Elevate Your Life: Shannah Kennedy and Colleen Callander’s Insights on Blending Personal Growth with Professional Excellence

In this interview with Shannah Kennedy and Colleen Callander, co-authors of Elevate, we explore the intersection of personal growth and professional excellence.

Shannah, a renowned high performance life coach, and Colleen, the transformative former CEO of Sportsgirl, share insights from their book, which focuses on life, leadership, and longevity. They offer practical strategies and insights based on their extensive experiences.

We cover their motivations behind Elevate, the personal challenges they have overcome, and the strategies they recommend for unlocking one’s full potential.

Shannah and Colleen, congratulations on your new book Elevate! Could you both share a bit about what inspired you to write this book and how your personal and professional experiences have shaped its content?

Certainly! Elevate was born from a shared passion to empower individuals to reach their highest potential and live a high performance life personally and professionally.  Our inspiration stems from witnessing firsthand the transformative power of personal development in our own lives, our leadership journeys and the lives of those around us.

Our diverse professional backgrounds, with incredible success, coupled with a dedication to continuous growth, have heavily influenced the book’s content. Shannah’s 20yr career as a high performance life coach and author of 7 books and Colleen’s background as the former award winning Ex CEO of Sportsgirl, provided a rich foundation for a stellar collaboration and crafting practical strategies that merge personal and professional growth seamlessly. We aimed to create a comprehensive guide that draws from real-life experiences, research-backed insights, and actionable steps to inspire readers to elevate their lives in all facets.

The book covers life, leadership, and longevity. How do you both incorporate these elements into your daily routines to maintain balance and achieve high performance?

The 3 pillars of Life, Leadership and Longevity come from combining our over 40yrs of experience as women in business. We both intertwine these elements seamlessly in our daily lives to foster balance and high performance.

For life, we prioritise self-care practices like values, vision, purpose, mindfulness, exercise, and quality time with loved ones. Leadership principles infuse our interactions, encouraging collaboration, empathy, and strategic decision-making. By leading ourselves first with clarity on vision, goals and quarterly plans we have a clear direction to guide us daily.

Longevity is sustained through habits that promote mental and physical well-being, such as learning new things, nurturing curiosity, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to avoid burnout and most importantly living a life of celebration. By consistently integrating these pillars, we create harmonious routines that fuel personal growth while fostering resilience and sustained success.

Shannah, with your background in guiding elite athletes and CEOs, what are some key strategies you advocate for in Elevate to help individuals unlock their potential?

Absolutely! In Elevate, I advocate a holistic approach based on high-performance values to unlock one’s potential:

  • Values: I emphasise the significance of values alignment, encouraging individuals to define their core principles and integrate them into their daily actions. When values guide decisions, it fosters authenticity and resilience.
  • Vision: Crafting a clear, compelling vision is crucial. It’s about envisioning where you want to be and utilising that vision as a guiding light, fuelling motivation and direction.
  • Goals: Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals creates a roadmap for success. I emphasise the importance of both short-term milestones and long-term aspirations.
  • Plans: Effective planning involves breaking down large goals into actionable steps. Elevate outlines strategies for creating comprehensive plans that are adaptable yet focused. This is a key to high performance.
  • Self-Care and Refuel: Prioritising self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity for sustained high performance. I stress the importance of mental and physical well-being, advocating for practices like mindfulness, adequate rest, and regular exercise. We can all challenge ourselves to Elevate in this area for long term sustainable success.
  • Habits: Habits shape our daily lives. Elevate delves into habit formation, encouraging readers to cultivate positive routines that align with their goals, driving consistent progress toward their vision. Habits will make you or break you.

Colleen, as a former CEO of iconic fashion brands, what insights do you offer in the book about building successful brands and fostering winning cultures while keeping personal wellbeing in check?

In Elevate, I share insights on building successful brands and fostering winning cultures while prioritising personal well-being:

  • Authenticity in Branding: Emphasising the importance of authenticity and purpose in brand building. A clear brand identity aligned with values resonates deeply with customers and employees alike.
  • Culture of Empowerment: Cultivating a culture where individuals feel empowered and valued. Encouraging open communication, collaboration, and a sense of belonging fosters a thriving environment.
  • Balancing Ambition with Well-being: Highlighting the significance of balancing ambition with personal well-being. Success isn’t sustainable without prioritising mental and physical health. Leading with kindness is a superpower for all leaders to consider.
  • Leadership by Example: Leading by example in prioritising self-care. Demonstrating that success doesn’t require sacrificing well-being is crucial in fostering a healthy work culture.

By intertwining these elements, leaders can build brands and cultures that thrive while ensuring the well-being of both the company and its individuals for long term sustainable success.

In the book, you talk about preventing burnout and investing in self-care. Could you share a pivotal moment from your careers where you had to prioritise self-care, and how did it impact your professional journey?

Shannah’s experience with chronic fatigue syndrome at 29 and Colleen’s encounter with burnout in her mid 30s were pivotal moments that reshaped our approach to self-care, as we both wanted to be the best in the business with a true thirst for high performance and professionalism and wanting to raise families and be healthy at the same time. These instances forced us to pause, reassess, and pivot towards a more sustainable approach.

Shannah –  battling chronic fatigue syndrome highlighted the dire need for self-care. Prioritising and learning to respect the importance of rest, mindfulness, and a balanced lifestyle became non-negotiable and a true passion. This experience deepened my understanding of resilience and the importance of sustainable practices in achieving professional success. I moved forward to build a high performance plan both personally and professionally and had regular coaching to ensure I was staying on track.

Colleen – my encounter with burnout prompted a significant shift in perspective. It compelled me to recognise that burning out wasn’t synonymous with high achievement. Taking time to recharge, fostering a culture that values well-being, and embracing a balanced approach didn’t hinder success; instead, it enhanced productivity, my leadership capabilities as a CEO and my creativity.

These moments served as wake-up calls, redirecting our focus toward holistic true high performance and well-being. Embracing self-care not only improved our health but also enhanced our professional journey. It allowed us to lead more effectively, innovate, and build a culture that champions sustainable success. Ultimately, these experiences reinforced the vital role of self-care in achieving and sustaining professional excellence.

Lastly, for both of you, what is one piece of advice from Elevate that you find most impactful for those striving to balance their personal and professional lives effectively?

Certainly! One impactful piece of advice from Elevate for balancing personal and professional lives effectively is to “Embrace Boundaries with Purpose.”

Shannah: Boundaries are not limitations; they are essential for a well-rounded life. Understanding your priorities and setting boundaries around time, commitments, and energy allows you to be fully present where it matters most. This enables a harmonious integration of personal and professional aspects without constant conflict.

Colleen: Boundaries serve as guardrails for a balanced life. Defining clear boundaries helps in managing expectations, fostering healthy relationships, and preventing burnout. It’s about consciously allocating time and energy to various aspects of life, ensuring each gets the attention it deserves.

Embracing boundaries with purpose empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of personal and professional life, fostering a sustainable balance that fuels success and well-being.  They liberate you and set you up for success!

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.