From a young age, Shaunté Simons had her life all planned out. She dreamed of becoming a judge – and finished her bachelors and masters degree by age 21, before starting her legal career. But God had other ideas in mind for how He wanted to use Shaunté’s life to impact the Kingdom.
“I finished law school and returned to Bermuda feeling bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready for work,” the 26-year-old said: “I completed my pupilage, which is the step you need to take before being called to the Bermuda Bar. Months went by but I couldn’t find a job. I was angry because I did everything my parents and society taught me to do – get good grades, finish university and get a job. I was ready to serve my community, I was ready to work but no opportunities opened up for me.”In total, Shaunté went without a job for 356 days, 9 days shy of a year.
RISING FROM ROCK BOTTOM
That period was difficult for Shaunté all around. In addition to struggling to find a job, she had just gotten out of a long term relationship and was feeling very unwanted in all areas of her life. “I was just so sad and nothing was really cheering me up,” she said. “I started losing focus and wasn’t clear on who I was anymore. I remember telling my parents ‘I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to volunteer overseas”. My parents are always supportive and gave me their blessing, so three months later I got on a plane with just a backpack for my first solo trip internationally.”
Shaunté spent her time volunteering with a non-profit organisation helping underprivileged children, she also travelled and immersed herself in the Asian culture.
“Those children I worked with were so happy with the little they had and it made me realise my problems were small in comparison,” she said. “I realised what’s important isn’t the material things, it’s the relationship with God and others that’s more meaningful.”
Once she changed her perspective, the door opened for Shaunté to finally start working full time in law. However, she was handed another curve ball when months after beginning her new role she realised she wasn’t enjoying it. “I felt like there had to be more to life than this,” she said. “Like I couldn’t mentally conceive that this is all God has for us. We wake up, we eat, we go to our nine to five, we come back home, we eat, we sleep, and repeat. It felt so unfulfilling. I felt like ‘This cannot be it’.”
That’s when Shaunté went on a journey to rediscover her purpose.
“I didn’t have to find it, I had to rediscover it because I had sort of pushed it to the side,” she explained.
“I realised that I was really good at helping other women find their purpose, helping them thread and search through the pieces of their life and discover who God has called them to be. I was very good at empowering them and helping with business strategy. So I said to myself, ‘You know what, I can do this as more than just a hobby, I can do this as a business’.”
This time when Shaunté looked ahead to where she might be in five or ten years time, she got excited. She launched The Purpose Chaser Academy, offering coaching, courses, and a podcast called Pray, Plan, Slay and other resources for women of faith.
“I found my joy and my happiness,” Shaunté said. “I found myself staying up all night working on the business, planning podcast content and supporting women in my programmes. I started to feel fulfilled and really started to come into my own. Slowly, I started to implement the life and vision God put inside of me and I’m excited to one day see it all manifest.”
CHANGING HOW SHE SAW HERSELF
Breaking free from that low point in her life wasn’t easy. Shaunté had to work extremely hard on improving her mindset and learning to be confident in her own skin.
As a child, she was often bullied for the way she looked, which gave her a skewed view of herself and got in the way of her success. “I didn’t think I was pretty and thought I was overweight. There were so many negative thoughts that would run through my mind that prevented me from walking in boldness, because I was really shying back. I had to learn how to break through that to be the person who you see before you today, because most of the time when I’m in the room, I’m the youngest person there. If I didn’t learn how to get over my limiting beliefs and start reinforcing who God says I am, then I wouldn’t be able to show up the way I do at work, the community or in my business.”
So, how did she do it? Shaunté admits she spent time getting honest with herself about her insecurities and what they were costing her. She thought back to where those negative thoughts stemmed from and made the decision to overcome them, by any means necessary. “One of the things I used to do during my late teens was walking with my head down. Today I always walk with my head up and my shoulders back. I make sure to do things that would help me project confidence, for example, I used affirmations, declarations as well as meditate on scriptures that remind me of who God has called me to be. You have to remember who you are at all times and confidently walk in that position and purpose”
CLAIMING EVERY VICTORY
Prior to Covid-19, Shaunté found herself being asked to speak at conferences and events on a regular basis. Even after the pandemic, Shaunté kept busy by launching her coaching course – twice – and working with dozens of wonderful women. “I remember people saying to me, ‘Well, this is not the right time to launch a course or product because people aren’t buying.’ But what I learned is when you listen to what the world is saying about what you should be doing, then it will shift the way your business is going. But when you listen to God, He can guide your business the way He wants it to go. God is my CEO, not other peoples’ voices.”