Sharing Your Gifts for a Better World, with Heather Andersen Shellen

We talk to Heather Andersen Shellen about creating a custom blend of identities, what “real work” and “paid work” mean to her, and how she is trying to move toward a better world through creativity and intentional action. As a stay-at-home parent, she shares her advice for staying sane during the coronavirus quarantine. 

Heather, a longtime friend of ours from California, is a writer, musician, activist, baker, stay-at-home parent, and generally delightful person. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Grant, and their three kids – a boy, age 10, and two girls, ages 6 and 2.

With humor and honesty, Heather shares stories about marrying her middle school sweetheart, experiencing heartbreak and hope during struggles with infertility, and raising children in a household that cares about and discusses issues of gender, race, and equity.

Heather has written about how, when she was in her 20s, she thought everything in her life was going according to plan: she and her husband graduated from college, got married, and had jobs they enjoyed. But then they started trying for kids and she struggled with infertility and depression. We ask her about that experience and how she was able to work through the tough times to come out on the other side.

In Episode 11, we explored the topic of “Paid Work vs. Real Work” – real work being what you feel called to do, things that are important, meaningful, and core to your identity, and paid work overlapping with that or not.

Heather talks about what real and paid work have meant to her over the years and how she grapples with the question, “Am I enough?” (something we also wonder about ourselves!). She talks about becoming a “newborn activist” and how she uses her creative outlets – including storytelling, baking, and music – for herself and for the greater good. And she shares how we can try to laugh and find joy, even in the toughest times.

Steal This Tip: Heather Andersen Shellen Edition

What would you say to people who have gifts and talents to contribute to a better world but are scared to do so?

Any time I’ve done something that I’ve been really proud of, it’s when I’ve ignored my lack of confidence and just decided to jump in. So much of what gets put out in the world is simply because the person that did it believed it was worth being listened to, looked at, read. You can argue that any art you see hanging in a museum is because the person who did it was confident enough that people were going to enjoy looking at it.

The same goes for any of your talents or gifts. So what if a few people don’t like it or don’t think it’s worth their time? There’s somebody out there who does. Even if it’s not perfect, just dive in and do it, and you’ll get better the next time.

Thank you for joining us, Heather! We loved getting to talk to you.

Get It Together / Got It Together

We each share something that we’d like to work on and something that’s going well for us right now.

Melia Get It Together: Not having a solid structure or schedule

Melia Got It Together: Sharing her daily 3 Good Things on Facebook

Gill’s Get It Together: Not making much time for creative projects

Gill’s Got It Together: Working out every morning

Get In Touch

Tell us about the ways you contribute your gifts toward a better world. Email us at podcast[at]semitogether.com, or send us a voice memo. You can also leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram.

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