Who Am I?
I’m a friend.
I’m a mother.
I’m a blogger.
I’m a traveler.
I’m a free spirit.
I’m an Explorer.
I’m a forever student.
I’m an aspiring author.
I’m a juggler of business, friendships and time.
I’m an Executive Graduate from Florida Atlantic University
But most of all, I’m just like you.
My life was focused on raising my daughter NOT on making or managing money. I found myself divorced and broke at 38 years of age with no job, no identity, and no idea how I was going to survive.
I started at a Credit Union as a teller with an intention of moving up in the company. Though, I had no idea what that was to look like, what education I needed, or really how I was going to do it. The truth was, I was struggling with who I was as a woman let alone a career woman. I had absolutely no self identity or worth.
What I did have was a nagging feeling of more and an open mind to do something different.
My divorce woke up a dormant spirit in me. One who was determined to be successful in career, worth, and money. One who was tired of feeling lost and unworthy.
So, I began with Suze Orman’s 2007 book “Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny.” This book was the first time I was exposed to the influence of money spanning all the way back to when I was a little girl. I searched out strategies to get out of debt; read about retirement strategies; listened to mindset shifting tapes. Things started to click.
My personal development journey was my second exposure to the impact childhood trauma and influences had on my relationships and belief in myself. Grad school exposed me to how a business becomes successful and grow. I started really looking at everything I was learning differently. I started asking myself: if these processes I am learning for business helps them succeed and these emotional, historic, parental influences can help me move past trauma then why wouldn’t they improve my financial life. From 2013 forward I applied all of it to my personal finances.
My commitment, dedication, and openness allowed me to learn from all levels of resources about practical strategies, belief system influences, manifestation practices, mind shift hypnosis, personal development techniques, and higher education confidence. I was able to connect the affect childhood trauma had on my income; the reasons I kept recreating debt and how my psychology impacted my spending habits.
My personal financial journey showed me when I took everything I had been learning and put it into a very specific order, I was able to move past my lack mindset; move into knowing who I am, what I am passionate for, and what I am worth; get out of debt; save for retirement all while saving to also step into my dream life.
I found my mission in sharing my journey and everything it has taught me with others who want to be better and richer in their life.
My personal financial journey has brought me here to you! All my training, reading, and continued education is supporting my mission to guide you in finding, designing, and living your dream life.
WHAT WE STAND FOR…
It is my dream to guide people into Leading Life by their own Design. Watching the empowering energy shifting from believing they will never be past where they are to the grand life they have always dreamed about but thought was untouchable.
Through my strategic and emotional process, I teach people how to get out of their own way and empower them to make changes in the belief around worthiness of great income and money in the bank.
Witness each individual move past their current financial state to living the life each and every one of them deserve and can have through group coaching, online course, books, community and other resources.
Honesty and Transparency in all things
Understanding, Empathy, and Unconditional respect for every individual
To change millions of lives through strategic and emotional practices towards self-worth and money!
Getting people clear on their mindset around money, financial patterns, life vision and purpose so they can design their life and begin living that design in alignment with who they are and their life’s purpose.
I look forward to meeting you!
Connection & Community are one of my favorite parts of my career. Join me on Facebook , Instagram, Linked In, & Twitter where I hang out and get to know you. Say hello, introduce yourself, and share with us one thing you would love to learn about. The great part of our financial journey together is you are not the only one wanting to learn more about a subject or thought. Everyone learns from your learning!
Don’t miss all the goodness!
I love sharing lessons, strategies, beliefs, blocks, impacts, and so much more around financial education and psychology. Be sure to join my list here so you don’t miss a single thing.
I hate junk too. So, I assure you, I will only send good quality value to your inbox.
Lets learn together!
I am an avid learner. There is nothing I teach I have not learned from someone or somewhere else. Join me and a special group of learners in our monthly book-club. Join the Life Leader’s Book Club Facebook group and see what we are reading now!
MORE ABOUT SHIELA
Hi! I am Shiela Wood and I am living my dream! At 49, have quit my job, traveled for six months around the United States while blogging about my journey and the locations I visited; writing a books I have been dreaming about writing; and coaching people on how to get unstuck in their money habits so they can live the life they design for themselves.
I have an MBA through FAU with the specialization in Finance and Banking and have retired from the Credit Union industry.
My life lives and dies by personal growth as an individual, a Mom, a friend, and a professional. As I have traveled through my financial journey one thing has become very clear to me. Finances do not change until you change your mind around them. I started my financial journey after my divorce of 16 years in 2008 where money was always a fight. I left that marriage with $23,000 in debt and I refinanced my car for another $13,000 to live because I was hell bent on failing. Ultimately, my daughter and I had to move back in with my mother so that I could get my finances together. I was making about $32,000 a year at the Credit Union, which was the most I had ever made, and I was excited for that.
I began by reading Suze Orman’s 2008 book “Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny” and when she said to look at my first influence with money spanning all the way back to when I was a little girl, things started to click. I continued my growth with many other experts and was able to get myself out of debt by 2010. This was when I decided to go to Grad school. I racked up another $98,000 in loans because I had no idea how to manage Student loans. Those are now paid off.
About 2014 I fell into helping others get unstuck with their money when friends were needing help and I offered to step in. I loved it! I knew somehow and at some time I wanted to do it full time. As I started building my coaching practice, I had also been promoted to Risk Manager. I was excited about the position thinking I was going to excel in finance and operation and that would take me to my next level of CEO or CFO at some point in the future. I built compliance programs, I audited, I ran the department, but I still felt like there was something more for me. I began soul searching and put myself through all the processes that I teach in my program to find my true passion. Teaching is it!
So, what makes me an expert in personal finance and mindset around money? I have been there! I have gone through much of what you are going through today! And… I am winning! I am living the life I designed for myself and I cannot wait to help you do the same thing.
My Travel Story
Hello beautiful souls!
I am Shiela, a 49 year old, retired from the Credit Union industry who, after a few years of taking time for me traveling on every vacation I could get beginning at 44 years of age am now traveling full time.
So many blogs and coaches I read talk negative about the traditional path to a career and family. I disagree whole heartedly. I am so grateful for the path I took to grow as a person, a professional, a mother, a women. I am proud of getting my education late in life – graduating from Northwood University with my first BA at 38 and then with my MBA through the Executive program at Florida Atlantic University at 43 years of age. I am so glad because all those accomplishments allowed me to grow and allowed me to match my new found confidence with my ever eternal desire to see new things, to meet new people, witness new cultures, and ultimately work towards a new career that is in alignment with who I am.
I began my travel journey in 2013 when I decided to take a nice long weekend to celebrate my MBA graduation in the Florida Keyes. Living in West Palm Beach since 1985 and I had only been to the Keyes once many, many years ago and that was truly the only time I traveled specifically for fun. However, I wanted to celebrate ME! So I did!
2014 marked my first year traveling alone. I had been really focusing on my personal growth as a single women and decided it was time to learn how to be with myself by myself outside of my home environment where all the distractions of life lived. So, I rented a cabin in West Jefferson, North Carolina for seven days with a day in the front and a day in the rear for driving. I loved this trip so much. I felt uncomfortable, I felt anxious, I felt alive through the entire trip. It was truly empowering! I determined from that point on there has to be more opportunities like these. How can I make them happen? How can I afford to travel more? How can I live the life of travel? I embarked on a three year journey to really find myself, get clear on who I was as a person, what were my life’s intentions, what was my mission in life, and to get very clear on my passion. This process taught me so much about myself and my professional path.
The one constant through this journey was traveling brought me joy! The rest worked itself out because I kept it in front of me as a requirement rather than a desire.
Since that moment in the Blue Ridge Mountains I have been to Iceland 2017, Toronto 2017, and Switzerland 2018. 2017 I made the decision to retire and began my plans to travel the United States in a RV with an additional intention of at least one international trip per year for the rest of my life. 2019 my dream is alive and being lived.
This site is a dream to share my experiences with you. To share recommendations and resources so you too can plan the most amazing trips of your life whether solo or with a partner. My goal for you is to fall in love with travel and life as much as I am in love with it!
Thank you for being here!
What made you decide to travel full time?
Most of my life I wanted to travel and see new places, cultures, and people but I didn’t always identify with that desire.
When I was a child all our travels were designed around seeing family not to mention to trauma of the family chaos that ensued with the numerous kids that were in the vehicle together for long periods of time. At different points in my childhood it was me and two brothers, then me, two brothers, and two male cousins, and then eventually me, two brothers and two sisters. Natural chaos was inevitable. As I grew up I did what life was meant to do: get a job as a teenager, graduate high school, get married, have babies, work to survive. Life happened! My husband never wanted to travel and there was never any money or time to spend on such un-necessary ideals. Life was good, I should be happy with it as it is.
Eventually, divorce came, I went back to school to grow my education to be able to make more money to survive on my own. This was my mindset, survive! My career started to take off so I continued school to get my MBA so I can make more money and do more of the things I wanted to do, not that I knew what those things were at the time. All I knew was to better my career and make more money. So I did!
When I graduated Grad school I began an intensive year of personal development. It was my next level of becoming the best me I could be and believe me when I say this; it was not easy! I committed to myself after my divorce because what I realized was when I looked in the mirror every day I didn’t know who I was as a person or a woman. I knew I was succeeding in life now; I knew I am damn good at anything I put my mind to; but I didn’t know who I was or what I was working so hard for.
During this time of exploration within Travel kept coming up! My good friend Scott would talk about his travels every time we saw each other, year over year since high school. I would always talk about wanted to travel and see the world and year over year when I saw him I still had not left Palm Beach County. One day during my final year of Grad school he said to me “Shiela, you have been talking about getting out of Jupiter for as long as I have known you and here we are 30 years later and you still have not followed through. To be honest, I don’t want to hear about it anymore. Either do it or quit talking about it.” Yep, that was the beginning of my follow through and recognition for something I was actually passionate about but scared to death to actually do. That was 2013, the year I also began my journey of self discovery.
As you saw in my quick bio, I started my travel journey in 2014 by renting a cabin on the top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountain range by myself. I was so scared and uncomfortable but I owned all those feelings, I talk encouraging things to myself, and stepped out of my comfort zone and just did what I said I would do! Then after my second trip by myself to Iceland in 2017 where I rented a camper van for 10 days and traveled around the island sleeping in nature, I was hooked.
I was really good at my career in the Credit Union world but as many of my major creative projects were winding down I began realizing I wasn’t happy. I was struggling with really, really low energy, to the point of barely making it to work on time and taking a nap in my vehicle almost every single day for 3 years. When I was on my vacations, I came alive with energy and excitement. For me it was the awareness and willingness to see those variances in energy. In 2017 after many processes of introspection and learning more about myself I decided I want to do this more often. I committed to myself in that moment I was going to travel at a minimum one new place in the United States and one new place internationally per year and have kept that promise to myself ever since.
The interesting thing is, when you are doing what lights you up and gives you energy a funny thing happens. You want more of it! It becomes a drug – a good drug. One that can feed a lifetime of joy, happiness, and balance if it is done in accordance with who you are as a person. For me that meant planning! I am a type A personality who loves structure and security. I also a very loyal person to those who treat me good and supports me in my growth so I gave my job 18 months notice to train a replacement and make a plan of exit to start my new life seeing the gorgeous art we call America and to write my book, start a coaching career, and then it morphed into starting a travel blog too.
I know this was a long winded answer to what probably should be a short paragraph of why. However, it was not a quick decision for me to make and I still challenge myself everyday to get my business up and running while enjoying the sights that lay in front of me.
I am grateful for everyone who encourages me every single day.
Weren't you scared to quit you job?
Such a good question. I had worked very hard to get where I was in the Credit Union. It was very good paying position with prominence and respect, something I had always dreamed for myself. I had met my goal and it was time for me to grow more in my career. The questions I asked myself were where can I go from here and what would I need to do to get to that next level. In my mind, CEO or CFO of a mid-sized Credit Union was my next step in this industry. To really get clear on what I really wanted for my life I had to go through a series of introspection exercises, be very patient with myself, and listen to what my intuition was telling me as I explored all of my options.
What I knew when I started this process was: I like what I do but I am not fulfilled; I know the CU industry really well from a risk and accounting prospective but not a lending one; I can do and learn anything I put my mind to; and I am losing energy every single day doing what I am doing now. I took this information with me as I began the journey of determining my next move in life.
At the time, I had also fell into coaching people around their struggles with money and the patterns they kept creating for themselves. I had some friends talking about it and since I had gotten myself out of $21K in personal debt and $20K in student loan debt while earning $32 – 40K a year at the time I knew I had some strategies that could help so I offered. Before I knew it I had six people I was helping just because I wanted to. Before too long I had some health issues that promptly stopped my ability to continue. I was burning myself out between working all day and then helping others at night. I was exhausted all day but invigorated and lit up in the evening for an entire year. I was not charging for my services because I truly enjoyed just helping. After I gave that up my energy just continued on a downward spiral with morning struggles to napping at lunch and crashing when I got home. It was not pretty.
But… My life was secure, my future income was certain to grow, and my career had many, many options for growth. This process showed me all of my true potential. My job was to find the one I want to do, something that lit me up and fed my soul and to weed through the things that were possible, would make a good salary, and is secure but not fulfilling. I was looking for a lifestyle that would make money and be in alignment with who I am as a person not just security.
After I got clear on wanting to take a year off to travel the United States I began looking at my list of opportunities to see how they fit with my personal commitment. I didn’t know how I was going to go it, I just knew I was going to do it. I struggled with telling work for almost three months that I was going to quit. I am one of those honest to a fault people when it comes to the loyalty I held for the position in which I developed and grew. I was sick to my stomach even though I knew I only had to give them two weeks and that it was risky telling them early because I could loose the time I was counting on to get my savings where it needed to be to pull this idea off. One morning, I went to my boss and asked if he had a moment to speak with me with HR in the room – I think he had a minor heart attack just from me asking if we could talk – in that moment I gave them the best written resignation letter ever – yes I was proud of my letter and yes I felt sick to my stomach for a week. I gave them an eight month notice with the respect of needing time to fill my specialized position. Eventually, they hired from within which meant more training so I offered to stay an additional year. This was both the right thing to do and a big mistake on my part. Too much time to be in my head and for a type A personality it was not a pretty year emotionally.
Many times during that year I wanted to just quit and take off even though the weather was against me or abandon my dream and stay put for security and loyalty. My fear of change and uncertainty grew so big and I cried a whole lot but in my heart of hearts I knew this trip and change was the right one for me. It was up to me to recognize it as such, pay attention to where the feelings were coming from, and take action to keep my mind heading in the same direction as my dream.
Fear does not mean quit your dreams! Fear is a sign there is something there for you to look at and work through. Fear is a catalyst to growth!
While looking inward during this time I did listen to my intuition to see if maybe change is still needed but maybe such drastic change wasn’t the answer. Every single time I went through this process I came back to “NO, THIS IS MY PATH! STEP INTO IT AND TRUST THE PROCESS!”
Several years back I had watched the movie called The Last Word. It was about a woman who had been very successful in the marketing industry in a time when women did not have high ranking roles in companies. She was loosing friends left and right being late in age at the time of the story. Her being the control freak she was she hired a writer to help her write her obituary. She knew internally death was near. Now the movie was about great strides in personal awareness but that was only part of what I loved about it. There is one scene where she is mentoring a group of young under-privileged girls at the local community center and she says to them “Are you willing to risk everything to do something stupid or are you willing to risk everything to do something great?” I have lived by this quote every since. I had it hanging in my house, I had it posted to my computer at work, I looked at that quote every single day all day for three years at least. I don’t even know if I wrote it or said it correctly but I didn’t care, it was the way I heard it and the way I wanted to live by it.
So the question posed here is “Weren’t you scared to quit your job?” The answer is YES… I was scared shitless and I did it anyway!