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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Shelley Paxton: Shifts From Success-EMPTY to Success-FULL and SUCKING at Burnout Recovery Sometimes

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

“You can get to the top of a particular mountain and feel success-empty,” explains Shelley Paxton, speaker and author of Soulbattical: A Corporate Rebel’s Guide to Finding Your Best Life. Shelley worked for many years as a marketing executive including a glamorous career as the Chief Marketing Officer of Harley-Davidson. However, while she may have looked extremely successful from the outside, inside she was experiencing full-fledged burnout.

Five and a half years into her sexy motorcycle-riding, black-leather-wearing career, Shelley began to have a recurring nightmare that led her on a journey of meditation and soul-searching. After months of self-exploration, she realized that this dream was telling her that she was completely disconnected from her true self. She had aligned her idea of success with checking boxes on a list that didn’t actually make her feel fulfilled. By leaving her marketing career behind and learning how to slow down and be present, Shelley was able to discover real success and leave her burnout behind.

Tune into today’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for a conversation with Shelley Paxton about the meaning of success, asking for help, and connecting with your soul. Hear tips from Shelley on how to slow down and make time for yourself, so you can move from success-EMPTY to success-FULL.


  • “In my quest to be this badass, trying to be all things to all people, all my boundaries fell. I was bending over backwards and people-pleasing, and I realized this has been a pattern in my life.” (05:08-05:21)

  • “Five and a half years in, I start having this nightmare… I am seeing the same thing night after night after night. It is ripping me out of my sleep and frankly, it’s the universe waking me up to the fact that I have totally lost connection with my soul and with myself. After a lot of examination and exploration and seeing doctors and learning about slowing down and mindfulness and meditation, I start to realize and understand that what this dream is telling me is… my soul was malnourished and longing for attention, longing to be fed and loved and that I was living my dad’s dream.” (05:56-06:55)

  • Ultimately this thing called ‘success’ was somebody else’s definition of it. I was ticking all the boxes of traditional success when the majority of those – money and titles and accolades and material things – wasn’t feeding me inside and wasn’t truly connecting with me. You can get to the top of a particular mountain and feel success-empty. The whole world looks at you and goes, ‘Oh my God she has everything, look at her.’ And you’re going, ‘Oh my God, this is all just armor and it’s spit polished to a shine and I’m a hot fucking mess on the inside and I’m afraid to say anything, because I have been taught that this is what success looks like.’” (06:57-07:57)

  • You’re not alone. We’re in this together. More of us feel this way than I ever knew five years ago when I walked away from Harley. I truly thought I was alone.” (10:54-11:05)

  • “If I continue living as I am now, for the next three, five, ten years or more, am I moving toward who I want to become or further away?” (18:15-18:28)

  • “If you feel like this when you’re 50, you’re gonna have a short, miserable life. You’re gonna be one of those people who slugs it through until retirement and dies on the day after she retires. Or you’re not gonna make it that far. Is this the life you really want to be living? Do you want to feel this way? What I’ve realized is that success is a feeling. It’s not a checklist.” (18:41-19:14)

  • “What if the most iconic brand I could ever represent is Shelley Paxton?” (19:42-19:48)

  • The value of being present is noticing, getting curious. You see the little signs that the universe has been giving you along the way. It sounds cheesy and maybe it is cheesy, but I’ve come to love it…When I’m fully present, I am noticing what’s being given to me at every moment and I am fully connected to myself and the people that I’m with.” (27:15-27:52)

  • “Boundaries over busyness. Boundaries over burnout… resentment is really a sign of a violated boundary.” (38:39-38:50)

  • Success feels like I go to bed tired with a smile on my face. I go to bed tired with the knowledge that I don’t feel empty, I feel full. I feel tired, because I left it all on the field today. I showed up for this conversation, and for my people, and for myself. That feels so incredible.” (42:16-42:44)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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