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Conversations with the Inspiring Rahkal C. D. Shelton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rahkal C. D. Shelton.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Hmmm, where do I start? Well, I’m a Chicago native living in ATL, approaching my 7th year this fall. I am a speaker, author, corporate dropout, and very passionate about serving and inspiring others. So, coining the title inspiration enthusiast came naturally, but my desire for workplace peace advocacy was a necessity.

After taking an in-depth look at the 12+ years that I dedicated to corporate (much of the time I thought I was tripping, disillusioned, and “grasping at straws”), I concluded that it was time to fire my corporate employer. Not only did I plan to fire my employer, but I planned to start a nationwide dialogue on the importance of protecting your peace, choosing you, and some of the challenges that people of color face in the workplace. I also planned to merge this with the value of mindfulness while on the clock. I set out to make a real impact and to create something that would support others, and that would outlive me.

Speaking from experience and commonalities, I shared with other women (WOC, specifically) working in similar environments; I noticed a central theme. Think of miming (you know, the mimes who act or communicate using only movements, gestures, and facial expressions), that was our theme. Many of the women I knew, including myself, felt like we were wearing a mask at times.

We wore a mask of inauthenticity, especially when it came to being an only (the only woman of color on a team, floor, or in the room). It felt like a Catch-22 for us—an over-and-above tricky dichotomy. While companies say they want diversity, there is still an unwritten set of rules to abide by to progress, advance, or be respected and taken seriously. Essentially, you have to conform to the way things are done. That said, many of us felt the need to present ourselves as both non-threatening and highly approachable (artfully). We often used inflection to ensure our tone isn’t miss read for aggressive.

We worked hard to avoid being labeled emotional or an angry black woman. We engaged in pointless conversations and with others when we would rather lick toilet seats than partake in the ke-ke and ha-ha with coworkers. This is in efforts to be perceived as a “team player or good culture fit”. That is social and not including other hurtles like discrimination, wage gaps, microaggression, work-stress, toxic environments, underrepresentation, etc. Enough was enough for me. However, I realize everyone can’t fire their employers, and some people actually love their jobs. I thought to myself, how can I empower these people to remain sane, confident, and authentic while on the job.

This is where Woosah originated. Woosah A Survival Guide for Women of Color Working in Corporate is a guide (not limited to the corporate arena) guaranteed to help better navigate the workplace while keeping your confidence, cool, and peace of mind.

Packed with down-to-earth commentary, unfiltered and relatable stories, points to ponder, exercises, and practical tools in it, I provide invaluable advice for tackling thorny topics like discrimination, wage gaps, biases, toxic environments, self-worth, boundary setting, and community building. This humorous and energetic guide is for the woman (or man) who’s ready to thrive. So, here I am providing nuggets not just for women of color but for life personally and professionally in and out of the workplace. This is my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With anything worth working for comes adversity and obstacles. There is never a smooth road, and the sooner we anticipate and embrace the reality of this, the better off we will be. Regarding the book- the subject matter itself can be challenging to talk about. However, difficult conversations are vital and can result in progress (if parties are mature enough to listen/adhere). Regarding the journey- overall, the concept of firing an employer is liberating but also scary, especially if you don’t have a strategy in place.

Our culture is so fixated on romanticizing entrepreneurship and leaping without sharing backstories and difficulties/preparation that comes with this. People are not talking about how entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone and how many entrepreneurs still have day jobs. It is okay to work and be an entrepreneur until (if this is for you) choosing full independence. It is exhausting doing both. Seriously, If you haven’t mastered discipline or mastered where you are or your skills on a job (working for someone else), you can’t expect to do it for yourself and be successful in the process.

My advice to young women is to build the courage to choose you in and out of the workplace. Anything that doesn’t celebrate you, challenge, or change you, and that contradicts with your personal mission statement (because you should have one) isn’t for you. Oh, and if a job is making you sick (severe stress), that’s a problem. Be strategic and master your lane and talents, so at best, you know what you know, that you know and no one can take that away from you. Don’t move out of emotion, but exercise logic and keep God at the core of everything that you do. Work at being the inspired version of you.

What should we know about being a Workplace Peace Advocate & Inspiration Enthusiast? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the author of Woosah: A Survival Guide for Women of Color Working in Corporate.

Serving and inspiring while making a difference in the lives of others and creating impacts that will outlive me is what I’m most passionate about. I am who i “post to be” on the gram and in real life.

I help people tap into their full potential through positive mindset strategies and personal and professional developmental coaching. I speak, tell stories, educate, and inspire!

What sets me apart from others is my passion focus and the unique merger of mindfulness, inspiration, advocacy, development, and the workplace all in one.

We are working more than we are at home lots of times. I am all about supporting development, mindfulness, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. Be The Inspired You is my personal mantra. My mission is to challenge individuals to be the best version of themselves in the workplace and in life.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
Yes! The beauty in the struggle for women (many of the challenges that we face today) are our opportunities to create solutions. The struggle (problem) can groom and stretch us, thus providing the capacity to receive the beauty part. There is no way to appreciate the solution or good without experiencing the bad. Opportunity is abundant in adversity. You don’t like something? Do something about it or, in the words of Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see.”

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Rahkal Shelton

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