Passion, Persistence and Challenging People’s ‘Shoulds’ -Interview with Author Cornelia Shipley
How do you design a life and work that really work? How often do you throw up your hands in frustration about the way one facet of your life is going? Cornelia Shipley, a master coach, has spent much of the last decade refining her transformative approach using her ‘Design Your Life’ process to explore the hidden reasons why people don’t experience the level of satisfaction, fulfillment, and freedom they want in their life. Her new book Design Your Life: How to Create a Meaningful Life, Advance Your Career and Live Your Dreams grew out of a painful moment in Cornelia’s life. She used that moment, however, to develop a framework that helps people to develop their vision, create ‘say yes’ standards, understand the power of a personal brand, and create a ‘money mindset’ to empower them to reach for their dreams.
I met Cornelia many years ago when I was doing holistic financial coaching and she was transitioning from the corporate world to that of an entrepreneur. She had already built a successful consulting practice and my work was to support the incredible vision she held for her business. From my first conversation with Cornelia, I was inspired by her energy, passion and dedication to helping people bust through self-defeating blocks.
Cornelia Shipley PCC, BCC, ELI-MP, is Founder and President of 3C Consulting, a leadership development firm specializing in Executive Coaching and Strategic Planning. A member of the coaching faculty at the University of Wisconsin Professional Life Coach Certification Program and the GPSS Coaching Model, Cornelia works with organizational leaders.
Cornelia is a sought-after speaker and coach. She leads strategic planning workshops for senior leaders across the US, is creator of the annual women’s leadership conference ‘Design Your Life’ and serves as a board member for Women for Coaching Community Change. Cornelia has a strong passion for systems theory, which she uses in her Leadership Boot camp and Executive Impact programs.
Cornelia was recently featured on my tele-summit ‘The Creativity Bonfire Series: Sustaining Your Flame: Secrets from Wildly Inspired Creators’ where she captivated audiences with snippets from her new book Design Your Life. She made me eager to learn more. I’m delighted to welcome Cornelia Shipley to the ‘Practice of Creativity’.
Tell us about your new book Design Your Life: How to Create a Meaningful Life, Advance Your Career and Live Your Dreams. What sparked your interest in writing this book?
The concept for the book came to me while I was living in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. I was so amazed at how present people were in their own lives and their ability to leave the expectations of others behind and simply live life on their terms. When I got back to the United States the cultural contrast was so clear to me. Over the next almost 9 years I would start and stop writing the book. Just before my wedding in 2012 I committed to begin work on the manuscript when we returned from our honeymoon. Little did I know how much my life would change in the span of a week. I went from being single to married and planning the funeral of my mother who passed away unexpectedly only 5 short days after our wedding. Over the three weeks we spent planning for her services I became acutely aware of the HUGE benefits I was experiencing because of the choice I made in 2006 to live a designed life. In the face of the tragic loss, I was well supported and able to meet the needs of those around me. I felt called to finally put pen to paper and share the process I was using so successfully with the world. No longer could I sit by and watch as people lived unfulfilled, frustrating lives. So I got busy writing, rewriting and in April of this year began the pre-launch of the book which became available TODAY worldwide on Amazon!
You advocate for people to break out of their conditioned ‘shoulds’, in order, to experience an extraordinary life. What are some of the features of the ‘design your life’ system that helps people pursue their dreams?
Wow, what a great question Michele. I am going to stay with the “shoulds” of your question as it is so critical to remove the “shoulds” from your life – the external expectations and noise of others. In so many cases we are living based on what someone else said we SHOULD want, do, be or have. So we start by looking at the stories of our lives to discover what desires we have that are ours and which ones have been imposed on others. Readers are invited to clarify their values, operating principles and standards. From there we being the process of creating a personal brand that speaks for you and supports you in achieving your personal goals and objectives. We spend some time with your personal definition of success, creating a reward system and finally expanding your mindset to embrace the big vision you have for your life. It has been interesting watching readers’ response to the book. So many have started the book thinking it will be a “quick read” and find themselves STOPPED by the provocative questions in the designed action section in each chapter.
What was the most difficult chapter to write (and why)?
OK, Michele so the truth is the hardest part for me was the final review of the last chapter. I kept putting it off. I am sure you have had that happen when you are so close to the finish line and for some reason you just can’t make it those last 10 yards. I would read a page and take a 2 hour break and it went on like this for almost a week until I realized that I didn’t want to finish writing the book because my mother was not here for me to call to share in the accomplishment. When I realized what was holding me back, I spent some time crying, called a good friend, finished the final edit and then met my friend to celebrate. I followed my own process to get unstuck. I allowed the truth to surface (me missing Mom) sat in the truth (cried and talked with my friend) made the choice to complete what I started (finished the edit) and went to celebrate (met my friend for some good food and great laughs).
What’s the most surprising thing to you thus far about being a published author?
There have been two things that have surprised me, the enhanced credibility I have as a professional and the almost immediate “celebrity” status I get in some circles having written a book. I think the best thing about being the author of this particular work is hearing the positive impact that the stories and the process is having on people’s lives. I am amazed at the bold action and outstanding results people are getting from doing their work and committing to create a future that excites them.
This book was written over a number of years. How did you keep yourself motivated to finish it?
For several years I did absolutely nothing. I knew that when I returned from my honeymoon I would have an amazing story to tell about finding love, and living my definition of success. I think ultimately my commitment to finish the book going into my marriage and my mother passing so quickly after my wedding created the perfect storm and final push. Although, at one point when I got stuck I simply booked my first signing which gave me all the final motivation I needed to get the book finished.
What’s your best writing tip that you’d like to share?
I never pictured myself as an author, so for me it was important to follow my process and to get help from a seasoned writer and editor to help me think through the layout of the book, make sure the process was clear to readers who would be new to the material and ensure the overall tone and flow was what I wanted. Bottom line as a writer you have to be willing to follow your unique creative process without judgment.
Cornelia Shipley holds an MBA in Management Consulting and Strategy from Southern Methodist University, a BA in Communication from the University of Michigan, is a Board Certified Coach and Master Practitioner of Energy Leadership (IPEC).
To find out more about Cornelia’s ‘Design Your Life’ system and the book, visit her website.
To find out more about Cornelia, click here.