Navigating A Career Pivot With Shelly Paxton

Chris Michael Harris, Executive Producer


Shelly Paxton spent 26 years in the corporate world. She was an advertising and marketing executive who had the honor and privilege of working with some of the most iconic brands on the planet from McDonald’s to Visa, to AOL, to Harley Davidson.

She reached the position of a chief marketing officer of Harley Davidson. She realized that she made it all the way to the peak of her career.

All of the success boxes are already ticked, but Shelly was genuinely feeling empty on the inside. She was feeling out of alignment with her truth. It was a wake-up call through a nightmare while working at Harley that really woke her up to the idea that she was neglecting her soul. And that made her realize that she’s not living her truth. But the challenge was she didn’t know what her truth was at that time.

Soulbbatical is the term created by Shelly. This is a journey which made her understand the meaning of her nightmare, she christened herself chief sole off of serving her life because she knew giving herself a big title would give her the responsibility to listen to this. This journey give some people something to hang on to because, no one understood why she was leaving the coolest job in the world.

Shelly’s drug was numbing in every way possible— staying so busy so that emotions will run out and she won’t have to listen to the little voice inside. Busy-ness is an addiction and she lived it 100% and created a habit of drinking a bottle or more wine a night to numb the voices. This enabled her to sleep and try to find peace instead of sitting and listening. 

But remember…

• Catch yourself when you’re about to reach for that glass of wine.

• Catch yourself when you’re caught in that hamster wheel of busy-ness .

Find some stillness because the stillness is like a snow globe when you shake a snow globe, you can’t see the scene in flight. That’s how we live our lives for the most part. 

When we sit in stillness, even if it’s 15 minutes a day, we start to practice letting the snow settle. Then we can see, hear and reconnect. Shelly calls it, finding your soul signal. That’s when she thinks you really know when you listen deeply. Many of us are trying to outrun that little voice because it’s telling us some pretty inconvenient truths.

Early on in her coaching career, she kept describing herself as a new coach, and her coach Rich Liban taught her a concept—transcend and include. It was this idea that you are cutting yourself off from your past. You have to leave behind this incredible experience that has created the person who you are today. 

Shelly has been a leader of teams of 200 people all around the world. She was calling it leadership and coaching. As a leader, one of her gifts was shining a spotlight on other people’s talents, helping them develop that talent, and then giving them the runway to fly.

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