Australian author Shannah Kennedy shares insight on creating balance in the modern age
January 14, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Modern life can be fast-paced and a bit chaotic. And when people feel overworked in an overscheduled world, there's a disconnect.
"Look at where we are – it's one of the most beautiful places on earth," said Shannah Kennedy, a leading Australian business and life coach and author of bestsellers "Simplify, Structure, Succeed" and "The Life Plan, Simple Strategies for a Meaningful Life." "Steamboat Springs has some of the cleanest air, no traffic jams, beautiful food fresh water – we have everything here that we could possibly need. Yet, people are unhappy."
So what's the problem?
"It's self — that lack of connection to self and appreciating all the smallest possible things all around us every single day — finding the magnificence in the everyday,” said Kennedy, who is an advanced certified coach and neuro-linguistic programming practitioner. “But, you can't do that if you're not connected to yourself."
At 28, Kennedy said she was "the A-type, overachieving perfectionist" and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue after working the crazy hours brought on by her demanding roles of management, public relationships and sponsorship working with around 100 athletes.
She then met with her own life coach and her eyes were opened to simply living in alignment with one's values and having a vision and sense of purpose in life.
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"The reason we write books about life skills is because we're not taught anything like this at school," said Kennedy, who often visits Steamboat Springs with her family. "I'm a mom with kids, running a business, and life skills have to be practical. It has to be about building in habits and structures that we can build into our everyday lifestyle.
"For us to be the very best version of ourselves, we have to work with ourselves and what most people are doing is looking to the exterior for the shiny balls and saying, ‘When I get this done, I will be happy,’ or ‘If I get to this stage, I will be happy,’" Kennedy continued.
Earlier this week, Explore Steamboat sat down with Kennedy to talk about her books, which explore tips and tricks for taking control of life again, equipping readers with life skills to be the best version of themselves and turning FOMO — fear of missing out — into JOMO — joy of missing out.
Explore Steamboat: Why is it that people are so disconnected and get so detached from themselves? Is it from all of the distractions?
Shannah Kennedy: Because they don't want to take responsibility and they get distracted, but a lot of times it's easier to play the blame game rather than taking responsibility for yourself and the situation you’re in and how you want your mindset to be whether it's positive or negative.
We're wired for the negative and when we want to be great, magnificent, and when we want to love who we are and love our life, we need to rewire the brain to the positive.
We need to make the ordinary and make it extraordinary. We need to look for the good and not focus on the bad — to take responsibility instead of blaming others or factors like the weather, economy, our parents or friends – we need to take that responsibility 100 percent. It's about giving yourself permission to do the things that make you really happy and being OK with that.
ES: How is this framework different than others you've seen?
SK: I couldn't find anything on the bookshelves that was practical enough for me and that I could implement in my life. Everything I found was inspiring but not doable.
This is what it's like to watch someone cook an elaborate cake. It's inspiring, but it's not doable. But, to cook a basic vanilla cake – that's doable. So it was about getting people to start from the bottom and master the basics before they went further. And when we master those things in life actually life becomes quite simple.
Your values are the gateway to your authentic self, they sit in your gut. They are your base for emotional intelligence, and most importantly, they are the decision-making tool for the rest of your life. If you're going through life without a roadmap and how you're going to make decisions, how do you know if you're making the right decisions? Then people go off track and are unhappy. When you know what you value, life becomes really exciting because when you have a decision to make, you ask yourself, "does this add to my values? Does this take away from my values?"
Having a vision
Knowing where you want to go, who you want to be in the future and what you want your skills to be. It's so you have something to work toward so you're not just existing. I think that when people have a vision, they become really excited, because it's a reason to believe in yourself and a reason to nurture yourself because you know where you're going you've got a roadmap
Knowing how to work your energy
What are your rituals you do to love, nourish, nurture and support yourself? What are the things you do that make you happy, give you energy — those become your nonnegotiables. It's different for everyone. For some people, it's meditation, yoga, riding the bike, reading, etc. What are the things that make you feel joy?
If you know your values, you know where you're going and what goals you need to set to get you there and how to look after yourself, the universe will come in and deliver.
ES: If you've gotten off track, how do you get back on track?
SK: Always go back to the basics. Ask yourself what are your values. People will say ‘I forgot about those.’ ‘Why am I doing all of these things that destroy my health or why am I doing a job that doesn't allow me to be happy or takes my energy or makes me miserable or no pathway that excites me?’
When you get right back in touch with the very few things important to human beings, which are loving who we are, looking after ourselves, knowing what we want to achieve, then we can pretty quickly get back on track. Life gets in the way sometimes, and that's OK. You can always get back on track.
Visit shannahkennedy.com to purchase her books or learn more about the author and life coach.