WELCOME TO REAL WOMEN WEDNESDAY
It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s your weekly dose of RWW! I created this series to empower, inspire and connect women. Every Wednesday, I share an interview with a woman who I’ve connected with or admire.
I want this series to showcase the empathic, soft and powerful sides that every woman has. I want us to push the comparison, jealousy and girl hate to the side and listen to these authentic and sometimes vulnerable words. As women, let’s lift each other up and help each other grow.
This week’s Real Woman is Shanelle Connell. Like many of the women who I’ve connected with in Kelowna, I first heard of Shanelle through Instagram and eventually reached out to her to be a panelist at the Igniting the Kelowna Sisterhood event.
The night I met Shanelle, we bonded over wine, meeting our men online and sneaking into a rooftop party, but that’s a whole different story! Right away I knew Shanelle had a good heart. Her smile lit up the room and she was extremely welcoming, even though I was technically a stranger. She welcomed me with a hug like I had known her forever.
Shanelle is a blonde bombshell with a great sense of style and seemingly perfect locks, but those things aren’t the reasons why I’m friends with her. I’m friends with Shanelle because she has a deep passion for mental health, helping the community and using her voice to show that everyone is deserving of a happy, positive relationship with themselves and a partner.
I always love catching up with Shanelle and reading her words online. I was cheering for her at Miss Universe Canada and will be continuing to cheer for her when she launches her Relationship + Lifestyle blog and anything else she puts her heart into.
Now, it’s time to meet Shanelle Connell!
Share three words that describe you
I would probably say… Down-to-earth. Compassionate. Authentic.
You could honestly say I’m the type that doesn’t take herself too seriously and isn’t afraid to lay it out there. I share my entire life online; I try to be as candid and raw as possible. I’m overly sarcastic… sometimes to the point where people take it seriously. Sure, I love nice things and I put effort into my appearance- but I know at the end of the day we all sit on a toilet half naked… so what would ever give me the right to think I’m better than anyone else?
I also happen to be way too invested in other people’s life stories, emotions and feelings that it often used to put me in a position of being used. However, though I don’t allow that to happen anymore- I still have a bleeding heart for many of my friends and family members.
How do you create genuine friendships without the feeling of competition between each other?
Are we talking women or men? Aha. Because men… easy-peasy. They are straightforward and upfront. Women? Yikes. I’m not trying to blanket statement female friendships, but in general, I avoid them because majority end up turning into a ‘Mean Girls’ saga. It wasn’t until five months ago, did I consistently start making smart choices for how I choose my female friends…
The trick I learned to cultivate genuine friendships is to look beyond the surface similarity. I needed to start assessing spirit, ambitions and values. I choose my friends very differently now. The people that I want in my life are ones that share the same values and spirit as myself… but are not on a competing wavelength when it comes to how we choose to live life and explore opportunity. It makes it easier to avoid hurt feelings and introducing the green-eyed monster when one of you starts to excel and it’s not the other’s time yet. And if you’re more focused on the depth of their heart over how well you “get along” (even if you do have similar ambitions…), you’ll be able to be genuinely happy for them when they do succeed.
When was the proudest moment of your life up until this point?
Oy. Although I want to say placing TOP 20 in Miss Universe Canada this year…
I actually think my proudest moment has been being able to finally develop one of the healthiest, most rewarding relationships of my life. I’ve always prioritized companionship and fellowship with family and humans over material or intangible accomplishments. So being able to say I’m promised to a man that I can grow a relationship with based on Christian roots and Godly love means more to me than any title, degree or accolade. I believe fulfilling the spots in your life that you value most will make you the happiest, and having a Godly relationship was #1 on my adult check-list.
Finish this sentence… Being a woman means…
Being resilient, vulnerable, and comfortable with your emotions. I think there is beauty in vulnerability, as well as the ability to be unapologetic with your feelings. Women shouldn’t be limited because of our soft nature and emotionality. I think being able to be true to your inner-self and how you express that should be considered a strength.
Tell me about a female role model or mentor you have
My mother. She’s my best friend and role model to this day. I can talk to her about ANYTHING. From my dreams to fears to even the taboo topic of sex… she’s always allowed me to be open with her and that openness has kept me away from a lot of bad choices. I can’t even begin to describe the life my mom has lived, but she’s seen it all and still managed to stay true to her roots and keep grounded. We’re talking the ability to achieve fame and fortune, but walking away from it all because it would be like selling your soul. That to me is inspiring. And I am so thankful to have a mom that’s been able to guide me in the right directions and pass along her life wisdom that helps me avoid the same mistakes.
What’s your wildest and craziest dream?
To be married? Have kids? Sure I have a lot of crazy ambitious career goals and entrepreneurial ideas that are captivating and could potentially be groundbreaking one day… I am sure we all have those dreams! But to commit to having a family and kids is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding jobs you’d ever have… or so I’ve heard.
When you’re in need of alone time, where do you go?
Funniest thing. My alone time is often spent with my family. I’m an only child, so a lot of my time is spent alone anyway. Sometimes I just like being in the presence of people I love without having to speak or be fully interacting with them. It’s just nice to have their warmth radiating in the room. It’s cozy. Comfortable.
You’re a huge advocate for mental health on your different platforms. How do you practice self-care and make your mental health a priority?
I live by the 20% rule. This was hard for me to implement because I always take on WAY too much… But now it’s a habit that’s changed my life.
Here’s how it goes:
I make the conscious choice to never accomplish more than 20% of what’s on my to-do list in a day. The moment I try to do everything that I have to finish in a week in one day is when absolutely NOTHING gets done. And when nothing gets done that’s when I start to choke on the anxiety of accomplishment and feeling overwhelmed. But once you commit to putting 100% into your 20%, suddenly everything starts to take shape and you check off your to-do items after than you’d imagine. And then? You’ll start to have more time for yourself and the things that are intrinsically rewarding to you.
Do you have a saying, passage or quote that you live your life by?
Always leave people better off than you found them. I think that goes without saying it’s probably the most important mantra that we could apply to our lives that could make the world a much happier, inspiring place.
Isn’t Shanelle full of knowledge? I’m thinking of trying out this new 20% rule!
I want to say thank you to Shanelle for being a part of this series. I know you’ve been busy winning Canada’s heart, preparing your blog, going to university and attending our events + get-togethers when possible. It means the world to me that you were able to sit down and search your soul for these answers. I can’t wait to cheer you on while you change this world for the better.
Are you wanting to read previous RWW posts? Catch up here.
If you’d like to be featured on Real Women Wednesday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on social media. My handle is @thebookofmolly.