Selflessly Selfless: Putting Others Before Yourself with Shelly Rood

We all go through moments in our life where everything feels like it's falling apart. We get so focused on the negative feelings that it makes us feel helpless, guilty, and shameful all at the same time. In these moments, it begins to feel impossible to break through this spiral of negativity. But when you start to take the focus away from yourself and put others over yourself, you'll find yourself pouring grace not only into others but yourself as well.

In this episode of Seek, Go, Create, Shelly Rood joins us for a compelling conversation about faith, selflessness, and leadership. Shelly speaks about the concept of Others Over Self® and the two sides of serving others. She also discusses what to do when your plans don't exactly follow God's plans for you. We are given breath in each day to pour goodness into the people around us, and once you do, you'll feel a piece of God working inside you.

Join us in this episode to learn more about the impact of putting others over yourself!

3 Reasons to Listen:

  1. Discover how faith and the hustle culture intertwine.
  2. Find out what selflessness means.
  3. Understand that God will tell you where you need to be, but you’re in charge of how to get there.


About Shelly

Shelly Rood is the co-founder of Mission: Ambition, which is dedicated to providing training that connects people through shared life experiences and celebrates our nation's heroes. She is also the creator of Others Over Self®, a leadership mindset serving people in positions of impact. Shelly served in the United States Army Reserves for 16 years. She is an advocate for selfless service in action.

You can learn more about Shelly and her work on her website and LinkedIn.

Episode Highlights

[02:46] Who is Shelly?

  • Shelly’s life mission is to have meaningful conversations with people. What they do at Mission: Ambition is to train people how to deepen their interpersonal skills.
  • Deep interpersonal skills lead to better wellness for you, other people, and society as a whole.
  • The deficit of meaningful conversations today has roots in the soundbite and instant gratification culture.
  • Shelly spent a lot of time in her 20s hustling in her career. But she learned that it’s better to take her time climbing her way to the top without stepping on other people.
[05:41] “As we climb our way to the top, we don't need to be climbing and stepping on other people to get there.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[06:59] Faith in the Hustle Culture

  • Jesus only had 33 years on Earth. He was healing the sick until he was exhausted and couldn’t stand on his feet anymore.
  • You don't have to hustle every single minute of every single day. Even the military has rest and relaxation built into their schedule.
  • John Wesley himself was hustle-driven. Methodism revolves around doing certain things to show or act out your Christianity.
  • Hustle culture is an inherent Christian value. But we have to be careful with how we frame it so that we don’t lose depth.
  • God works in much deeper ways when you get down from the deepness and hurt of life.
[12:50] “When you really, really get down and have things taken away... and you're surrounded with nothing and your heart is just cracked open, that's where God moves the most.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[14:52] On Selflessness

  • We've been in bad times since the fall of Adam and Eve. Nothing is happening now that has not happened since the dawn of society.
  • Shelly’s previous marriage was abusive. From the outside in, she had a beautiful life, but from the inside out, everything was falling apart.
  • We get very self-focused in moments of our life when everything feels like falling apart. On top of that, a layer of shame and guilt gets built.
  • The only way to break through this spiral is to serve another human being and take the focus away from yourself.
  • Doing a good deed for another human being creates a hit of the light of God that works through you.
“Whatever it is, just do a good deed for another human being.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[21:00] Two Sides of Serving Others

  • Mother Teresa taught children of the rich within the safety of the convent. But as she saw people suffering in the streets, she had a deep internal call to go out there.
  • She had to fight the Church to follow her calling. She consistently wrote letters back to her spiritual mentor and showed signs of depression.
  • One of the signs of saintliness is having a deep level of care and depression in your work.
  • Serving others will make you feel that piece of God working inside you. But constantly sacrificing yourself for others will make you feel the heaviness of life.
  • Living the way Jesus did means not having a cheerleader smile on your face all the time.
“If you are a believer, and you really do believe that we're supposed to act and live the way that Jesus does, then you're not supposed to have a cheerleader smile on your face every day all the time.“ - Click Here To Tweet This

[27:19] Having Different Life Journeys 

  • We grow and change throughout different areas of our life.
  • On one hand, you are extremely special and unique. But on another, you’re not the only one in existence that has walked the negative path you’ve walked.
  • The beauty of the Bible is that it shows the sins and brokenness of people.
  • Sometimes, knowing something is morally wrong doesn’t mean we’re not going to do them. 

[31:20] Becoming a Follower of Christ

  • Shelly was raised Catholic. While they were in church every Sunday, the Jesus piece was never really brought back into their home.
  • She joined the military in her 20s and found herself back in church on a Sunday when things felt heavy during her 10-year marriage.
  • As an intelligence professional, agreeing or disagreeing with something for her has to do with analyzing a lot of data.
  • Working with a pastoral counselor allowed her to deeply examine her belief in Christ. Her choice to believe in Him came from years of questions and seeking answers.
  • After her divorce, her pastoral counselor suggested she go to seminary. Getting into ministry showed her that pastors are some of the most deeply educated individuals.

[41:57] Going to the Military

  • The 90s were some of her formative years. The number one hit TV show at the time was The X-Files, which featured a very strong and logical female character.
  • She graduated with a degree in journalism from Western Michigan University.
  • Her love for digging deeper and figuring out the root of an issue was where her calling to the intelligence world came from.
  • She served in the military for 16 years. Towards the end of her military career, she felt the calling to transfer from the intelligence world into the Chaplain Corps.

[45:56] God’s Plans vs. Your Plans

  • The packet she put in for the Chaplain Corps was kicked around for paperwork issues and errors for years.
  • She had to graduate from one of her schools to stay on to become a major. But she couldn’t get into her intelligence school because she had a branch transfer packet. 
  • She eventually got discharge orders in 2018. She spent the next four years trying to re-enlist in every single branch, but she was medically disqualified.
  • God's purpose for her worked out differently. Shelly has graduated from seminary and is now an ordained minister and chaplain.
  • She found herself questioning God after receiving her discharge order. His answer was that she didn't need to be a soldier to serve the soldiers.

[49:29] Where Shelly is Now

  • She opened her educational consulting business in 2017 when she still thought she was going to be a military chaplain.
  • Teaching and training made her realize her love for large-scale public speaking.
  • With a chaplain title as a civilian, she feels that she has had enough external validation to establish herself as a young, accomplished professional.
  • A few years back, Michigan’s veteran liaison approached Shelly to lead a female peer support program for all the military women in the state.
  • They also have a program called Warriors with Warriors, where they train people of faith on how to interact with military people.

[53:24] What Non-Military People Need to Understand

  • The three things you should stay away from when talking with a military person are talking about politics, religion, and yourself.
  • Military women are the most diverse group of individuals you can ever come across.
  • The number one thing to know about a military woman is she knows exactly what she wants, and she’ll go after it.
  • A lot of military women can be hard to love because they don’t fit certain stereotypes.

[01:00:00] Male vs. Female Leadership

  • Shelly believes in the physiological differences between the two sexes. Only when we understand this can we make progress regarding differences in leadership styles.
  • We run into a lot of stereotypes in male-to-female leadership. Both men and women incorrectly stereotype women.
  • Leadership is a skill that is trained and developed over time. 
  • It's better to see it from an "equal and different" perspective because there are inherent social differentiators between inequalities and equity.
  • God has a mission-first mindset. When it comes to leadership, it doesn't matter who holds the position as long as the mission is getting accomplished.

[01:05:57] Leading with Love and Respect

  • Shelly encourages women to lead with love and respect instead of stepping on people while clawing their way to the top.
“From a standpoint of being a strong woman, I want to encourage you to lead with love, lead with respect.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[1:08:13] Go

  • Shelly believes that we are given breath in our day so that we can go do what the Lord is calling us to do.
  • Go do the thing that will pour goodness into your society and the people around you.

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About the Podcast

Show artwork for Seek Go Create - The Leadership Journey for Christian Entrepreneurs, Faith-Based Leaders, Purpose-Driven Success, Kingdom Business, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Leadership Development
Seek Go Create - The Leadership Journey for Christian Entrepreneurs, Faith-Based Leaders, Purpose-Driven Success, Kingdom Business, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Leadership Development

About your host

Profile picture for Tim Winders

Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.