How does one find the time and energy to embrace creativity after the bottom has dropped out of their life? Today I am excited to share a powerful interview with Shannon Connery,PhD who gets radically honest about what it means to build a life filled with intention, creativity, and happiness.
She shares a story of the moment that the bottom dropped out of her life. Years ago she, her husband at the time, and their two kids were about to go to Disneyland for the day. Then he turned to her and said: “I can’t go today. I’ve lost my medical license, I’ve lost every dime we have, I’m being sued.”
Shannon described it as: “Every fear you could have [was realized] in one second. Then he left, and I had two kids to take to Disneyland. All of the sudden, my income was gone. My marriage was over. I walked around that day in Disneyland with a pretend smile. I thought that day was the bottom. But every day [after that], there was a new struggle. It was one thing after another. I spent years rebuilding after that.”
Her story of what came next is so inspiring.
“In a bizarre way, the process [of dealing with the fallout] was so empowering. If every single thing that you relied on was stripped away from you, and you had to find a new resource. I used to fear having nothing. Now I legitimately have nothing. What am I going to do? It was a stripping away of everything I thought was real into actually what was real. ”
Brick by brick, she rebuilt her life. Not just her family, but her incredible career, her habits and health, her personal mission, and she has filled it with creativity.
Shannon is psychologist with a private practice based in Denver, Colorado, where she treat adults suffering from issues that range from PTSD and depression to anxiety, obesity, and marital problems. In the past couple of years, she has been working on writing her first book, she launched a podcast with more than 50 episodes, and has been focused on how to help others via her blog, newsletter, and social media.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below, or in the following places:
Shannon shared how the bad things in life help lead to good things: “I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing now, if the bottom hadn’t dropped out. After I’d rebuilt everything and found emotional peace with everything that had happened, I had this new calm in my life. I began thinking, ‘what can I do that I haven’t done before?’ So I trained for a marathon. As I would run and train, I … started fantasizing about writing book to give basic tools to everybody.”
This was a big shift for her: “I really did divide the world into creative people and not creative people. I feel like there is this moment when kids are in 1st or 2nd kid, and the teacher assigns something like a diorama, and if you are the kid like me, your diorama did not look good. So you show up to school and you see who is artistic. You say “You are artistic, I am not.” It has taken me a really long time to wrap my head around trying to do something creative.”
“Now I find creativity really energizing and engaging. I feel inspired by the process. I wouldn’t have done any of this in my old life. Before I was stripped of everything, I cared what people thought, I cared about fitting in. I would never have just started a podcast and put it out there. But because I went through all of that, and now have an authentic life with friends, and people who are 100% supportive if I want to write a book.”
Some of what else we cover in the interview:
- What she learned (and experienced) in working with first responders (firefighters, police, ex-military, and more.)/li>
- What training for a marathon taught her that helped her embrace creativity: “When I trained for a marathon, I came to learn that every day, all I had to do was plan to run a certain amount, and then my body would do it. If I planned to run 11 miles, that is exactly how much I could do. Then 2 weeks later, I could run 14 miles, even though I had never done it before. Through running I realized the power of believing you can do something.”
- She made a profound point that caring about the wrong things in life — such as what others think of our creative ideas — can completely stop us from creating what matters most to us. She said “Care is often another word for fear.”
- How she started on a 100-day Gratitude Project and what she learned from it.
- She takes us through an incredible tool she has created called PACE. It stands for: Pleasure, Accomplishment, Connection, and Exercise. I have to say, it’s a powerful way to assess what is missing in your life, how to find balance, and to give yourself a strong foundation to pursue your creative goals.
You can find Shannon in the following places:
- Her podcast: Fix Yourself, with Shannon Connery, PhD