Episode 24 of the Fuel the Fire Podcast hosted by Shanon Safi, RD, LDN.
2022 has been a year full of change. You’ve probably experienced a lot of your own. Change may bring turbulence and possible unearthing of past problems. But it can also be beautiful and empowering. In this episode, Shanon talks about the changes in her business, her life, and the journey her soul is on for the future.
In this episode we talk about:
The humble beginnings and motivation behind Fuel the Fire (02:25)
Changes with Fuel and how change can resurface unresolved barriers (14:06)
Where is Fuel now and what direction is it taking Shanon forward? (19:26)
We can be so, so hard on ourselves and not acknowledge how beautiful, or talented, or strong and capable that we are. It's so easy to forget that or not see that in yourself because somewhere along the line someone else planted these seeds in your head that you weren't valuable. Hello, hello my beautiful people.
I know it has been quite a little bit of a hiatus since the last time I released an episode, but I'm really happy to be back. Life has been a little bit wild on my end in terms of getting things organized and getting clear on the direction that I want to change things. So, speaking of which, what I wanted to talk about today was really just like the raw, unfiltered truth about what has been going on in my internal world that led to all of these changes with Fuel the Fire?
So I'm sure there's theories and speculation not make myself sound like a celebrity but like, oh, yeah, lots of people are talking and asking questions, but seriously, yeah, I know Our different people know different parts of the story, and we did release an episode previously about kind of like the separation between the previous dietitian that worked for me, and I just wanted to do a solo episode on this because a lot was boiling slash bubbling under the surface before this all came about and actually happened.
And yeah, so I, I just wanted to share that with you so you guys really understand the journey and understand why this has been so important to me and my personal growth and how really when you own a business, it's like, as you change, the business has to change. With you, or you have to let go of it. So, I've been kind of like juggling that and kind of fighting myself on letting go of anything more than I already have, because there was just like a huge part of my ego attached to it.
So, I'm going to throw it back, like all the way to the beginning for like who I was and how Fuel really got started and then who I feel like I've evolved into and how. Things needed to change in order for me to continue to operate a soul led business. So, when I started Fuel, I was young, right? Like, you know, I had other, like, smaller part time jobs before Fuel, or, like, a combination of jobs before Fuel, but Fuel was, like, the first time I ever really fully dedicated myself to, like, one thing, and I've always been so sure that I wanted to own my own business.
Even in high school, I, this is going to sound so corny, but I was in like a club called future business leaders of America of which like not to toot my own horn, but I was president, but so yeah, I was like always really serious about running my own business and I knew it was going to be in my cards when I was at age, I thought it was going to be a private practice for medicine.
So that was initially. The direction I thought I was going to take my life and as I went through college, I really started to realize how much I valued being able to sit down with someone for like an hour's time or more and really get to know them and help them change the trajectory of their life. I was really fortunate when I.
I was doing research. I worked in a spina bifida clinic, which was one of the only five in the entire country at the time. So, there was a lot of exciting movement going on in that field. And it's also very different than any other doctor's office. So there, the primary care physician for people who were diagnosed with spina bifida would actually sit with them for an hour.
People would actually get an hour-long appointment slot. And that was because they... It didn't really have any other doctors, like people would fly in from all over the place to be seen here because no one else could really understand the complications. And so, it was like, we really had to look at them as a whole person when they came in and try to give them everything that they needed in order to improve their outcomes.
So that was part of my job there when I was doing research was compiling the data. Like I would be sitting there with a doctor and helping or just basically like writing down what was going on so that then I could record it in this database. And so, through this database, we could conduct more research to provide better care for people who live with spina bifida.
I'm really proud of the work that I did there. And sometimes I, like, I really do reminisce about that time because I felt I was making a difference on such a big scale being such a young kid. And so, yeah, that really was a big part of. Me wanting to even step into dietetics, too. As silly as those sounds, even though I was there as a pre-med student, the thing about it was, was really that direct connection that I knew I would not be able to get in very many other settings in the world of medicine, at least not for like easily 15 to 20 years from that point.
So, I knew that that's what I wanted to be able to sit down and really look at a person as a whole. And that's always been important, even with Fuel the Fire, that's never not been the case. So, what happened with Fuel, I started it so excited. I definitely struggled. And I think. I forget how challenging it was at the beginning of my business because now at this point, I'm like almost six years out from when I started.
And yeah, you really, you've cut, you just forget, you know, it's something you just really forget some of the things that you were going through six years ago, let alone like a year ago. And the little details start to get blurry, but in this phase, as I try to shift things, I'm remembering some of that. And I have to continuously remind myself to be patient.
But, back to the beginning, yeah, so I started it and initially the tagline for Fuel the Fire was food for the mind and body, because I knew that your mental state had everything to do with your outcomes for your health. Just because I was in that space already, seeing that with those patients, and being in that area, I think I worked for them for maybe like two and a half years, and I was able to see people return, and to see the way The doctor, Dr.
Diciano, I still really look up to him, and Teresa Kreitzer she was also doing the research as a physical therapist, so she was there on that, and yeah, they were so passionate about what they did, and that truly inspired me, and it was so beautiful to see how they would touch the lives of these people, and these people really faced so many challenges that they overcame because of the time and compassion and care that Dr.
DeCiano spent and put into them. So yeah, he, he really played a huge role in me, like, seeing how valuable that was and how it was really missing in, I think, our healthcare system as a whole. The specialties, I think, are really beautiful and it's really important to specialize in certain areas. And I think the person at the forefront of it all is really undervalued, like, your primary care physician or anyone that you see really before you get to the point where you need to see a specialist.
I think that was like a big thing that I really wanted to promote. And so, I was in a dietetic practice group for integrative and functional medicine. Because that was really all about taking care of the individual as a whole to really prevent further complications. It's really important to think about your health at all times, even when nothing's wrong.
But I think that's really the difficulty of it. And sorry, you might hear my washing machine in the background. I didn't really think about the timing of having my washer going while recording this podcast episode, but that's what's happening. So yeah, I, it's so important to really be taught how to properly take care of yourself as a human.
And we are literally not taught that. You know, the fact that we have grade school or like, you know. When you think of your primary education, they don't really sit there and talk to you about a lot of challenges that we face in adulthood. I think we undervalued just, like, small skills that are important for life.
Like, we got so engrossed in different subjects for school, but we really... You know, we had healthcare class, but it was just not really covering the bases that we needed, nor probably at that age could we have fully wrapped our head around it. So yeah, now I really see how valuable that is, and that's why it's so important to me to continue to promote that.
So, with Fuel, I knew I really wanted to help people become more confident in who they are and to know the truth about the things that they put into their body and what they do with their body so that they can live a long, healthy life. And feel happy with it and confident in their decision making. As Fuel progressed and expanded, so initially it was just nutrition counseling, and I was doing that out of a small office.
Then I stepped into a new office, which was a little bit bigger and had a waiting room, and it was attached to other office space, which allowed me to have the opportunity for growth. So that's why I was really excited to move into that newer space. When I was in there, we turned in that additional space into like a little...
Jim area because movement is so important. It's a really big part of the puzzle when it comes to taking care of your health I was just trying to teach people what I was doing and so that was like the best that I could do from the age that I was and What I knew from that time And so I was really, like, I was always an athlete, like, in high school I was an athlete, in college I was an athlete, and so, before Fuel, I was training people, so I was also a personal trainer at another gym, and I already kind of had like a reputation for being an athlete and for being a trainer.
So naturally, me just being someone that's kind of a people pleaser, and I don't want to say that anyone pressured me into it, I was excited by the fact that people were interested. And so, I was honored that they wanted me to help them in that area. So that's why I expanded the business into that, because I do, like, I really wanted Fuel to be this like one stop shop.
That you come in and, like, this is everything that you need on the preventative end, in terms of, like, these are daily practices to help you take care of yourself. As things went on and the business expanded, I was really tired from how much I was working. If anyone listening to this is in the counseling space or has ever worked with me, you kind of understand a lot of times our sessions were not just about talking about food.
It's always been about more. There are so many things that challenge us and get in the way of us being able to just eat the things that we quote unquote know we're supposed to eat, end quote. So, that and just as like the type of individual I am, I get so emotionally invested in my clients and their wellness.
So, when I was seeing like 30, sometimes 40 people a week, like I would work every single day. And I knew that this was part of my purpose was to help other people, but I didn't realize that I was exhausting myself with the way that I was doing it. So, I kind of knew the next step is like, I need to hire people who see the same mission as I do, who understand what this is really all about.
Because it's important, like I, I didn't want to slow down at that point because I knew like, my goal, my vision was always to expand and have a bigger business and just be, I don't know, just an inspiration to other women that they should follow their dreams and follow their passions. And it doesn't matter what people tell you, no matter how much they doubt you or want to say that the career you're choosing, there's no success in that career.
And there's so much against that career that. You know, you're not going to be someone that changes it, but I never, I never let those voices get to me then. I pushed forward, regardless of how many people told me that private practice was like, unsuccessful, it was so hard, and not worth your time, and not worth your energy.
I had a lot of people, literally my preceptors, the people that taught me. That had private practices themselves, literally told me I should change my mind and not do it because there is just no way that it can be successful. And it's really exhausting for very little reward. But, right, like, I was like, no, it's in my heart.
This is in my heart and I'm not going to shy away from it because someone else is discouraging me because we are not the same. Yeah, there was that little, that little part of me that was always like, yeah, I know I'm destined to do this and this has always been in my vision. I know this is part of my soul's calling and my purpose, so I'm going to follow it.
And I did. And yeah, as many of you know, it became such a successful practice and there was five people on the team, so it was really great. There was a part of me that always knew I would, but also a part of me that was there and was like, holy moly, like, I can't believe I, like, did this thing and being so young and really having, like, not really utilizing the resources that could have been available to me.
That's one big thing when I look back, I could have done things differently for sure, but in my heart and just the way things culminated. I took the step that I needed to take. So fast forward to the point where we're at the present field of fire, where we have the cooking classes and the nutrition counseling, as well as the yoga and the personal training.
So, I was basically juggling four businesses in one, genuinely. And I was doing too much and was like, no, the vision that I see for fuel and the direction that I want to keep moving is that we need to honor our bodies and take care of our bodies and our mental game, the mental side of it, is so important.
I've always been big on meditation, like even before I started Fuel the Fire, that was always something that I was doing. And. Really having that ability, like the, the mindset of manifestation, like that's been such a huge part of my success because, you know, I, like, I'm not saying that I came from the world's most opposition or the most challenges that someone could overcome in their lifetime.
Fuel has been 100 percent my investment, 100 percent my brain going behind it, like nothing. Came from an outside source. Like it was literally me. And so, I think I used to be like shy to even say that because I didn't want to come off as like being cocky or arrogant. It was really just like, no, like I'm allowed to be proud of myself for what I did.
And I did this because. Like, it was like, I conditioned my brain to believe in myself. Like, I didn't always believe in myself. And even to this day, I have self-doubt. Like, this is where my struggle is right now, is like, that self-doubt, when you're entering a new phase, it comes back up, it doesn't just go away.
And that's part of what I want people to see. And what I want them to learn is that so many things that we do, we're. Each next level of your life, next level of success and change, those old voices, they come back because there's deeper layers of healing to go through. And we don't always realize that. A lot of times we think once we achieve this thing or get this far that those voices are gonna go away or we're never gonna have those thoughts again.
Or we're always gonna be this confident, happy little butterfly that's just floating on top of the world. Like, that would be great, but that's just not the reality of life. And what I want to do is really get that message out to people that there are so many layers to healing and evolution and so much of what we thought it was before and just when we think we're kind of past certain things.
It rears their head again. We need to approach these things in a different way, in a new way, gain a new perspective in order to go past it and shift beyond this current paradigm that we're in. So, with Fuel, what really happened at that point, so I was like, wow, I need to be a better leader. I need to put my foot down because this is my business, and I have to call the shots.
And as much as I wanted to be, I wanted to be a really amazing boss. I wanted my employees to have full autonomy. I wanted them to be able to do whatever they wanted. But then that was coming at the cost of my vision. And because my role in my business is the visionary, like, that is me in my business. And I let go of that because I was too afraid.
To steer the ship, because I was worried that someone might be unhappy with the way I wanted to take this. And it got to the point where I really had to realize, like, I am running myself into the ground, this is literally my doing. I'm letting things get out of hand. I didn't know how to turn things around, and I tried.
I was met with a lot of resistance. Not everyone wanted to go the direction that I wanted, and I felt stuck. I was frustrated, but at the same time, people want what they want. If they felt really strongly about staying in the position of the business being one where we just do fitness and we just talk about nutrition and calories, I just, I couldn't do it anymore.
Personally, I just could not. And I didn't want a business that had these separate facets that were like somehow not meshing together anymore in the way that I thought that they would. The biggest part, the biggest spur of this change, where I literally just couldn't do it anymore, is I was sitting in my office and I could not talk about calories again.
Like, I could not sit here having people come in saying, I want to change my life, I want to love my body, I want to feel confident, I want to be empowered, I want to love my decisions and my choices. I want to attract a partner and be happy, I want to be in good relationships, and my health is getting in the way of that.
I couldn't sit there, now knowing, after going through so much struggle myself, with the same things. Calories were not the answer. It was never going to create the shift in their lives. I knew it was deeper than that. And so, I couldn't keep promoting a message that made people think that eating a certain number of calories was going to change all of these things in their life.
People were coming in, sitting there, talking about their struggles. And I didn't have the skill set to help them the way that I knew that they needed. And so, I went back to school. I didn't well I should say, it's like a certification program, call it school if you will. So, it's what I've been doing this year, and just like kind of getting ready to sit for some exams.
I have like three exams to sit for and then I'll be like completely certified. But yeah, a lot of people, my family really, was so not supportive of that decision because they were like, you have a successful business, like why would you walk away from this? Because their biggest thing was security. They just wanted me to be secure.
They saw it and they were like, you worked so hard to create this business and you love it. And I did. I do. That's never changed. But I do what I do for the people. Like money was never my motivator. And so, it didn't matter that the business was successful, it didn't matter that I had a great income. I didn't care because it was ne that never motivated me.
That was never the thing that made me do what I was doing. Like, yeah, sure, it was nice, of course, I'm not gonna pretend that I didn't enjoy having money. Like, we all need money. I can't deny that money is necessary for our existence in this world, yeah. But it was not my motivator. It did not motivate me.
It couldn't get me to do something if it wasn't aligned with my heart. And my heart was telling me that I have this message that I need to share with the world. And I have this unique position because I've seen things that many people have not because of the work that I have been doing for these last 6, 7, 8 years.
Every time I would sit down with someone and I could see and feel their emotions, naturally I'm very empathic and so it's, it's hard for me to not get deeply emotionally into what someone else is sharing with me. And I'd see that with women where, I mean it was men too, I don't want to say just women, I predominantly did see women, but men were in the same boat.
You have this idea that once your body looks a certain way, or once you make a certain amount of money, That, naturally, you're going to attract everything you want into your life, and you're just gonna be happy, and then problems don't exist anymore. That's so far from the truth. You can have that perfect body.
You can have that amazing income. You can have a cool looking Instagram feed, where you look like you're traveling and having fun with friends, and you're so popular, and get all these likes. And that's great, sure, but... None of that makes you really love yourself. None of that makes you feel worthy. None of that undoes any of your trauma.
None of those erases limiting beliefs. That you might have about yourself and the world. I couldn't keep talking about things that didn't matter in the grand scheme of life. Yes, I do believe nutrition is so important. It's so, so important for us to nurture our bodies. But to think it all came back to calories, to think that nutrition was, like, controlling exactly what was going into your body, was going to change the reality of your life?
No. It's so much deeper. And that's what I really want to get into with people, because I genuinely... Ugh, guys, you know, if you've listened to an episode before, you know I'm emotional. I'm trying really hard not to choke up right now. Like, I have always wanted Fuel the Fire to be a place where people come in...
And they feel so loved and accepted no matter who they are and what they are and where they are at. And that's because so many times in my life, I felt so afraid. Like, I felt like I didn't belong places. I felt like I wasn't worthy. I felt like I wasn't lovable. Through that pain, like, I knew that this was part of my purpose.
I, I can’t not keep fighting for that. I want to create a community filled with people that are loving and accepting and want to genuinely see each other do better. People that can genuinely be happy for each other and know that all these little things that we get caught up in. And the way we can be so, so hard on ourselves and not acknowledge how beautiful or talented or amazing and ambitious or strong and capable that we are, it's like so easy to forget that or not see that in yourself because somewhere along the line someone else planted these seeds in your head that you weren't valuable.
I've struggled for so many years to overcome those things, and I'm still working on it. It's not easy. It's not perfect. It's not a switch that you can just flip. It's not something that can be solved by changing just your diet. So, when people come in, and they truly want to transform, they want to evolve, they want to step into a better version of themselves that they know that they can be.
They know it's possible. That's all you need. Just like a little seed. Just one little seed. One little grain of rice. That's how much hope and belief you need, that's it. Just to know that it's possible. And through the support that I want to provide people, that's where I want to help them see and get to and know that life is so beautiful, it really can be, and you don't have to accept the reality that someone else keeps trying to shove you into.
The reality That's my message.
That's my message. That's my message. Taking care of yourself goes so deep, and it's not about what people see on the outside. That doesn't show you anything about the reality of what life actually is and what it takes, what we need, genuinely what we need to take care of ourselves and to step into something better.
We don't want to just keep running the same script of like, doing this weight loss program, working out, thinking that it's going to make us feel so confident and our life will change and shift dramatically just because we're working out this way and eating these foods and controlling this thing. So much of this is about letting go of control instead of trying to control.
My message got so convoluted when I was trying to scale my business. And so, I really had to take a step back and rebuild from the ground up. Everything genuinely was just duct taped together. I was young, unorganized. I, you know, I had hopes and big dreams that it would grow, but I didn't realize that the speed at which it would happen and how I wasn't prepared to handle it.
I have no doubts about my purpose, absolutely no doubt that I want to help people. I want to cultivate connection, help people see, I want to help people see that within themselves, that they're worthy of love, that they are valuable, that they are more than just what society tells them on the outside.
It's to transcend all of this stuff that we thought had to be our truth, the truth that someone else has been trying to make us believe. But that's not our truth. We all have our own truth. And the people around you want you to believe their truth, because that's what's comfortable. That's what's comfortable for all of us.
We want to be surrounded by people that believe in the same things. But when you strip yourself of all of these external things, you start to realize who you really are. And there's so much unlearning. So, so, so much unlearning. Honestly, it's way harder than I ever anticipated it being. But when I let go of that business that I created, I let go of competing, I let go of trying to be the fit chick, I let go of trying to change my hair, I let go of trying to change my body, I let go of everything.
I shed all of these layers, and as I did that, I was so confused at what I was left with. That stage is so difficult because you're sitting there and you're like, I am nothing and everything at the same time. That moment, once you get past all of the confusion, all of the emotion, everything that's wrapped up in all of these things, you realize how powerful you actually are.
And the work to get there, the pain, the shedding, the layers, I'm telling you, it's so much. There's no way I could have done it alone. Absolutely no way I could have done that alone. And I'm thankful for the people that played a role in my life to help me un become everything. And yeah, I had a lot of negative talk.
A lot of people saying that I was a disappointment. A lot of people saying it was pathetic. A lot of people saying I'm a mess. A lot of negative talk from people in my life, very close to me. Looking at everything that this past year was, was a failure. That was hard to hear. Really hard to block that out.
But through these practices that I want to teach, it's like, those were the things that got me through this. And that's what keeps me going. That's what keeps me excited for the future. Even though right now I'm telling you, like, I've been in the negatives this whole year. And that has made me want to run back.
But I had to keep fighting that. And telling myself, like, that's not, that's a false sense of safety that I want to cling back to. I know that's not for me anymore. Even though I know it works and I know it provides, it's not what this world needs. And I lead with my soul, I lead with my passion, and I will never change that about myself, no matter what.
And so, that's why I did what I did. I really, genuinely hope that the right people hear my message. And I know they will. I know they will, because that's just the way I believe the world works. I might be standing alone for a while, but that's okay. It's like, you have to fight through that because you know that life can be better.
And that's what I want to show people. How to really love yourself, how to really trust yourself, how to feel confident, how to have a life that you're actually proud of, how to know how to feel proud of yourself for once. All of that. It's so hard. That's why you need support. We all need support. None of us can do this alone.
We all suffer so long in silence. Because we're too afraid to be vulnerable. Because for so long we've been conditioned in this society to think that vulnerability... It's a bad thing, that you have to swallow your feelings and keep moving forward, that life is meant to be challenging and painful and filled with suffering, but it doesn't have to be that way.
You don't have to wake up and dread every day. You can wake up and love yourself. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are right now. You can get there. You can be there. With the right tools, with the right people, the right knowledge, the right unlearning and deconditioning and unbecoming, life can be so powerful.
You are so powerful. You can make a change, being one person. And that's what I'm all about. Doesn't matter how small you might feel right now, believe me, I felt so small. So, so small. For so long. But you can overcome it. And I'm here to support you through it. I'm here to let you know that you're not alone.
I'm here to remind you that it's safe to be who you are. And if right now, you don't know who you are, at the beginning of this year, I had no idea who I was. Completely forgot who I was. Completely lost sight of myself. But you can find yourself. You can, and you will. You absolutely will. So long as you wake up every day, and you make that choice, you keep that commitment to yourself, you make that promise to yourself, it starts with you.
Wow. Yeah, so that's the story. That's the unbecoming, the frustration, the angst, the tiredness, the challenge. It's all been chaotic, to say the least, but I'm so sure that this is what I want to do. Fuel the fire will go on. It's gonna look brand new, as you've been seeing, but it's really about the empowerment of the individual in the right ways, in the real ways, that will shift your life.
It will shift your life so much quicker, so much more powerfully. Then spending all of this energy thinking that the body, and the money, and the popularity... It's gonna change anything. The real root of all of this, all of it, it's love. It's love. Love, love, love. And once you find that, once you tap into it, once you see it's there, once you connect with it unconditionally, your life will shift.
That's what this is all about. And that's what I want to teach. If this message found you well, or if you found this message at all and it brought up some thoughts, you know I love to hear it from you guys. So please DM me, text me, call me, email me, whatever it is, I would love to hear from you. And I'd love to hear if you're on board.
If you're interested in the new services, coaching, group coaching, I'm really here for it and I'm, I'm all in on it, and I'm, I'm here for you, I'm ready to ride. Ask anyone in my life, I am a writer. I will be by your side. Anyone that has worked with me, like, I will show up for you. So long as you choose to show up for yourself, I am here for you.
So yeah, thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, I'd really appreciate a review. If you feel called to, if not, that's okay. Listen to a few more. But I really appreciate you taking the time to share this with people that this could resonate with, that maybe it could help change their perspective or shift some things.
I think it's really important for us as humans to all work together. That is so key to this big puzzle, this big question of life. It starts with you, love yourself as much as you love your neighbor, love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, and you will see just that mentality, how much it shifts things in your life.
So yeah, thanks for listening guys, love you, bye!