Sarah is a qualified psychologist for 20 years, a business founder, Board Chair, author, podcast host, blogger, speaker and mindset coach.
MAPS. AHPRA. PBA. CCOUN. Certified Chair and Advisor (ABC), Member of ACID, Femeconomy,
Career.Life.Money and Women On Boards.
Director of Moving Mindsets Psychology Clinic and Co-Founder of Aware Group, The Business Hangover with Nicky and Sarah Podcast and Aware Podcast. President and co-chair of GriefLine Australia
My love for human nature inspired a career from management and marketing to psychology. From rebuilding failing businesses at 19 to opening a large clinic that has built over 30 consultancy private practices for my team, my passion is always about how incredible individuals are, how brave they can be to face the challenges life hands them and how self awareness can be a super power when mastered.
As an successful entrepreneur please share your view point if you believe that entrepreneurs are born or made?
I think entrepreneurs are born. The divergent mind set (or multipods) has a unique ability to multitask, create and innovate through a drive for discovery. It is this drive that allows entrepreneurs to fail fearlessly, to see gaps in market landscapes and to thrive on the challenges to build a business.
Nelson Mandela once quoted – ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’
What has been one fear you have overcome?
My biggest fear was to move from my identity as a psychologist and branch into the unknown as a mindset leadership coach. In Australia there are strict regulations on testimonials from clients and the use of social media. Moving into leadership coaching in a more dynamic way meant I had to start from scratch, irrelevant of the 7800 clients I had worked with. I was challenged shifting into a public face of my brand and building a reputation based on the now and not what I had actually achieved. Could I rebrand? Would it work? How on earth do you do this? Tech and me are not best friends so it took many failures, a lot of self doubt and accepting of self to jump into a new arena. That was how AWARE was born.
Tell us what the word “empower” means to you?
To me the word empower is about power with empathy. Our ability to feel confident to embrace the challenges and changes ahead, combined with the empathy to see the world and our own personal paradigm from an extrospective lens. We are empowered when we understand the drivers behind our values our ‘to be’ list, when our actions benefit others and when we stand for our self belief that we can achieve in some way, to improve our life and those around us. Equally we can corrupt the idea of empowerment and believe it is synonymous with entitlement. When this happens we mistake empowerment for ‘our truth’, which can be a skewed perception of what is real, what is fair and what is expected from others or the world around us.
What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the courage to implement it?
My biggest business decision was to set out on my own 20 years ago and build what is now one of the largest practices in Melbourne. I gambled on the belief that I could be successful and had the skills to change peoples lives. At this time I had 3 young children all under 5, one with a chronic disability (spina bifida). I knew it would be tough and it would require me to dig deep and find a new level of energy and drive. I brought a property, put up my shingle and started, unsure if it would work, worried I had put my family under financial pressure and guilty that it would take time away from my children. It took enormous courage to take a chance on my future self.
Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of courage to push through to the next level, please tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?
A few years ago, after having some tough conversations with my business coach, I realised my identify had become immersed in my business. I had stopped growing professionally, was feeling burnt out and needed a change. Around the same time I met a fabulous business woman at networking event. We hit it off and kept in contact. As the friendship grew so did an idea to share the 40 combined years of business and human skills we had together. we played with the what if, both very busy in our current jobs and to be frank we didn’t need to start another venture. Yet, something sparked and the more we looked at what we had learned, the wisdom we could share, the change it could make to leaders of the future, the more it transformed from an idea, to a concept to a business model. The hurdles were emotional more than anything- What was the sacrifice going to be to do this? Could we really bring something new to the executive training table? Why are we driven to do this anyway? So, we started a podcast first to get a feel for the leadership landscape we wanted to build on. We enjoyed the interviewing so much we decided, why not. Both fearless about failure we knew we had nothing to lose and everything to gain by combining what our clients and life had taught us. I think as a team we could push through the grit to get it done.
Tell us what attributes you feel make a good leader in business today?
My top 5 attributes for the leaders of today that are emerging and those that will create a legacy in the future are:
- Introspection and Extrospection
- Cognitive Empowerment
- Social Effectiveness
- Self Awareness
- Fearless disruptor
What is your favourite quote about empowerment?
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”– Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Build a kick ass tribe to support, challenge and disrupt you. Be prepared to sacrifice in order to gain. Believe you can do it and you might need to change how you do it along the way. Be prepared to fail so you get it right the next time around.
What would be one (1) question you would you ask the person who most inspires you? Also share with us about this person and why they inspire you?
The person I would ask a question from, who inspires me the most is actually my daughter who overcomes the extreme physical and emotional hurdles of being a wonderful woman with a disability. I am constantly inspired by her compassion for those who discriminate and misjudge her, her tolerance for a world that struggles to be disabled friendly, her courage to try to build her podcast and overcome her anxiety and her wisdom to see people how they really are and make them shine in her company. My question is “What gives you the courage to overcome your hurdles every day?” I know her answer, “Self acceptance.”
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