Episode 2: Shannah Kennedy & Colleen Callander

In this episode, I welcome Shannah Kennedy, a master life coach and life planner, and Colleen Callander, the former CEO of two iconic Australian fashion brands, Sports Girl and Suzanne.

The duo delved into discussions about well-being, the importance of setting boundaries, the challenges of burnout and the necessity to establish healthy habits. They also discussed their new book, ‘Elevate: Unlock Your Extraordinary Potential’, which centers around three main pillars: life, leadership, and longevity. The book is a blend of personal and professional guidance, offering practical advice on self-improvement, mental health, and purposeful living.

To buy a copy of Shannah & Colleen’s new book Elevate: Unlock Your Extraordinary Potential click here.

Get in touch with Shannah & Colleen: www.humanelevation.com.au


0:00 Introduction and Guest Bio’s
1:13 Shannah’s background
2:33 Colleen’s background
4:23 The importance of wellbeing and balance
7:24 The struggles of leaders with wellbeing
10:42 The corporate athlete
13:03 The importance of setting boundaries
14:35 The impact of burnout
17:39 Introducing the book ‘Elevate’
25:38 Morning routines
26:44 Pillar one: Life
28:57 Pillar two: Leadership
33:24 Pillar three: Longevity
34:47 The importance of celebrating wins
36:37 The distinction between work-life balance and life in balance
39:26 The four pillars of health
43:43 The future of leadership with a focus on wellbeing
47:01 The importance of having a plan

Shannah Kennedy & Colleen Callander



Welcome to the Leader podcast, Shannon Kennedy And Colleen Callander. 

Awesome, Thanks for having us here today. 

I’d love to start by learning a little bit more about both of you and how you’ve come to be working together. So, Shannah, if you don’t mind, we’ll start with you. Absolutely. 

So, you know, my job, um, was in corporate sport for a long time and I ended up marrying my job.

I was, you know, obsessed by it, um, had no boundaries, no self care strategy and ended up, you know, getting chronic fatigue and total burnout and very sick. So I had a big. Wake up call very early in my career just before I turned 30 and it was actually while I was sick. I studied life coaching, thinking about all of the athletes and what happens to people when they don’t know who they are without their job and started my own practice 20 years ago as a coach.

And over that time, instead of just coaching elite athletes, I started coaching Leaders, CEOs, business people, um, young entrepreneurs, [00:02:00] really on who are you without your job and building your life plan. You can have a career plan and a sport plan, but you know, what is your life plan? So it’s been a great 20 years of, you know, big base of health and wellbeing for me that always has to come first, building the career on top of that and raising the family and writing books.

Um, our book that we’re coming out is my number eight, which is super exciting. And, um, I actually met Colleen through work through her husband, but she can tell that story. Thanks for having us here. It’s great to be here. And my background is a little bit different. I spent 30 years in the fashion industry and 20 of those years at the sports girl, Suzanne group, where I was CEO.

for 13 years across Sports Girl and Suzanne. And for me, I’m super passionate about leadership. Um, I’m passionate about people leading in their own lives. I’m passionate about creating environments and cultures where people want to turn up to every day and where they can turn up and be the best version of [00:03:00] themselves.

And so I led quite differently in my 13 years as a CEO that than probably some other leaders do. And for me, kindness and compassion and empathy. And people were always at the heart of what I did. And that was really my success strategy. And Shannah and I met, as Shannah said, we’ve been friends for over 15 years.

And, uh, and that started out with Shannah being my life coach when I was a CEO. And not only did Shannon coach me, but she coached all of my executive team as well. So again, for me, it was thinking about how can I allow people to be the best version of themselves? Because we’re not two different people.

We’re not one person at home and a different person at work. It’s the same person that turns up. To the organization, the organization’s doorstep every day, right? So it’s really important that we build on the person. So, you know, having my team and surrounding them with, with great support people, uh, was again, a really big part of the success of really making people the center of all of the decision [00:04:00] making in an organization.

So, yeah, Shannah and I go back 15 years and, and, you know, we’ve been. Become great friends over that time. And, uh, and now we have this wonderful business, human elevation together. And it’s, uh, it’s just been a fabulous journey. I love that timeline. I love that you’ve known each other for so long and how you started to get to know each other personally, and then now working together, which is amazing.

What does wellbeing mean to you and why do you think it’s important for leaders? Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, well being a long time ago, you know, when Colleen and I were in our 20s, in our careers, working like, you know, animals basically, A type, overachieving, perfectionist, never switching off, when you don’t have a base of well being, you end up burning out, and we both burnt out.

And had to unpack all of those bad habits and then rebuild so we can have longevity in our careers. So, the base of well being was never talked about, but now it’s really come to the forefront, which is fantastic. And we all [00:05:00] know that if we want to have a long term career and feel happy in our life and have time and energy for our family and friends.

We need a really solid base of health, well being, bit of a lifestyle, a little bit of balance thrown in because it’s just not sustainable, um, especially with the world going as fast as it is today. And I think for leaders, if they want to be able to lead, they have to lead by example and leading with example of looking after themselves, having boundaries, et cetera, is really showing the way for.

You know, this is what the company is all about, and this is how I want you to all protect yourselves so that we can all stay together for a longer time. Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to pick up on a word you said there, seeing as the title of this podcast is The Balance Leader Podcast. You mentioned balance.

What does that mean to you? Balance doesn’t mean, you know, I work for eight hours and then, you know, go and play golf for five hours. It actually just means living a lifestyle of [00:06:00] balance. So, you know, we can work really hard, but if we have that mentality that We’re enjoying it. It’s, it’s um, amazing and we’re still looking after ourself and we’re eating and we’re sleeping well and we’re really honoring just the four basics of health, which is how we eat, move, sleep and breathe.

I think that when we have that kind of balance and we’re doing some Intentional recovery, you know, we can work really hard, but we need some intentional activities that restore the fuel tank, um, that creates a lot more balance in our lives and, you know, making sure we do have a little bit of a hobby on the side, or we, we do have some activities that actually make us feel settled and calm and confident and happy.

Not just working and making our title, you know, who we are. Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really important. And I think, uh, it’s important that we distinguish that balance is up to the individual. It’s subjective, right? It doesn’t mean the same thing for you that it means for me, uh, and it doesn’t mean the same thing at different stages of [00:07:00] our lives.

So what balance work for us 20 years ago may be different to what it is today and what it will be different in 20 years again. So I think that’s really important. Yeah, it’s finding, it’s, it’s finding your percentage, right? It’s finding, you know, what do you, what is your, what are your scales need to look like?

And we’ve all got different scales and we all just need to make sure that we have that self awareness that we’re doing the right percentage for ourselves. Yeah, absolutely. Colleen, you both work with a lot of leaders and you’ve been a CEO yourself. Where do you see leaders struggling most with their wellbeing?

I mean, we all have lots of balls in the air, right? All the time, whether you’re a leader or you’re running your own business or you’re a stay at home mom or stay at home dad, you know, we are all juggling and we live in this very, very busy world. And I think for leaders in particularly, um, all of those balls in the air.

Often the one that gets dropped is the health and well being. It’s the self, it’s the self preservation. It’s the self care. Um, [00:08:00] and we see it all the time. You know, I was one of those leaders in my early days. You know, I was like a red Ferrari. I had no stop button. I just kept going faster and faster. And the thing that at the end of the day, there was nothing, there was nothing left in the tank.

So how did health and wellbeing become a priority? Right? So I think it’s really, really important. And that all leaders prioritize self. And, um, it’s much easier said than done, but we all talk, we always talk about all roads lead to self. Confidence starts with self. Um, leadership starts with self. Leading others starts with leading ourselves first.

And that really starts with health and wellbeing as one of the really key attributes of being a great leader. And, uh, you know, that’s a big part of the book. You know, it’s the life, the leadership and the longevity. You know, you can’t have the life and the great leadership. without the longevity. You know, we don’t want people to burn out.

So it’s really important that leaders start putting self care and well being at the heart of their thinking. Yeah, absolutely. And I [00:09:00] think it’s kind of like that old analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on first and looking after yourself. If you’re not looking after yourself, getting your oxygen, there’s no way you can help other people around you.

Yeah. Absolutely right. Shannah, what’s been one of the practices or techniques that you’ve used that has helped you the most and had the greatest impact on your wellbeing? Well, I love how you talk about the, putting the mask on and, you know, helping everybody else, because we all understand that, but I go that step further and think about the tank who’s filling the oxygen tank.

And really that is the base of your health and wellbeing, because if you put your mask on and help everybody and. The tank’s empty. You know, we’re in a lot of trouble. So really thinking about what are the intentional activities that we do. So for me personally, to answer your question is a lot of breath work.

Um, I need a lot of rest. Um, but a lot of breath work where we’re breathing. Consciously, every time we wash our hands, we can take three deep grounding breaths and just calm the nervous [00:10:00] system down, you know, really understand what’s going on on the external world, really come home to self and just reground ourselves.

So I think breathing is, you know, people don’t talk about it very much, but it’s actually a really big high performance habit. of high performing athletes. They really use the breath to control themselves, or to fire themselves up, or to ground themselves, or to reframe things in their mind. And so I think the the the art of breath and really focusing on that as a master skill.

It means you can be in quite a crisis situation, but stay nice and calm and protect yourself. So yeah, I think breathing is a super skill. Your background, you used to work with athletes. Did you see a lot of different techniques that you incorporate yourself from the athletes, um, either like getting themselves into a heightened state for, to perform or then that rest and recovery phase?

Oh, absolutely. I spent 10 years with athletes on tour [00:11:00] at games, you know, at events and then after and then in their recovery and we see it on TV all the time. You know, we watch the Olympics. We’re watching them really prepare for the race. You know, then we’re watching them fire themselves up just before the start gun.

And then we’re watching them embrace the pace of whatever they’re doing. And then we’re watching them cool down, you know, our football players, we’re watching them ice themselves and, and just recover. So yeah, I, I’ve learned a lot, really a lot from sport, um, and watching sport, um, coaching athletes, being there, you know, right at the event stage at recovery stage.

And knowing really how important the breath work is. So I’ve done a lot of reading, practice classes, meditation classes, really to understand that breath is actually the start of meditation. Yeah. And just picking up on something else you said there around athletes. Um, there’s a concept called the corporate athlete where they talk about the.

The differences or the synergies actually between [00:12:00] athletes and corporate citizens or leaders, uh, and how as leaders, we need to be looking after ourselves just like the athletes do and spending more time on health and wellbeing. Is that what you found as well? Well, I think we’re all athletes, athletes of life or athletes of business, or as you can call it a corporate athlete.

And absolutely we need intentional recovery and everyone’s going to have a different recipe for that. Um, some people, you know, like wine, but. It’s not that, not that handy, but really thinking about how we recover is, is another superpower. And it’s, it’s a skill that we think is really important. The corporate athlete, it’s, it’s a marathon that you’re running every day, but also over the length of your career.

So if we don’t stop at the Gatorade stations, if we don’t refuel, if we don’t stretch, if we don’t reset. Um, you know, we can really spiral and I think we lose a lot of great people, um, in the corporate world because they really haven’t built that base of wellbeing and they actually haven’t paced themselves very well.[00:13:00]

So they burn out or they leave. Yeah, absolutely. Colleen, how important is it for leaders to be able to set boundaries? So we, we talking about here, knowing that we need more health and wellbeing in our lives, but not necessarily always doing it. So how can we get leaders to, to set those boundaries a little bit more?

Hmm. We talk a lot about boundaries and boundaries are really about protecting the asset and the asset is ourselves. Right? And so for me in 2007, um, Shannon mentioned burnout just before I had burned out in 2007. And as I said, I was this crazy Ferrari that just kept going faster and faster. Um, and the number 1 thing that changed my life was.

putting boundaries in. I was on the train to burnout town and when we’re on that burnout train, it stops at no station. Before we know it, we are there and it’s very, very hard to get ourselves out of that. And so for me, the number one thing I did was put boundaries and I actually had no boundaries back then as a CEO in my early days.

Um, because you know, I’m an, I’m an [00:14:00] overachiever. I’m an A type personality. I’m very all or nothing. So I go very hard at everything. And so for me, I really had to. Think about, you know, when do I start my day? When do I end my day? As simple as that, you know, making sure we hang up the boots at the end of the day, that we turn that computer off, that we plug that, you know, that Ferrari back in and fuel the tank again.

And so I would say that it’s the number one thing people struggle with. And the reason is they’re not making themselves the asset. They’re not making themselves important enough to actually build in boundaries and self care. And that will lead to burnout. And we have seen a lot of this, you know, during.

The two years of COVID, I think the stats are something like 65 percent of people, um, experience some kind of burnout during that time. And, you know, our sanctuaries and all of a sudden these homes become a place of work and we just were on the treadmill. So, um, for your listeners and leaders out there, please put some boundaries in place.

Um, read the book because there’s lots of tips on [00:15:00] how to do that, but it really is important. about making yourself the number one priority. So how did you recognize that you were lacking those boundaries? Was it something that sort of smacked you in the face, if you like, or was it more of a gradual recognition?

Yeah, well, for me, burnout did hit me right in the face. And when I look back, there was so many signs, but I just didn’t recognize the signs. And I only recognized them when it was all too late, when I actually didn’t want to get up and do it all again the next day. Um, and so one of the, Parts of the book around boundaries and burnout is actually sharing with people what those signs are.

How do we recognize them? And then how do we actually put things in place to make sure that we either don’t get on that train to burnout town or we get off it pretty quickly if we are. So, um, yeah, it really hit me and, you know, it was crazy things like, you know, I drive to work in winter with my windows down.

I only live 13k from where the office was, um, it’s freezing cold and I’ve got my windows down and the air conditioner [00:16:00] on so that I could stay awake on the way on the drive to work. You just feel completely depleted and exhausted all the time. Um, so yeah, for me, it was getting a coach. I actually took three and a half months off.

Um, I put, put the Ferrari in for an overdue service and then I returned, um, and I was CEO for 13 years with no burnout, high performing CEO, high performing brands with no burnout. Um, so it’s just putting those, uh, those, those boundaries in place. So picking up from Shannah’s analogy before, the Ferrari was in the garage ready to go, but perhaps the tank was a little empty.

It was totally empty and, you know, no car operates unless we, you know, put it in for a service. We fill the tank. We put air in the tires. You know, we pull into the pits every now and then. No car operates unless we do those basic fundamentals. And we do talk about, about it as well. Your basics. You know, sometimes people think we need to put really big changes into our lives and, um, you know, make these [00:17:00] sweeping changes, but we actually talk about small changes, big impact and small changes in your boundaries can have a very big impact on your health and well being.

Um, and it can really allow you to be that high performing human that we want everyone to be, um, and do it without burnout. People get. The best of us when we’re doing things without burnout, because the other thing, Rob, is burnout affects everyone around you, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your work, your business.

So, um, when we, when we live a life without burnout, and we set those beautiful boundaries for ourselves, we can be absolutely high performing humans, um, and have real success and fulfillment along the way. You mentioned then, Colleen, the book Elevate, Unlock Your Extraordinary Potential. I have had a chance to read it.

I’m about halfway to three quarters of the way through, and it is amazing. I love the book. What was your motivation for writing the book, and why now? Thank you for reading it, and thank you for that, uh, positive feedback. We love hearing that. Um, I think [00:18:00] now, you know, we always talk about timing, right? And Shannon’s had this incredible 20 year career as one of Australia’s leading coaches.

I’ve had this, you know, incredible career as one of Australians, you know, top female, female CEOs, award winning. And for us, it’s really about, well, a couple of things. One collaboration. We definitely believe we’re stronger when we collaborate with other people, and we really encourage that, particularly in women.

Um, you know, we want women collaborating with each other. Um, we’ve all got so much to share and, you know, for Shannah’s, you know, Shannah brings that, as you can hear from the conversation, that wealth of knowledge around health and wellbeing and breath work and self care and all of these beautiful things.

And then my, I bring to the table, this whole leadership piece, which is all about your leadership. Your culture, your brand, your behaviors, your goals, and we’ve put those into this beautiful package called Elevate, um, or our business Human [00:19:00] Elevation. And what we’ve added to that is the longevity piece, because we can’t have this great life and be this fantastic leader, um, but burn out.

So we really believe that we need those three pillars working all together, um, to be able to give ourselves, you know, the best life and the one that we deserve. So, yeah, we think this time is perfect. We’ve, we’ve had big careers. Um, we’ve all raised, we’ve both raised our families, you know, all the minor through school, Shannon’s got a last one going through school next year.

And, you know, this is the perfect timing. And we think. You know, we’re two women in our fifties and we want to share our knowledge and our experiences and our wisdom and our failures and our successes so that we can help other people elevate and really, you know, live these, you know, as I said, high performing lives.

Yeah. And look, I really did love the book. Um, I love how practical it is. So not only does it have that wealth of information in it, it’s got so many practical parts to it. So there’s the exercises, there’s the plans, there’s [00:20:00] the reflections. Was it important to you both that the reader actually do the work and not just sit back and absorb information?

Absolutely. I mean, Colleen and I have read an enormous amount of books between us together. Um, and as you know, I coach and Colleen mentors, um, CEOs, et cetera, as well. And it’s, it’s nothing really changes unless you take the change yourself and you decide to change. And we wanted the book to be a very empowering tool and elevate was chosen because, you know, we’ve always had a word of the year.

So we thought that can be people’s word of the year. You know, we can all take one step up and it can be a very small change for a big impact. But we need to have clarity on our words. And a lot of people read things, but then they don’t reflect and sit in it and find their own words. So our answers will all be different.

Yours will be different to mine and different to Colleen’s. We’re all going to have our individual answers. And with high performance and with athletes. It’s all about the written word. They journal. They write [00:21:00] everything down. They have their training up on the wall. They have their goals on the wall.

They have a lot of vision work. And so we wanted to really incorporate that high performance athlete overlay and learn from them and actually apply that into our normal everyday lives because it is very powerful and it does really work. So when you’re writing down every chapter, what is a habit that you want to stop doing that no longer serves you?

Let’s really write that down and own it. And then what do we want to start doing that’s new and fresh for the year ahead? And then what do we want to keep doing that’s already serving you that you never want to stop doing? And when you have that clarity, you know, we always say the mind needs a map. When you have that clarity, it makes decisions very easy.

It can set boundaries easy as well because it actually knows, you know, this is the path that I want to stay on. So we think it’s really important for people to empower themselves and find clarity for themselves. And to pop it up on the wall and to write down their answers and highlight all through the [00:22:00] book.

It’s a very tactile sort of book. Um, so that, you know, people feel like, yeah, I really know who I am and where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. And I love the start, stop, continue framework because I think a lot of people are already doing great things. So there are some things that we shouldn’t be throwing out that we could perhaps build on that we can continue doing.

But there are some things there that we could add as well. So I like that reference that people can really keep what they’re doing, but build on it, maybe improve a little in other areas. Yeah. It’s like, as Colleen said, you know, you put the Ferrari into the garage and you pop the lid and you just, you just fine tune, you know, they’re not big sweeping changes.

They’re just small changes of habit. Um, that when you pop the lid down and you can be doing this constantly all year, it’s just fine tuning the way that we eat. The way that we sleep, the way that we move our body, the way that we lead, the way that we show up to work, our mindset, I think we can just constantly be tweaking.

And I love that reference of small tweaks, because I think we’re coming up to new year. So a lot of people are [00:23:00] thinking news resolutions. What am I going to change? And I’m going to do these massive things. But then they quickly stop by about, I think January 18th is the research that says it’s all over.

And they’re like, Oh, I’m not doing that anymore. Yeah. So I love that you’ve, you’ve started with small. Incremental changes, focus on those, build on those, and then see the success. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think people’s new year’s resolutions really do go in the bin because they don’t write them down and they don’t see them on the wall.

So, you know, it’s just too easy to forget and life gets in the way. So Colleen and I were very passionate actually about people writing and then also having the ability to put that on the wall for themselves. Excellent. Uh, Colleen, you mentioned before the three pillars of the book, so life, leadership, and longevity.

Why did you choose to focus on those three specifically? Well, you know, there’s a lot of books and a lot of people out there talking about leadership in one space, and there’s a lot of people out there writing books and talking about health and well [00:24:00] being. Um, there’s. Probably not enough books out there talking about longevity.

Um, but really for us, we, we want it to be the total package for people. And, you know, we do a lot of keynote speaking. Uh, we do a lot of immersive full day programs for organizations. Um, but not everyone can get to those events. Not everyone can come and hear us at an event speak. So we wanted to put the book together so that every human on the planet.

Can get a copy of Elevate. It’s very easy to jump on and buy a book, right? Or give it to someone as a gift. And, uh, and as Shannah said, this is really about your personal journey. Um, so it’s not a book for CEOs. It’s not a book for just leaders. It’s not a book. It’s a book for anyone, because as you go through the book, as you would have seen, Rob, you are reflecting on yourself.

You are reflecting on your life. You’re reflecting on your leadership. How do you want to show up every day? Uh, what do you want to add, keep? Um, or, you know, start, stop, keep doing to be that best leader that you can be. Um, so it’s really, really important that [00:25:00] people go through the journey of the book and also in that order.

It’s really, um, it’s really important to work through, through the whole process and write your answers down and really commit. You know, there is something when you write things down, you know, we, we do the same sort of routine every single day. Shannah and I, we walk, Shannah goes to yoga. I still write in my diary every day that I’m going to walk in the morning.

Now I’m never going to forget because I’ve been doing it for 15 years, right? But I still have it written down because when I write it down, I’m promising myself I’m getting out of bed and I’m walking. Um, so there is something really, really powerful about writing things down. So we really encourage that throughout every chapter of the book.

Yeah, and you just mentioned there, Colleen, about I think you’re alluding to a morning routine. So how important is that morning routine for you both to get set up for success for each day? Yeah, we’re both very passionate about our routines and, uh, and our boundaries and our rituals. And, you know, we, as I said, we’re, we’re very structured in the way we do that.

And for me, I always think the way I start my day is the way my day is going to [00:26:00] continue. So if I started, um, you know, we talk about the three M’s, make your bed, mindfully breathe, move your body every morning before you open up to the world, because the second you open up to the world. You are open, right?

You are open for business and you have all of these things flooding in emails, internet, breaking news. So for us, it’s really important that we do that morning ritual. We fill those tanks right up, and then we can attack the day with purpose and intention and. Full of full of energy doesn’t mean we don’t have little bumps along the way.

Life’s not perfect, but when your tanks full, you can actually manage through those challenges and those bumps, um, and, and get through those. So yes, that starting our day and finishing our day has very, very clear bookends and very clear rituals. So if we break down those three pillars a little bit more, so let’s start with the first one, life.

What can readers expect in that first section of the book? Yeah, great. Life’s all about self awareness. So we can’t do anything unless we really put the [00:27:00] Ferrari in and see where it’s at. So we actually need to think about ourself as the asset and think about Oh, what’s really happening and who, who am I?

So we go through, you know, what are your strengths and what are your values and what’s most important to you in life and get really, really clear on that because that’s the base of how we’re going to make decisions in the future. We talk about really having a vision for yourself, your 10 year older self and thinking about, Oh, what do I need to be doing today for my 10 year older self?

Where do I want to be financially, and what do I want that picture to really be like? And really getting you to sit in the thought of, you know, what is the map that I want to create for my own life? Um, and then we talk about what is the mindset that’s going to get you there. Have you got a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?

And really thinking about how we can open up to new opportunity. And think bigger probably than we ever have thought before. And give ourself permission to dream. And then we talk about health. And I think that’s [00:28:00] really important because a lot of people don’t understand there are four different sections to health.

Which is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. And really understand where you’re at with those. Um, and then your confidence. We finish with confidence in that section and thinking about, you know, all roads lead to confidence and confidence is a muscle and it’s something that we need to practice every day and that we’re not all born confident.

So really that nice foundational layer is set in the book where you feel like, Oh, I really know myself. I’ve got a lot of things to stop doing and start doing and keep doing. And now I can really turn into how do I lead myself. And I love that you just said that, uh, we’re not all born confident. Cause I think sometimes, especially younger or newer leaders think, Oh, everyone’s got this figured out and it’s just me.

And that’s where that imposter syndrome comes from. Right? So I love that you say, uh, how important confidence is and that it’s a skill and a muscle that we can work on. Cool. So the next section, Colleen, is [00:29:00] on leadership. So this sounds like it’s in your wheelhouse. Tell us a little bit more about what’s in the section of the book.

Yes. Well, each, each pillar has six chapters as Shannon was describing there, but for leadership, it’s really about, again, that self leadership. You know, we talk about 70 percent of leadership is the way we lead ourselves. And I think that’s where so many leaders actually go wrong. They think it’s about leading other people, but we can’t lead anyone else until we lead in our own lives.

And, and you actually don’t need a title to be a leader either. So, um, again, this book is not just for leaders. It’s for anyone because we have to be leading in our own lives. We have to lead ourselves. First, the structures, the boundaries, the disciplines, the positive mindset that we create for ourselves.

Um, and so in this section, we talk a lot about leadership, obviously, um, about brand and not just the brand we work for, but the brand of ourselves. Because we actually work for ourself, the end of the day, we are the brand and, you know, what does that look like and, and how do we really make positive changes to really set [00:30:00] that brand apart and really be true to ourselves.

Um, and we talk a lot about culture, you know, um, I believe that culture goes from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. And a lot of people think culture starts at the top and yes, it might, but it actually has to go through your entire organization for it to really be a culture that people want to turn up to every day.

And we talk about behaviors, um, goal setting and that habit stacking and, you know, really, again, those small habits that we can do and stack on top of each other every day, um, to start to be that, that leader that we want to be really deciding, um, what are those things that we want to add to our lives to actually be able to show up as the best leader we can be for ourselves and then for everyone else around us.

I did pick up in the book that you went and talked about habit stacking. So Shannah, perhaps you could describe a little bit more, what is habit stacking and how effective or how can we use it most effectively? Yeah, habit stacking is connecting one habit to one that you’ve already got. So [00:31:00] you know, you already brush your teeth, you already shower, you, you know, you already drive your car.

So thinking about. Oh, what could I add on top of that? So, you know, when we drive our car, we could have a little note that says three breaths every time you’re at the lights, you know, you’re already brushing your teeth in front of a mirror. So you could look up and do, you know, some breath work. You can do some mirror work to really connect with yourself and kind and compassionate and empathetic to yourself.

You know, you’re already having a shower, so you could do some mindful moments in there and smell the soap and take the breath and just. Really center yourself before you open up for the day. So we talk about habit stacking is, you know, if you’re already washing your hands and brushing your teeth, maybe you could have a glass of water after that.

So we stack things on until they become normal, and then we stack something else on. Because when we try to start a whole habit all on its own, without connecting it to something that we’re already doing, we find we just, it just [00:32:00] doesn’t last very long. So it’s a, it’s a much better way of creating a new habit for yourself.

You know, before you go to bed, you could put your alarm on and your clothes out for the morning walk. And that becomes a hard part of the habit. So this is setting people up for success. So it’s allowing them to say, okay, this is the habit I want to form. Let’s instead of again, starting something massive or new, let’s just tack on to something I’m already doing and set me again in that right direction.

Is that right? Yes, absolutely. I mean, we all want the afternoon snack already. So, you know, I already want my chocolate at three o’clock in the afternoon. And I’m allowed to have that, but the new habit is I have to have an apple, and some cheese, and some walnuts, and some Brazil nuts, and then I’m allowed to have the chocolate.

So, it’s a habit that’s actually stuck for a very long time, because it’s my pathway to a chocolate. Um, and it really works, because it’s just set in stone. And another one, a great one, is um, you know, we all want to watch Netflix at night on the TV. [00:33:00] Um, but maybe on the way to the couch. You know, you’d have to do five minutes of stretching because you’re already going to be watching Netflix anyway.

So what could you add to while you’re watching Netflix? Yeah, absolutely. And I actually have next to my couch, a yoga mat, which goes on the floor every night. I sit down there, I do my stretches while I’m watching. So I’m already habit stacking. Exactly. You’re already doing it. Exactly. Exactly. Perfect. And so the final section of the book and the final pillar, longevity, which is really important, I think, to listeners of this podcast, because it’s all about wellbeing.

So talk to me a little bit more about what people can expect from this section of the book. Thank you. It starts with burnout and as Colleen said earlier, really understanding burnout, the signs of burnout. It talks about creating new boundaries for yourself moving forward to really protect yourself. We talk about high performance planning and that is, you know, It’s really hard for the brain to get its head around a whole year of planning, so it’s really nice to plan in 12 week blocks, [00:34:00] so it could either be seasonally or quarterly, so I prefer seasons, so I just work in seasons.

And 12 weeks is a really nice time to think about setting some really solid goals and building some really Wonderful new habits, we talk about happiness because I think that’s a big part of longevity and what the science of happiness is and how 50 percent of its genetic and 40 percent of it is intentionally what we’re doing.

So it’s fantastic and we can. You know, really take control of that by thinking about what we’re doing with our habits in the day and are they bringing happiness. We talk about fulfillment and finding gratitude and living a life of gratitude and empathy and kindness and compassion. We talk about self care, which is how you eat, move and sleep, how you recharge and you refuel and you re energize.

And then we love to finish on celebration because we I think we really feel, especially after COVID people have lost, lost the art of celebration. Um, and we just set goals and we move on or we feel burnt out [00:35:00] and we just keep moving on and we’re not celebrating any small wins nor any big wins. So we think it’s a really important part of elevating to a new level is you have this, um, habit of celebration, um, in your life.

So, you know, Colleen and I, every time we have a. Talk or we do something or we even have a zoom, you know, we’re high fiving each other through even through the zoom It’s just really creating nice momentum and really good energy and so when we introduce that into our family a bit of high five moment or movement or We’re looking in the mirror and we can high five ourselves and maybe just celebrate some of those wins with people without people on your own celebrating at dinner or even just with your family.

I think it’s a really important part for fulfillment and longevity in life and being able to really enjoy your life and not just be the achievement junkie that sets goals and smashes them and keeps moving. to the next one. It’s that nice pause. We see it in football all the time. [00:36:00] Every time a goal is kicked, everyone celebrates.

I don’t wait to the end. We’re celebrating along the way, which creates momentum. And I love the idea or the concept of celebration because I think Particularly with A type leaders, uh, they are constantly on to the next project. So it’s, this one is done and dusted. Let’s jump into the next one. So it’s important to stop and actually celebrate that win before jumping to the next one.

Absolutely. And I think it’s one thing that Colleen introduced into all of her meetings was, um, starting with celebrating what, what’s worked well. Yeah, I love that. Great way to set the intention and set the focus for a meeting. Yeah. In chapter 13, you make the distinction between work life balance and your preferred term, which is life in balance.

Why is that important? I’ve always talked about it as life in balance because I don’t believe that we put work in one little box and life into another little box. Um, they actually have to coexist. They have to love each other. They have to be completely connected. Um, [00:37:00] if we want that. that we’ve been talking about.

So for me, it’s all about life in balance. And we really encourage people to think about, um, what does your life imbalance look like right now? And what would you like it to be? And, you know, we’re all, we could all have very different life imbalance. I like an 80, 20, um, you might like a 50, 50 Rob, you know, you might like.

50 percent of your life really in balance and organized and structure and the other 50 chaos, you know, because we wouldn’t want everything to be in balance all the time. That’d be pretty boring. You know, that chaos brings excitement and resilience and new ideas and risk taking. So. We need to have both of those in our lives.

And so we really encourage throughout the book, um, you know, it’s helping people think about what do I really want my life in balance to be, and then really taking those steps, writing them down, you know, what do I keep doing? Start doing, stop doing to be able to get back to that or get to that life in balance.

You know, for me, when my life gets out of balance and the chaos starts [00:38:00] to go from 20 to 30 to 40 to 50, my life feels completely out of balance. And so I know that I need to actually, you know, change some things to get it back into that nice balance that actually allows me to show up every day. Um. Again, being the best I can be.

So, um, yeah, I, I really encourage everyone to think about what is their life I balance and uh, and what are the things that they can do as they read through the book to really get that in a nice place for them. And do you think that’s best done intentionally thinking about your own balance and what you might like that to be before maybe starting to feel you’re out of balance?

Yeah, I mean, I, I love that because it actually just keeps me, keeps me in a very, very good place. And, you know, for people like Shannah and I, my personality, which, you know, we say to overachievers, A type personality, you know, really want to go, go, go all the time. When I don’t have those checks and balances in place for me, I can, the horse can bolt pretty quickly.

So, um, it’s really good for me to sort of say, no, you know. You, you [00:39:00] work best when you’re 80, 20, get that back in balance. You know, we need to add some things in, we need to delete some things. We need to keep doing the things that are working. So I, I encourage people to think about that. And again, Rob, life’s not perfect.

We’re going to have times in life where it’s going to be completely crazy and then completely back in balance. So, um, we, we just say, ride those waves when they come, but as long as we know, and we can make those changes to get back to that good place. Yeah. Absolutely. Shannah, you mentioned before the four pillars of health.

So what are those four pillars of health and what should we be doing to try and optimize in those areas? Hmm. That’s great. A lot of people just think health is, Oh, am I healthy and not sick, but actually there’s a lot to it. So healthy is, you know, four wonderful buckets that we can focus on. And the first one is, um, our physical health, which is our body.

And that’s how we eat, how we move, how we sleep and how we breathe. So the rest of your life you have purpose because the purpose is as we age and going to [00:40:00] different seasons and stages of our life is what do we need to change and fine tune that’s going to work better for us as our body changes. So there’s a whole.

the rest of your life, which I think is pretty exciting to go and read about and, um, make new discoveries and try different things just to make yourself feel better. Then there is, um, mental health, which is, you know, your mindset. It’s how you think it’s the inner critic that comes out. It’s your affirmation work.

It’s how you try and tame the brain, because it’s a beast, as we know. And we all have inner critics, and we all can be pretty harsh on ourselves, and it’s about learning to treat yourself like your best friend, and also setting up structures to support it. So, you know, I’ve got a lot of words all over the mirror, I’ve got vision boards around me, I’ve got sticky notes everywhere.

Really training the brain to really support me. I don’t have Colleen’s constitution, so she’s the Ferrari and I’m just a [00:41:00] bit lower. Like I’m, I actually have a big crack in the system. So I can’t go as hard. I want to, but my body doesn’t. But it’s really about how can I mentally Um, really support myself with the best possible structures, um, so that I don’t, you know, tell myself I’m exhausted all the time.

And then there’s our emotional health, which is how we feel. That’s our heart space. And that’s about kindness and compassion and empathy and gratitude. And we need to cultivate that for ourself first before we can give it to other people. And I think a lot of people forget to cultivate it for themselves first.

They want to give it all away. But. The tank is really empty. So finding the gratitude for self and the kindness for self and the empathy for self is really important. And then the last one spiritual health, which nobody talks about, which is really our sense of belonging and how important that is. And so for a lot of leaders, it’s oh, yeah, I belong to the company, but You are not your job, so what happens after?

So we need to think [00:42:00] about community, or family, or faith, or, you know, for me it’s the universe, you know, I’m a dot on the planet spinning around the universe, it’s this, everything is so much bigger than me, you know, really. Anything that I do is not that significant in the big picture really, so it’s that big picture perspective, um, that I think is really important.

Is there one of these four pillars that leaders or that people in general that you work with seem to struggle with the most in actualizing or optimizing it for themselves? I think spiritual health, because, you know, we never taught it or nobody talks about it, but perspective is a really important thing, you know, really understanding that no one really is judging you or Is really thinking about you at the moment too much and that we need to take responsibility for ourself and you know, if we Launch the book and you know, we don’t quite like the tone of yellow on it.

It doesn’t really matter You know like stop getting your knickers in a knot over something so small or [00:43:00] you know I know when I used to coach a lot of Colleen’s staff, you know They’d be so upset about the color of the swing tag and you know, Colleen and I would say well we’re selling shirts And we’ve just got to keep perspective here rather than ruining your health over things.

So I think spiritual health is really important for people just to start opening up to. Um, I think the physical health is pretty well covered. I think the mental health is getting covered. The emotional health is new, that emotional intelligence is coming in. And I think spiritual will probably be last in.

Yeah, Shannon, you mentioned just then mental health challenges, and I think before COVID, probably, and even more so post pandemic, it seems to be on the rise a little bit. Colleen, what do you think the future of leadership looks like with an increased focus on well being and mental health? Well, we’re very happy to see that there is an increase.

Focus on wellbeing and mental health and that organizations are really putting that person first. You know, [00:44:00] we always talk about human first. Um, and I really do believe, Rob, that the organizations that do that well, um, that really invest in their people that, um, really think about, you know, that life imbalance.

Um, really give them the tools, uh, to be able to. Build on that health and well being and make it a priority in the organization are the ones that will thrive. I absolutely believe that. Um, Shannon, I working with a lot of them. Uh, and I, I think they’re the ones that are going to do exceptional things in the future because, you know, the people feel very connected to brands that care for them.

Um, you know, for me, I always wanted to create a place, uh, whether it be a sports goal, Suzanne. where people wanted to turn up to every day where they wanted to come and give me their blood, sweat and tears where I created this place that was safe for them. And when I say safe, it doesn’t mean, um, you know, a place where people can just do whatever they like and get away, you know, safety and kindness in an organization means that we create [00:45:00] environments where people feel bigger than just the seat they sit in, that they feel, um, Feel empowered to share their voice, to share their ideas that they can take risks.

And if, you know, something doesn’t go quite to plan, they’re not going to get thrown under the bus for it that, you know, we can get back up and have another go and try it differently the next time. So I think the organizations that really operate like that, um, and really think about the person are the ones that will be doing amazing things in the future.

Uh, Shannon and Colin, this has been such a great conversation. I think the listeners are really going to take away a lot of actionable advice and hopefully they’re going to go out and buy the book. What’s one question that I didn’t ask you that maybe you’d hoped I would have before the interview? And how would you have answered?

Colleen, we’ll start with you if that’s okay. Yeah. Uh, well, I think about, you know, um, We’re all so busy, you know, we’ve got this thing about being busy, you know, and we do all have busy lives. That’s, that’s so true. And, you know, we often have [00:46:00] people say to us, Rob, you know, I’m too busy to focus on my health and well being, or I’m too busy to build that relationship, or I’m too busy to build my career or learn new things.

And we will say to people, well, then it’s not important. So because if things are important, you’ll make them happen. You will find a way to fit them into your life. If your health and well being is important, then you will build boundaries. You will make yourself the asset. You will build self care and you will do all of those wonderful things.

Um, if your career is important, you will build that you will network with people. You will add skills to what you’re doing. You will try new things. You’ll step out of your comfort zone. So we’re going to say to people. Yeah, life’s busy, but think about what’s really important. And when it’s important, give that box a big tick, make it happen.

Um, that’s really where the success starts to really flow. We really need to make this a priority and it can’t be a second thought. It needs to be something that’s front of mind, always, every day, starting the day, putting it first. I think that’s really important. [00:47:00] Shannon, what about you? Um, I think it’s really a question is for leaders is, you know, what’s their plan because I think leaders, you know, are in the cog in the wheel working really hard.

Um, totally focused on the business, which is fantastic, but what is their plan? Because, you know, they can fall off, they can be thrown out, you know, they can get sick, they could get injured, they could go through a takeover and there could be a restructure. And if they haven’t done this work in the book about who they are and what kind of leader they are for themselves, um, I think people, um, are really exposed, especially leaders are very, very exposed that.

They need to be building their networks, creating their life outside of work as well, making sure they’ve got their financial plan in order, their health plan in order, their life experience and bucket list in order. Because we find a lot of them have regrets because they were so focused on their career and being a leader.[00:48:00]

Um, which was fantastic and leading everybody else that it’s really important to take that time to think about your plan, um, and what’s most important to you so that you can safeguard yourself at the same time, but also thinking about, you know, when we feel that confidence that it brings, we can really lead others.

Um, with an exceptional ability and insight into watching what other people are doing. Yeah, that’s really important. If people want to connect more with you and find out more about what you’re doing, how do they best do that? The best place to find us is on our website, which is www. humanelevation. com. au, uh, and it talks all about the things we’re doing, our keynotes, uh, we walk the world, we take women walking, uh, we’re.

We’ve just come off Japan. Uh, we’re going to the Camino next year. So you can find all about that. Um, and of course our book and all the links to purchase our book, which comes out on the 5th of December, um, and the usual places we’re on Instagram or on [00:49:00] LinkedIn, um, Our color’s yellow, so on the 5th of December, you’re going to see it everywhere.

Um, but yeah, please, to your listeners, reach out, connect, and we hope you love Elevate as much as we love sharing it. I am sure they will. Thank you both so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure.