This Week’s Episode:
Against overwhelming odds and improbable beginnings, anything is possible when you have the will to succeed. That’s a lesson my guest today lives by. I’m talking to a dear friend, TEDx Speaker and Fire Captain, Shelli Varela, who lives her life redefining what is possible over and over again. Formerly, she was an artist unclear about her life’s path. While meeting a firefighter, she discovered the chance to not only learn about the job but ignite something magical within herself. She would use that magic to correct some of the teachings she’d been given and help transform her fire department.
During my interview with Shelli, we explore many topics including: How do you know what really lights you up? Which three words changed the trajectory of Shelli’s life? Why was her story of her 8-year old bullied self more effective than her firefighter story? What is Shelli’s definition of story and what nuggets can you walk away with that can change your perception?
What you will learn in this episode:
- How different stories can affect your audience
- Why vulnerability makes for better storytelling
- How you can create memories for others
Who is Shelli?
In 1994, Shelli Varela became the first female firefighter in Canada’s 6th largest city. She had to overcome the physical odds of her 108-pound body, and after initial failure and months of work, she succeeded. She not only went on to become its first and only female Fire Captain but also twice won the Firefighter of the Year Award.
At first, Shelli hesitated to apply for a firefighter position. But then, she heard three words whispered in her ear that forever changed the course of her life. Ever since, she’s been teaching others to uncover and tell their stories in powerful ways, in addition to still fighting fires. She’s even authored a children’s book to teach readers that everything is possible and you can accomplish anything you choose.
Shelli has the gift of seeing the gift in other people. Her life path now involves using this gift to help her clients re-frame their stories so they can change the world with it. Her motto: a well-told story serves, spreads, and sells.
Links & Resources
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JULIAN REEVESPEAKER, AUTHOR, FORMER MUSIC DIRECTOR OF HAMILTON
JUNA KOLLMEIERASTROPHYSICIST, TED SPEAKER
LTC (RET.) SCOTT MANNGREEN BERET, ENTREPRENEUR, STORYTELLER, TRAINER, COACH, AUTHOR