Shannon Schottler is "The Illuminator"

business enneagram identity loss meditation parents purpose spirituality stress transformation transition May 03, 2022

May 3, 2022
Season 2, Ep. 5: Shannon Schottler, The Illuminator

If we're disillusioned and disenchanted in life, what the heck do we do? Shannon Schottler specializes in getting people out of the "mucky middles" (as she calls it) and into a life that's suited for their purpose.

Shannon is a career transition coach, but she walks people through the deep inner work that has to be done BEFORE a major transition out of a career that isn't in your calling. Shannon shines the light into the places of ourselves we don’t otherwise know how to explore and she does it by reconnecting people with their bodies. She calls it embodied sensation - which is essentially a somatic experience.

Shannon also talks at length about her foster care journey, which took four years to get a child placed in her home. Her, now adopted, daughter is 7 years old and has been the muse in much of Shannon's work to (re)learn rest and play. She brings those lessons to her clients, too, as she teaches self-compassion and devotion.


 This episode is for you if: 
-You've felt stuck for a while and know you need a change
-You don't have the slightest clue how to start transitioning out of something that isn't right for you
-You're really into somatic experience and conscious sensation
-You're on a foster journey and need encouragement

What's in this episode?
Why is resting so hard for Americans?
What do we do if we need to transition but have no idea where to start?
Shannon is full of wisdom on the topics of transition and helps explain what role rest plays in finding the right answers for yourself. You'll hear her prescription for lifting the fog of indecision in your life.

We also talk at length about reconnecting people to their bodies and how we disconnected from those somatic messages in the first place. 

Shannon also is very forthcoming about grief and loss and the ridiculous corporate path that got her into this work to begin with. 

📝 Show Notes & Mentions 📝
Hudson Coaching Institute in Santa Barbara, CA 

Shannon's cocooners workbook 


Connect with Shannon Schottler


(corresponding to the video version)

0:00 - Episode Intro
0:58 - Interview begins
2:28 - We have transitions ALL WRONG
3:40 - 4 Phases of Transition
7:24 - Americans are terrible at resting
8:59 - Step 1 in Transition
13:00 - Cocooning for parents
15:13 - Who needs career transition
19:00 - Reconnecting with our bodies
23:07 - Teaching our kids these skills
25:22 - Unraveling dismissive positivity
28:17 - Masculine and feminine energies
33:40 - Telling the truth of transition
34:20 - Destination vs. Devotion

38:40 - How Shannon found Coaching
42:45 - Experiencing loss and the wake-up call
47:02 - Listening to constriction in your body
50:35 - Shannon’s journey as a foster parent
55:05 - When she realized her work was in TRANSITIONS
57:26 - Best Time/Worst Time


Episode transcript 

[00:00:00]       <Intro>


Lauren:          Shannon Schottler is, by profession, a transition coach. She helps people transition out of one career, and then find the one that will really make them happy. Her clients are as young as 22, they go all the way up through their 60s, and they’re high achievers to boot. So a lot of our conversation in this episode, really, centered around how to transition.


But that process is way deeper than you might expect. I see her as someone who shines a light in the places of ourselves that we don't know how to explore. It's something she had to do for herself and now her adopted daughter too. This is Shannon Schottler, The Illuminator.


[00:00:47]       <Music>


Lauren:          So, Shannon, thanks for being with me today.


Shannon:       Thanks for having me.


Lauren:          So we found each other because we have a mutual friend. And that mutual friend was so supportive and watched every single episode of season one and said, "I have a friend you need to meet." And I was like, "Okay, all right, bring this person on." And I feel like when I picked you up at the airport last night, in preparation for this, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to pick up this person, it'll be fine."


But I did not expect the total girl time that we had last night and I did not want it to end. So, actually, it's funny because usually me spending time with a guest helps me really laser focus in on what it is that I want to talk about. But for me and you, it made me actually do the opposite. I feel like there's so many things we could talk about today. But I really do want to give you the space about what you feel like is the right thing to talk about based on what's on your heart right now, that you think people need to hear.


So let's just start there. Because you do represent so many things as a coach in transitions, helping people move from one space to the other. And then also those, kind of, dark spaces in between the transition. So what are you feeling today?


Shannon:       I mean, what I'm feeling is two-fold, first, is to talk about motherhood. That was a surprise one, it came through for me this morning, like, "Oh, we need to talk about motherhood." And that is a transition for me in my life through foster care.


So spending some time on that, but then also talking about transitions in and of itself. I think we've got this— I had it wrong and maybe some other people out there do too, that life is meant to be linear up and to the right.




That was the only direction that I knew how to live my life in before I turned 30. And what I learned through the process of my own transition is that transition is much more like this. It is much more that spiral cyclical nature and that is a very different skill set to navigate, a very different skill set. One that I was not familiar with whatsoever through my journey.


Lauren:          Yeah, and I don't think we are taught that. How do you even teach that? Because it's easy to teach the linear because that's quantifiable, right? It's easier to say, "We go here, then we go here. And then this is what you do. And then this is how you measure success." It's very linear.


But how do you quantify or measure something that's more cyclical? And how do you encourage a person, a child, or anyone to navigate through that?


Shannon:       Yeah, so one of the first things I like to do with my clients is to offer a frame for them to view the cycle through. And it comes from the Hudson Institute of Coaching out in Santa Barbara, California. But it's essentially like we're moving through four different phases at different times.


The first phase is a phase called "Go For It". That's the up into the right, that we're all familiar with. We don't need to spend a lot of time on that. When I say go for it, I'm pretty sure you know what that means. It's the ambitious time yeah season of life. Then we hit a season called the doldrums. I call this, in my language, I call it the "DIS"-phase of life.


Lauren:          -DIS? Okay.


Shannon:       You know like disenchanted disengaged-


Lauren:          Disenfranchised.


Shannon:       Put a –DIS- in front of everything and that's how you're feeling in that phase. And part of the reason why I share this with clients is to help them feel a little bit less alone, like this is really normal to be going through. It's not all supposed to be up and to the right. So we go through that phase and then we move into a phase called "Cocooning". And as you might imagine from how that word sounds that's a time to go-


Lauren:          Like this, right?


Shannon:       Yes


Lauren:          But is it a negative protection?


Shannon:       No.


Lauren:          Because I almost think of a cocoon has like a protection while you figure out something else. How do you mean that?


Shannon:       I don't think of it negatively whatsoever, I think about it as sacred. As a time for you to— when I explain it to clients I break it in a couple of parts. The first thing that we need to do when you're cocooning is rest. Because you just went through the DIS -phase, that freaking sucks. And that might have been a really long time for you, of feeling that way. And, so, it's absolutely vital that we restore your well first, we restore your energy.


Lauren:          I like how you say that, "Restore your well."


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          Tell me more about what that means for you, restoring your well?


Shannon:       It can be different for everybody. But that's one of the questions that I will ask clients in an intake process, is what's restorative for you? For me, that's what I did before this interview. That was time meditating, grounding, centering, doing some stretching, to just replenish the reserves a little bit. So you can move into the-


Lauren:          Phase four?


Shannon:       Well, not phase four yet but the back half of cocooning, which is reflection. And that was something that I don't know about you, but they didn't teach me how to do that in college.


Lauren:          No, I'm still learning and that's actually going to be my next line of questioning. That's why I want to finish our four so I can understand well,


Shannon:       Yeah, so the back half of cocooning is all about reflection, practice, we can dig into that more deeply. And then you move into a phase called "Getting ready" and that's experimentation. There's some kids' song that Shakira sings, it's like, "Try everything."


Lauren:          Oh, it's from Zootopia.


Shannon:       Yes, that is like my theme song for clients when they're in that phase. It's like, "Try everything." Your energy is finally back again, because you took that intentional time in your cocoon to rest and reflect. And you have some sense of what you're getting ready for now. So you can move into that phase with some excitement, and some enthusiasm as you're ready to experiment. There's a lot of energy around education, typically in that chapter, and a lot of energy around networking, and connecting with folks.


Lauren:          That's interesting. Is it possible for someone to feel themselves in all four spaces at the time?


Shannon:       Yeah, that's a very common question.


Lauren:          Maybe it's like part of the cyclical nature of it?


Shannon:       It's a very common question. And I have an interesting take on that, in the sense of, I think we might be a little bit in denial is, maybe not as gentle enough word for it, but you're primarily in one space.


Lauren:          Okay.


Shannon:       And oftentimes what I find with clients is, a lot of us, myself included when I went through a transition. I went to my coach, and I said, "I'm getting ready." And she asked me, "What are you getting ready for?" And I didn't know.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       So that's a dead giveaway, you're not there yet. Cocooning is a season that we want to avoid. We want to skip over and get back to the good part.


Lauren:          Can't we do, I mean, and I'm asking this question to myself, too. And now I finally get it why you asked me last night, in our conversation. You said, "Lauren, how do you rest?" And I couldn't really answer the question because I don't. And I'm fully aware that it is a detriment to me, to my physical body, to my mental health. So where do we begin to rest and is it different for everyone?


Shannon:       I think it is different for everyone. And I want to go back to your question where you said, like, "Why is that so hard for us?" Because this isn't a skill that's really valued in capitalism-


Lauren:          Yeah, right.


Shannon:       ...society, it's like we're valuing productivity so much. And so that's where I have a lot of compassion for how unfamiliar that is for clients, and how unfamiliar it was for myself. I'm an Enneagram Three achiever, man, like, "Give me something to do, and I'm going to go." Rest is still a skill that I'm learning frankly. It's still a way of being that I have to get comfortable with. Sometimes I compare it to yoga, I know you love yoga.


Lauren:          I love yoga. It's the only thing that makes me stop, it really is.


Shannon:       And that might be one of the ingredients for you, when you're in the cocooning season is yoga, whatever it is. For me, it looks like going out to my parent's farmland and getting back to my roots. And letting myself feel a sense of rooting again, after a season where again, I didn't feel very rooted whatsoever.


Lauren:          Right. So let's go there. So if anyone's listening or watching and they're like, "I don't freaking know what to do? Where to go? I don't know what question to ask? I don't know what I do well? I don't know what I don't like? I don't know anything, what is step one?


Shannon:       Yeah. First rest, which many folks will avoid.



Lauren:          Okay, we'll rest.


Shannon:       But rest a little bit. What I encourage clients to do is just block even an hour a week to start. Here's how I approach it, make a list of all the coffee shops in your town that you've been dying to try. Set a date with yourself. Just like other people have a kickball league is their hobby, your new hobby is cocoon time at coffee shops.


Lauren:          Cocoon with coffee.


Shannon:       Cocoon with coffee, that's your new hobby.


Lauren:          This feels like a winter retreat. Like I'm thinking I'm at a coffee shop, I'm looking outside it's cold. I'm sure we could do this like beautiful cocoon time maybe even walking in nature in the spring in summer, but cocoon does feel like this renewal time, it's all seasonal. Everything is cyclical in our world anyway, that seems like such a cold-weather activity.


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          It feels very warm.


Shannon:       Yes. And then starting with simply making a list of the questions that you're trying to answer in the season. Don't even put any pressure on yourself to say, "Oh, I'm going to have the answers today." No, you just get to barf and brain dump all of the things that you're wrestling with, all the things that you're trying to answer. And then making a commitment to yourself to keep showing up to that work.


Lauren:          Yeah,


Shannon:       Coming back to it the next week, and beginning to play with those questions.


Lauren:          This is not a short game. This is a long game?


Shannon:       It can be. I think for the very deep transitions. I would say, there's different levels of excavation, and some folks it is more of what I would call like a mini-transition, like, "Oh, I just need to make a few tweaks, and now I'm happy again."


Lauren:          Is that true? And I don't mean, "Oh, is that right?" I'm saying is that true, as in, is it true for a person that some people really don't need to make huge upheaval change?


Shannon:       Yes, this is true, for sure. In fact, we want to do as many mini-transitions as we can to make a life chapter last as long as possible. Sometimes it's like, "I'm getting a new dog." And that's a small tweak to get there. Or, "I'm going to put myself back on dating apps." Whatever it is, those are examples of small tweaks. The major transitions, the one that I describe.


Lauren:          You specialize in too, right?


Shannon:       Yeah, I'll do all kinds, but major is my passion. Because I think there's a lot of tenderness in that space, those take some time.


Lauren:          Yeah. How much time are we talking about? Give me a range that you often see?


Shannon:       Yeah, I would say most clients, I might work with them for six to 12 months. Transition in and of itself, though, the latest studies tell us it can take three to five years.


Lauren:          Wow. I know, you laugh because you're like, "I don't want anyone to know."


Shannon:       No, I don't want them to be scared by that. But honestly, that was— Lauren, I feel like I'm just getting back into "Go for It" now.


Lauren:          And it's been five years?


Shannon:       It's been five years.


Lauren:          That's amazing. You've done your own transition as you've helped others through their transitions.


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          Huh. What other questions do we have, I mean, I'm thinking of that list, like, "Okay, I'm, I'm doing my coffee time. I've got the list of all the questions I can't seem to answer for myself. I'm committed to coming back, and coming back, and coming back." Is it that curiosity brings clarity?


Shannon:       I think so, it's a beautiful way that you just put that. Yes, I think that curiosity can bring quite a bit of clarity. And then it's like moving into, there's a little bit getting us into the "Getting Ready" phase. But, truly, thinking about a list of possible selves. I'm not jumping here, make the list with what are all the possible selves that you're considering trying on for size. And then beginning to move into the Experimentation phase of daring to let yourself try. And daring to let yourself try in low-stakes waves for the sake of your nervous system, at first. You don't have to do what I did and quit your job without a plan. That's not a requirement to do cocooning, it turns out. I thought it was but it's not.


Lauren:          Contrary to popular belief.


Shannon:       No, you can cocoon and work at the same time. It's hard, it's hard, but it is possible.


Lauren:          And certainly, it's hard when you have children too, I mean, this is speaking from experience. It's really, really hard to cocoon, and to work, and to have children all at the same time. I mean, because from my own experience, you get home they need and deserve love. And, so, you're probably tapped, you are tapped out, but you get home you have to give them everything they need.

And then finally, when those little babies are in bed, it's like, "Do I have any intentional time to do anything more than just veg out on the couch and watch Netflix? I have nothing else?" And how do we even give ourselves time, when there's nothing else? I mean, what's your answer to that?


Shannon:       I think that's where it comes into ruthlessly prioritizing. There are some things that are going to have to go in this season of life. And giving yourself grace in the sense that this isn't forever, this is for right now, this is for a period of time. So if you have a partner, how can you proactively communicate with your partner on, "Hey, this is what I'm moving through, I'm just looking for an hour a week. Can we find a way to give me an hour a week somewhere to do this work?" And then I think of the scenario that you described, I would get really curious about even being thoughtful on the best time of day, maybe it's not at the end of your workday, at the end of the evening. Maybe it's how do you let yourself give you some love first in the day? If that's what's true for you. But just daring to make some time for it at all.


Lauren:          I feel like in our society there are certain things that stick out. Like we've got the quarter-life crisis, that's what people call it, like something in your 20s. We've got the midlife crisis that people think of in their 40s. I feel like there's what I have termed the train-to-life crisis.


Shannon:       Oh, what's that?


Lauren:          Oh, it's fueled by our love of very giant coffees and it happens in our 30s. I mean, it's just how I describe it because there's not anything else. But I know that this desire to transition comes at different times for different people. So I'm just curious with the type of people you work with, is there an age or is it more like a spectrum?


Shannon:       No.

Lauren:          And then what kind of people are we talking about?


Shannon:       No. And that's why I think I'm so personally drawn to this work because of the variety of it. I have worked with people from 22 to 65. I have worked with people who are aerospace engineers, and astrophysicist, and psychiatrists, and psychologists, and stay-at-home moms, and aspiring entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders and people in higher education.


Lauren:          And what do they all have in common?


Shannon:       That they're going through transition. I look at it like a clock face, and that they're right around three o'clock. They're right between that, they're towards the end of the doldrums, the disenchanted, disengaged phase, and they're ready to begin to enter into some serious cocooning time.


Lauren:          You know what's so interesting to me and this is something I've had to personally battle, is just when you see somebody who's high-achieving in something. And I think about these people, they've spent years in school, they have letters behind their names. And I used to believe that achievement equaled happiness until I achieved and realized that is not the case.


So when I hear you say like an aerospace engineer, for example, oh, that's highly, highly specialized. That person must be happy, they must be doing what they're supposed to do because very few people could ever do what they've done. But, I mean, there's a lot of fallacy in that, so let's please unpack that.


Shannon:       Yeah. Well, the first thing that I would just share as an observation and maybe an encouragement to listeners. What I observe in folks is that the longer you wait, the harder the fall. The harder it is to unwind, the more time and tenderness it takes to unwind that 20-year career that you built. And, so, permission to make a change sooner if you're feeling like you need to make a change, that's definitely what I see in folks.


Lauren:          Yeah. And when people come to you after they'd spent those 20 years or so in this position are they embarrassed? What's the emotion they have?


Shannon:       No. It's that DIS emotion. It's the, "This isn't working but I'm scared. I'm scared because I don't know what would work better. This is all I've ever known, but I know that this is not it anymore."


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       And that's a really scary feeling.


Lauren:          Yeah, it's a scary feeling. Because like you're saying you've built your entire life around it. Like we all build our lives around the money that's coming in. So like you know what you can spend, you know what you can afford and what you can't afford. And so when you've got all of the bills, you've got all of the commitments, and then it's like, "But I don't want to do what's paying for all of these things anymore."


Shannon:       Yes.


Lauren:          Do you have real conversations about finances?


Shannon:       Yes.


Lauren:          And how do those conversations go?


Shannon:       It's more about an encouragement to like, while we do the depth work, there's also some practicality in this. So it's more about encouraging folks to like, "Yes, please get your ducks inorder. Go talk to your financial planner. See if it's feasible for you to take a three-month sabbatical, see if that's a possibility for you."


So we can begin to work through this thoughtfully and or supporting them in brainstorming possibilities. How do we find other options for you to make a living or sustain yourself in a meaningful way if it really is a hot situation? Or sometimes there's a situation, there's a woman I'm working with right now, totally unexpectedly laid off out of the blue, didn't see it coming?


Lauren:          It hurts my heart when I hear that for people. Because it's just like the fear of all of that, I mean, if you have any hand at all in supporting a family, or even if it's just you and your dog. I mean there are things that that you have to pay for, for your life, and when suddenly the rug gets pulled out from under you.


Tell me how much work ends up being in this sensation work I forget how you exactly termed it earlier. But I do feel like we're deeply disconnected from our own bodies. We've given this so much control and we forego the rest of what our body tells us in every situation practically, certainly in our corporate or professional lives. How do you reconnect people back to not just self but back to body?


Shannon:       Yeah, I want to talk about why I think it matters first, and then let's talk about the how. Why I think it's so important, and this is, again, me being really vulnerable in my observations and coaching, I've been coaching for five years now. I have some clients who are now coming back around. They did it again in the sense of they picked the next destination that they want to get after, but it didn't feel the way that they thought it would feel.


Lauren:          Oh, interesting.


Shannon:       And so that's where I have really tweaked my work quite a bit in the last year, to dare to get people into their bodies. And to dare to say, "Okay, when you imagine we're at this new aspirational place, what will the felt sensation be in your body?"


Lauren:          Oh, how interesting. Oh, okay, I'm with you, totally with you here.


Shannon:       And then, also, part of the work is also about growing their capacity to hold that felt sensation. So I'll use myself as an example. I'm really longing for a felt sensation of energy and ease, energy and ease. Well, where would that sensation be in my body? I break it down for people find the location, I, literally, will give them like a card to help. Because I didn't have the language for this.


Lauren:          Right.


Shannon:       So giving them a list, like, "Here are some possible locations that you might feel sensation in your body. And then here are some possible sensations that you might feel, what's the temperature of it?"


Lauren:          Oh, how interesting. You're, like, really visualizing all of it?


Shannon:       Yeah. What's the temperature of it, are you feeling it?


Lauren:          Oh, yeah feeling that-


Shannon:       Feeling it and sensing it.


Lauren:          That's the right word sensing.


Shannon:       What's the temperature? What's the texture? What's the weight? What's the pressure? How much movement is there in this sensation? If we go back to my example of energy and ease, for me, that's like a grounded funk, it's like, I'm going to modify right now. It's two feet flat on the floor, leaning back, palms up and open, spaciousness to take a deep breath. Guess what, though? That's not a very comfortable sensation for you to hold.


Lauren:          So do you have to make it comfortable? Or is that where you go, "Maybe I don't want that, maybe I want something else." Or is the process totally self-directed?


Shannon:       I believe that it's about growing our capacity to hold sensations, and this, maybe we'll get a little bit too nerdy, but it's like going to what psychologists call the window of tolerance. And we can get into a hyper-regulated state, which is where many of us are in stressful careers and lives, which puts us into fight or flight response. Or we can be below the window of tolerance, which is more like a state of hyper-arousal, which is freeze.


Lauren:          I just don't feel like we know how to do that. And I say we— let me tell you who we is.


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          I think there's women like us, women who are moms, but more specifically high-achieving women. And there's a lot of high-achieving men that are like that, too, that you just don't know how to stop. You don't know how to turn it off.


You get to a place, you get to the top of the mountain and go, "Oh, crap, I got all of this wrong." And then we have to do all of the backtracking, it's almost like we went the linear path up to the mountain. When what we should have done was like the ice cream cone topping, topping, topping, topping up to the mountain.


But no one teaches us that and I almost wonder to you also as a mother of a daughter. How do we teach our kids that life isn't linear? Like it's not that. I often say it's the pinball where you go boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. But I like what you're saying more because it feels, I don't know, it just feels more resonant. It feels softer, it feels gentler, it feels more tender to think of it as a circle or this kind of shape.


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          It feels more loving.


Shannon:       I think there's a couple of ways that I'm really trying to embed this for Talia. First just thinking about it through the skills lens. There's different skills you're learning when you're taking the linear option versus the circular option.




So some of the skills that I had to grow and that I'm often working with clients to grow is the capacity to grieve. The capacity to let go, to release, to surrender. Those are skills and those are important life skills. We're going to be grieving many times in our lives. The capacity to rest, can she do that? Talia sits in morning practice with me every morning, I told you that yesterday, she is sprawled out-


Lauren:          She is like, lazed out on you.


Shannon:       So how can I be an example for her rest? And how can I be an example for her reflection?


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       She sees me in my journal all the time and we made a little one for her. She's still working on her penmanship and whatnot, but for her to take some time. So I think that can be a soft approach versus trying to explain to kids like, "So sometimes life goes like this and it's this." Sometimes it's just teaching them the skills so that no matter where they are, they are going to be able to navigate.


Lauren:          And they can come back to it. They can come back to those things that they know. Almost like if you begin executing those things, then it's like the mind will catch up, if you'll just sort of start moving yourself into it. That maybe your awareness can shift at that point.


Shannon:       Yeah, and going back to grief even of, my dad has dementia and it's progressing quite fast. I don't hide that from Talia, we're in a relationship on that. She sees me cry, she sees me grieving the loss of different moments with him. And we don't make that mean anything, other than this is a part of life, this is a part of the cycle.


Lauren:          I know there's sadness in that. I grew up in a family where there was so much positivity and encouragement. But I think because of that I missed out, actually, let me say it this way, I learned some amazing skills coming from the family that I came from. What a gift to be placed in the family I was placed in, and I was put there for a reason.


But some of the things that I didn't understand, I didn't know, I didn't learn coping mechanisms, because everything was positivity. And I explained it as dismissive positivity, because it's like-


Shannon:       I Love that, by the way.


Lauren:          I mean, and it makes sense, and, hopefully, we all know someone like this in our lives. Because the truth is like 99% of the time, it's really, really helpful. When you have someone who can encourage you and say, "You can do this. Get up, you can do this, you're smart enough, you're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh, darn it, people like you." I forget-


Shannon:       God bless moms.



Lauren:          ...but Stuart Smalley, whatever his name was on SNL. Anyway, so but the dismissive part of the positivity is like when you say, "Oh, I'm just really," I use this example in another episode of like, "Mom, I don't want to go to school today." "Mom, I'm really afraid to go to school, I don't want to go to school, I'll miss you and all these things." In the way I grew up, it was, "You're okay, you're okay. Just go to school, you're okay."


So it's the dismissing, "You are okay." And then the positivity, "And you're going to do great today." So dismissing but then positive at the same time, which taught me that those emotions didn't need to be there. Instead, there needed to be some acceptance of that. And I almost wonder if some of the work whether it came from dismissive positivity or not.


I almost wonder if some of the work that you have to do with clients is that something where they don't know that their emotions or their sensations have any merit? Are you teaching that at all?


Shannon:       Yes. What you just brought up, for me, is that I would say self-compassion is another one of the skill sets that we learn through the process of the cyclical model versus the linear one, we have to be compassionate with ourselves when we have to let go when things don't go the way that we hoped or we anticipated. And that I would say is probably on 90% of the coaching plans.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       It's not a skill. I think many of us have the experience that you described, that dismissive positivity growing up.


Lauren:          Do you think so? We all assume that we're the only one. I just assumed that's how my family was.


Shannon:       Yeah, I do think so. I mean, I know that I probably have a penchant for coaching a lot of the high-achievers.


Lauren:          Maybe that's what it is.


Shannon:       And I think that's real. I think compassion is a very undervalued trait in our world today. Even if I looked at myself, compassion, I was hesitant to lean into self-compassion. Because I worried it would make me weak, like, it's going to make me not push as hard or strive as hard. And that's just such complete and utter crap.


Lauren:          Yeah, you're expressing something in a way that—I like to say the journey I've been on in the last year has been like a journey to unify the polarities, it's really the only way that I've been able to describe it. Of like the side of me that I've leaned into now for, I'm 37, so probably 36 of my 37 years has been this effort to like Hulk Smash all the time. Like, run through a wall, like laser point. Here's the arrow, Im the arrow and I'm going, so there it is.



But there's this other side of me and I think, probably of everyone, that's on the other side of the spectrum. Which is the rest, it is the cyclical, it is the letting go and allowing and I do feel like it's an active choice. To give that side of us more power and then even if it's just more room, more awareness of that side. Do you see your work that way, as helping bring that stuff together?


Shannon:       I think my work might be evolving in that direction. So the way that I would describe what you are talking about is we all, men or women, have masculine and feminine energies in us. And in our society, in our world so much of the feminine traits; the opening, the receiving, the allowing, the resting, the choosing, the sovereignty, has been lessened. To say, "Eh, this isn't that important, keep doing the striving, reaching productivity."


Lauren:          Well, everything they've given you in college. Like you went to an all-women's college and it's, "We are this. Women can do everything." Which I agree women can do everything, but maybe some of it we've gotten wrong.


Shannon:       I think so. Honestly, sometimes I get so excited when I think of what could be possible in our world.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       Can we both sit with this for a minute and think, wow, how awesome would it be if there was even 5% more compassionate in our world? If there was 5% more rest in our world? If there was 5% more reflectivity in our world?


Lauren:          Yeah. I think it would change a lot. So let's get back to our polarities here. These feminine traits, typically feminine traits, of the allowing, and the opening, I will be honest and tell you I had no awareness of those, I thought they meant weakness.


Shannon:       Same.


Lauren:          And it's only been in my own personal journey in the last year of trying to allow those things. So allowing, the allowing, allowing those things to come forward. Do you have to work with men and women on both of those things? Or do you feel like there's a certain type of person that has a harder time with that?


Shannon:       No men and women, we all need to grow in that. Because again, I don't think about it as gendered in that sense. I think it's a useful way to bucket the traits, but we could call it anything, red and blue, I don't know, pink and purple, whatever you want to call it. But just giving a sense of what might the pulse be that we're working with here and then finding that softness.


Lauren:          Yeah.




Shannon:       Again, I get so excited, I will joke about current events, and how different it would be if more folks had regulated nervous systems. If more folks spent a little bit of time in that restful state, to help themselves get back in the window of tolerance a little bit. It would be a dramatically different world. And I get so excited every time I have another client wake up to that because that will be the change.


Lauren:          Yeah. I do feel like we, as we begin to choose that as each of us, individually, begin to choose those kinds of ideals or that kind of life for ourselves. I mean, think of all the people we impact just by living the life we're supposed to live. Which is why my passionate pursuit right now is to help people, go deep within to find what it is they're supposed to do.


Because you're each of us. Our purposes, in my mind, are two-fold, purpose is the one thing but then there's this two-fold thing. It's you're supposed to be doing your purpose for what you're supposed to do. But then also all of the people that are needing to hear your story, your message, your teachings, they need to see the example of someone living the life they're supposed to live.


Something that makes them happy, something that lights them up, these are all beautiful, positive things. Not things that make them disengaged, disenfranchised. We need to show that to more people. So by one person living with purpose, they affect their circle. By another person living with purpose, they affect their circle, and it just goes on and on. And I think that's probably where we get to the 5% increase, 5% more here, 5% more there.


Shannon:       Yes, a dear friend of mine calls them expanders. Like how can we support more folks becoming expanders for other people. To be the example of saying, like, "Yes, it is possible." It is possible to really love what you do, and make a living doing it, and have a family, and show up, and be the kind of mom that you want to be, and not kill yourself working 60 hours a week.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       It is possible. Be the beacon of hope.


Lauren:          What you just said, actually, is a way I described, before I launched this podcast. Is the way I would describe it to people. I'm like, "Do you know what expanders are?" Oh, "Yes," or "No," or whatever. I explain what an expander is and then I'd say, "I'm making a podcast of expanders. I want to show people that it's possible to live the life that they're supposed to live. And on top of that I want to show that it's not all butterflies and unicorns." Like, we need to show the pain through all of it, because a lot of times pain becomes the linchpin that then allows purpose to grow out.


Shannon:       Yeah, I'm starting a new interview series soon with some former clients, who have volunteered to be a part of it called The Messy Mucky Middle. Because there's too many people out there that want to just skip to the good part. And not tell the truth of just how windy and messy that road can be.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       And I'm really committed to like finding people who will tell the truth of like, "It wasn't all sunshine and roses." There was a time when I thought about going back to a corporate job in all of this.


Lauren:          It's so funny to see you now as this evolved human and to think that you'd go back.


Shannon:       I can't imagine it now. But there was a time where it was messy, it was mucky in the middle. I wasn't sure, was I going to make it as a coach? But that a little bit goes to my passion around what I offer to clients that is destination versus devotion.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       I remember sitting at the stoplight when I was at the peak of my frustration and agitation with foster care. And at the peak of my frustration and concern of am I ever going to quote, "Make it as a coach?" And I felt like my guides whatever universe just popped in and said, "If you would be in the same place four years from now, would you do anything different right now?


If you were still in this messy mucky middle with Talia's case and you were still coaching a few clients and no more, would you change anything?" And the answer was NO. And that's how I knew I am on the right path. Because this is my devotional calling now. It doesn't matter if I never get to the destination, this is the work that I would want to wake up and say YES to every day.


Lauren:          Yeah, let's talk about devotion over destination, what does that mean to you? I mean, obviously, I get destination, when we're always set out in that, like how you say it, straight up and to the right like, "Here's my linear path I've got this destination I'm going to." But help me understand how devotion is the opposite to destination?


Shannon:       I think they can play together. So sometimes I think about destination as like a point Z, this is the place that we're trying to get to. But it's thinking about, "Well, what are the ways of being that I really need to be in devotion to, to ever even have a hope or chance of getting to that destination? And one of the ways of being that I love embodying so much that it would never even really matter if I never got there."


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       I love being curious. I love asking questions as maybe you do too, and that's beautiful. Then I found a sense of what the devotional path is for me. The other way that I'll describe it to clients is, in a way that I think you probably already know, is destination is very external-focused devotion is more on the inside. Devotion is an inside job.


Lauren:          Oh, yeah, I love that.


Shannon:       And then the last thing that I'll offer to folks is, where are we putting an -END when it could be an -ING?


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       So where are you saying, "Oh, I want to get to the place where I've created X amount of revenue in my business." And how can we just be in the energy of creating?


Lauren:          Yeah, that's like an arrived thing, and I realize goals are super important, and things are super-


Shannon:       Are they now?


Lauren:          Well, listen, I would say now being on the other side of that. Where I've lived my entire adult life focusing on destination, focusing on the -END, focusing on what the achievements have been. I would say, "Well, it's not all it's cracked up to be." But I also had to have all of that experience to finally evolve past it.


Shannon:       Yes, right there with you, sister. There's no way I would have ever gotten to this devotional place and frankly, even still, it's a choice every day for me to keep being in-tune with the devotional path, and not just the destinational path.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       And I also don't want to shame folks who are maybe still feeling a call to the destinational path. I think that's part of our evolution, but then eventually you reach enough milestones, or you go through that cycle enough times, where you're like, "This really isn't all that it's cracked up to be, I need to find a different path."


Lauren:          Yeah, and the truth is you, self, is the only one who can make that decision.


Shannon:       Yes.


Lauren:          It's on you. I think that was one of the points of clarity for me in my adult life is realizing it's on me. All those choices, all the times that gave up my power, or gave up my identity to take on the identity of something else, that's on me. That's no one else's fault but mine, but I also had to have that journey to get to this place. Where I can finally say, "Oh, wow, that was not right for me, so let me create what is right for me." It's on me to do that. It's on no one else, no one else can tell me the answers, because it's not their journey, it's mine.


Shannon:       And that is the critical choice that shifts someone from the doldrums into the next phase, into cocooning. Because it's letting go of victim mentality and it's stepping into self-responsibility. Stepping into a radical level of self-responsibility for your life and your choices. To say, "Oh, I'm not happy." And instead of, I used to do this with my team at Target all the time, where you are pointing the finger out there and now let's turn it right back around on you.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       How are you contributing to the situation you're in right now? And what is the first step that you can take to support yourself in getting out? That's more of a tough-love coaching version.


Lauren:          Yeah. I do want to talk about how you found this work of your own transition, but then also helping others transition. Because as that Enneagram Three, as you talked about, you were the go, go, achiever all through your 20s and you did really, really well. And then to suddenly, like, between like an act of God and then you yourself at the same time going, "Wow, things are imploding, I have to stop." So tell me your story, your 20s up to 30 years old?


Shannon:       So I went to an all-women's university and it was ingrained in me. I love my alma mater, beautiful place, and it was ingrained in me, like, "Go prove that women can break the mold.” And they're like, "Bust those glass ceilings, and do the hard things."


So I picked the most male-dominated industry you can imagine. I worked in industrial sales, steel-toed boots, and a hard hat. Calling on Department of Defense contractors, because I was like, "Yeah, we're going to show that women can do hard things." That lasted not very long. I was like, "This is awful after two years."


But, great, helped me pay off my student loans. Then I made a transition to Target, I wanted a place that I could grow my career and not have to relocate, in sales you have to relocate quite a bit. So I got really ambitious again, climbed the corporate ladder. I think I had five promotions in four years or something insane like that. And, for me, the beginning of the end started when I got laid off.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       Which came as such a shock to me. I think if anybody would have guessed which room is Shannon Schottler going to be in on layoff day, they wouldn't have guessed that one.


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       I didn't guess that one and that was the hugest blow to my ego ever. But that was almost like strike one from God being like, "Wake the heck up. Wake the heck up woman. This is not all there is in life."


Shannon:       And this isn't you. This isn't even what you're supposed to be doing. A lot of times I do feel like, and this is a separate conversation, a lot of times I do feel like it's like a shaking. A shaking from the Divine saying like, "Hello, I can't get you to, actually, work on the things you're supposed to work on unless I shake you out of the situation that you think you're supposed to be in."


Shannon:       Yeah, but here's how much I didn't listen, Lauren.


Lauren:          Okay.


Shannon:       I got a new job right away, went to work for Unilever, another great, sexy, big international company, this time doing sexy things. And within maybe three months, my old boss at Target said, "Hey, can you come back?"  And like ego played totally. "We want you to manage a team twice as big as the last one, $1 billion P&L like get on in the game." And I went back, I went back to the place that laid me off


Lauren:          Glutton for punishment.


Shannon:       Yes, and it was like, God just being like, "Woman when are you going to get this joke?" It gets better, I worked on this big sexy project because I have a huge chip on my shoulder at this point.


Lauren:          To show everybody-


Shannon:       I have something to prove. I have something to prove, like "You made a mistake when you let me go." And, so, I work on this big sexy project to the point where I'm presenting in the boardroom to the CEO of Target Corporation. Fortune 50 Company, are they in the 50 I don't know somewhere there.


Lauren:          Who knows, they're big.


Shannon:       They're big. Presenting to the CEO of Target Corporation with a team of folks that had worked on this project and his entire leadership team celebrating a massive accomplishment. I felt numb inside.


Lauren:          How?


Shannon:       This was a moment that should have been so celebrated for me. This was the pinnacle of career-


Lauren:          Yeah, in your corporate career and you were only 30, right?


Shannon:       I was 29 at the time and it just did nothing for me. Still, though, didn't get it lost five people in five months.


Lauren:          Like death, you're saying death?


Shannon:       Death, yep. Four of them under 40, three of them under 30. And with every single death, it was like the first guy was 29-year-old that I worked with at Target Corporation, picture of health, dropped dead on a run. Major wake-up call thinking that could have been me.


Next death, my sister's father-in-law passes away, 60-years-old of a freak lawn mowing accident, of all things. That could have been my dad, "When's the last time I talked to my dad?"


Move forward, one of my closest friend's brothers passed away in a single-car accident, 24-years-old. That could have been my brother, when was the last time I talked to my brother? A girlfriend that I went to high school with died at 30 years old of brain cancer. My husband's mentor died at 38 years old of a massive heart attack, leaving behind a two-year-old son. And it was just with every death, it was like, "Oh crap, I get the joke now."


Lauren:          Like you're not doing the life you're supposed to do?


Shannon:       No. But here's the thing too that's tough about transition sometimes. Sometimes you know that there's an end before you know what the new beginning is, and that's where I was.


Lauren:          That's really scary. That's so scary and I think probably that space is what causes people not to act, that causes inaction. Maybe it causes the gripping too of like, "Wait, I know this is ending but I don't have control over the situation, so we just hold on to it." When maybe the right thing to do is just to let go of it.


Shannon:       Yeah.


Lauren:          So what did you do?


Shannon:       Well, I would say it took all of those five months to work up the courage. I put in a two-month notice at Target because I was so scared and my boss was like, "Are you sure? Are you sure?" Her boss sat down with me, "Are you sure? Are you sure? Do you want to take a sabbatical? Do you want to take a leave of absence?"


But I knew I had to give myself space because I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't know what was important to me anymore and that freaked me out.


Lauren:          So the way you're saying that makes me think you knew, at some point, what was important and you knew, at some point, what you wanted, but you'd forgotten?


Shannon:       Oh, yeah, that's a great way to put it, I had forgotten. I had gotten on the corporate escalator, just kept having people tap me on the shoulder saying like, "Hey, you should do this job next." "Hey, you should go to that company next." "Hey, you should do that."


Lauren:          It's your world.


Shannon:       Yeah, exactly. And it was like, I just morphed and changed and shapeshifted into any of the ways that my mentors told me would be good. And I'm not— no fault of theirs if anything the fault of mine. That I lost a sense of integrity along the way of like, "Gosh, what does integrity to me look like in all of this?"


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       And that was why I needed to take the time to find myself again.


Lauren:          Yeah. So what was that final day, at the end of those two months. Two months passes, and you're like, "Okay, I'm still really going to quit now, all right, I'm doing it." And what was that day like?


Shannon:       It was scary as hell, honestly, it was terrifying, even in that moment, I remember texting my husband and saying, like, "Did I do the right thing?" Because I was worried about money, too, right?


Lauren:          I mean, of course,


Shannon:       Like, I'm earning an income for a family. But also, I knew I would need it to be fun so frankly, too, we threw, jokingly, my retirement party. And it was also my 30th birthday, I timed it well. And, so, we got a party bus and we went to a bunch of bars in Minneapolis, and we sang karaoke, and had a great time, to celebrate.


Lauren:          Okay, what I'm picking up from you right now is when things are going wrong, and you don't have the answers. Maybe the thing to do is just celebrate where you are at this moment with your friends. Maybe?


Shannon:       Yes. That can be a beautiful thing and I didn't know this at the time, but sometimes we need to have almost like ceremonies in a way to like mark the ending. To say, "Oh, this is over."


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       And I'm so glad I had that time to mark that, "Oh, this is over, this is an ending?


Lauren:          Can we undo— I need a better understanding of how you knew it was the end? Like it wasn't just a choice, like this was something that went a long time. But not so much in thought, I need to know more in sensation. How did it feel to you knowing that this was not what you were supposed to be doing, how did you know?


Shannon:       Right here and a gripping and a tightening.


Lauren:          Like an anxiety or like a?


Shannon:       Not an anxiety. When I work with clients a lot in terms of embodied sensation, and I encourage folks to look for where is the constriction? Where are you starting to just like really close down? If you're constricting in any part of your body? That's your body trying to tell you something.


Lauren:          Is it, and this is a bigger broader question about like a lot of people, so about clients and things like that, do we all, as humans, do we all feel it here? Do people ever talk about feeling it here? Where do other people feel it?


Shannon:       They might feel it in their heart space. They might feel it in their stomach, they might feel it in their womb space. They might feel it, I had a client telling me that it was in her shoulders. Sometimes it's in our legs because we lose— when people say you lose your sense of ground or like the rug was pulled out from under you. That's a surefire sign that you're off center.


Lauren:          Mh-hmm. So you felt it. But you didn't just feel, like you felt the constriction, the tightening? It's interesting that you say that.


Shannon:       Yeah, quite honestly, I don't know if I did at the time. I don't know if I had the presence of mind, I think I was so disembodied at that point in time that I didn't maybe feel it in the moment. But that's what that comes up for me thinking about it again.


Lauren:          Somehow the intuition was like, "This is all wrong. This is all wrong. I don't know what's next, but this is wrong." And, also, I want to point out, too, it seems like you did not have the answers, you had no answers. The only thing you knew is it had to end.


Shannon:       God, yes. I had no answers whatsoever. None.


Lauren:          It just had to end. So there was a point where you decided, "All right, I'm going to become a coach." And it wasn't long after that, how did you even do that?


Shannon:       It wasn't long after that. But, Lauren, it wasn't like, "I'm going to coach now." Hindsight it's 2020, now I can recognize that I did things a little bit out of order. So I skipped cocooning and I went straight into experimenting. And, so, I volunteered I had a lot of possible selves that I was testing into.


Lauren:          Yeah, okay.


Shannon:       So I tested into doing some strategy work in the nonprofit space, because I thought maybe I'm supposed to go into nonprofit leadership. I picked up some coaching clients right away, because I thought, "Well, this is the part of me that I loved the most at Target. That's a part that I want to keep." And that's something that I encourage folks to reflect on in that cocooning space, I didn't really do right away. Like what do we want to hang on to? Would it be some-


Lauren:          What did you really like from that time? Or continue to like?


Shannon:       Yeah. So testing with those possible selves. Going out to the farm there was a part of me that was like, "Do I want to have a CSA farm? Do Community-Supported Agriculture? And I grew up on a farm so that was a part of my roots. And then also foster care, that's when foster care entered the picture as an experiment.


Because I guess that was a part of my knowing to in corporate America, because I was looking up in the leadership roles. And I wasn't seeing a person, it sounds maybe more judgmental than I want it to be. But I wasn't seeing a person that was showing up as the kind of parent that I imagined that I wanted to show up as someday.


There was a lot of nannies in the higher levels. There was a lot of stay-at-home partners in the higher levels and I knew that wasn't going to be my reality.


Lauren:          Yeah, you wanted to be a part of that?


Shannon:       That was not what I wanted for my relationship with my children.


Lauren:          Yeah. Let's talk about your foster journey and what a beautiful thing. I do think it takes, I say this a lot, actually, I think it takes a special, special person who adopts, who fosters. I think you have to have a heart of service to do that. It's a different kind of love, it's different kind of thing. So let's talk about your foster journey because that was no joke. It was a long process, right?


Shannon:       It was a long process.


Lauren:          And it almost sounds like the universe was like, "Are you sure this is what you really want? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?"


Shannon:       Yeah and I feel like the universe was giving me that experience to strengthen my ability to hold the mess. To hold the in-between times because I had to sit in the unknown of foster care for four years.


Lauren:          That's a long time.


Shannon:       And when you sit in that for four years, you get much better at holding other people who are moving through their own uncertainty and unknown times. But, yes, so we started the process to get licensed and whatnot. And my husband and I just said, "We're just going to take it one class at a time and see if we're, ‘A yes’ for the next class." And we got to the end. The day before we got Talia we thought we were going to get a 16-year-old. We had a zero to 18 license, we were very open-hearted.


Lauren:          Yeah, whoever comes is who needs to be with us.


Shannon:       Yeah,


Lauren:          I forgot this story, I was crying on the floor in a meditation, because we didn't get the 16-year-old and I had already had a vision worked up in my head. And I was praying, "God just put me to use, put me to use, let me be of service." And before I even got up off the floor our licensing worker was on the phone. And she said, "There's a little girl and she's two and a half years old." Which was younger than we thought that we were comfortable with, we thought four and up. "And she needs a home right now, will you take her?" I didn't even call my husband.


Lauren:          Yes.


Shannon:       I didn't even call my husband. I just said yes.


Lauren:          We're doing it.


Shannon:       I just said yes. And Nate was [Inaudible 00:52:56] to the day of like, all the other potential placements. I had called him first but with Talia, I just said yes. And she came the next day and I vividly remember the social worker bringing her down the back steps and thinking, "Wow, I had a vision when I was 13 of parenting a child that looked nothing like me," and it was Talia. And I didn't know that until I was looking at her.


Lauren:          Wow, had you forgotten that vision? Did it come back to you or had you always known that vision and remembered it?


Shannon:       That vision was always in the back of my mind. I think that's why I always felt called to foster care, but you could feel it.


Lauren:          Oh, my gosh, I think there's some really beautiful stuff here. I mean, there's you finding yourself, almost like creating a home for yourself. And in that creation, you also created a beautiful safe space for someone who needed your love.


So there is something really beautiful, I think, to motherhood that I've yet to meet a woman who doesn't become a better woman when they become a mother. Because that process of caring for someone, for loving someone who cannot give you anything. And a matter of fact, the older they get, the more they take from you know.


So it's like this amazing, fiery process to hone you and make you just a more beautiful person. Well, it's like you had to do that twice. You had to become this beautiful person, then do it again because now you're the mother of, Talia is seven now?


Shannon:       She's seven now.


Lauren:          So you've had this amazing journey that I know she's helped so much since you've had her.


Shannon:       Oh, yeah.


Lauren:          But in those years of waiting, I mean, it's like a purgatory of foster care. But then you were also doing your own transition, fiery transition. You were also holding a flame being the illuminator for other people, who are trying to make a transition too. Gosh, I just have so many questions about it— When did you realize you needed to help people focus on the in-between, the mucky middle?


Shannon:       Oh, that was a journey in and of itself. Because I tried a lot, I experimented a lot. I played with executive coaching. I played with leadership coaching and for me, it was like the calling of my heart. But I didn't know what to call it. It all came down to title like, "What do I call myself? How do I explain to people what I do?"


Lauren:          Yeah.


Shannon:       When I tried on executive coach, I thought, "Oh, this feels stiff, this feels corporatey." And my heart goes way beyond executives, that's not the only person that I longed to serve, or be in service to. When I tried on leadership, I thought, "Eh, that’s a little stiff too still." And, so, transition was just what I kept seeing was attractive to me.


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       It was the situations that kept coming my way, and the ones where I felt both like most equipped, but also the most, the only way I can describe it is like a sense of reverence around it. The sense of reverence that's required in that space. That's a deeper coaching journey.


Lauren:          Well, it’s a deeper coaching journey because it's deeper within a person’s self. And you have to ask some very significant questions that aren't questions that someone can answer in an afternoon. So there's like a real commitment, you talk about the vision of you holding the hand of someone who doesn't look like you.


You are holding the hand of a lot of people through a really dark time, where it's a lot of unknowing and a lot of fear. And it's like I think of you, as we were talking about what we should call your episode title and when we came up with this idea of an illuminator. I literally like I saw you in a dark cave, holding a flame, holding a hand and helping people through the darkness.


Shannon:       Yes.


Lauren:          Let's play a game, I like to play with everybody. Because I just like to know how people get to the place where they are. Like, of course, we've talked about a lot of what got you to the place where you are. But I think it's interesting to have kind of apples to apples comparison. So people can know your story, and the good times and the bad times. You ready to play?


Shannon:       I'm ready, let's do it, I love games.


Lauren:          There's no prize at the end, I assure you.


Shannon:       Darn!


Lauren:          When was the best time in your life?


Shannon:       The day we adopted Talia and every day since. We adopted Talia August 12th, so it's been six, seven months,


Lauren:          What has she brought to your life?


Shannon:       Ah, the capacity to remember play again. The capacity to remember rest. She teaches me so much of the skills that are in that cyclical model, instead of the linear model.


Lauren:          Which makes me think, "Wow, we all know but we've forgotten."


Shannon:       Oh, yeah, I definitely think that it's a journey of remembrance, for many people.


Lauren:          Oh, wow, that just hit me. That's amazing.


Shannon:       It's remembrance, because we had it at us when we were little.


Lauren:          What was the worst time in your life?


Shannon:       About a year and a half before that, the first time that we were supposed to sign the Adoptive Placement Agreement. We were an hour away from signing that document and we got a call saying that there's another relative that's come forward that wants to adopt Talia. And relatives always get prioritized, they're the first option, at least, in our county. And that was one of these many times I can think I've seen my husband cry.


That was devastating because we thought this little girl that has become, gosh, she's my daughter now, but still makes me emotional, that has become my daughter could be taken away from me in the blink of an eye. And that was a very terrifying low place to be in. To hold that tension for a while longer.


Lauren:          Where was a turning point in your life for you? Where you were like everything changed from this moment? I mean, you can have multiple it's fine.


Shannon:       Yeah, I think the turning point moment was one that I described earlier, where five people died in five months. For me to wake up and say, "Ah-ah, this isn't it anymore. Remember who you used to be? Remember you used to be good to other people, you used to volunteer. You used to care about more than just yourself, get back to that person."


Lauren:          How about a greatest moment of clarity?


Shannon:       That one relates to our foster care journey. I don't go to church very often, but my sister happened to, my sister and I went to the same university and she was in town. And she said, " Hey, let's go to church, at St. Kates." So we went to church that Sunday and the priest said a whole homily all about who is not welcome at your table. I felt so called out in that sermon.


Lauren:          Wow conviction, huh?


Shannon:       Oh, my gosh, I felt so called out because that was the shift that I had to make. That's why God was making foster care take so long because my heart needed to soften. I was in a very protective energetic. Because what do we call the system that kids are in, The Child Protection System. And I needed to shift to a connection mindset.


It should not be called CPS, it should be called family connection systems. Because when they're looking to place with a non-relative that whole family, like just imagine for your kids right now, that would mean that nobody, not your parents, not your husband's parents, not any aunts, uncles, anybody in your family was in a state where they could care for that child.


And, so, for me, that was a big turning point in how I chose to relate to Talia's biological family differently. And why I think we've been able to create such a beautiful open adoption now. Because, and I'll tell people who say like, "I don't want to do foster care." Do not do foster care unless you are committed.


Lauren:          Unless you're called to do it.


Shannon:       Unless you're called, but also unless you're committed to bolting on to another family unit. That is in like, I get this visual of almost like the most rickety house, and not in terms of who they are as humans, they're beautiful people. But they need support, they need a lot of strength and reinforcement in that season. And if you are not willing to do that, or shift your heart as I had to do, to get to that place, you have no business doing foster care. None.


Lauren:          Yeah. What is something about your nature, you've either overcome, or you continue to overcome?


Shannon:       Presence, there's this beautiful quote in the coaching industry that goes, "Your presence is the intervention." So many of us, again, think we got to do something to make the difference. When, really, I know in my life, maybe you can think of examples in yours where people just held the space for me.


Lauren:          Oh, yeah.


Shannon:       They just held the space for me. They were just present to what my experience was in that moment and it was the only intervention that I needed. And that is a devotional practice for me too. I have not arrived. That is a recommitment every day to be present again and again, to come back to center again and again.


Lauren:          Yeah. Is there something that you find yourself saying a lot lately? It could be a mantra, it could be just like anything that you're like that those words always seem to come out?


Shannon:       Lately, the one that I've been offering to clients is let yourself have an experience instead of an expectation. And that was born out of my own journey of seeing how much suffering I caused myself, throughout our foster care journey, because of all of my expectations. I had a lot of expectations of me that I wasn't meeting. And I had a lot of expectations of other people and a system that was very dysfunctional.


So releasing those and letting myself have an experience. That's the lesson that now I'm taking into this journey with my dad and his dementia. I say that to myself every time, I go see my dad, once a week, I say that to myself every time before I get out of the car. "Let myself have an experience instead of an expectation." Both of myself and the sense of not having expectations for me and how I might feel about his declining care. But also whatever his deterioration is, like, just be present, and be in the experience with him.


Lauren:          Mh-hmm. I feel like there's so many beautiful weaves, I guess, your path feels just so woven of like, how you just over and over again, I just think of that word transition. How you're helping so much transition, you helped yourself transition. You helped Talia transition, you helped your dad's transition. And then your siblings too, like all of your siblings have to deal with it too. And so the way that you're helping everyone through that transition is really beautiful, really, really beautiful.


Shannon:       It's really meaningful.


Lauren:          What do you think your purpose is?


Shannon:       So I have a different take on purpose, after doing the destination thing for so long. I think purpose is more about being and how you want to be with, like how do you want to be with yourself be with other people than anything that you do to other people.


Lauren:          Mh-hmm.


Shannon:       And what I have received in meditation probably a year and a half ago now was my energetic calling is to be the flame. Flames can warm, they can offer that softness, that gentleness, that compassion. Flames can illuminate, they can hold up that light for people in their darkness or for themselves in moments of darkness.


Flames can destroy and that might sound like a scary element of it, but it's there. It's the energetic of letting go and being able to release that which is no longer meant to be here. And then flames can also alchemize. Flames can co-create with other people the new things that want to be birthed after we do that controlled burn energetic.


So that's when I think about my purpose. And it's been so healing to me to find that metaphor because I felt like "Oh, I have all these disparate parts of myself, but they're all unified under flame." It's just a choice for me at any moment on how I choose to use it or what is needed in any moment.


Lauren:          Shannon Schottler, thanks so much for being here.


Shannon:       Thanks for having me. What a good time.


Lauren:          I feel like we got to hug watch the mics, oh, my gosh.


Shannon:       I love you so much.


Lauren:          Love you. So what do you think? Tell me in the comments below, like it, share it with someone who needs to hear it. I'm adding new videos all the time to help you reconnect yourself and then prepare for purpose.


And since you're here, I've gone ahead and linked my playlist to the episode AMPlified, it gives shorter clips from each episode. Still, though, very much power-packed with encouragement, it's all right here. So thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.


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