The Purposeful Pivot Project with Shannon Leadbetter - "If you cannot find it, create it!"
Shannon's smile can stop you in your tracks like she did at our Bucknell reunion in Spring 2018! She is every motivational to her family, friends and team. Her energy and determination are pervasive. She's the Mom of two boys, wife to a Marine Helicopter Pilot and skilled at moving houses and her family. Her purposeful pivot came with a big leap. Shannon runs a HUGE Rodan and Fields team which has given her the purpose, flexibility and way to use her leadership and sales skills.
What is one piece of advice a mentor told you that's stuck with you? Who told you?
I was on campus my senior year at Bucknell my senior year talking with a friend and sorority sister. We were chatting about senior year transitions. It's stuck with me so I even have it written down in my journal that I reference each week!
"Life is too short to live in the gray areas". To me it means, "when things get complicated, don't fall into the middle. Instead follow your gut." Shannon told me during our video chat, "sometimes we CREATE our own gray. She knows from experience, that we don't live; ultimately, how we move through life is your choice!"
Name a time that you pivoted in your career?
I know the moment, it was centuries ago! My biggest pivot was in 1999, a year and a half after graduation. I worked at a Fortune 500 company and was attending an intense 5 day training course with my peers. Imagine 100 young associates working in a hotel ball room on case studies day and night. On the last night of the mentally taxing conference, my friend and I went to eat dinner in my room to get a rest. We were watching a show to veg out. A TV commercial came on about dog grooming, of all things. My colleague and friends says, 'I would be so much happier being a dog groomer than this. ' I replied, 'then if you are miserable why are you here?'. 'My friend said,"maybe you should take your own advice.'
I had never said it out loud, but I wasn't happy. It was underground feeling that bubbled up!
A switch flipped immediately. After a thoughtful weekend, I walked into my boss' office Monday and quit! I was miserable and spending all energy to fit into a box that I thought I was SUPPOSED to fit in. The corporate gig was was what I was expected to do and I was supposed to love it. I was good at my job, which is rewarding, but it didn't make me happy. in my effort to conform, I was making changes to me which I didn't like at all. My greatest fear at 23 was I'd 40 be miserable, what have I done.
What was next? I hired a moving company and called my parents to tell them I was moving home into my childhood room. My parents were shocked because I was selling them on my happy life and career just as much and I had been faking it to myself. The more we try to convince ourselves and try to buy the fake story of 'shoulds', we add on the constant need to convince others.
How did it change your life and where you are today at work and home?+
One change becomes a waterfall. One decision sent me home to the DC area. By putting me back in DC allowed me to meet my hubby who is a marine (Marines are more common in DC than NYC!). It also developed my sense of resilience and seize the moment, knowing I will always land on my feet.
I think I have friends who were jealous of my leap to leave a job that made me miserable. "We have the power to overcome and to make tomorrow better than today!" I made a promise to never settle again. That promise lead me to Rodan and Fields where I am today. [Shannon is a Level 5 and her team is over 2000 !]
What advice can you offer the next generation of working moms?
I forget who said this quote but I love the reminder of it: "I do believe we can have it all but we cannot have it all at once." People think we have to compromise who you are AND what your values are. I kept looking a various jobs and the reality was for me, most career paths involved so much settling. My advice is: "take a job that you don't have to settle." Instead, "Trust your gut!" It knows when you are settling. The right thing will come along but you do need to be patient. Watch out, if you settle for first thing or the 'this is good enough' and then 5 years later you are still settling. Don't let it suck you in.
If you cannot find it, CREATE IT!
Last question. Answer it 'rapid fire' style the first thing that comes to mind! ------>>>>>"What's one word that describes your career up to this point" Optimistic!