The Art of Becoming a PITA with Shanah Bell


The Art of Becoming a PITA with Shanah Bell

I always love talking to guests about how we can live a better life. After all, it is part of the slogan on my podcast. Today I am excited to have back on the show Shanah Bell, founder of Adaptive Nourishment and author of the book The Art of Being a PITA, to discuss how her career of working over 50 jobs informed how she can help other people navigate the ins and outs of getting what they want and living the life they want.

What Are We Drinking?

Shanah — Citrus Gin Fizz:

1-2 shot of gin, ice, 10 drops Crude Rizzo Bitters, 2 shots organic lemonade, 2 shots grapefruit Italian soda, 1 shot lime seltzer water, stir, top with candied lemon wedge and two candied mandarin oranges (16 oz)

Shannon —  Gin and Tonic

Podcast Notes

  • The first time Shanah was on the podcast, in March 2017, she talked about being on food stamps. Listen to that episode here.
  • Shanah is now a client of the Financial Gym and her trainer, Jen, hadn’t heard the episode. 
  • Shanah got creative in freelancing and is no longer on food stamps.
  • There are things that happen in life that lead us to some sort of evolution of ourselves. Although we don’t want to go through it, we are stronger for it.
  • Shanah decided to join the Gym to see if a trainer could see something that Shanah was missing and see what she would say. Jen did tweak a few things and now Shanah is almost to the goal that was set in December.
  • Just like fit people go to a gym, there is a benefit to joining the Financial Gym, and there is a six-month, money-back guarantee. 
  • Shanah has been with the Gym almost six months. She isn’t planning on staying long-term, because she just needed someone to look at her finances from a different perspective. As a frugal person, Shanah said it is worth the money.
  • Shanah now has her own business and just wrote a book, The Art of Becoming a PITA (pain in the ass).
  • Shanah has had Celiacs disease since 1986 and has never had a pita chip in her life. She earned a masters degree in nutrition and is a holistic health advisor, and she works with clients who have food and health issues. This book has nothing to do with food at all.
  • The book cover looks like a box of crackers and has a nutrition label on the back.
  • Shanah has been working on this book as part of a larger project for about six to eight years. This book is a smaller version of the original and she is now going to be working on the second one.
  • It took a long time to write, because Shanah got divorced and she was trying to raise her kids and survive. Writing a book wasn’t really top priority, because it wasn’t making money at the time. 
  • Shanah decided to write this book, because she has lived an unconventional life, when it comes to jobs and finances, since she was 14. She will turn 40 years old this year. “What do you do” is one of those questions that comes up in almost every conversation. People have wondered how she has made it financially without have one stable job, so she decided to write it down. 
  • In the book she also talks about what skills she has learned, what she has learned about herself, and how it makes her a versatile person to have on your team.
  • Diversified income has helped Shanah find a happy work-life balance. She is an entrepreneur, which is not always fun and games.
  • Most people consider you a PITA when you don’t conform to the societal norms where you go to school, get a degree, get a “good job” at a corporation that is stable and gives you a 401(k) and vacation time, work there until you are 65, and that’s all you do.
  • In Shanah’s opinion, the stability of any one job is not something that really exists anymore. It used to exist from about the 1900s to the 1950s and then corporate jobs started not being as stable. Now it isn’t really a thing. 
  • North Carolina is an at-will state, which means you could get hired or fired on any given day for any reason and there goes your stability.
  • If you are putting all of your eggs in one basket, that is fine, but that is not how Shanah does it. It has given her more flexibility to change and shift as the job market changes and shifts. We don’t stay the same.
  • Shanah has learned to diversify her skill set as she has gotten older, to do different things. 
  • Forty two states are at-will, which means they can let you go no matter what. At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself and protect yourself and your family and be flexible. 
  • You don’t know where you will be in ten or twenty years.
  • If you are the type of person that likes working a nine to five job, which is the majority of people, that is fine. That doesn’t mean you can’t look at your current position in your company and see if there are new skills you can learn to increase your knowledge base and skillset, which would also increase your viability.
  • You can look within your company to see if there are other people in other positions that are doing things that you find interesting. If so, figure out how to learn that skillset, whether you are getting paid for it or not, because it makes you a more viable employee and it makes it easier to shift you around in the company.
  • If there are no opportunities within your current company, or if you are not drawn to anything, look outside of your company for things you like to do. This could include photography, writing, or hanging out with babies or animals, and see if you can figure out any skills within your hobbies that you can learn more about, and do it as a side hustle. That may grow into making more money than your full-time job and you may want to shift. 
  • Shanah worked as a bartender at night when she worked in an office, because she liked bartending and missed the socialization.
  • For people who say they don’t have time for this because of their day job and kids, if it is important enough to you, you will figure it out. When someone who has one baby looks at someone who has twins and asks how do they do it, they just do. They have to figure it out.
  • Depending what Shanah was doing, she would either work early morning or before bed. 
  • If you are doing something remotely, you have more flexibility. In the original podcast Shanah did in March 2017, she was up at 3:00 am multiple days of the week. If you are a night owl, work after the kids go to bed. There are plenty of weekends where Shanah worked all weekend long.
  • You can find the time if you really want to. If you work full time, it is only 40 hours a week. It is a matter of realizing that no matter where you are in your career, you should always explore new things, either as a back up or to learn the next thing.
  • At the Gym the first goal is having an emergency fund and being financially prepared for the unknown. On the other side, there is another way to be financially prepared, and that is being as professionally prepared as possible and focusing on other things.
  • You never know what is going to happen. You may get to the point in your career that you hate your job and it isn’t a matter of being let go.
  • A typical response at the Gym is “I am going to go back to school and get a masters in something else because I want to move into this next thing”. 
  • Think creatively about solutions that don’t require tens of thousands of dollars of debt to figure out a change in life. This is what Shanah is pointing out in her book.
  • When Shanah was 14, 15, and 16, she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a job. She is still evolving and changing and she is now almost 40. As humans we are supposed to be evolving and changing.
  • You don’t know what the you in 20 years is going to be versus the you now. It is always good to keep increasing your skillset, because you never know when it will come in handy.
  • In the book, Shanah lays out each job she has had. At the time she wrote the book, it was 56 jobs. Since then, she has added dog boarding, cooking classes, AirBNB, and author — 60 jobs!
  • In the book, at the end of each job, Shanah states what she learned, and it is either skills she learned or things she learned about herself, either that she liked or didn’t like. You can see as she evolves she avoids getting into situations where the majority of the position is things she didn’t like before.
  • Every job you have, you learn something from it. It doesn’t matter if you liked it or didn’t like it. You learn things about yourself and what you like and hate about each job.
  • It is like a marriage when it ends where you learn what you liked and what you didn’t like, so you don’t replicate the things you didn’t like in your next relationship.
  • There is a portion at the end of the book where Shanah talks about creating a financial stability plan when you are making an irregular income. In Shanah’s opinion, having a budget is necessary to see what she has available and what she has to pay for every month versus what she wants.
  • Budgets get a bad rap. They are like diets — nobody wants to be on one. The biggest realization you have with a budget is not knowing your expenses (it’s like stepping on a scale).
  • Whether you like to budget or not there is an issue that has to be resolved or you will accumulate a lot of debt. You need to know your expenses to figure out how much you need to make.
  • Shanah chronicles her life in 56 jobs in the book. 
  • Another book Shannon recommends is Hustle Away Debt by Dave Carlson, who has something like 150 side hustles.
  • With technology, you have a lot more options and it is changing by the day.
  • Shanah likes to talk to people about what she likes and about what she has done before. Most of the jobs she’s had have been handed to her, because they have heard of the other stuff she has done. Talking to people and networking is the best way to get these jobs.
  • Shanah and Shannon hate networking events. Networking is just talking to other people. 
  • The answer isn’t necessarily going back to school and getting another degree. There can be more creativity than that.
  • Other than being doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and other jobs that require a specific education, most jobs you will learn as you go. Certain skills can apply to many different jobs which gives you more options in diversifying your income streams.
  • If you are feeling unhappy with what you are doing, there is an option to do something else that brings you happiness. Start having conversations with people and it might lead you to the next thing. 
  • Change is going to happen whether you like it or not. If you want to live your happiest and best life, you might need to implement that change yourself. 

Random Three Questions

  1. If you were to write another book, not book two, what would you write?
  2. What is your favorite thing to cook and is it what your kids like to eat?
  3. What is something people wouldn’t know about you through Google?

Connect with Shanah

Website: Adaptive Nourishment

Book: The Art of Being a PITA (Amazon)

If you’d like someone to help you figure out if you can work for yourself or manage the business you’ve already started, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We work with hundreds of people building businesses of all shapes and sizes and we’d love to help you.

As many of you know, we increased our rates in 2019 for new clients, but I have instituted a 15% discount for Martinis and Your Money listeners going forward so the new rates will not impact you.

If you’re ready to manifest your dreams and grow your business in 2019 like Shanah, head over to to get signed up today.

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