Join in today while I visit with Kelley Shields, career and life coach for stressed, unhappy professionals. She helps them find meaning and enjoyment in their work so they can successfully pivot into careers they love.
The basis of building health and wealth in all ways is to reduce stress. Kelley helps with this for professionals who feel stuck in a career that makes them miserable. The negative impacts of stress from staying a job you hate can very easily lead to health and weight problems, as well as financial problems as you attempt to soothe yourself.
On Kelley's website, find a quick quiz called "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" if you're feeling stuck.
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Welcome back to a magical life. I'm your host magic Barclay. And today I am joined by the wonderful Kelly Shields. Kelly is a career and life coach for stressed, um, happy professionals who feel stuck in careers that make them miserable. She helps them find me. And enjoyment in their work so that they can successfully pivot into careers. They love before launching her coaching business. Kelly spent 12 years as an outwardly successful inwardly, unhappy corporate attorney. She lives in the United States in the Washington DC area with two fluffy orange cats that enjoy making surprise appearances on client calls, which we've just discussed off air. Welcome Kelly. Thank you, Matt. Now for all the listeners that aren't cat people, you know, if you're working from home, which many of us are these days, you really do have to pre-warn clients that you have a cat in theKelley Shields:
at least last. So if you're on zoom more often than. Your cat shows it's behind to your clients, or if you're on audio or on a call, that is the time they want your 100% undivided attention. And we were just discussing that off. It really makes you humble when you live with a cat. Now Kelly, I really love in your profile that you said you were an outwardly successful inwardly, unhappy corporate attorney. Can you explain that please?Kelley Shields:
Absolutely. You know, I. Followed the rules. All of my life that I was told would lead to being quote unquote successful, and that, that would lead to being happy and having a good life. So I'd always gotten good grades and excelled and reached for the next golden rung. But after I was in law school and started working at a law firm, You know, I realized, oh my goodness, I just miserable. I don't like this work. I'm bored and overworked at the same time. Um, this is like pulling teeth every day just to get through the Workday. But on the outside I was making a good salary. Um, I got to. Take fancy work trips. I was doing prestigious work. I mean, um, for a number of years of my career, I was working about two blocks from the white house. So by all the external metrics of success, I have reached it. What does that mean? If at the end of the day you're exhausted and all you can do is just kind of crash until you go to bed and repeat it all over again. So everything kind of sounded impressive from the outside. And I had all the things I'd worked for. But it just turned out that that standard one size fits all definition of success really does not work. And it really had a negative impact on my health, mental and physical and wellbeing.Magic Barclay:
Thanks for explaining that. I think there's many people out in the world and certainly I've interviewed quite a few other podcasts, guests that feel exactly the same way. And I think for many of us, you know, we get into a job that we think we might love when we're young, but as we get older, our. Parameters change of what in enjoying and what is fulfilling, but we feel kind of stuck. And I think that's a really great message to get out here to the listeners is that you never actually see.Kelley Shields:
Absolutely not. And now you might not be able to snap your fingers and tomorrow we'll be in a completely different career path, but I help people all the time who has been doing, who've been going down one career path for awhile and you know, all we do is take some time and you know, it is some hard work, but get clear on it. What would actually be a better fit for them, whether or not their original career path. Sometimes people used to love their career path and something in them change. Sometimes they'd never liked their work, but you know, we're not really taught how to evaluate what type of work would be a really good fit. For us in terms of our strikes and personalities and overall fulfillment and finding meaning and addition to the practical things like salary and vacation time. So just having someone to. Help you go through a structure and some deep internal reflection, as well as some actual concrete work in the real world to get clear on what it's going to take to make those transfers and making sure you don't just jump into something. That's an idea that sounds great in your head, but that in real life you wouldn't like, um, makes a big difference and you can absolutely make a change.Magic Barclay:
Totally. And why isn't that taught in school? Like, what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you stand for? What are your values? I think that's something that's probably pretty important to learn.Kelley Shields:
I agree. I think it would help a lot. Um, I do think that sometimes we do actually have to go out into the working world and be adults for awhile. Get some experience. And that helps us clarify some of those things, but oh my goodness. It would be a completely different world. If career counseling offices in universities all around the world would, you know, be helping students to identify those things and figure out what that meant in terms of looking for work.Magic Barclay:
Thanks for sharing that. Kelly. We talk about health here. So when we're talking health, it's not just the physical, but also the spiritual and emotional. So I guess my question is what can your expertise do to accelerate health?Kelley Shields:
Oh, my experience with so many of my clients is that what, how you're spending your time. Working because it's so much of your waking life has a massive impact on all three areas of your health that you just mentioned. first of all, Hating at your job or just being stressed and miserable, whether that's because you are overworked and being expected to do just an unreasonable amount of work, whether it's because you are actually underworked and are kind of dealing with bore out. Um, or whether it's just because what you're doing is a terrible fit for you, or you're in a role with a manager or colleagues who were a poor fit for your personality. All of those things are significant chronic stressors. So we're talking to the kind of things that happen all day, every day, and last for years, and that kind of chronic stress has been related to up to 75, to 90% of diseases. That's because it leads to inflammation, which leads to disease. So we're, we're marinating in this inflammation causing environment. So naturally. A very harmful effect on many of our physical bodies, then emotionally and spiritually, you know, there are so many people who feel like what they are doing. Isn't really making a difference in the world that the world wouldn't be a worse off place if their jobs didn't exist, or who are just showing up and just their spirits are being just. Ground into the ground by re repetition and monotony and drudgery and of what they're doing or just the poor fit. And it just really has a soul crushing effect and that can often be really linked to. Depression and other mental health issues, as well as just again, like I said, it's just soul crushing. all of those things together, I mean also contribute to how fatigued and exhausted so many people are, which if you just on a surface level, we have The easiest access to the most energy Laden food that humans have ever had, but we're exhausted. And you know, we're not exactly living these intensively, physically demanding jobs anymore, but still are so much fatigue and tiredness and exhaustion. And a lot of that is because of. Stress stress and fatigue go hand in hand, you know, living in something soul crushing every day, goes hand in hand with being exhausted. And then when you're tired and stressed, when you're struggling with depression, when you're just sad, when you're just trying to keep going, you tend to make poor diet and lifestyle choices on top of everything else. So it's just so easy to reach for comfort foods or sweets for quick hit of energy. so many of your listeners probably are familiar with this and do this with, you know, being tired and needing to get up the next morning, but you stay up late and you're watching that next television show or you're scrolling on your phone and. You know, we call it revenge, bedtime procrastination, because you don't have the time during the day to engage with the kind of, you know, fulfilling and joyful activities that you would want. So you end up sacrificing sleep because some part of you is just trying to have some time for you. And then sometimes you avoid going to sleep because then, you know, maybe it's not conscious. Subconsciously tomorrow comes sooner than. Yeah, we have, you have to go to work. And so staying up late kind of keeps tomorrow off a little bit farther. And I mean, goodness, that even impacts our rest time. Um, there's a term called the Sunday scaries for when stress about your impending workweek or dread of Monday morning, starts to ruin your weekend, starts to ruin your Sunday and take away from what should be wonderful, refreshing personal time. And then all of that can even mean that we start having a hard time getting ourselves to do things that would make us feel better, like exercise, like getting together with our friends because we're tired and it's just hard. And that just keeps on adding to the cycle as well.Magic Barclay:
I think that's really important information and I love that term revenge, bedtime procrastination, because. Jeez. I think I've done that as well. I think we all have, you know, when you just know you have to go to bed, but you just don't want to, because, well, I hate telling myself what to do. I hate anyone telling me what to do. So listeners will know, but certainly knowing I have to get up. And what I find is if I have a really big day, like with a big drive or something, the next day I sleep so poorly and that it's not through anxiety. It's. I don't want to have to go to bed, which is crazy, but anyway, establish the fact that I'm completely nuts. we do talk welfare as well, and we're not just talking to financial, but the personal and emotional wealth, because they all tie in together. So what are your top three tips to creating one?Kelley Shields:
Um, I love that question. That's such a great one and I love the way that you are framing it for your listeners. So I think my first tip is to get clear on your personal core values. I think you need to be able to recognize and articulate what's most important to you in order for you to create abundance in those areas of your life. We can use me as an example. I figured out that two of my core values. R, um, one of them is connection, which for me is a deep one-on-one relationship. Um, connecting, having real conversations with somebody on a one-on-one basis. It's just very meaningful to me. And the second core value is joy, which I define as fun and happiness and adventure. Now, when I was a practicing attorney though, I was essentially working in solitude. Most of the day I'm doing work that I found boring. And it was so tired by the end of the day that it was hard for me to, you know, do the things necessary to create connection or to go have fun. So it didn't really matter what my bank balance was. I was never going to feel emotionally or personally wealthy. And I was living in a way that was so disconnected from my core values. So that would be my first tip. Um, You know, my second tip is that again, when you're unhappy in your career, your work is probably a better word. It's really worth asking how much money are you spending now to buy either more time or to buy happiness? Sometimes my clients think they need an extraordinarily high salary. And again, I have no problem with an extraordinarily high salary. I'm happy to help anyone negotiate for that. But often they end up realized through our work that they're spending a lot of money because they're so busy and they're so unhappy. So addressing the root cause, getting less stressed, um, feeling better at the end of the day, having energy at the end of the day. Suddenly means that they don't need to spend so much money on things where they're trying to make themselves happy through close massages, which I love. Um, but just purchasing things to have fun, going out to fancy restaurants all the time and means often means they don't have to spend as much money at doctors. Sometimes a lot of health conditions. And it means they could spend less money off it on getting meals delivered housekeepers, et cetera. Just depends on the person. So you can actually find a lot of wealth, even if you are objectively making less money just by being happy. And third, just as a fun little tip. there are a lot of psychology studies now that shown that happier people are ultimately more successful. So you're actually priming yourself to be in a position to. Be more productive and to earn more money, if you are able to find happiness in your work. And so that doesn't always mean a career change for everyone. Sometimes that might mean, Hey, there's some parts of your job that it'd be really great to delegate to somebody else cause you hate them and you can spend your time and energy focusing on the parts that energize you and that are happy. Maybe it just means, you know, switching jobs in the same field, it can mean all sorts of different things. Figuring out how to maximize your happiness, um, is actually a great place to focus, to ultimately lead to more tangible financial wealth.Magic Barclay:
I think that's just so important. Kelly. I've actually titled this episode, unlocking the golden handcuffs. And I actually got that term from your bio from when I was introduced to you. So can you just explain to the listeners what that means?Kelley Shields:
guess. That is a great question. Um, we use the phrase golden handcuffs to mean that. I've gotten used to a well-paid job and suddenly that money instead of being a tool that is freeing you in your life and being a resource for you, suddenly that high salary is something that you've gotten used to, and the thought of not having it is something that feels like a deal breaker in your life. You can't not have it. That can be either because you have. You know, lived a lifestyle where you are leading all of that money. You've gone out and you have purchased a large house, have a fancy car. Um, I'm used to luxurious vacations, none of which are bad things again, but maybe the upkeep for your lifestyle is something that requires that high salary, or maybe just mentally you have gotten so used to. That the thought of not having it. You can't really picture it. It's frightening. How would you actually go about doing life? How can you successfully navigate life without it? And so it becomes handcuffs locking you into a job that you'd actually like to leave, but you feel like you can't because, well, they're paying me that salary.Magic Barclay:
Thanks for explaining that. I think many of us, at some point in our lives have experienced those exact golden handcuffs. And there's so many people that just feel stuck because yes, you're paying your bills and yes, you've got a roof over your head that seems to, at some point outweigh your happy. And it's just such a common reality forKelley Shields:
many, you know, it, I don't want to say that money or it's not important because we, it is, we all need to pay our bills. And I acknowledged that in the work I do with clients, um, part of finding the right work for you includes finding work, that's going to meet your financial needs. Um, but. When you're feeling trapped into something that's making you miserable. Um, I mean, and there are some people who are in situations where it would be difficult to change, especially immediately, but you know, many of us can make a change. Many of us are kind of limited by our knowledge of what is out in the world, or we don't even give ourselves permission to explore what else could meet our practical needs because. Th that fear, that core fear of not being able to provide for our most basic needs, just kind of shortcuts the process. I have had so many just casual conversations with people like on vacation, who comment that, oh yeah, I picked the wrong major, but what am I going to do? I don't like my job, but you know, it pays the bills and you don't have to stay stuck. but getting some support to help you. Through the process of addressing that can really help because it can feel really scary under own.Magic Barclay:
Couldn't agree more. I think that support is key and that's where you come in. Now, our final question for this episode is around weight because we do talk about weight. Whether people have a weight issue or not, we know that stress is. Well, it's key in most disease, but it's also key in weight problems. So have you ever battled your weight and if so, what was the trigger to keep it off? And if you haven't, how can you suggest people cope with stress to avoid weight issues? Um,Kelley Shields:
you know, I haven't really battled with my weight. Um, although at times of higher stress, um, it certainly has gone up. I think that, you know, I think there's a lot you can do. I think that some simple techniques that you bring into your daily life to help with stress reduction can really help. I love, breathing exercises, deep breathing to do some quick stress reduction throughout the Workday, meditation and mindfulness are really wonderful. I also think adding more joy into your life. Um, sometimes it's not just about the. You know, calming your body and your brain and moving, and exercise are all really important for stress reduction, but it's also really important to add some fun and joy into your life. So, you know, make sure that you are scheduling some time into your week, hopefully more than once a week, but to do something just for the fun of it, try to see friends, try to. Even if it's just mindfully appreciating, playing with, well, in my case, my cats, but mindfully playing with a pet and just trying to really enjoy it. being aware of the areas in your life, where you're already experiencing joy and really feeling that or giving yourself permission or making a point to go out and add more joy can also be a great way to combat.Magic Barclay:
There's some great tips there. Now, listeners, you can findKelly@kellyshields.com. That's K E double L E Y S H I E L D s.com. Also Instagram at Kelly Shields and LinkedIn Kelly Shields, coach Nick Kelly. We love freebies for our listeners. So what can you offer as a free.Kelley Shields:
Oh, I love freebies too. So I'm happy to give one to your listeners. I have a quiz that I think is really helpful and really fun. So for listeners who, you know, have been kind of thinking, oh, you know, should I stay at my job? Is it time to get a new job? I have a quiz to help them decide. So it's called stay. Should I stay? Or should I go?Magic Barclay:
And that can be found on your website.Kelley Shields:
Yes. That can be found on my website. You can go to the homepage and it is, yeah, right underneath better.Magic Barclay:
Fantastic listeners. This was your episode 1 0 4 in 1 0 5. Kelly. We'll be back to talk about. It's never too late for change and listeners. Thank you for your time. Go forth and create your magical life.