Megan Shirey is the Founder of Innerpeaceology which offers mindfulness-based workshops to businesses for employee enrichment and stress management. Ten years ago, she started experiencing panic attacks while in an abusive relationship. After she left that relationship, she started seeking help for her anxiety and came across meditation. She became a yoga instructor in 2016, a meditation instructor on the Insight Timer App in 2019, as well as founded Innerpeaceology. Her life’s mission is to assist others in managing their stress and anxiety and to help create a calmer and more resilient workforce.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
As a young adult and into early adulthood, I struggled with anxiety, overthinking, and low self-worth. When I was 20 years old, my father passed away. Shortly afterward I married a man who was emotionally abusive. During that marriage, I started experiencing panic attacks. After finding the strength to leave that marriage in 2012, I started to seek something to help with my anxiety and panic attacks and I came across yoga and meditation. It not only helped with the physical pain that I was experiencing, but it helped to calm my body and mind – I was hooked! I wanted to teach others so that they could benefit from these practices.
In 2016 I became a yoga instructor, and in 2019 I became a meditation instructor on the Insight Timer App and opened my business Innerpeaceology.
One of my current goals is to offer more in-person workshops to businesses all over the world. As well as to continue to create more guided meditations, expand my podcast to a live radio show, and bring on guests who will help to inspire others on their healing journey.
Some of my current interests are writing, reading, listening to audiobooks, sketching, painting, walking in nature, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and public speaking. If you are also interested in public speaking, look up a Toastmasters group near you. It is an international organization to help improve your public speaking skills and they also have a ton of virtual groups you can join if there is not an in-person group near you.
Some of my role models are Elizabeth Gilbert and Gabby Bernstein. Elizabeth is one of my favorite authors and I love hearing her speak and inspire other entrepreneurs and writers to follow their dreams in her book Big Magic and the succeeding podcast she created. Gabby and I are both woo-woo, and I love exploring her tools for manifestation. Gabby is also an avid public speaker and I’d love to offer talks as well teaching people about shadow work and how to shift their negative self-talk.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
There have been several turning points in my life; large forks in my road that led me down a completely different trajectory in life leading me towards my healing journey and ultimately changing me for the better.
The first was when my dad passed away. Anyone who has lost a parent early in life can tell you that it changes you. I am not the same person, nor do I want the same things as the person who existed when my father was still alive.
The second was when I left my abusive marriage. When you are in an environment with a partner who is supposed to love and cherish you, yet treats you like their servant, a punching bag, and a sounding board for their anger, your self-worth can drastically diminish. After I left that marriage, it took me many years to build myself back up again. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and I had to begin to truly look at my negative coping mechanisms created during times of trauma as well as my negative self-talk. During that time of healing and transformation, I found myself deeply pulled to share what I had learned with others which is what motivated me to start teaching meditation and start my business.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
Once I found yoga and meditation as a solution to my back pain and panic attacks, I felt an immense pull to share that with others. I wanted to teach people about the pain-reducing abilities of yoga and the ability of meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork to calm the mind and reduce your looping and anxious thought patterns.
Around 2018 I got the idea to offer mindfulness seminars to businesses teaching people how to meditate and how to use breathwork to overcome stress so I founded Innerpeaceology
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
I hope to be a changemaker in teaching the global workforce how to manage their stress and anxiety, as well as how to step out of hustle culture and live a calmer and more mindful life.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
The biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome have been low self-worth and fear. It took me years to become aware of the negative thoughts I was thinking about myself (such as “I’m not good enough.”) and work to shift those thoughts to more truthful and positive thoughts (such as, “I have always been worthy of everything that I want.”) Through the use of meditation, mirror therapy, affirmations, journalling, and shadow work I have drastically improved my inner monologue to one that loves, cherishes, and celebrates my body in its current form, my mind, and the value that I offer.
I used some of those same tools to work through fear. I worked and continue to work to shift fearful thoughts around my work (such as, “nobody will listen to me.” to thoughts such as “my voice is valuable!”). One of the main things that have helped me overcome fear was to realize that most likely it will always be there, I will always have false fearful thoughts pop up which I then greet with love and compassion and keep on moving forward.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Like most of us, it was extremely difficult being isolated at the beginning of the pandemic. After some time passed, I found myself pouring my excess energy and time into creative pursuits. In 2020 I started my first podcast called Infinite Wanderer. I now have a different podcast called Soul Talk Radio which is offered live every Sunday morning.
I also started writing a book during the pandemic and it is now in the publishing stage.
The pandemic has changed all of our lives. I like to look at the silver lining of this experience and the good it has brought into our lives such as bringing more remote work options and valuing quality time with family and friends. The pandemic has also allowed us more solitude and in that solitude, innovation was born, and I’m proud to have been a part of the businesses which were created during this difficult time in human history.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
The accomplishments I am most proud of are: becoming a yoga and meditation instructor, becoming a teacher on the Insight Timer App, creating two podcasts, and creating two businesses (my first business was Yoga Soul when I was just teaching yoga, then Zen Renewal, now known as Innerpeaceology), writing my first book (now working on my second book), offering free weekly guided meditations to my community, and purchasing a home.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would love to see the world releasing hustle culture and embracing what some are referring to as “slow living.” Meaning to live mindfully and move through our lives at a slower and calmer pace; enjoying the sights and sounds around us, taking a moment to enjoy the wonderful smell of our coffee in the morning, stopping to appreciate the sounds of the birds in our neighborhood, taking time to watch the sunset and cherishing time spent with friends. I love seeing more and more people slow down and truly take in the life that is unfolding in front of them and being grateful for the small but beautiful moments that make up our lives.
Another thing I would love to see in my lifetime is meditation and mindfulness being implemented in schools instead of detention. Teaching our children how to meditate and regulate their emotions instead of reacting. I think that the world’s overall stress, anxiety, and reactivity could be transformed within one generation.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Two of the main philosophies that I live by are:
(1) “If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.” I no longer force anything to stay in my life (friendships, relationships, etc.) and once I implemented this practice, the things that were meant for me started to flow to me effortlessly.
(2) “There are only so many tomorrows.” We only get a finite amount of time on this Earth, and we must take a step each day toward the life we are wanting, otherwise, one day we’ll look back and realize we let it all pass us by. Losing my father early in life allowed me to realize that it is a privilege to grow old. Don’t waste this precious life in fear. Go after the things you are wanting!
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
It is amazing to witness the rise in female entrepreneurs and female-led innovation. I believe that a universal struggle we all share as women is that we are taught to be meek, quiet, to not share our opinions, and stick to the (harmful) gender norms that came before us. Thankfully, women are finally starting to heavily push against those gender roles and speak up more, allow their unique voices to be heard, and stand up to misogyny, sexism, objectification, and prejudice to reach for the things that they want and it’s incredible to witness.
Fuzia is a beautiful organization that is helping to raise women into positions of power and leadership where they should have been all along, and if I can play some small part in teaching women their value and that their voice matters, I am so grateful.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
If you keep having a reoccurring thought of something you want to create, you are meant to follow that idea. The universe will keep repeating that thought over and over until you take action. Once action is taken, the path will begin to unfold for you.
There is a quote by Remi that comes to mind: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
When you find your passion and you pursue it, doors and opportunities will begin to unfold for you in a way that you never imagined. As if your path is meant for you all along and once you decide to pursue it, the universe will lay down the walkway for you to follow.
Please do not allow fear to stop you! You are powerful! Your voice is worthy of being heard! You are enough exactly as you are. You already have everything you need to succeed!
Fear will always be there in the background. You must greet any fearful thoughts with love and compassion yet keep moving forward.