Today, author and therapist Shannon Thomas talks with us about the importance of forming the right mindset, knowing your own limitations, and focusing on yourself. She shares her advice for women interested in the counseling field and explains the importance of joining a Mastermind group.
Name: Shannon Thomas
Twitter or Instagram Handle: @shannonthomas
Location: Southlake, Texas
Occupation: Author and therapist, Southlake Christian Counseling
Secretly Obsessed With: Dunkin' Donuts coffee
On My Nightstand: #NoMeanGirls journal made by the fabulous May Designs, a battery-operated candle (because I am too nervous to burn real candles), “#GirlBoss” book and my old Samsung 5s phone that I won’t part with because I love it.
Last Thing You Read: You mean that I actually finished to the very last page? I have a bunch of half-read books. Does that count?
How did you get started on your career path?: During graduate school, I had an internship providing direct counseling services. I loved it so much that I was left with a desire to one day open my own boutique private counseling practice. I love working in what we call micro-practice and seeing the incredible changes that people can make in their lives when motivated and given the right tools needed for lasting personal growth.
What key elements played into your success?: I believe in the power of being grateful. When we operate from a place of gratitude, it keeps us authentically surprised by any success that may come our way. I know that success is often a season of incredible growth and unique opportunities. As with all things, there is a peak point in which we top out, and living with that awareness helps us to appreciate the current journey upward and I never, not for a second, take it for granted. This mindset brings freedom to try new projects and not take it all too seriously, but let it remain fun. Success seems to come more readily when we are relaxed and welcoming it into our lives.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?: The biggest challenge has been keeping all the plates spinning and not letting important ones crash. In my work, there are limitations to what and how I can delegate, so many tasks land back in my lap. I often find myself muttering “there’s just too much to do,” but then I get busy with making a list. Without a list, all the to-dos rattle around in my head, making me anxious.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?: Without a doubt, my biggest professional growth came from being a member of an all-female Mastermind group. We met every other week for three years. I feel like I entered that group as a teenage entrepreneur and came out a full-grown legit business owner. Learning from the more seasoned women in the room was an opportunity to experience accelerated growth in my professional development. I am forever grateful to those ladies for helping me find my entrepreneur voice.
When do you feel most successful?: I feel most satisfied, which could be translated into successful, when I have spent a day working with counseling clients who have experienced personal breakthroughs, and from there I shift my focus into my Healing from Hidden Abuse expertise. That might be working on the next book, engaging with readers over social media, writing for media outlets or doing interviews. The end of a successful day is perfect if it includes pizza and movies while hanging out on the couch with my family in our PJs.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?: “Shannon, you don’t have to be right for all people. Do what you do and let the rest find its own way.” Sometimes we feel the need to morph our products or business line into other people’s expectations, or to try to reach the most clients. I would rather just be myself and do what I do, and let the chips fall where they will.
What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?: Do a lot of work toward your own healing before sitting down in the counselor’s chair or attempting to write a self-help book. We can’t bring our own unhealed baggage into the room with clients or onto the pages of our book. Clients and readers don’t need it and don’t deserve it. This doesn’t mean that we have to feel like we’ve got it all together before we start because that will make us unrelatable (and is unrealistic anyway), but we want to come to our work from a place of health, and not unhealed wounds.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? : Before dropping out of high school, I finished 50 units towards the 250 needed for graduation. So, essentially, when I left school, I had completed an 8th grade education. Fast forward several years to me finishing my undergraduate, and earning a master’s degree. I am pleased with the restoration that has taken place in this area of my life.