Tedx Talk | Connected vs. Connecting

If you’re familiar with TED or TEDx Talks, you know that the premise is: “ideas worth spreading.” TED Talk speakers have included people like magician David Blaine, “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, activist/musician Bono, and motivational speaker Shannon McKain. That’s right – ME!

I am honored to join the TED and TEDx community with my idea:

“Connected vs. Connecting: What living on a canoe taught me about relationships.” 

Two years ago I was forced to leave behind all technology as I embarked on a two week adventure aboard a canoe in the Florida Everglades. On the trip (read about it here), I was paired with seven other millennials to learn about Situational Leadership. But, when I stepped foot on dry land again, I’d learned so much more. WE had learned so much more.

I have this theory that technology is eroding our ability to connect with each other. I felt it first hand when I was dropped in the Everglades with little more than a Nalgene bottle and two oars.

Technology had become our crutch and without it, we felt as though we’d lost innate skills to connect with others. Had technology caused us to forget how to form meaningful connections with others? Had it created chaos, disconnect and turmoil instead?

We live in a world where staring at a screen rules our every movement. It’s the social norm, and has the power to control how we communicate with others, for better or for worse.

Are millennials at a disadvantage because technology has been a part of their lives from the very beginning? If so, how do we shift away from “connecting” through likes, emoticons and friend counts? How do we develop skills that are more emotionally fulfilling?

In todays’ world, it’s much easier to form relationships through technology. It’s easier to swipe a finger advancing a relationship on a dating app than it is to have a face-to-face conversation. We wish people happy birthday, not because we’ve remembered, but because social media reminds us of their special day while we’re still lying in bed. Have we found greater meaning if someone “likes” a photo we’ve posted, than if someone gives us a hug?

The latest topics below have become the most requested seminars I offer.

Do you work with a group who might relate? Let’s talk!

Personal Brand Look and Feel

I am a huge advocate for having a strong personal brand. To me, a personal brand is about more than your website, resume and credentials.  It’s about more than the brand of clothes you wear, the type of car you drive and the way you present yourself on social media.  My definition of a personal brand is how you stand out in your life and your career. It includes both your inner beauty and the way you present yourself publicly.

Now, that’s not to say that I never spend a day relaxing in sweatpants or that I always wear makeup to the grocery store.  I don’t!  After all, I might argue that the most important part of one’s personal brand is AUTHENTICITY!

But, because much of what I do involves being in front of many people, I do spend time considering how to channel my inner beauty and feel good about the way I look on the outside, too.

I recently met with the experts at AesthetiCare MedSpa in Kansas City to try some of their services and I wanted to fill you in on my experience.  AesthetiCare isn’t just a feel-good “spa” where you leave feeling relaxed. It’s an experience that actually produces results you continue to see for days, weeks, and months.

I was initially nervous because I didn’t know what to expect reading about things like the “halo facial” and contemplating Botox for the first time! But, the friendly team assigned to me – Matt, Judy, and Samantha – really felt like my friends, and took time to advise me on products and services that would benefit me. We looked at my skin during each appointment and they explained to me which products were good for my current state and which weren’t.

For the first time in my skin care treatment, including the countless hours I have spent at different beauty bars, makeup counters, and spas around the city, I felt like I wasn’t being sold products just because they had sales quotas to meet. I felt like I was sitting with my best friend who was genuinely interested in helping me look and feel great.

When your inner self and outer self-match it’s a wonderful feeling. The prettier you feel on the outside, the more confidence you have on the inside.  The more confidence you have on the inside, the more that beauty shines through. When you feel great, look great, and act great you have more confidence.  And – more confidence means more push to follow your dreams and achieve your goals!

Personal Brand More Than How You Look

When you hear the term “Personal Brand,” your first thought might wander to the outfit you are wearing or the color of your shoes. However, your Personal Brand is so much more than your exterior image. It’s how you think, how you treat others, how you make people feel and also how you communicate.

When I coach employees on career development, I ask about their relationships with peers and bosses. I inquire about how co-workers view them professionally. Is it the same viewpoint they have of themselves? Would managers say they are caring or negative? Hard working or lazy?

Often times, the responses are astonishing. Employees will discover that they have closed themselves off or haven’t represented their full Personal Brand in the best light to help further their careers and in turn, miss out on opportunities.

Your Personal Brand is a direct reflection of you. It’s your name. Your handshake. Your authentic self. The whole enchilada wrapped up in a bow called YOU.

Some Personal Brands are flashy. Some are reserved. All of this is exciting! Nobody else brings that exact same package to the table. But, it can hurt you if you aren’t aware of what that package means. Do you know what your Personal Brand says about you without even realizing it? When thinking about your Personal Brand, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would your bosses state that you are the first or last out of the office each day on a consistent basis?
  • How would your co-workers describe how you make them feel?
  • Would your peers say that you are open or closed off when approached at the water cooler?
  • Can you communicate effectively with clients and peers?
  • What are five words your boss would use to describe you?
  • If you had a hashtag, what would it be?
  • What are your three brand words?
  • What do you think is the most important quality that compliments career advancement?

Being cognizant about all aspects of your Personal Brand will allow you to leverage your positive attributes for career growth and in turn, live a happy, healthy life! Here’s wishing you a great week!

Shannon McKain is a motivational speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur from Kansas City, Missouri. She seeks to help people live their best lives through personal brand development, goal mapping, and work/life fusion.

The Most Important Valentine I Ever Gave…

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

As I was planning my 2015 calendar at the beginning of this year, I knew I wanted to do something different for Valentine’s Day. My husband and I have been married for almost four years now (and together for eight), so the thrill of having a nice meal or receiving small gifts isn’t as appealing as it once was. Additionally, as a motivational speaker, I have been spending more and more time on the road over the last several months getting to meet and visit with awesome people all across the country, so I knew I wanted to turn Valentine’s Day upside down!

My assistant Karlee and I brainstormed ideas including new video content or snail mail to our clients, but neither of those options felt quite right. If you know anything about me, you know that everything I do comes from the heart.

Then, a few weeks ago, I received a call from my buddy Adam. Adam created this amazing product last year called the Acts of Good Journal. It’s brilliant (and I can’t wait to share more about it)!

“Shannon! We are going to take a day and perform random acts of good around the city for Valentine’s Day. Want to join?”

I couldn’t believe it! It was music to my ears. I cleared my schedule immediately.

So, this past Monday, Adam and I traveled around the city delivering gorgeous flowers donated by Dan Meiners. We were like two kids in a candy store and so happy to spend our day making a difference for someone else.

Our stops included:

  • A military wife’s home. Her husband has been deployed to Iraq 4 times in the last 4 years.
  • A high school teacher whose son was recently hit by a train.
  • An employee at a children’s hospital in Kansas City who has been working 70-80 hour work weeks over the last several months to deploy a new software for the hospital.
  • The CEO of a major charity in Kansas City who has been working tirelessly on a big project.
  • A woman who has spent the last few years taking care of an ailing parent.
  • A woman who donated her free time to helping woman create healthier lifestyles.

At each stop, I was reminded that life is so precious and even the smallest acts of kindness are greatly appreciated. Frankly, these valentine’s were the most important I’ve ever given.

An act of kindness doesn’t mean you have to deliver flowers to someone. It can be a genuine compliment, a text, buying someone’s coffee or just taking a moment to appreciate someone for all of his or her hard work.

What kind of Valentine will you give this year? Leave a comment below! XOXO.

My Major Arena League Soccer Debut

They say go big or go home, right?

A few weeks ago, I was asked to play in the “Media Game” at halftime of the Missouri Comets Major Arena Soccer League game. I have a long history with the Missouri Comets, including cheering for them during the 2005-2006 season, so of course I said yes!

However, I wondered if I should’ve told them the full truth. I’ve never played, or attempted to play, soccer in my life. But I figured, cheering for three different soccer teams (high school, MISL and MLS) counts right?

Our game included: Nick Vasos from Fox 4, Jeff Husted from the Blue Testament, Holly Starr local media darling, Jake Yadrich from Sporting KC, Alan Hainkel with Fountain City Soccer, Mike Kuhn writer with Down the Byline, Thad Bell with SB Nation, Derek Weisemann from Oak Grove Newspaper, Bill Althaus with The Examiner, Nate Davis from Mix 93.3, Hector Solorio with La Barra KC, Ryan Westward at 98.9 The Rock, Kory Brinton from Upper 90 and Jonathan Aldridge with Inside KC.

Before the media game began, there were of course several interviews and a group selfie.

After lots of trash talking and team selfies, my team, Team White (by default to our t-shirt color), completed a pep talk huddle and waited for our moment to take the field.  Once we heard our walkout song, we each ran out. I was poised and ready to go as left forward, confident that I would score a goal for our team.

The referee blew the whistle and our team immediately took possession. I started to run forward, anticipating a pass in my direction. I was prepared, I’d seen it a million times. My teammate would pass to me, I’d pass back and we’d score! I took three steps ready for my big moment when all of a sudden it felt like I hit a brick wall.

A player from the other team totally sideswiped me from out of nowhere. I never even saw it coming.

I realized in that moment, I had two options. Either punk out or put my big girl pants on.

As the sole female on my team, I knew what I had to do.

I shook it off and started running again. By this time, the right forward and middle forward had the ball near the net. There was a pass back from Husted to Weiseman, it got loose, I kicked it back to Weiseman and GOALLLLL!!!!!

I was so proud of my assist! What a great start!

We jogged back to midfield. The whistle was blown, we took possession, lost possession, took possession, lost possession, the ball came my way again, my teammate Yadrich came to help when a member of the Team Blue approached as well. Yadrich took the ball and in a split second, I knew what I needed to do. Pay back Team Blue! Check you Brinton!

The time clock started ticking. We were running out of time! Yadrich passed to Husted. We got close to the goal again. We shot. Their goalkeeper grabbed it without a flinch. Threw it back out. Team Blue took possession and raced down the field. Team Blue scored.

The score was tied 1-1. And the buzzer dinged. We ended on a tie game!

What an awesome experience for my inaugural game playing soccer.

It was also fun to see so many old and new friends. My dear friend Vlatko Andonovski has coached the Comets the last two seasons — to a championship last year and undefeated 9-0 this year. It was great catching up with Vlatko and his wife. It was also great to see in the stands former player Dino Delevski, who was a star player when I cheered for the team.

My good friend and NFL sister Jillian was the on-field reporter, while my friend Steve Serrano was the in-game host. Several of our NFL sisters came to support as well!

I have to admit, I was really nervous to say yes to this adventure. The idea of playing in my first ever soccer game in front of thousands of people was terrifying. But, I’ve learned a lot this year about taking risks and putting yourself out there. I didn’t hit one of my goals of getting a speaking engagement in Canada, but getting to work with Nancy Grace, Anne Burrell and even Jennifer Nettles ain’t too shabby.

I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes, but, had I not put myself out there for different opportunities, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, in saying yes to the game, I’d do it all over again because the outcome was so much greater than letting my fear control my Saturday night. Sometimes you don’t always win, but when you go for that strike and wind up making contact with the ball, the reward is so much greater. I got to connect with old friends, make some new ones and created new memories through it all.

  

What a way to end the year.

I hope you will consider joining me for JumpStart 2015. I would LOVE to help you find the same bliss and happiness I have found in life…. including taking those scary yet rewarding risks and saying yes to the right opportunities that will help you live a life you love.

XO.

Better KC | New Year Resolutions

This time of year nearly everyone creates New Year’s resolutions.

People want to lose weight. Find a new job. Quit putting off that something they’ve been meaning to do.

My advice? NYR’s are for the birds.

That’s why we see a huge spike in numbers at the gym in January, only for those same folks to quit in February. You have to think bigger than New Year’s resolutions. You have to have a great support system and deliberately change your long term behaviors to accomplish the things you want in life.

Here are my tips I shared on Better Kansas City this morning. If you want more advice or need a coach to help you create change in your life, then follow the blog, sign up for JumpStart (it starts in just a few short days!), join us at T.Loft for our January Workshop or find an accountability partner who can help you stay the course – for the long haul! Happy New Year!

Better KC | Giving Thanks

It always seems like fall is a gorgeous time of year, yet the beginning of a stressful time of year. We enter November with kid’s activities, end of the year deadlines and worrying about upcoming family responsibilities around the holidays. That’s why I created the “November Challenge: Cultivating a Grateful Heart – The 21 Day Challenge.”

One of the many things I’ve learned through the years is that a grateful heart is a joyful heart. If you focus on the blessings you have, you can manifest a happier and healthier life. All of your worries or concerns can be minimized or become of less importance.

Starting this Friday, I am challenging myself to take action and focus on my blessings, rather than the stresses that the end of the year brings. Starting November 7 and throughout the next 21 days, I will focus on one thing that brings me joy, gratefulness and peace. I invite you to join me through the next 21 days by signing up to join in on the challenge! It’s easy, free and fun!

For 21 days, I will send you an idea each day on how to add thankfulness into your day and heart. Because you deserve it friend. Cheers to you!