Stop Sacrificing Your Health Over a Job with Shana Robinson

Happy Friday feels, Tribe! Welcome back to The Jenn Kennedy show! This is a really special episode. I am so excited and grateful to bring you my guest today — this amazing force of a human. Talk about somebody who has grown their impact and scaled their income — all based on helping people. 

My guest today is Shana Robinson, and I am so excited to share our conversation with you. Shana is the creator of Wellness A-to-Z, A Corporate Survivor's Guide to Health, Wellness, and the Pursuit of a More Harmonious Life. 

In this episode, we talked about listening to your gut, building confidence to take the leap, and how making small changes can lead to a BIG impact. Sound like something you want to do yourself?! If so, read on!

Who Is Shana Robinson?

Shana is a self-proclaimed “nine-to-five burnout” survivor turned personal and professional Wellness Educator. After several stints in corporate America caused her to experience stress-related health issues, she decided to combine her corporate career with her culinary, yoga, and traditional Chinese medicine training to create her content and curriculum.

“I blend my 20 years of corporate experience with my culinary training, with my yoga teaching background and with traditional Chinese medicine to really help people thrive in their career and in their lives.” - Shana Robinson

Shana worked at some incredible companies before finding her path. Shana's corporate experience was at companies, such as Yahoo!, eBay, Google, Twitter, Blue Apron, and Compass in Human Resources and Operations. She joined the teams at Google and Yahoo! when both companies were still in their early years. 

“I was [at Google] before there were a thousand people. I had a front-row seat to a Harvard Business School case study at every company that I worked for. That was great, but it also wasn't because I [knew] there's something wrong. This is not what I was put on this Earth to do.” - Shana Robinson

In March 2009, Shana left Google to go to culinary school that summer:

“I chose the culinary school that I did because I kept saying, ‘I want to learn to make healthy food’. Up until that point, my healthy food was like protein, carbs, veggies, and boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. I didn't really think about where my food came from. I knew organic was a cool word, but I didn't know exactly what that meant.” - Shana Robinson

Shana holds a B.A. from Santa Clara University, a chef's training certification from The Natural Gourmet Institute, 200-hour RYT, and an Acupuncture Detoxification Certification from NADA. Today, Shana is committed to helping others learn to cook and save time in the kitchen, understand that nutrient-dense ingredients are key regardless of what diet you follow, find a job they love, and “calm the F down”. She believes that your health is not a hobby and small, incremental changes lead to sustained and powerful impact!

The Connection Between Mood and Food

Shana struggled with forcing herself to “make it work” in the corporate world before she joined culinary school — where she had an “Ah-ha” moment in week three of her cooking course. 

“Three weeks in, one of the chef instructors said, ‘You know, food and mood are connected.’ I was like, ‘Why is nobody talking about this?!’ The word ‘gobsmacked’ comes to mind. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘I wish somebody had told me this even five or six years ago when I was having weird chest pains and heart palpitations and I was too young to be having a heart attack.’” - Shana Robinson

That physical reaction was how Shana’s body was telling her to slow down and relax. And, interestingly, she wasn’t alone –– when she worked in the corporate world following culinary school, Shana joined an HR team. She heard from so many colleagues that they were having similar issues. 

“The stories that I was hearing from people, whether they were in my client group or people that would just come and say, ‘Hey, I have to talk to you about something.’ Without fail, anecdotally, all of these people would say, ‘I'm stressed. I'm not sleeping. I'm not eating well.’ I realized, ‘Here it is. I get to blend this experience that I had in culinary school to help these people.’ I started teaching people about acupressure points [and] about what they were eating.” - Shana Robinson

At first, Shana said she started to have serious imposter syndrome –– something I can totally relate to! She didn’t have formal training in acupuncture, but she studied and learned from her own stress symptoms what worked. From there, things really started to click. 

Taking a Leap of Faith

Overcoming imposter syndrome and leaving a high-paying, high-profile corporate job isn’t the easiest choice to make. But Shana says she knew from an early age that she wanted to work for herself. I wanted to know what advice she has for others that are trying to make that same leap of faith. 

“What I would say to people who are thinking of [doing something new], if you're thinking about it –– do it, figure it out. Follow up [with] what you're curious about. Even if it's a side hustle. It sounds so cheesy, but just believe in yourself. People have said to me, ‘You should be writing books. You should be doing this. You should be doing that.’ For years, I downplayed it. … Finally I was like, “F this, I'm running around the state of California firing people. This is [not] how I want to live my life. ...I would rather, in the beginning, make less money and figure out what I'm doing. [I’d rather] put something out in the world that I feel is impactful.” - Shana Robinson

Tribe, this is huge. Believing in yourself is one of the hardest things to do –– and one of the most impactful. So many of us waste years trying to pursue the things that don’t make us happy. We ignore what our bodies and souls are begging us for –– a career that has impact, work that nurtures our spirits, and the space to let ourselves grow. 

“The common thing that I see is [people] not really listening to themselves, not taking themselves seriously, and really downplaying who they are. People not stepping into their own power –– whether it's men or women. ...They're just not making themselves a priority. They don't take themselves seriously.” - Shana Robinson

Don’t let yourself get to the point of unhealthy stress and burnout the way Shana did before you take the leap. It won’t be comfortable, but it will be SO worth it. 

Jump Without a Net

Tribe, Shana received a piece of advice early on in her career that I just have to share –– it’s so good. It’s something that one of her colleagues told Shana at a challenging time in her life.

“She said to me, ‘Jump without a net, and something will be there to catch you.’ I know it's very cliche now, but it was [meaningful] at the time. … I remember thinking, ‘Just do it. You're not going to die.’ Whatever it is, it's going to be a lesson. Whatever the outcome is going to be, you're going to learn something from it, whether it's how to do it again, how to replicate it, or how to change it up.” - Shana Robinson

I just love this idea –– it’s big, it’s scary, and it’s impactful. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you didn't get the outcome that you wanted, you got the lesson that you needed.”

Tribe, if you’re going to take a leap, take a chance on something –– whether it’s a new career path, launching a program, or putting yourself out there in some other way  –– if you don’t get the outcome you hoped for, you still got something from the experience. You can take that lesson and continue to charge forward. It’s so amazing. 

Listen to What Your Body Is Telling You

If you’re feeling tired and run-down all the time, Shana says that one common issue that may be at play is adrenal fatigue. 

“Your adrenals sit on top of your kidneys. ...Your kidneys are your life force, your essence. They're essentially your emergency generators. When you're stressed or anxious, your kidneys send energy to that point [to heal]. What happens [when you are always stressed] is your kidneys end up depleting themselves of their energy. So a lot of people are walking around with kidney and adrenal fatigue.” - Shana Robinson

When this happens, no amount of coffee is going to help you feel better. What our bodies are telling us is that it’s time to rest. We need nourishment –– and that includes eating right. 

“Food and mood are connected. ...This also plays into your gut feelings. If your gut is telling you something, [listen to it] ––  we hear a lot about gut/brain connection in traditional Chinese medicine. The heart and the small intestines are the yin and yang of each other. Your heart, your brain, and your small intestine [are all connected.]” - Shana Robinson

Start to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Then, start to feed it what it needs! You don’t have to go 1000% in on Day One –– Shana suggests doing what she calls “wellness microdoses”: 

“Meditation is a word that scares people. It might be a little bit off-putting –– but it doesn't mean you need to get a cushion and sit for 20 minutes. The first go-around, start with three deep breaths and deep meaning, count to inhale for six and then exhale slowly for six, do that three times. Start there. My whole thing is to microdose your wellness because small steps and small changes lead to really big, sustainable impact.” - Shana Robinson

That’s it, guys — that’s how you can start to step into your power and start to create a life that aligns with your true self. Listen to your body and let it guide you!

Why You Should Listen to This Podcast Episode with Shana Robinson Right Now...

Tribe, if you do nothing else, you absolutely MUST check out Shana’s recipe for dark chocolate avocado mousse with orange zest. It looks absolutely amazing. Get the recipe on her Instagram along with so many other tasty looking dishes! 

Shana also offers personal and professional coaching for anyone seeking to create healthy habits and spend less time in the kitchen. One of her courses is called “Stressless, Hell yes” –– launching soon! It’s going to be a ten-week-long course all about job searching techniques: how to interview, how to show up and be your best self, meditation techniques, and breathwork, and how to set yourself up for success and really make yourself stand out!

Her other course is “Microdose Your Wellness”, another ten-week group coaching course that provides a foundation of nourishment: how to think about food, how to think about nourishing your body, and how to live a healthier life. Keep a lookout for more information about those courses coming soon! I also highly recommend checking out her Wellness A-to-Z page for lots of delicious recipes and kitchen tips.  

Let us know if you try any of Shana’s recipes –– especially that yummy looking chocolate avocado mousse! –– by tagging us on Instagram, @msshanarobinson and @thejennkennedy. I would be so grateful if you shared this episode to help others learn how to listen to their bodies, build confidence in themselves, and take the leap! 

Thanks for listening, see you next week! 

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