2020?
What most creates happiness/joy for you?
What advice do you want to give yourself going into 2020?
Fill in the blank: 2020 will be the year I finally _________.
What will I struggle to stop/start doing (even though I’m sick of hearing myself talk about it)? How will I finally stop/start doing it in 2020?
What three words will sum up my 2020?
How will I/my life be most changed at the end of 2020?
As always, I would love for this newsletter to be the start of a deeper conversation and community of like-minded souls. I’m working on a community platform for us but, for now, feel free to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or jump into the conversation on @soulbbatical (Instagram) or Soulbbatical Coaching (Facebook). Let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the week or month ahead, or how I can support you in any way.
And don’t be shy. If you love what you’re reading, share it with friends, family, clients, and colleagues who need a little more Soul Fuel in their lives. I mean, in this day and age, don’t we all?
Wishing you very Merry Holidays and a Happy New Year, Soul Fam! See you in 2020.