I want to share some highlights from a great interview I had with Shelli Varela, who calls herself a possibility hacker, a description I just love!
Shelli shares her story about how 25 years ago she was hired as her city’s first female firefighter. She was brave enough to rewrite her story and today she’s a coach, speaker (with a phenomenal TED talk), and author teaching others to say yes to their truth.
Here are some of the highlights. If you want the rest of our conversation, click here to listen.
1: The world had labeled her an artist but it wasn’t fitting.[01:41] 25 years ago Shelli was a 108-pound manicurist ending high school and trying to figure out what to do with her life. She shares how it wasn’t until she shed the label of “Shelli the artist” to one that was “Shelli who likes art, and whatever else Shelli feels like liking” that she became free to explore other opportunities.
2: Three words that changed her life.[06:16] She was intrigued by firefighting, but she thought, “I’m not big enough, brave enough, smart enough, and strong enough. There are no girls in firefighting.” But her friend who was a firefighter challenged her saying: “There’s going to be a girl one day. Why not you?” The words “Why not me?” reverberated in her thoughts. A switch went off. She spent the next 1,162 days hacking and learning every single thing she needed to learn to succeed.
3: Forget logic, learn how to hack possibility.[12:56] Shelli talks about the times that sucked as a firefighter, but how they were the times she grew the most. Today she coaches people on their internal story – the story that keeps you small. She shared with me her five pillar system that helps people hack possibility – foundation, alignment, courage, expertise, and community. My heart leapt when she said, “And to accomplish anything lofty or worthy of your time and your greatness, you cannot lead with logic. You have to lead with possibility.”
4: Everything is possible when…[26:35] Shelli explains everything is possible when you learn to tell yourself a better story. When you do, you not only heal yourself but you can change the world. On the other hand, not managing your story can be catastrophic to your emotional health, to your mental health, and to your physical health because it’s not living in your truth.
5: Reframing your story is not for the weak of heart.[30:43] Shelli had some profound insight on reframing your story. She said you have to be brave because the stories that are holding you back also serve you in some way. There is the payoff for believing the old story, otherwise, you would let it go. So you have to drill down and see where you’re out of alignment and that requires you to step into something that’s not comfortable.