life's challenges MAKE a person and Rachel Shunway is not exception as she has gone through divorce, depression, an eating disorder and living aboard and presently in China. Rachel is the creator of TheBadassAcademy.com and as a confidence coach she customize programs to fit individual needs. She has a very enlightening way of how to live with purpose and intention, like the badass you were meant to be.
Hello. Hello. Life challenges make a person, and Rachel Shumway is no exception. She has gone through relocation, depression, divorce, and eating disorders. She created victory for herself. She's originally from Oregon and presently is living in China. She is the creator of the bad-ass academy.
Please welcome, Rachel Shumway. Welcome Rachel.
Hello? Hello? Hello. How you doing over there? It's evening time for you, morning over here. So wild.
Give us some background because that's an awful lot. Relocating to another country, depression, going through a divorce, eating disorders.
That's a huge amount of things to tackle. So give us a little background and then maybe tell us like how you decided to make the transition to help other people with their confidence.
Okay, for sure. Yeah. So sometimes I, I wake up in the morning and I look at my life and I'm like, oh my goodness. For how old I am.
I'm 27 turning 27, this year. I've gone through so many different things. I've been married for more years than most people my age. Yeah, from a background perspective, you know, the boring stuff is, you know, went to university and studied exercise and wellness and all of these things. Let me start over.
So, yeah, my background has always kind of been from the time that I've been young in thinking and pondering and trying to make random connections in different ways of thinking different areas of life. I've always been a very, very curious person. And sometimes when I was younger, I would just kind of go around and go on walks and be like, What does time, you know, as an eight year old, I remember walking to school and asking, asking, um, my sister, who I walked to school with, like, what is time?
And like, who invented it? And like questions like this from an eight year old, like do not ever happen on such a deep level. And so from that perspective, I guess who I've always been, has been someone that's. Seeing something, seeing a problem, seen a little question and just kind of ran towards it. And so that's probably why I have ended up in so many different random areas of my life.
You know, I've lived in four different continents by the time I was 23, like I said, yeah, I was married, had been divorced. And, um, just from this kind of place of being someone that I see a challenge. And then there's something there that's like, that looks fun. What kind of torturous wonderful, evolutionary growth can come out of this. Um, and I guess that's kind of the spirit of bad-assery. That's always been inside of me from a young age. So eventually, um, you know, I was living in Sacramento. I'd been married for five years at the time. I'd already lived in China for a year. And, you know, the relationship that I was in, the marriage was completed and I decided, you know what, what's the next challenge that I want to take on.
I really didn't know who I was. I didn't know who I was outside of this relationship. I was very much relying on, um, eating behaviors to kind of keep me feel like I keep me feeling like I was a float. And so it was like, you know what? I don't want this relationship anymore. It's complete. I don't know who I am without food. I don't know who I am spiritually. None of any of this makes sense. I need to kind of destroy the walls that are around me. And so that's why I decided to pick up and to move to China, which is kind of an external representation. If you will, of going into a place where I felt so lost, lost externally to match the lost internality of my world.
And so from that place, it was just kind of like. We're going to do this. This is the challenge. Let's see what we can learn here. And so yet picked up and relocated over here.
I love your analogy of feeling lost and I also liked the way you said that your marriage was complete. It was a beautiful way of putting it.
Yeah. I don't like to think of anything like ending.
I've never heard anybody speak to that before and I applaud you. I think it's beautiful. So go ahead, go ahead with your story.
Yeah, so kind of rebuilding, I look around, I don't know what the Chinese characters mean. I don't know anybody in the city. I like one friend. And so I learned how to find myself in a place where nothing made sense. I didn't have any expectation of who I was supposed to be. I could all of a sudden, like it was okay.
I could go and have a couple drinks. My family wasn't there telling me, um, that I could or couldn't do that. I grew up, um, just in a, in a place where alcohol wasn't really a thing until it was like, wow, I have all of these choices now, what do I want? Right. Instead of what do I have to do? So. That was kind of just the process that I went through.
And then I found who I was, I was able to discover that who I was was already there all along. It just had a little fuzzy, like lots of clouds and expectations and, you know, habits and addictions that once all of that was cleared away, it was like, ah, yes. Thank you, true self for showing yourself. You've been here all along and if I can figure it out, like there's literally nobody else in the world that can not figure it out because I feel like I kind of checked off, like, I don't know the big six or whatever of life, things of transitions. And so it's like, I cannot be quiet about this anymore. There's so many people that feel like they're lost, but it's like, Yo, you're not lost and I can help you with that.
So that's why I decided to transition more into coaching, especially it was actually during when COVID hit. I was living in Shanghai at the time. Um, and so of course, everyone in China was freaking out. We're like, okay, great. It was kind of paradoxical because in that moment it was like, the world was kind of freaking out my circles, my social circles with like, what's going to happen to us. Are we going to have to, you know, leave and be relocated? And it was just like this sense of calm steadiness that came to me. And it was just like, Rachel, the world is uncertain, but you are certain in who you are.
And you need to bring that to life and you need to start speaking of that. So that's when the bad-ass academy was born and here we are today.
I love how that you just got up and went to a new place. I think that's super cool and very bad-ass. And in honor of the hat i have on on which our listeners can't see, it says beautiful bad-ass I had to wear it tonight in your honor. Can you define Badassery for me?
I know it's like my favorite word ever. So, I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with Renee Brown and Glennon Doyle and Pema Chodron, those are the three people that mentored me in this journey towards my own definition of badassery, which is using to live in the discomfort of vulnerability and fear and courage that comes when you're living an authentic life. You don't settle for cheap counterfeits because who you are, what you really desire is a life that's filled with truth and passion and vision. And those things are not possible. When you settle for settle for a quick fix and instant gratification and closing yourself off.
So it's kind of those three things of authenticity and vulnerability and commitment to the life that, that you have those desires in your heart, that they feed off of each other to create bad-assery. And it's not perfection. It's messy. It's ugly. It's lots and lots and lots. Of yucky and negative emotion, but at the end of the day, it's true. It's the human experience.
And you're a stronger, better person for it. And I'm going to get a poster that definition and put in front of me every day. That is just an awesome way to live. I've been really trying to develop my uncertainty muscle, so this couldn't be any more appropriate for where I standing at this very minute so I thank you.
One thing that I really like about your program, I applaud your efforts, for not treating everybody as one size fits all. You try to do a unique coaching concept, can you explain how you go about that?
Yeah, so, I mean, badassery or just having a goal in general. Like there are so many different ways that experts can help people. Right. I believe that at the end of the day, 95% of the time, people already know exactly what they need to do, they may not know, you know, exactly every single strategy and skill and step from A to B of where they are and where they want to go.
But they know what's in front of them. They have the foresight to take one step ahead of them. So for example, a client that I'm working with is working on losing 50 pounds right now. She doesn't know exactly what her food protocol is going to be when she achieves that result. She doesn't know exactly what kinds of foods fuel her body.
She doesn't know, you know, should I eat cashews or almonds? She doesn't know exactly. But she knows right now that she needs to stop eating sugar. She knows that right now, eating four meals a day, isn't working for her. She knows that right now she's making a plan for herself and then not following through with it because she feels uncomfortable.
So she knows she needs to learn the skill of allowing urges and loving herself through that process and that where she is right now. That's the only thing that she really needs to know. She knows who she's going to become, and she has the steps in front of them. And so for me, it's, first of all, it's like a weight off of my chest.
Cause it's like, I don't, I don't know what you should do. And what I know and what I help my clients with is helping them to discover. That, what they do know is enough who they are is enough. And if I can teach them that and if I can teach them how to view their challenges, not as something to fix so that they can be worthy and loveable.
Then they can take that and they can apply it to weight loss. They can apply it to business. They can apply it to their relationships because it's who they are. It's who they've become through the process of creating this goal and creating this result for their life. And I love that.
On my bathroom mirror, I haven't vinyl letters, I am enough. People don't realize that. They just need to look in the mirror and take what's there. Cause it's kind of all there, but sometimes they need a little guide there to show them what is there. So I'm glad you were there to guide.
With your badassery program, you have three pillars. Would you talk to us about your three pillars?
Yeah. So kind of going back to the definition, the three pillars are vulnerability, authenticity and playing big.
So with vulnerability, the way that I kind of just that I, that I like to think about it is like, you've got this Coliseum shaped thing, like that big triangle on top and then three pillars. And then if your vulnerability is low than your authenticity or playing bigness kind of tend to like pick it up.
So for example, like if you're feeling really, really incapable of feeling vulnerable, you're going to see that manifest not only in the way that you, are resisting emotion and kind of trying to, play smaller, but you're not dreaming for bigger goals. So it's like as one pillar is kind of affected is stronger than the others, it always balances out.
Like the first pillar, there are four skills that you can use to increase your ability to embrace vulnerability. So spiritual connection is the first skill. When you connect to a higher power. God angels universe. She highest self Buddha Krishna. It doesn't matter what it is.
But when you have a foundation of this idea that there is some power that is greater outside of you, that loves you. That believes you are enough, then all of a sudden, you're able to embrace vulnerability a little bit more because you're not doing this alone. It's not like you having an experience of negativity or shame or whatever.
It's not anything wrong with you, but it's like, okay, there's someone here, deeply lifting, guiding and supporting me. So it makes that vulnerability a little easier. There's the physicality of it strengthening your physical body. So this is nutrition. This is exercise. This is mind, body connection, knowing how to meet your physical needs, just at a very, very basic level.
And there's emotional management. Obviously, this is a huge one, right? People want to feel better. I would just, I just don't want to feel anxious anymore. Um, so it's understanding, okay. What causes anxiety for you? Where does anxiety come from? And anxiety is a feeling. And what I teach is that your feelings are always caused by your thoughts.
So if you feel anxious, it's not because you lost your job. It's because you lost your job and now you have a story about how you're not going to be able to provide for your kids and you're worrying and you're spinning around and all of these thoughts that are producing anxiety, but it's not because you lost your job. It's because the way that you're perceiving the circumstances around you. And when you're able to get into that place, right.
Then all of a sudden it's like, okay, I'm feeling anxiety, but where can I take my power back? And then you actually move into solution finding mode instead of crap. I just feel anxious that what am I going to do about it? It's like emotional management here is creating a routine. Or you're proactively caring for yourself proactively, um, going into the garden of your brain, if you will, and taking out the weeds, making sure that it's, that it's a clean area and that you're also planting seeds of love.
You're planting seeds of joy and intentionality in there, so that the garden of your mind is filled with the plants and the flowers and the fruits that you want to be there. Because if you don't do that, Then it's going to, you're going to absorb those things from the world around you.
I liked the way you was talking about the balance and how, one of the pillars might need to be a little stronger to keep the balance, everything's a balance.
When you have success in one area, you take physical health, for example, you borrow confidence from that. So one of the things, that, that I do is like, when I go to the gym and I have a really good workout, I just notice the thoughts that I'm having about myself.
Oh my gosh. Rach, you're so strong. You're a, bad-ass, you are resilient. This pain is worth it. Like, how can I make this fun? How can I play more? And those are like the power self-talk that I give myself in the gym, which is like, where I totally kill it. And then I go into another area.
So like I'm on, um, I'm like learning clubhouse, for example. And I'm kind of like, I noticed myself going on. I have no idea what to do here. It's okay. But wait a second. How is it true? That I'm strong here. I'm strong in the gym. How is it true that I'm strong here and you can kind of transfer it into other areas, even if like you're not really good at something yet.
It doesn't really matter. Cause like babies aren't good at walking, but they keep trying. You can feel more confident in areas of your life simply because of who you are.
That's so funny that you just said that I literally just. Narrowed my avatar and I'm niching it to successful entrepreneurs and healthy habits because they understand discipline and business and I just want to use that to transfer it into their health.
That is karma right there happened in live people. Um, that's awesome. I tell you what, I'm glad I wear my hat.
Um, give me a couple of, of clients stories, for success.
So just to kind of a general example, I just finished up, a program with, oh, I'm going to miss this client so much because she. When she came to me, she came to me just for, you know, general things. She was struggling with a little bit of anorexia also over-drinking and she just came to me and she was like, you know what?
I don't even know what I want. I just want to feel better. I feel angry all the time. I feel stressed out. I feel like. I go into this relationship with my boyfriend. She was having a lot of people, pleasing things where, you know, her boyfriend would want her to come over and she's like, well, I don't want to, but okay.
I guess I will. And then she'd spend the whole evening like angry and upset at him. Cause she's like, you made me come over here. Which of course, you know, he didn't. And so what her and I worked on together is she just decided like, Cause it w with the emotions, when you say, I just want to feel better, it's really hard to measure.
It's really hard to track that. So what I do is I use a tool that's called like the emotional set point and your top three feelings. So on her, her emotional average scale, basically what she was feeling was indulgent and angry. And resistance. Those were like her top three emotions that she was feeling on a day-to-day basis.
And so we set the intention that what she wanted to feel was more self regard, more peace and more groundedness. So, yeah. So throughout this process, we worked on unmemorized the feeling of anger shifting from not reacting to anger, but allowing it to be there, not judging herself for having those feelings when things didn't go right.
And it's going to make me cry. But at the end of this package, um, what we, what we got to was like, She's like, yeah, I feel anger still, but it's not a reflection of anything that's wrong with me. I am a human that's feeling. Anger. Sometimes things happen in the world. Like, um, she, she worked at a school and she was like, I see parents hit their kids or I see the children being neglected and I choose to be angry about that because it's injust, I'm not making my negative emotions mean that anything's wrong with me. I love myself and I have this human experience. And what I think is so beautiful about that is she was able to get to a point that yes, she did change her emotional, um, her emotional set point.
She had that sense of self regard and gratitude and peace and calm, which of course at the end of the day, We all would love to feel good all of the time, but we're humans, right? So not the way that the world works. If we wanted to feel good all the time, then that means everything in the world would have to be perfect all the time.
And it just isn't, but we can embrace that as part of the human experience. And that's where she got to. At the end of the day, she was like, you know what? I. Know how to feel. I know how to create emotions that I want, and I know how to be there with myself instead of leaving, instead of turning to alcohol, instead of turning to anger and reacting and hiding under the blanket and watching Netflix all day, I'm able to show up for myself in my life from that place.
And I think that it's a wonderful success. It just makes me really happy.
Ah, it sounded like she really could understand her feelings and know how to navigate through them. Cause a lot of do, they just get lost and then they turn to something that's not healthy for them, whether it's alcohol or food or whatever, not conducive to a good life, so good for her. And that's awesome that you get to help people like that. That's that's a really nice feeling. I'm sure. Very rewarding.
My signature question for you. If you could eliminate one thing it from the world forever, what would it be and why?
Um, I think loneliness. Oh, that would be the number one thing. I don't think it's the purpose of our life here to eliminate challenges to eliminate. Uh, chocolate to eliminate alcohol. Um, I mean, on, on an, on some level, you know, that would solve some of the problems, but the worst and most toxic thing that I ever see myself, I see as the, myself, I think in everybody, is this idea that nobody else understands where I'm going through, what I'm going through.
And I'm totally alone in this journey. And that is never true because I have lived. I have lived in a place where I didn't know anybody. I had nothing, but like this numb fog of depression sitting over my body all of the time. And I felt. Completely alone. And there is nothing more discouraging and disempowering than believing that lie.
That is so true. And there's always ways, you know, a lot of people expect the loneliness to just go away, but you have to do something about it. One of the things Tony Robbins says is, action cures all. And it's true. You'd have to go out there and find somebody social media, especially with the lockdown.
A lot of people experience a lot of loneliness. I heard somebody say was just talk to somebody. Like if you're sitting on the grocery line, learn something from everybody you meet. And it's a great way to just engage with others. You know, I mean, just pipe up a conversation, you knew what they probably want to talk to. So it's just a win-win.
That is a stupendous answer, loneliness. I haven't got that one yet. So, way to go. Rachel, I know you were perplexed on what you were going to say, torn between so many.
That and Frito-Lay, but I decided to
awesome. Oh my God. I am right there with you but yeah, that was that's funny one. Yeah, that is true.
So, um, loneliness is, is very hard, but I think the cure to that is people just have to put that foot out and take that first step on their own. Uh, and when you can't get yourself to just, you know, like push yourself to do it, I kind of made a challenge for myself too, is like, you can make it fun. I'm a musical theater person and so sometimes I like to just step into this other character. When I go out, it's like, okay, today, this is who I'm going to be. I'm going to make eye contact with 10 people, ohh I love it, different reactions I can get from them based on energy that I present with it, because I mean, what's the worst thing that's going to happen.
You develop your strength in your uncertainty muscle, which is always a great thing. That's so fun. I love that so thank you. Um, but yeah, you've got to put yourself out there, right? I mean, you just, you have to go places that you're not comfortable in and because if you don't, you're never going to change from where you are, right?
Yeah. Yeah. And if you know that, you know, you're going to put yourself out there, you're going to like start a conversation with somebody in the grocery line. Okay. You probably are going to feel scared doing that, but. So what, like the worst thing that's going to happen. If you can get the skill of like, just feeling scared all the time for going out and doing the thing, then it's like the world opens up.
I love it. Ah, such good wisdom, I tell you what. Not everyone can pick themselves up and move to another country or live in several countries. That is really pretty neat. I've been meeting a lot of people like you lately.
It's opening my eyes to some very interesting, perspective things in the future.
Audience where they can contact you.
Yes. So you can find me on Facebook, Rachel Shumway. That is where I hang out. You can add me and send me a message, or you can also find me at thebadassacademy.com.
There's a little button there that says, apply to the bad-ass competence program or just book a free 30 minute call. I do offer consultations for anyone that wants to have a chat, whether you want to, you know, find out more about working with me or if there's something that you think I can help you with on this free 30 minute call also totally cool. So you can find me on either of those things. And I will, of course put them in the show notes. No problem. And I thank you for, sharing with us, your history and, your great academy, because I think that's so important to help people that are feeling that needs a boost their confidence.
So hopefully people will connect with you and you can share your wisdom and, and your expertise in that arena. And I appreciate your time today so much.
And thank you for having me. How cool is that? We live in a world where we can meet 12 hours apart and still have this call still recur record this podcast.
And yeah. Absolutely. You're like in a different day. It's like so bizarre to me. I don't know. I behind me, I can done in the side here. I have all my world class. I'm always trying to figure out where people are and what time it is. It's like a constant challenge, but, um, this has been great and I love it.
You and I are going to keep connecting because I feel like we're in the same page with so many things and it's been a complete pleasure. Thank you so much.
And I just want to remind everybody out there. Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.
Ooh, I like that.