It’s a misconception that you need a lot of money and a degree to start a business. I started off as a single father of two kids working as a meat manager and living paycheck to paycheck. But, due to my perseverance, the universe opened opportunities for me to grow as my business grew.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Shelton.
Chris Shelton is a master healer, instructor and author on a mission to empower people to transform their lives and get out of pain. In his 30 years of practice he’s worked with thousands of people from all walks of life, from stay at home moms, to celebrities, to Special Olympic athletes, and now online classes and sessions. He helps with a range of conditions, including but not limited to, chronic pain, depression, inflammatory diseases.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up with a certain amount of abuse and lot of neglect. I started doing drugs at the age of 12 and became a butcher at age 15. I did my AP studies in art and became licensed as an auto mechanic while in high school. I had a heart attack at age 18 from a drug overdose during my senior year of high school and still graduated with a B average. After a second heart attack, I threw myself into learning Taekwondo as a means to change my path. One night before a match, I was kicked in the back and almost paralyzed from the waist down. This is how I was introduced to the healing arts of Qigong and Chinese medicine.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.”
This quote is relevant to me in my life because I could have continued to blame my parents and use the neglect and mistreatment as an excuse to be a victim my whole life, but I saw beyond that. I wanted to become something more, something better.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Viktor E. Frankl’s story — “A man’s search for meaning,” touched me because although what I experienced in my youth was not comparable to the suffering that Viktor and millions of people like him went through needlessly, it solidified the fact that the suffering I went through in my youth prepared me for challenges later on in life, which is something I believe most of our current youth are not prepared to handle. It also demonstrated that the power of one’s mindset is so important in perseverance and survival.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Pre-pandemic, my wife Parisa and I were seeing patients in clinic, teaching live public Qigong, Tai Chi and other health related classes. We did mental health classes for the Special Olympics, and workshops for the Santa Clara County (SCC) Employee Wellness Department that services 23,000 people working for SCC. We had several other corporate gigs including SF Bay Wildlife Society and Western Digital.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
As a result of the pandemic, all of our contracts for workplace wellness, the government (SCC), and the general public immediately halted. We didn’t know that our last in-person class on Thursday, March 17, 2020 was going to be the last. But, after class that evening we were told that the lockdown was starting the following day. Luckily for us, we had already been using Zoom for our worldwide online Qigong Teacher Training program.
As soon as the lockdown hit, our friend, Hollywood Physique Expert, Eric The Trainer, launched his online sleek ninja workouts. These workouts were fun and accessible for everyone. For week number two of the lockdown, Eric invited his participants to do a 7 Day Qi Challenge with me. The overwhelmingly positive responses on how the classes uplifted people’s spirits motivated us to continue the Qi Challenge for free for the first four months of the pandemic.
In June 2020, when we saw that people were going back to work, we started The Qi Club. The Qi Club is a monthly subscription, web-based platform where Parisa and I teach live classes Monday through Thursday, from 8:00–8:30am pacific time. We absolutely love The Qi Club and welcome the opportunity to engage with the members. It has been a shining star, and so well received through all the ups and downs of the current situation.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
The “Aha moment” to develop The Qi Club came after the Qi Challenge. For several months we had done the class for free because there was so much uncertainty and we wanted to help as many people as possible. Contributions and uplifting emails started pouring in. We started to realize the positive impact it was having for people and how it was helping participants pull themselves out of some dark places. It gave people something to look forward to because it provided them with a sense of peace and regularity. We were inspired by the momentum and it fueled us to create The Qi Club.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Great! We have almost 200 members and it’s growing each month. Santa Clara County has awarded us online classes for the hospitals, for first responders and for patients. We started a new contract as health coaches for emotional wellness services. We’re also starting a new campaign for ‘Wellness in the Workplace,’ where we’re going to promote corporate memberships to The Qi Club.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Eric the Trainer has been a catalyst for our growth and expansion in the LA area and over the years has entrusted me to help heal his celebrity clientele. As a result of his friendship, I have been given great opportunities like writing for the First Lady of California, Maria Shriver and going on tour with Def Leppard and Journey. Through Eric, I also met our amazing publicist, Leslie McClure, who has truly helped us grow and reach more people.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
An interesting thing that happened since we started in this new direction is the incorporation of puppets into The Qi Club. I know it sounds silly, but we have Ozzy the Ostrich and Noah (from Noah’s ark) open up and close each class! It was another suggestion from my pal, Eric the Trainer, but the puppets have been surprisingly popular. We just like to make people smile.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- It is extremely fulfilling to work in the service industry, but it is also very important to manage and balance your own energy output.
- Put things down in writing. Too often when I first started, I had people who expressed good intentions only to find out that they were not able to follow through with what was expected and yet they still wanted more.
- Just because you’re working with licensed practitioners doesn’t mean that they have their lives completely together. I thought that in this profession, people who were helping to heal others had at least started the process of working on their own issues. But after the last 20 years of renting out my clinic space, I’ve encountered too many licensed professionals who prescribe, diagnose and treat others and yet haven’t begun to work on their own problems.
- I thought that the more degrees I had, the more I would be respected, when in reality, having certifications, licenses, years of experience, positive outcomes and results weighed heavier than any prestigious degree.
- It’s a misconception that you need a lot of money and a degree to start a business. I started off as a single father of two kids working as a meat manager and living paycheck to paycheck. But, due to my perseverance, the universe opened opportunities for me to grow as my business grew.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
The very practices that I teach to the public are things that I must apply to myself daily. Although I have been practicing for 30 years, I am not exempt from being affected by external circumstances. I am fortunate that I have these time-tested tools to help me to deal, process, and expand.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Be conscious of your thoughts. Your thoughts have an influence on your body and overall health. Your thoughts are like a wave that ripples outward and effects everything and everyone.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would like to have lunch with Anita Moorjani who wrote the book “Dying to Be Me.” Her book and story gave me a deeper hope of our true expansion and abilities. When we get stuck in negative mind patterns, she reminds us that Universal Love is all there is.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!