My Journey

Hi! My name is Shawn Elliot Russell.

And this is me, the moment I fell in love with performing hip hop music



Fun fact, we were performing “Baby Got Back” for a talent show…they quickly closed the curtain on us, because we were 12, and that’s inappropriate. haha.

After graduating, I worked day and night, for over 10 years, to make my dream of being a hip hop artist come true.

But I was hiding something…

I Suffered from Anxiety.


And, in 2013, just as I began to see my dream come true, it started to get worse…



This picture was taken right after a performance. The stress and sadness in my eyes says it all.

Over the next year, it got so bad that…






I HAD TO QUIT MY JOB.




I COULD BARELY EAT.




I’D PANIC WHENEVER I’D LEAVE THE HOUSE.




JUST TO NAME A FEW.

But what hurt the most…

Was the realization that maybe I wasn’t meant to live my dream. Brokenhearted, I had to walk away from it all.

I felt depressed. And angry. And freaked out. Kinda like this…

But, I wanted to feel more like this…

And this…

And definitely more like this…

I felt trapped and I wanted my life back! So, I started my journey from fear to FREEDOM…

Over the next two years, I treated myself like a human experiment, trying to find peace.

During that time, I learned three things that changed my life…

One.

When I try to avoid anxiety, I actually don’t feel safer, I feel even more anxious and helpless…

Two.

When I choose to FACE IT, I feel more powerful and at peace.

“But how could leaning INTO my anxiety make me feel more peaceful?” Which brings me to my last lesson.

Three.

It turns out that the opposite of anxiety isn’t peace…

it’s CONFIDENCE.

The more confident I was in my ability to face and deal with the anxiety, the less anxious I felt.

So, I kept facing it and building my confidence, even when I was scared to. And sure enough, I started to get my life back…

I Landed an Even Better Job!

I Could Walk at the Park and Travel Again!

and it Felt Great to Enjoy a Delicious Meal.

and you know what…

I felt even better than I did before it all happened!

Little did I know, this was just the beginning…

One day, this cool phrase passed through my mind…

Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still

That night, a story came pouring out of me..

It was about a little tree who’s terrified of storms.

Lucky, he’s planted next to an older wiser tree who teaches him the secret to weathering the storms of life: Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still.

Over the years, he grows bigger and stronger until one day, a new little tree is planted in the yard and she too is afraid of storms…

Now, it’s his turn to pass on the wisdom so she can have peace and courage as well.


I was so excited about the story that I started emailing it to people, hoping it’s message could help!

Then, something amazing happened: People began to ask where they could buy the book! 

So, I found a way to print up hardcover copies and we sold them online.

Then a good friend of mine called…

He told me that his students had a rough semester and asked me the question I was dreading

“Would you be willing to come to do a presentation?”

I FROZE…

I was scared. What if I said, “Yes” and all the anxiety came back? I told him I’d think about it. That night, I had a dream.

I was in my bedroom when I looked outside and there, above the house behind us, was a huge black storm.

We ran outside to the car so we could escape. That’s when I saw something strange…

There, in the front yard, was somebody staring up at the storm. But, I couldn’t see his face.

After a moment, he shuffled over to the driveway and turned around. I could finally see who it was…

It was my Grandpa.

He had just passed away the year before.

I ran up to him and hugged him, saying “Grandpa, we miss you! I love you!

He looked up at the sky, smiled, and said, “There’s a heck of a storm coming.”

My girlfriend came over to help us get to safety. But the storm came twisting down and tried to pull her away.

My fear disappeared as I wrestled her back, putting her in the garage so the storm couldn’t get to her.

My grandpa walked over and said, “Principal Shawn!” Confused, I said, “Principal, grandpa? I’m only a lawyer…

He said, “You’re going to be offered a lot of jobs, my son. Take the one of principle. And fight for the kids. Don’t ever stop fighting for the kids.” And then I woke up…

Tears were pouring down my cheeks. And I knew what I had to do…

I had to live my principle of helping others…

and do my job of getting back up in front of people…

because the little kid inside of all of us is worth fighting for…

I called my friend and told him I would do it. Because it wasn’t about me anymore…

And now, this is what I do…

It turns out all of that hip hop didn’t go to waste! Not only was I back in front of people, but, unbeknownst to me, I had written “Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still” in the form of a rap!

Now, my special way of sharing the story is by RAPPING IT!

So I guess my dream came true after all:

I’m a HIP HOP ARTIST!

So that’s the story behind the story. I NOW KNOW that I have the POWER to FACE ANYTHING and CHOOSE to be at peace with it. And I believe everyone has that power, including you!

There’s so much more I’d love to share. Until then, if you’d like, you can DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK version of “Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still” below. You can also watch and listen to the fun hip-hop animated video version below as well. Thank you for your time and I hope you have an amazing day.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE eBOOK

Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still

WATCH THE HIP-HOP ANIMATED VIDEO

Inquire about an author visit or presentation

Take care 🙂