Shelley Meche’tte: “How many times are we ashamed of past actions or life choices we have made? We should all OWN our stories, with our heads held high”

I would want others to “Own Your Story”. How many times are we ashamed of past actions or life choices we have made? How many times does society make us feel “silenced” due to someone else’s injustices towards us? The answer is…too many times to count. We should all OWN our stories, with our heads […]

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I would want others to “Own Your Story”. How many times are we ashamed of past actions or life choices we have made? How many times does society make us feel “silenced” due to someone else’s injustices towards us? The answer is…too many times to count. We should all OWN our stories, with our heads held high. If you come from a poverty background…OWN it. Don’t allow others to make you feel ashamed of that upbringing. If you come from an unfortunate life of abuse…OWN it. That is YOUR story and no one gets to silence your experience. When we are able to own the things that have happened to us (whether of our own doing or not), we can be free of the shame that wants to connect us to it. Even broken pieces can create beautiful artwork. Walk in the beauty of your art!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Certified Life Purpose Coach, Speaker and Women’s Change Agent, Shelley Meche’tte. Shelley is extremely passionate and dedicated to the empowerment of women through strategized personal and professional development. She is the author of 70 Days of Happy: Life is BETTER When You Smile and the founder of the women’s organization, The PowHERful Woman. Shelley speaks LIFE into women, challenging them to take responsibility for the actions (both productive and destructive) of the person staring back at them in the mirror, while reminding them of the fact that they are MORE than just their physical appearance. Shelley believes that broken women raise broken girls who become another generation of brokenness. Therefore, Shelley provides the success tools needed for women to break that cycle and live a life of confidence, self-assurance and purpose! Shelley specializes in decluttering the thoughts of her clients, connecting their gifts/talents to their passion; providing them with a successful Purpose Plan and personalized Life Strategies. Shelley has graced the stage, sharing her message of personal accountability and wholeness on various platforms, such as The PowHERful Woman, Black Women Rock Nationally, Woman II Woman, Hey Girlfriend Luncheon and more. Shelley Meche’tte is an ordained Minister. She has been married to her best friend John since 2002 and is the mother of two gorgeous LEGACIES (daughters)!

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am a Life Speaker, Author and Certified Life Purpose Coach. What brought me to this career is that one day I found myself standing in the mirror being “relationship goals” for other people and I had no idea of who I was. I was married, mom of 2 and had willingly stepped away from my job at Disney to stay home with my children. I realized in that moment, as tears fell from my eyes that without the “titles” (mom, wife, Disney employee, etc)…I didn’t know ME. Why was “I” created? What did I have to offer myself…others…the world? I also realized that I hadn’t dealt with old wounds that I had constantly re-victimized myself over, like the abusive relationship I had survived at a young age or the abandonment issues that I had due to an absentee parent. I was still reliving the pain of those moments. Being let down by other people and feeling as though I deserved nothing good out of life.

I stood there trying to find something I “liked” about my appearance and found…nothing…so I cried more. And decided not to move until I found something to like. It seemed like forever, but I finally ended on my smile. I really liked my smile. So I started with that. I began speaking life into myself and trying to discover my why. Why did God have me here? What was I supposed to accomplish? This is when my journey to self-discover began. This is when I decided to take some time to learn and discover who I was as a person without any of the titles attached to me and began a true journey of self-love and healing.

This is where I found my purpose. As I began to heal, I noticed women around me who were walking in the same path that I had (and still was). They wanted more from life or they were dealing with past hurts that had emotionally stifled them from stepping into the person they had been created to be. It took some time, but I was finally guided to my own purpose in life…and that was to help women like myself, recognize their worth and purpose. With that, I created my non-profit The PowHERful Woman which encourages women to live in purpose, unapologetically so that they are able to become the best versions of themselves. I began speaking about empowerment and showing women how to identify and walk in purpose!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

As a Speaker, I have the awesome opportunity of being able to share my expertise and experience on various platforms. On this particular occasion, I was speaking at a church about how God will carry us through difficulty. As I continued speaking, I also began to walk. Somehow…my ankle buckled and I went DOWWNNN! Yep…fell flat on the floor! I think I may have done a small roll too. But instead of just lying there in embarrassment, I jumped up off the floor and added the line … “and God will even pick you up when you fall”. Everyone thought I had fallen on purpose as a part of my message. People truly resonated with the message because of the fall. I couldn’t wear heels for years!

The reason why this story is so interesting to me is because it taught me a couple of things. One…it showed me that there are going to be times when things just do not go “as planned” and that’s ok. Even unplanned things can work in your favor. It also opened my eyes to the fact that, what you may view as embarrassment in your life, others may see as encouragement. Who knew that an unplanned fall could resonate with so many people and encourage them to not give up? We all have flaws. We all “fall” sometimes. It’s what make us all human.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake that I have probably made…is wearing those 6 inch heels to speak at the church I mentioned. The lesson? Either lower the heels…or stay stationary when speaking. I have opted to lower the heels. J Well, not really. I just don’t move…as much. lol

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I believe what truly makes myself as a Speaker/Coach and my organization stand out is, the authenticity. I am a “no-fluff” person and so are my conferences and workshops. You get the real deal when you come to me. I’m going to challenge you to be better…even if that means upsetting the “norm” in your life. I believe that true empowerment comes from owning your bull, and making the commitment to become better versions of ourselves.

If you’re a “mean-girl” at 45 yrs old…OWN IT. And then let’s dig a little to try and pinpoint why. Owning our faults and acknowledging the fragile areas in our lives is the only way that we will be able to grow as individuals and walk in continual success. Honesty paired with love and the tools for change, often times, is the most rewarding gift of self-love. That’s who I am. That’s what I offer. And others appreciate it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on a project. Ironically, it has nothing to do with speaking or my organization. I have a love for entertainment. I love theater and I enjoy acting. Recently I decided to try my hands at Producing. A bit scary, but I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. My partner (who happens to be my daughter) and I created a web-series a couple of years ago and we are preparing to do a screening for it. Lots of work, but so exciting. I can’t wait to see the outcome.

The series is based on the hearing community and the deaf community coming together. It will demonstrate the beauty of accepting one another for who we are and the differences we have.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Understand your vision completely so that you are able to efficiently articulate it; for yourself and others. Your company…idea…dreams…none of these things will ever be able to come into fruition if you are not completely clear on what you desire, the expectations of that desire and how you plan to execute that desire. If you, as the leader cannot fully explain where your company/business is headed and the roadmap to get to those results, you will never be able to develop a solid team who is comfortable trusting your guidance.

Also, be an example of what you want to see. You want a team that puts forth their best…be a leader who does the same. You want a team that respects time…be a leader who does the same. A wonderful example goes a long way. If you, as the leader will set the standard by holding yourself accountable to the standard, your team will follow in those footsteps.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

I believe the way you manage a large team, begins with how you were able to manage the smaller one. You can’t expect to do well with a larger team if you were unable to properly manage a smaller one. Therefore, I would say…take the same standards that would be applied to a smaller team and maximize that. Your leaders should be able to implement guidelines and protocol in the same manner as you, since you are the example of how to lead.

Place people in positon who are able to replicate and top the success that you have portrayed. Place people with creativity and innovative ideas in productive positions. And always be willing to listen. The quickest way to failure…is to “know it all”. When you know everything, you are never open to receive anything.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. 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?

There are too many people who have played too many roles in my life to name them all. But what I will say is that my mother has played…and continues to play a significant role in my success; with her support. She comes to every play (I love to act), every conference, workshop, event…you name it. We all need people in our corner who will just “show up” sometimes.

It’s HARD being an entrepreneur. Many people won’t understand the struggle, the mental drain, the ups and downs. And many people will try to convince you that entrepreneurship isn’t the way to go. Therefore, to just have someone who says, “ Wow…great job”. “That’s incredible”. “You’re always doing something positive for women”. All of this pushes me to keep going, when everything is telling me to stop.

I’m pretty blessed to have an amazing family of my own as well. I have a husband who wants to see me succeed and two legacies (children) who speak life into me when the circumstances of life seem to weigh me down. They say it takes a village to raise children. Well it takes a village sometimes…to keep us entrepreneurs motivated.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I believe that my conferences and workshops do that. They help replenish women and give them a sense of value. I use my platform as a speaker to connect with and love other women. When I am able to use what I do and/or my story to encourage and empower others…I am bringing goodness into the world. When I hold a woman who is in tears and she is able to allow herself to just be vulnerable with me without judgment…I am bringing goodness into the world. When I am able to give women tools and help them to love themselves so that they are able to teach their children the same…I am bringing goodness into the world.

My prayer is that my life is a testimony and that others are able to see that no matter where you start in life, there is a plan and purpose for you. How do I know? Because there is one for me!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1) Do not be shocked when family and friends do not support you: Most of us are very excited when we decide to step out on something we’ve been thinking about for a while. Naturally, we expect others to be just as excited. That’s not always the case. Many times family and friends have to “see” your success before they support it. I don’t think it’s always because they don’t believe in it, but rather because you’re “little so-and-so”. They can’t imagine you differently. Your dream is important to you…and many days…that will have to be enough to keep you going when family and friends aren’t supportive or just can’t see what you do.

2) It’s “ok” to change up the “game”: I always knew I wanted to be in business for myself one day. I just didn’t know how. Therefore, I joined several home-based businesses. I was never afraid to take a risk, but when I found out that a particular business wasn’t for me…I felt as if I couldn’t or shouldn’t leave, since I had always been told that business jumping was not good.

For me, that mentality kept me in bondage. I believe that it’s ok to try new businesses until you find what you truly enjoy; what you can be passionate about. Had I not been so afraid of what other people would think…I may have found my passion much earlier.

While it’s true that you do not want to confuse your audience by doing a lot of industry jumping, it is also true that if you do not have a real love for what you are doing, you won’t have an audience anyway, because they will sense the lack of authenticity.

3) The people you start with won’t necessarily be the same people you end with: Why do we think that just because we start our journey with certain people…that we are obligated to end the journey with them? People change. People grow. People separate. And all of this is fine. My circle has changed more than once since beginning my journey to becoming a Speaker, Coach and Author. With my new endeavors…they will change (grow, tighten, become smaller) again. Just because someone is no longer apart of your journey, that doesn’t mean that they are no longer apart of your life or certain experiences. When I became “ok” with the changing of my circle, I became a much happier individual.

4) Entrepreneurship has no true “hours”. You work when work needs to be done: I was accustom to a 9–5 type of deal when it came to working. When I began my journey to entrepreneurship, I knew that flexibility would be necessary. I guess I just thought that flexibility still fell in the hours of 9–5. Lol. I worked until midnight and was up at 6am to take my children to school and then worked until they came home. Helped with homework, made dinner and gave baths, many times in between jotting down a good idea, my next move or completing a minor project. In the beginning, there is always more work than reward, but if you stick with it…the harvest will definitely come.

5) Time Management, if done properly…will become your best friend: I’ve always kept a pretty good schedule. I’m a pretty good manager of time…once I reel in my procrastination. I actually keep lists and time scheduled activities because I am such a procrastinator. When I started, I would just work while my kids were at school or in between homework, cooking, etc. Yes, things got done, but there was no real “work schedule”. What I needed was to literally block out time that was needed for every activity of the day when it came to my business.

For my own productivity, I needed to focus less on actually completing the entire project, and focus more on getting as much of the project done in an allotted time. Time management through “work blocks” became my best friend. I didn’t feel as rushed and became more laser focused. I have held onto this way of working and it plays a vital role in my accomplishments.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want others to “Own Your Story”. How many times are we ashamed of past actions or life choices we have made? How many times does society make us feel “silenced” due to someone else’s injustices towards us? The answer is…too many times to count. We should all OWN our stories, with our heads held high. If you come from a poverty background…OWN it. Don’t allow others to make you feel ashamed of that upbringing. If you come from an unfortunate life of abuse…OWN it. That is YOUR story and no one gets to silence your experience.

When we are able to own the things that have happened to us (whether of our own doing or not), we can be free of the shame that wants to connect us to it. Even broken pieces can create beautiful artwork. Walk in the beauty of your art!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have a personal quote: I am not your competition. I’m your collaborator. Being that I am a Women’s Change Agent, I spend a lot of time pouring back into my fellow woman. And I love every minute of it. Society wants us to believe that women must compete with one another and manipulate in order to get ahead. NOT TRUE! Women are beautiful, valuable individuals and we are very capable of coming together and excelling with one another. So, I live my life by this motto. There is no need for me to compete with anyone; man or woman. I believe that my purpose in life was given before I was born, so what would be my reason for competing? Let’s collaborate and make a few good things…GREAT!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

May I be greedy and list 3 people? Lol. I would love to have breakfast or lunch with:

1) Oprah Winfrey: As a business woman myself who dabbles in a couple of industries, I would love to sit down with her and pick her brain regarding multiple business platforms. How to properly invest your money. How to balance several business titles. Stocks. What an awesome breakfast or lunch would be.

2) Ava DuVernay: As an Academy Award nominee, sitting down with this Writer, Producer, Director and Film Distributor would be a dream. As I mentioned, my latest “title” is Creator and EP of a web-series. To be able to have guidance on directing and distribution regarding my projects from someone of her caliber would be life changing.

3) Shonda Rhimes: In my opinion, she is the ultimate queen of tv. Her creativity, her story telling…phenomenal. I would love to understand her process when it comes to having longevity in television. How her shows remain so relevant and how she is able to create such intense story-lines for them. She is amazing.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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