Shannon Wooten is a life coach, public speaker and author of the book, ‘Infertility Sucks, You Don’t!’ co-author of the best-selling book, Silent Grief, Healing, & Hope, and leader of LOTIS LIVE.
Leveraging her 15+ year corporate career in management with Public Entities, C-suite level small, medium, and large organisations, as well as with multi-billion dollar agencies, a masters degree in communications and training in leadership and coaching, aids Shannon in providing local and remote services to clients that include project management, leadership development, training programs, and individual and group coaching.
Shannon is not only an advocate for self-actualisation but your healed struggle. She is a visionary that will help you lead your life in a way that allows you to stop feeling held back and start living liberated. Her focus is to bring the power of you to the surface. It is to reunite you with your essence.
Shannon is unashamed to share that while her accomplishments are plenty, she has lived in the gutter of struggle, felt the pain of a dying self-confidence, suffered from depressive and suicidal thoughts, and nearly lost who she was. She has healed, rediscovered joy, and emerged again, a dedicated and empowered woman who believes you are not lost or incapable, and that the road to fulfilment begins and ends with you.
Can you tell us a little bit about your own journey as a life/mindset coach?
Truth be told, being a Coach was not something I wanted or ever thought about. In other words, it wasn’t a lifelong dream. It, practice and training to become a coach, is however something that I see as saving my life.
I didn’t enrol in a 12-month Coach Training Program to help other people or to start a business. I took on the practice of learning the tools of Life Coaching to help myself. I did it to try and sift through the negativity that existed in me. I did it because I knew there had to be more to life than hating yourself and more to yourself than hating life.
When I joined coaching school, I was on the tail end of a 5-year struggle with infertility that had consumed everything I was. Struggling endlessly and failing to conceive had not only taken a toll on my body, but also my mind and heart, as well as my marriage and relationships. It had taken everything I was, chewed it up, and spit me out, a lifeless, shell of a human, who couldn’t escape the thing that was sucking the life out of her… herself.
The constant back and forth with “hope for the best”, “have faith”, “it’ll work out when you stop thinking about it”, was a tragic and colossal mind-fuck. One that tortured my “think happy thoughts” mind with every failed pregnancy and simultaneously, reinforced self-loathing and shame when it did.
When I got to a place where I was contemplating suicide, I scared myself. I was afraid, but not for reasons you might be thinking. Not because I was having thoughts about ending my life. No. I realised that I was out of sorts when the fact that I would cease to exist was my last concern and who would find me was my 1st. Amid thoughts of self-harm, I wasn’t the priority. The damage it would cause to my loved ones was. It was at that moment that I had a realisation, that if I can care so deeply for those that surround me, then perhaps, it is possible to care for me that much. It was what you could call an “ah-ha” moment. A moment that felt challenging but not so much that I was too intimidated to find out.
Looking back now, and in the reflection of what pushed me to the practice of Coaching, I think it’s fair to say that what lead me here was me Coaching myself. Of course, I was oblivious to the significance of powerful questioning at the time. I had no awareness that a foundational skill of Coaching is not just asking questions, but insightful ones that probe at an individual’s curiosity.
Questions that allow one to see past what is in front of them in a moment and into the realm of what’s beyond sight or what they consider familiar, but takes them out of their comfort zone and into possibility. And, for me, the potential that life and how I related to myself could look different was not only a mindset shift but a life shift. A shift that allowed me to see that there could be more to life beyond thoughts of fear, self-loathing, and a desire to end it… and I decided that I would explore what that could look like for me.
Can you explore how you are encouraging your clients to take responsibility and be the leader of their own life through your coaching methods?
First, I believe that all of my clients are whole and complete exactly as they are. Meaning, there is nothing wrong with them and they are of sound mind, ready and willing to take on transformation or change. After all, Coaching is the work of transformation. Therefore, taking responsibility for one’s life is not about damning who we are at this juncture. I do not believe it is a beneficial practice to tear something down so as to build anything else up. This thinking creates an inward expectation that suggests there is a right and wrong way to be. When we get stuck in a ‘right/wrong’ context with ourselves, we can feel like we’re circling the toilet bowl with inaction. Terrified, frozen, and unable to make a move in fear of making the ‘wrong’ one. I do not subscribe to this belief.
Rather, I coach my clients to the clarity of consciousness. Consciousness, meaning, the awareness of who they are to themselves and how that relationship (with self) influences how they show-up in the world.
Taking responsibility and being a leader means that any client I work with does have an agenda and goal for themselves. One that is encouraging them to make shifts in their life.
As an ontological coach, it doesn’t matter what the shift is, but typically, it is one that is encouraging them to be different, and it might be in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
That is what the role of coach-client relationships is about with me. It is not a hierarchy. I do not have the answers. I cannot have answers for a person who is completely different than me. What I do have is tools such a reflection, recognition, truth, and powerful questions that mirror to a person who they are being about their life.
Coaching with me is about compassionate and direct self-responsibility. It’s holding space for the client to develop a sovereign relationship to self, and in self-awareness, they are able to take responsibility for the outcome of their reality, and in taking responsibility for their life they are able to lead autonomously, and in an autonomous relationship with self, they are able to respect autonomy for others.
Utilising responsibility and leadership as tools in my practise is about recognising our humanity with reverence. It’s about understanding and respecting that life is a journey, and on it, as we navigate growth and change, sometimes we find ourselves feeling stuck or confused by not only where we are, but who we are.
Deconstructing confusion around “I don’t know who I am” can feel daunting. Especially, because it’s our life and who are we if we’re unsure? I help clients navigate this fear and expose it by acknowledging where we feel we are the leader of our existence and where we feel we are not.
Of course, as you can imagine that is going to look different for everyone. It’s important for me to outright acknowledge that Life Coaching is not only fruitful when something is going ‘wrong’. In fact, in my practice, I assert that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to our lives. There is only who are or are not, and what we do and do not. Through conversation, we look at what is working for you and what is not, or perhaps needs to change, to honour who you are now.
We explore who you are at this current time and where it is you want to be to distinguish what is in the way of getting where you’re going. Through discerning where there is an opportunity for you to own your part in creating your current reality, you highlight how capable you were to make it, and therefore, are to create something new.
In short, in taking responsibility for who we are, it allows us to find acceptance for what is without blame, shame or guilt over thoughts of “why am I not there”, “this isn’t how I thought things would turn out”, “I hate my life”, and transform feeling stuck, angst, and fear to love and respect for what brought you here. A place where you’re ready to stop being the victim or replaying thoughts of “why me”. A place where you can love the experience of how you got here. A place where you use the wisdom of your journey to see that you were always the leader of your life.
Taking responsibility for our lives allows us to stop looking at where we are with disdain and resentment. It allows us to focus on our goals and the agenda we have in mind for the present-future. It allows us to accept and respect failure and fear as lessons. It allows us to use the wisdom of our experiences as a teacher. It allows us to believe in possibility. It allows us to become reliable to show-up for our wants. When we trust ourselves, we understand that growing in and out of phases where we feel like we don’t know who we are or how we got here are a part of the growth process of being a leader. Coaching through leadership and self-responsibility allows us to consciously see with trust, humility, and compassion, who we are as a leader and know that it’s ok to change and like it.
How you are balancing the work/life strife?
I practice boundaries. For me, that means I have personal time and business hours carved-out in my monthly schedule. That looks something like:
- Satisfying Creativity
- Support (i.e. masterminds, Coaching, etc.)
- Free Writing
- Alone Time
- Mat Yoga
- Reflective Journaling
- Meditative Shower/Bath
- Weekend time
- Date Night
- Dinner (most nights) with husband
- No Phone
- Outside time
Screen Time Management
- 1. No Phone before gratitude/morning reflection
- 2. No phone after 8 PM EST
- 3. AM only emails
Recurring weekly client calls
- 1. Coaching M-Th: 11 AM EST – 4 PM EST
- 2. No coaching on weekends
- 3. Initial consult Fridays
Scheduled weekly content/posts
- 1. Podcasts
- 2. YouTube Video
- 3. Newsletter
- 4. IG Posts/Stories
- 5. Blog
You are personally passionate about independence, power, & forward progress. Can you tell us 3 key mindset hacks in which we can integrate that will aid us in our own personal development?
As someone who has struggled with education and learning differently, I don’t believe in a ‘paint by numbers’ approach to anything. The reason I don’t is that humans are individual, complex, and undoubtedly, unique. I find that when we provide instruction, such as, “Follow 3 steps to…” we can judge ourselves into believing that if those rules or suggestions don’t work, then there must be something ‘wrong’ with us.
You are human. Accepting that is a superpower. Our experiences – no matter how good or bad – are what teach us if we allow it. What would shift for you in feeling powerful if you loved who have been, are, & who you’re becoming without judgment?
Independence comes when we allow ourselves to honour our experiences. If you feel like you can’t manage your feelings or thoughts, then it is your responsibility to get assistance with that, because this is your life. Feeling and thinking are human functionality & feeling mismanaged or out of control in them can result in being stuck, isolated from others, or even fear you. What would shift for you if you allowed your independent experience everywhere?
You are not a puppet. You are not here to perform. You don’t owe anyone anything. Forward progress comes when we decide we are capable of making decisions and that doing so means having clarity about what we want. Having clarity about what we want, allows us to honour ourselves while simultaneously knowing that who we are may rub people the wrong way. What would shift for you if you were allowed to decide for yourself what comes next, knowing fully and with acceptance, that your decisions may disappoint people?
What platforms are you using for marketing tools?
- Personal Newsletter.
Do you currently use any apps or tools to help the functionality of your business practice?
Who is the most influential female powerhouse that you admire and why?
My instinctual response is to ask, “Does everyone say, Oprah?” Because for me it is undeniably Oprah.
Since I was a little girl she has inspired me. Yes, it is undeniable that her accomplishments are great, she has achieved many things in her life, and has used her influence to contribute to the betterment of society. However, it is because Oprah has a likeability, honesty, and integrity about her that never made me feel like there was a distance or gap between what she is capable of doing and what I am capable of doing. She has an err about her that doesn’t position her as the expert or someone who is above anyone else. Rather, it lends itself to the belief that she is just like you and you are just like her, and what you are capable of achieving rests entirely upon what you are willing to believe you are capable of.
The best lesson learnt throughout the business building so far?
Knowing who you serve and how you want to serve them is a hugely important factor in creating a business and brand. However, not more important than understanding what your business and brand mean to you. Simply put, if you don’t know who you are about your purpose and why it is important or meaningful to you, then showing up and honouring your business and how your business functions are going to fall flat to the consumer.
Also, you will never have it all figured out. Being willing to flow with the highs and lows that come with Entrepreneurship is key. You are a living, breathing, and ever-growing thing. Your business is the same. Allow yourself and business to be flexible in exploring change. Acknowledge that change is a part of growth and that changing in your business doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. However, it can mean that you need to pause and focus on what no longer feels like a fit in order to discover your redirect. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to business. There is only what feels like you, and again, just as what feels like you can change from day to day, so can what feels good for your business.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It’s a stage. It’s a mirror. It’s a voice. Being granted this opportunity to collaborate and connect with such a platform is an honour. Not only to be asked, which is an honour in and of itself but because we all start somewhere in our businesses. Most businesses start with a dream or idea, and while we’re never absolutely certain about where our thoughts or visions will lead us, there is always the hope that it is someplace over a rainbow and beyond our wildest dreams.
BEYOUROWN is a platform that celebrates the dreamers. Celebrates those who not only dared to dream but also dared to make their dreams a reality. It is a space to feature those that didn’t know the way to bring their visions to life but knew that the way mattered far less than deciding who they were going to be about honouring it. That they would decide who they wanted to be about life and because they did, ‘the way’ revealed itself. BEYOUROWN honours the risk-takers who didn’t have it all figured out but decided they were willing to create their own path for the betterment of themselves and who they wanted to be in the world.
What does 2020 look like for you?
Exciting! Scary! FUN! Be sure to stay connected via LifewithShannon.com or on Instagram for the latest and greatest. Life with Shannon, LLC. is currently undergoing a facelift that will allow me to show up in ways that excite me. For me that looks like:
- Leadership and public speaking events
- Live events
- New Program Launches
- Working on a 3rd literary work
- Coaching 1:1 with soul-aligned clients only
- Creating physical products
- Launching self-paced material
Join BEYOUROWN Membership Club to connect, network and feel inspired amongst many of our like-minded ambitious women just like you.