ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | SHANNON SMADELLA
Shannon Smadella won the crown of Miss Canada in 2009. After a successful stint as a manager with Cutco/Vector Canada, she left the company to pursue other interests. The outer transformation she underwent in pursuing Miss Canada brought about a far more significant inner transformation, as Shannon came to realize that we are all so much more than just body and mind. For most of the past 10 years, Shannon has used her platform to impact children and adults all over North America and beyond with technologies for mental and physical well-being. She has also worked with at least 88 charities to raise millions of dollars for people in need. Extensively trained in the Yogic Sciences, Shannon educates others about inner beauty and self-care. Her thought-provoking insights can help you experience inner transformation.
Q&A WITH SHANNON SMADELLA
Q: I’d like the audience to get to know you. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
- I’ve pretty much stayed in the past 20 years as an entrepreneur.
- I’ve worked in corporate sales, consulting, finance and all that kind of stuff. But I’ve always had a passion to help people and that kind of morphed to yogic sciences, healing and learning the energy arts, metaphysics and that kind of stuff.
- I’ve being doing that for about 15 years and that includes teaching yoga and traveling the world, seeing different places.
- I ended up winning Miss Canada. Had a chance to travel again with that, and decided to go into acting school. It’s a whole bunch of different things, without being able to do one thing because sometimes, I need a bunch of different things.
Q: That gives us a lot to talk about. Why don’t we go back to how you started out with Cutco?
- I grew up in a small town in Canada, and always wanted to be a doctor.
- I was taking pre-med and I’d finished my first year. Instead of going back home for the summer, I thought, let’s get a job and make some money.
- I found Vector-Cutco and I was like; ok let’s try this out.
- The only business or sales experience I had at the time was growing up selling lemonade on the corner and doing garage sales.
- I went all in and did my first 4 months of being a rep. At the end of that summer, my manager decided to go travel across the world, and it was actually an opportunity to take over her office.
- So, 4 months in, I was running a Vector office. It was interesting because I was still going to the university fulltime and running an office fulltime. It was probably the most fun I ever had.
- Being able to learn about those skills that I did with Vector. Just interviewing people, training people, having them go on their first weekend with no experience and make sales.
- I think that’s how I fell in love with helping people, seeing people get excited about succeeding. I think that stuck to everything I’ve done in business, moving into yoga and helping people.
- 2 – 3 years in, I was coming back from class, driving to my office, and in the distance, I saw smoke. My Vector office was on fire. A month later I moved in to a new building. It was kind of like a blessing in disguise., and it took me 2 weeks to open the office in a new location. Our nickname was the Phoenix … rising from the ashes.
- After that my Vector career just took off. I took time to train in Calgary. Did a sales management job with my Angie Macdougall, and then 3 years in a row I achieved president’s banquet and academy champions. We broke every record for Saskatoon, and I don’t think anyone has broken them since.
- It was just amazing. We went to Greece, Hawaii, Chicago, Arizona and Florida. I had a great time, met many wonderful people. It was a great opportunity and a lot of skills I learned with Vector; they’ve got me through some amazing experiences. Like the interviewing skills I learned definitely helped me win Miss Canada. It was just a valuable experience.
Q: So, you left Vector in 2006 to pursue some other things. This eventually led to your pursuing Miss Canada. Tell us about the journey to becoming Miss Canada in 2009.
- It was definitely a journey.
- I had never really thought I’d be running in a kind of beauty pageant. It was actually a marketing thing. I was in business and working with a few charities at the time.
- One of which was collecting grad dresses for women that couldn’t afford to buy their own. I was watching the Miss America pageant, and I was like, hmm! I bet you it would be a good platform and more people would listen to what I had to say if I was Miss Canada.
- I googled it, I applied and got accepted. It sounds so easy, but it wasn’t. There was a lot of work. I had to do some training physically, which was kind of easy for me as I was a wrestler in high school.
- In the interviewing part, answering impromptu questions, speaking in public, I was like that’s no problem, I did that in Vector for 6 years.
- Then the evening gown, I had done a little modeling in university. I was like ok, I’ve got all these areas under control, let’s just give this a try. I ended up winning.
- But through that there was a huge transformation that I made to my body. I also started going through yoga training at the time.
- I remember thinking and seeing this transformation happening to my body. I was thinking if my body is changing, am I still the same person inside? Why should I be respected more, loved more because I look a little bit differently?
- That got me thinking this isn’t right. It led me to using my platform as Miss Canada focusing on what’s inside. The inner beauty.
- I had an opportunity to travel all across Canada, and even in some places in the US and Ecuador. I was invited to schools to speak to children and my message was completely on inner beauty.
- I remember telling them that if people will like you for these certain reasons or they don’t like for these certain reasons, then they aren’t your friends anyway. You shouldn’t have to be a certain way or change yourself any way just for people to like you. You’re perfectly amazing the way you are.
- Even before Miss Canada, I took a deep dive into my yoga training, my spirituality, metaphysics and all that. I think the transformation in Miss Canada really helped spiritually. It helped me go deeper to realize we aren’t the body, it’s part of who we are. We aren’t the mind. The mind is made up of our experiences.
- If you really go to the metaphysics of it, our consciousness, our soul is who we are. It’s so much greater than the body and the mind. Through yoga, that transformation really helped me learn that. It helped me get through so many things and challenges.
- Just remembering we’re so much greater than the body and mind. We’re connected to that too. There’s a greater force that connects us all. Through Miss Canada, I was able to take a deep dive into that.
Q: You have had a lot of other transformational adventures after winning this crown, right? Didn’t you take a long bicycle trip for charity?
- I don’t know where those ideas come from, but that was a good idea.
- I was a celebrity ambassador for the American Red Cross in Santa Monica for a while. I was down at a charity event there.
- I was sitting at the same table with Paris Hilton. Got to meet Will Smith, Betty White and Dr. Phil. As I was flying back to Canada, I was like what can I do through Red Cross? These people are doing so many great things! What can I do?
- On the radio, I heard about this person riding a bike across Canada. I was like, I’ll ride my bike from Calgary to Santa Monica! That’s a great idea! I’ll do that to raise money! I got back home and started planning it.
- Of course, with my business background, I was able to do it. I arranged a 40-day cycling tour. Absolutely crazy! I ended up recruiting some friends to help including a Canadian Olympian.
- He ended up dropping off in Vancouver after we went through the hardest part of the tour which was the Rocky Mountains. It was absolutely crazy, and ended raising a bit over $250,000.
Q: Tell us more about your platform of inner beauty, the time you spent speaking to children, some of the messages you have and want other people to hear.
- I was lucky to be able to work with children. Even when I taught yoga, that was my favorite thing.
- I loved working with kids because they have such great energy. I remember after teaching yoga, I had so much energy after being with them.
- When I was Miss Canada, speaking to the children in school, I was just amazed at how excited they were just to hold the crown or the sash. I was like, this brings so much joy to a child, how can I not do it?
- I was able to travel to many different schools and speak to children on inner beauty. Just growing up, I remember being bullied because of the way I looked and the clothes I wore. It’s even worse for children nowadays.
- I really wanted to speak out against that and remind children, they don’t have to wear that certain brand and they don’t have to look like that girl on the magazine in order to be accepted or to be liked and have friends. I was able to really just speak with these children openly about this and kind of do my part to help bring this message out.
Q: So, now you’ve been extensively trained in yogic sciences. You’ve learned a lot about reiki, metaphysics and you teach people about mental and physical well-being. I would love if you could share your insights on self-care
- My background in that goes 15 years back. Helping people on a metaphysical level with whole wellness.
- We know we have to be healthy in the body and mind. But we also have to be healthy in spirit. Having good spiritual practice has helped me these past 15 years.
- Self-care is so important especially to people in business. That’s something I learned the hard way because in business, we get so wrapped up in achieving goals, working hard and getting things done.
- Sometimes, we forget about the vehicle that’s actually doing all these things; the body and the mind. We need to take time to have that self-care. Fill up our cups first. Make sure we’re doing well mentally and physically.
- Things as simple as ensuring you take that time to de-stress, first and foremost. I don’t go a day without meditation. For someone just starting, even 5-10 minutes to just sit down and be aware of your conscious mind can work wonders.
- Be aware of the mind. The subconscious mind. The memories and habits and the stuff we don’t think of on a daily basis. That control happens like 95% of the time and that 5% is the conscious mind and that’s the part we can control.
- So many people aren’t in tune with that. So, sitting down for those 5 minutes and inhaling and exhaling. Consciously following your breathing does so much for mental health.
- Beyond that, just take care of your body in regards to what you put in it. In yogic sciences, the body is actually called the food body since it’s made up of what you eat.
- Eating bad food and thinking you can be healthy; it’s not going to happen. Some day down the road, it’s going to give way. There’s going to be some imbalance or ailment that you’ll have to deal with.
- Eating good food that nourishes the body will definitely give a person more energy and make them more successful in what they’re doing in life.
Q: If I don’t take a few minutes to de-stress today, if I don’t eat well today, I won’t be ill tomorrow. So, there’s no urgency to realize the accumulated effects of every single day. How do you counsel people about getting around that mindset?
- It’s a mindset that’s being set by society for us to put work first. But we can’t do work if we aren’t healthy. If we aren’t sound in mind and body.
- It’s mandatory if we want to be good at what we do, we’ve to take care of that. I’ve worked with so many people. Even through my own experience, pushing too hard, working over 100 hours a week, things will give way and illness and disease come in.
- Disease is an imbalance in your body. You’ve to regain that balance.First of all, don’t lose it in the first place. Try to maintain that balance by putting yourself first.
- If applicable, work with your boss on that. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re your own boss. So, schedule time, ideally in the morning to physically exercise. Prepare the body to be able to go into meditation.Work out first and then sit for a little meditation. Make that a routine.
Q: What about if someone has this ability to take care of themselves first, but there are others in their life that are contributing to their stress? It’s hard not to let that affect you, right?
- It does affect you because those emotions, every thing is energy. The energy that’s around you does affect you.
- You have to (a) cut that somebody out of your life. Sometimes it’s impossible because they are a loved one. (b) you get really good at protecting your own energy.
- There are certain ways you could do that energetically. Mental visualization is so potent like creating a bubble of positivity around you as crazy as it might sound. No one else’s energy is going to affect you because it’s theirs and they can keep it.
Q: This has been a crazy year. What’s being the biggest gift that came out for you?
- I would have to say the time I’ve being able to spend with my son. He’s been amazing.
- They shut down school in Vancouver. Just being able to spent that time to see what he’s learning.
- So many years since he was born, I worked so hard, so many hours as a single mom.
- Having this extra time to spend with him was just a blessing. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s like the greatest gift in my life.
Q: What most excites you about the future?
- Remembering to play. Remembering to have fun.
- Remember the Vector saying work hard, play hard.
- I think that’s so important. Remember the joy. That makes you even better at the work hard area.
- It’s cool to hear how Shannon’s experiences with Vector helped prepare her for many things she did down the road.
- In particular, she fell in love with helping people. This is a recurring theme among people who’ve had a significant management role in Vector and Cutco.
- She also talked about the concept of inner beauty and considering what are the reasons why people like you and want to spend time with you. Are they seeing your inner value or is there some ulterior motive?
- On the flipside, be someone who focuses on giving and adding value to other people. That’s one of the ways we can build stronger relationships.
- Shannon talked about being healthy in body, mind and spirit.Taking time each day to de-stress even if it’s just 10 minutes of meditation. Eating well is also an important part of self-care. Emotions are energy and you have to protect your own energy from negative influences.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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