Author Interview: Shelly Rachanow, When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done

  • Published on:
    June 25, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes

Meet Shelly Rachanow a business owner, entrepreneur and a sought-after writer and speaker for the empowerment of women. Her books have been reviewed or featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Huffington Post, Library Journal (Starred Review), Sierra Club, Midwest Book Review and Women’s Radio News among others. Throughout the years, people have asked Shelly what her inspiration has been for her series of books that celebrate the power of women. Quite simply, they all honor her mother.

”When my brother, Gary, was born he needed immediate surgery to save his life. However, the doctors advised my parents against the procedure, saying, “He’ll ruin your lives. He’ll ruin your daughters’ lives. You can still have more children. You should let him die.”

Although normally a shy person, my mom raised her voice and said to them, “This is my child. He’s living and he’s breathing right now. And I’m going to do whatever I can to give him the best life possible.” 

And to this day my mom’s promise has held true, as we just celebrated Gary’s 44th birthday. Through the years, I have witnessed the power of women through my mom’s tenacity advocating for him, speaking out on his behalf, and just generally getting amazing sh*t done – not just for Gary, but the disabled community at large. 

It’s because of her that I love capturing the power of women through their stories – and have now published my third book, “When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done: Celebrating the power of women now.” 

My books have been reviewed or featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, the Huffington Post, Library Journal (Starred Review), Sierra magazine, the Midwest Book Review, and Women’s Radio News, among others. 

I am always inspired by the many amazing women I meet who enrich the lives of so many. People can follow me @shellyrachanow on Twitter, @shelly.rachanow on Instagram, and Shelly Rachanow on Facebook to hear more about them.”

Tell us more about your book, ‘’When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done.’’

This is such a pivotal time for women, as we are fighting for our freedoms and equality. This incredible sisterhood has given us the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March and advances in the gender equality fight. 

My new book, “When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done: Celebrating the Power of Women Now” captures this spirit, and across multiple stories, weaves an inspiring narrative that one reviewer called a “compelling tour de force of sisterhood.”

The book is full of powerful, courageous women who are getting vitally important sh*t done, including: 

  • A trauma surgeon working to stem the epidemic of gun violence
  • A professor who ran for office to provide a better role model for her sons
  • A non-profit founder helping at-risk girls with self-esteem
  • A group of firefighters training to trek across Antarctica, raising awareness for mental health and showing young girls that they are strong and can be anything they choose
  • Activists from around the world fighting the injustices of inequality and patriarchy

I hope that the book and these stories inspire and ignite a spark within readers to contribute in whatever way they can and join the growing chorus of women’s voices around the world. To learn more, visit https://amzn.to/34dstJK

What made you write this book?

I’ve written this book to celebrate the power of women, to celebrate all that we’ve done in recent years. Women have marched, taken to social media and raised our voices for equality and rights, pussy hats and all. We have taken on governments and fought against the towers of inequality and injustice. We have had the courage to say #MeToo and bring predators to their knees, letting their names be known. Record numbers of us have run for office, so we can have a greater say about our rights and our bodies. In many places, young girls are risking their lives for an education and dreaming of a job, let alone a career. We have done all these deeds in the name of accountability and decency, to honor and protect our rights and the rights of our future generations, to never fail in our commitment to ensure safety and respect for each other no matter the moment…no matter the time. This is our collective voice. This is the power of women. And our stories are reverberating around the world.

Who should read the book?

Any woman who has ever dreamt of a better life for herself and a better world for all of us – and who gains inspiration and encouragement from stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things in cities and countries around our world. 

I envision moms giving this book to their daughters, or daughters to their moms. I envision girls and women of all ages sharing it with sisters and friends alike. I envision book clubs enjoying it together. 

There is great power in the collective voice of women. The power of sisterhood has and forever will unite us and move us forward. And this book is perfect for any woman who wants to celebrate the power of women now!

Tell us your mission and vision

This year has been particularly hard on women, especially mothers, who find themselves balancing work, remote schooling, and all things family. And that is why as part of the book’s release, I have started a GoFundMe to help donate hundreds of copies of “When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done” to charities that help women in need.

For just a $10 contribution, I’ll donate a book in honor of a special woman in your life – and likewise, match the donation with a copy too! 

We’ve all had low points in our lives, and so often it can be a good friend or a good book that gives us courage and inspiration, and reminds us that we’re not alone, that the situation is temporary, and that we will get through it. And that ultimately, we are powerful and strong – and can achieve anything.

The women in the book are giving back to their communities in so many ways, and I want part of the mission of the book to be about giving to others, too. So far, we’ve donated 170 copies and I’m hoping to reach at least 500, if not more!

Because if there’s one thing my mom always taught me: When women come together, amazing sh*t gets done.

To learn more and donate a book to a woman in need, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/donate-a-book-in-honor-of-an-amazing-woman

If you could go back in time and share some advice with your younger self, what would that advice be? 

Have the courage to pursue your dreams and what you really want. And if you pick something and later realize it’s not for you or isn’t bringing you joy, have the courage to make a change versus gritting teeth and bearing it.

After graduating from college, I went to law school and knew early on that it wasn’t for me. But I didn’t have an answer at the time to the question, “Well, what do you want to do with your life?” 

I wish I’d had the courage to drop out, travel and gain those experiences of seeing the world and really living, versus working hard for a degree that put me in debt and brought me no joy. 

I’d tell myself to never sacrifice my joy for anything.  To not become the person who, at the end of her life, has a gravestone that reads, “Here lies Shelly Rachanow. She worked a lot.” Instead, I’d tell myself to have the experiences that would allow it to say, “Here lies Shelly Rachanow. She lived a lot.”

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Don’t listen to anyone that limits you or tells you something is impossible. Years ago, people told me that I’d never get a book deal without an agent. Not only have I gotten one – I’ve gotten three. 

I think Lady Gaga says it perfectly here, “I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail. I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.’” 

What tips do you have for those who want to renew their life as in new job, moving, etc?

Don’t be afraid to make a change – and don’t be afraid of making a “mistake.” I think the phrase gut check exists for a reason – most of us get that inner feeling when we need to make a major decision. There’s either that butterfly feeling of excitement or that sinking feeling of dread. Trust that inner instinct and listen to it. 

Ultimately, any decision we make from the standpoint of, “This is something I want to experience or try,” is the right decision for us because it will mean we won’t have any regrets or what if’s by not giving that choice a chance.

Where do you get your inspiration from daily?

As a writer, I’m on the computer many hours of the day. Spending time each day in nature is really crucial for me. One of the things I love living by the ocean is it gives me this sense of vastness and expansiveness. It takes me out of my head (where I can spend way too much time analyzing if I’m not careful) and helps me get in touch with something bigger than myself or my “problems.”

I also make a regular practice of spending time each morning and each night thinking about what I’m grateful for, especially if I’ve had a challenging or upsetting day. Because at the end of the day, I’m the only thinker in my universe. It’s up to me what I choose to focus on. And I remind myself, even when it may be hard to do so, of this quote that’s been attributed to many people (and true no matter who said it first), “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

What is the one piece of advice that has impacted you the most?

Years ago, I stumbled across a book called, “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business.” Whenever I find myself worrying what people think, or falling into people pleasing mode, that phrase flashes through my mind. Ultimately, my happiness is up to me – it’s up to me to make choices that I know are right for me, no matter what others may say or think. It was incredibly freeing the day I realized I’d never be able to please everyone, and there was no use exhausting myself trying to do so.

What is your next big goal? How do you think you can achieve this one?

My dream is for “When Women Run the World Sh*t Gets Done” to become an international best seller that is read by millions of women. I want it to inspire even more women everywhere to join the chorus of women’s voices fighting to make our world better for everyone. I want it to be a reminder to girls and women everywhere that we are remarkable – and we can do anything!

And I’m just going to keep sharing and talking about the book and the power of women with women everywhere until I get that done!

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