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Meet Shanna Nardone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanna Nardone.

Shanna, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I always viewed my path in life as very linear. I would go to college, get a corporate job, start climbing the corporate ladder, get married, have kids, and continue to work. It was a mindset I learned from my parents and there was a sense of safety in it because you always knew what was “next.”

So what happened in reality, I graduated college, got a job, started climbing the corporate ladder, got married, and had kids. Exactly on the plan.

But, what I didn’t expect was when my second was born to start feeling like I was completely failing in all aspects of my life. To start feeling the pressures of life coming down on me so hard that I hit my breaking point.

See, the thing they don’t tell you about that path is that it may be direct, but how drastically difficult that journey becomes for the maternal figure once kids arrive. We are made to believe, even as kids, that “moms” got it. The house, the kids, the job, everything will just run smoothly because of mom!

But, when I became the mom of two kids at the start of the pandemic (my son was 2 and my daughter was born in April 2020) it put a spotlight on the fact that I felt 100% responsible for the health and wellbeing of my family. My husband and I were both working from home with no childcare and I tried to manage it all.

And this wasn’t a new mentality for me – I just always had it under control (like the generations before I did), until now. The pandemic added more weight than I could carry and I broke.

When I was confronted with this awareness of myself (feeling 100% responsible for the health and wellbeing of my family), I decided definitively at that moment, that something needed to change. And I knew it had to be me. I took this opportunity to redefine two major categories of my life:

Changed my parenting perspective – I decided that if I wanted my husband to be more collaborative and supportive, to split responsibility with me, I had to be collaborative and supportive of him as well.

That started with me acknowledging all that he was already doing for me, the family, and the household and accepting his way of doing things. So for example, when he loaded the dishwasher, to not go behind him and reload it…

Changed my career perspective – I wasn’t happy with my career and knew it. I had identified life coaching as my next step long before but wasn’t ready in my journey to take that step. This was the moment.

So, in the middle of a global pandemic, with two kids at home, and no family support or child care in sight, I quit my job to start school, graduated, and launched my own business.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Of course not! Here are just some of the many challenges I faced and continue to overcome:

I spent over a decade in the corporate space, so leaving to start my own company was a massive change in my identity. I had to first overcome a lot of self-doubt and self-questioning, basically getting out of my own way, to allow the change to happen!

Once I made the switch, I had to adjust to being my own boss. Flexibility can be a gift and a curse! I spent a lot of time designing my everyday life and then setting up the appropriate boundaries to protect them.

Another area that was particularly challenging was that I wanted to have my own life coaching practice and that required me to run my own business. While I have spent most of my time mastering my art of coaching, I have also spent a lot of time learning how to run a business as I had no previous experience in it!

I have spent endless hours sorting through government sites to set up my very first LLC, creating systems to run my business, building a website, and developing finance trackers. It’s like learning a new language every time I have to do something new!

What I have found interesting throughout this process though, is that for the first time in my life when I am faced with a work-related challenge there is a sense of purpose propelling me forward that I have never felt before. It keeps me motivated and moving forward, even if it’s at a snail’s pace some days.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Maternal Grove?
As a business owner, wife, and mother, I understand the pressures that maternal figures* face every day.

The pressures to be and to give 100% all of the time, to put everyone’s needs before their own, to be 100% responsible for everything relating to the house and family, to have others believe you have it all under control, etc. I understand them, but I also know they are one big fallacy.

Maternal Grove’s purpose is to empower maternal figures to feel space and balance in their everyday lives so that they can better show up for themselves and their families. We do this by offering services that are actually designed for maternal figures:

1:1 Coaching Program – While societal pressures have us pushing and pushing, it’s also the pressure we put on ourselves and how we limit our thinking that inhibits our ability to grow and change. 1:1 coaching is designed to help identify authentic changes they can make to start living the life they didn’t think possible, create a plan to get there, and put it into action together.

Support Groups – We are also deeply rooted in community. We understand how vital it is to be able to share what is going on in their life without fear of unwanted advice or judgment. We offer this safe space for them to connect, breathe and share.

When you are struggling to hold it together in your day-to-day, your mindset, life, and daily routine don’t feel like a choice. But it is. And I want to help these maternal figures move from surviving to thriving because it is possible. I am proof of it!

*Who is a maternal figure? Anyone in a maternal caregiving role, regardless of gender.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
This question made me laugh because I wouldn’t normally consider myself to be a risk-taker, but I guess I do quite a bit that others feel are risky! Here are a few examples:

– I recently flew cross country with my 4-year-old and 2-year-old kids all by myself.

– My husband and I drove cross country in April 2020 to visit our families with our then 3-year-old, 1-year-old, and 65-pound dog.

– I left my corporate job during the pandemic to start my own life coaching practice.

So, I guess I am a risk-taker! But, even resurfacing them here doesn’t make me feel uneasy in any way. I have always lived life as a realist with realistic expectations.

I know going into these situations that they aren’t going to be perfect, so I prepare for them accordingly. And in moments of difficulty, I acknowledge what I have control over and let everything else go.

I have found for when I open myself up to strategic risk-taking I prove to myself that I am more capable than I originally gave myself credit for.

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