| SARAH LAJEUNESSE |
I was lucky enough to be able to meet the beautiful Sarah in Bali recently, even though it was only briefly as she was about to rush off to catch her plane! But wow, I felt blessed and ecstatic that I was able to connect with her in person. Sarah is one of those people who light up the room. Who have that magnetic, radiant, warm energy about them. Full of life and personality. She is a true inspiration to me as she’s just so passionate about what she does and she truly lives from the heart.
She has recently launched her new website, which is absolutely gorgeous, so I totally recommend you go and have a peek!
Sarah Lajeunesse is a lifestyle and wellness coach committed to helping young, overwhelmed and overworked women exchange their “going through the motions” lifestyle for one with more vibrancy, power, passion and purpose. Her coaching programs are designed to empower women to overcome fears, judgements and lack of self-belief so they can begin living the extraordinary lives they were meant to live.
She combines her passion for yoga, health and wellness, nutrition, personal development techniques, self-care and the lessons she learned along her own journey to help women become their most vibrant and powerful best. Through 1:1 sessions, speaking engagements and sharing tips and tricks on her blog at www.sarahlajeunesse.com, Sarah is on a mission to inspire and empower the purpose-driven and trailblazing women of the world make the time to prioritise themselves so they can start creating the life they’ve always wanted.
Sarah is a recognised Life Coach from the Beautiful You Coaching Academy and has a degree in marketing with a minor in social responsibility from the University of Lethbridge.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JUST GO FOR IT, AND START LIVING THE LIFE YOU LOVE? WAS THERE A TURNING POINT OR AN ‘A-HA’ MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU REALISED YOU NEEDED TO MAKE THE CHANGE?
I grew up wanting to work in sports management which led me to working in various professional football organisations across the country in events, marketing and corporate sponsorships. I was constantly waiting for the “next big thing” to make me feel happy and fulfilled. Yet with every acquirement of the “next big thing”, I felt a quick surge of excitement and temporary fulfilment before quickly going back to the unhappy and unfulfilled state that I was in before. I considered my career to be the only indicator of true success and as a result, everything else took a back seat. I stopped making time for exercise, proper nutrition, relationships and most importantly, self-care. I considered this type of overworked and burnt-out lifestyle to be a “means to an end” and if I continued to put everything into my job then the promotions, money and exposed-brick apartment would give me all the happiness I needed.
Following a severe anxiety attack in the middle of a yoga class that left me vomiting, shaking and sobbing uncontrollably on the studio change room floor at the age of 25, I knew the Universe was telling me that my current lifestyle was neither enjoyable nor sustainable. I whole-heartedly knew I was capable of living a healthier, happier and more meaningful life.
It was around that time that I was introduced to a leadership and success coach – Robin Sharma. I am an absolute believer that we attract what we are ready for, and I truly believe that the teachings of that particular coach was brought into my life because at that point, I was ready for massive change. One day while listening to his videos, I heard the words that changed how I chose to spend every single day of my life, moving forward:
“THE HOURS THAT ORDINARY PEOPLE WASTE, EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE LEVERAGE”.
His words put everything into perspective for me. I didn’t want to live an anxious, overwhelmed and unfulfilled life anymore. In that moment, my mindset shifted from wanting to change my life to deciding to change my life.
I made a conscious choice that if I was to get back to my roots and create the life I wanted to live, I needed to do it the natural, holistic and healthy way. I began making subtle changes at first by eliminating toxic habits, activities and relationships in my life that didn’t serve or uplift me and with the help of my own health and happiness coach, I started to give myself the permission to put my own self-care and wellness at the forefront of every decision. She gave me the courage and confidence to see that my crazy and large-scale ideas were a possibility and with her help, I was able to find more vibrancy, confidence and passion than I ever thought I had. I knew I wanted to share that with others.
HOW IS YOUR LIFE DIFFERENT NOW AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
Since following the path of becoming a Coach, I think the biggest difference is that I feel like I am living my life on purpose. I wake up every morning feeling more passionate, inspired and excited that I get to be living my life. I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I have the courage and confidence to eliminate people and things that don’t serve and uplift me. I’m incredibly conscious about what I feed my body and mind with. I still have moments of anger, sadness and frustration, but I now have the tools I need to help me get back on track. The self-deprecating thoughts and fears still pop into my head every once in a while, (and I don’t believe those’ll ever fully go away) but I know now how to quiet them so I am able to move forward in a positive direction. I am able to see everything as a lesson with an unwavering belief that every experience is put into our lives to teach us something important. (Even if it’s not clear to us in the moment.)
My favourite thing about doing the work that I am doing is that I get to support and inspire brave and beautiful souls create the life they’ve always wanted. There is something so incredibly rewarding about seeing something shift in the mindset of one of my clients. The point where they realise that the life they’ve always wanted is not only a possibility, but that they’re capable of making it a reality – it’s an amazing thing.
WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST FEAR OR BLOCK (EMOTIONAL, MENTAL OR PHYSICAL) THAT YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET WHERE YOU ARE, AND HOW DID YOU BREAK THROUGH IT?
I experienced it all. That’s part of the process when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and take risks. The biggest block was the fear of not being competent enough. I was constantly worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously, that they’d laugh at me, criticise me and judge me for following a very non-traditional and what I thought they would perceive as a “made-up” career path.
Whenever these moments happen (and they do happen less and less each day) I always think to myself: 70 years from now when I have lived a long and healthy life and am lying on my death bed, do I ever want to say to myself “Wow Sarah, good call on listening to everyone else around you who told you not to follow your dreams. I bet it feels really good to have spent your entire life in a job that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t fulfil you, doesn’t bring you any joy, passion or excitement when you walked into the office every day. That’s too bad your life was miserable though, but hey, at least no one laughed at you.”
You will be judged, laughed at and criticised by people in your life, no matter what you do, or don’t do. It would be an incredible waste of your unique gifts and talents if you chose to live your life on someone else’s terms instead of your own. And BONUS, when you give yourself the permission to step outside of your comfort zone, take risks and create your own path for yourself, you inspire other people along the way, and give them the permission to do the same.
HOW DID OPENING UP AND ‘BEING AUTHENTICALLY YOU’ AFFECT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU OR YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM?
It was difficult at first. As mentioned, I was so worried about judgement and criticism. I actually had a blog for about two months before I shared it with anyone because the mere thought of launching it gave me anxiety. But when I first started sharing, I received so much positive feedback and received messages from people that I hadn’t spoken to for years about what my message meant to them. The friends that are truly your friends (and that are meant to be in your life) will be so supportive and over-the-moon happy for you. It made our friendships closer. It creates new and authentic relationships with like-minded individuals. It creates a platform that allows you to meet people that will uplift, inspire you and bring you to the next level, because you begin doing that for them (solely by being authentically you). In the past year, I’ve met more beautiful and inspiring women (from all over the world) that I remain in contact with and feel that I have more in common with and that support me more than some of the people I’ve known my whole life. Being who you truly are (openly and unapologetically) draws in the right people in your life, and starts to eliminate the people that drain or try to bring you down. It’s kind of like a relationship detox tool.
DID YOU FACE ANY JUDGEMENTS OR CRITICISMS, WHETHER FROM YOURSELF OR OTHERS?
My family members were a bit doubtful at first. Not in a judgemental way but they were being the loving, caring family that I’m so grateful to have. They just wanted to make sure I wasn’t making a stupid decision and throwing away a career that I had spent half of my life building. (No biggie.) I love my family deeply. They’re the best and I wouldn’t be where I am today or be able to be doing what I am doing ,without them. However, you can’t always listen to your parents. I met an old man in a coffee shop once, named Albert. His words will stick with me forever. He told me, “Whatever you do, don’t listen to your parents. Of course they are doing and saying the things that they truly believe is what’s best for you (because those were the tools that were taught to them, from their own parents who wanted what was best for them), but, they have their own life full of experiences, it’s time you create yours.
Also, and an important thing to note, is I had a massive fear that I would be laughed at when I shared with the world that I decided to pursue my passion and start my own coaching business. I received so many incredibly thoughtful and kind messages and words of encouragement. I had messages from people I worked with, friends, people I didn’t know and people I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years telling me what an inspiration I was to them. It was humbling. But, the one message that stuck out the most was from a guy that I didn’t even know. I don’t think I’ve even had a conversation with him in my life. When I made my big announcement on my social media channels, he wrote eight simple letters that destroyed my confidence (for about twenty minutes). He wrote, “Hahahaha”.
Shocked, embarrassed and back into a downward spiral of self-critical thoughts, (again, for about twenty minutes) it dawned on me that this was the VERY thing I was most scared of happening when I broke the news of my career transition. And here it was, a very public laughter at my dreams. The one thing that very nearly prevented me from exchanging a soul-sucking career for a life that I absolutely adored. And once it happened, I realised it wasn’t such a big deal after all. It happened. I deleted the comment. I deleted him from Facebook. And then I worked even harder to prove to any other critics what I was quite capable of achieving.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?
I love my drive, my passion, my commitment to going after what I want and what I feel is right. I trust my instincts and when I commit to something, I go for it. (Regardless if it’s outside of my comfort zone, if it’s uncomfortable or if it seems entirely illogical.) I believe whole-heartedly that we should all live life by making choices from our heart.
WHERE DO YOU FIND BEAUTY AND INSPIRATION?
I spend a lot of time in coffee shops with my journal, reading books or listening to inspirational videos or podcasts. I write down everything that inspires me and that often leads to new thoughts and ideas. I love traveling and just being on my own where I can just be in silence and think. I’ve gotten a few epiphanies in yoga. The world would be a better place if everyone did yoga.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO DO?
I was a super weird child but in the spirit of being authentic I’m going to open up here and share some of my favourite (and embarrassing) childhood pastimes.
◇ I collected black, shiny rocks. I loved them. We are talking a serious obsession. I would seek them out whenever I was outside. One time I found the perfect shiny, black rock on a daycare field trip and I didn’t have pockets. I stuck it up my nose and when I couldn’t get it out my parents had to take me to the emergency.
◇ I had a plastic toy cash register that I was obsessed with. I would take my parent’s groceries and other things around the house and try to re-charge them.
◇ I also put on puppet plays a lot. I had a little set-up with a curtain and all. They were terrible, terrible plays. No plot, no conclusion, I don’t even think they made sense. I tried to charge for those too.
◇ I was obsessed with disney movies (specifically the Lion King and Pocahontas). We had a lot of trees and a big garden in our backyard and I would sprint through them carrying my black cat Murphy (he played the part of Pocahontas’ pet racoon – Miko). Like Pocahontas did, I would peak through bushes and trees, pretending we were spying on John Smith like in that one scene. I’d wrap up my fantasy play date by belting out, “Colours of The Wind”. Murphy hated it.
◇ I also pretended I was a Power Ranger – but who didn’t?
◇ This one is really embarrassing. I used to wrap my legs up in sheets and pretend I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP AND WHY?
People that are living a life that lights them up. I love seeing people that are so incredibly passionate about what they do. Those people intoxicate me. The other day, I was at a day-long retreat that included yoga, meditation, journaling, singing bowls and dance. There were about 30 women in attendance and one man who looked to be about 50 years old. The dance part was completely out of my comfort zone but I decided to give it a go. I then remembered there was only one man in attendance and I scanned the crowed, expecting to see him completely awkward and likely feeling out of place. To my surprise and excitement, he looked so incredibly comfortable, at peace and passionate about what he was doing. He didn’t hold back and rocked every move we learned that day.
Some people spend their entire lives avoiding doing things or activities that they would love to try, out of fear of judgement from others. This man was OWNING his dance moves. And it was liberating. I’m drawn to those people because they constantly remind me to keep doing my own form of that man’s dance regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. That’s what drew me to coaching in the first place. If I can help even one person create the life they’ve always wanted by overcoming fears of failure or judgements from other, then it’s so incredibly worth it. To see the light in their eyes or the smile on their face when they give themselves permission to do and be whoever they want to be, that’s a pretty special thing.
WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, OVERWHELMING AND THE NEGATIVITY STARTS TO CREEP IN, HOW DO YOU UNWIND AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO ‘JUST BE’?
The first thing I do is turn off my social media. It’s a big part of growing an online business and there are so many wonderful benefits to it including staying in touch with all of my online soul sisters I have met as part of this coaching journey, but I find it to be very draining at times. If I really need to unwind I will turn my phone off so no one can contact me. I love being in nature, biking, doing yoga and giving myself some down time. The day I launched my website, I was so exhausted from the amount of work I put into it, stressed that the links weren’t initially worrying and anxious about what everyone would think. I turned my social media off and just spent some time relaxing. The day after launching I took three naps, then ate coconut ice cream in bed to treat myself. I listen to what my body tells me now and just give it whatever it needs. Another thing I love to do is what I call my weekly sabbatical. I learned this from one of my favourite coaches – Robin Sharma and I recommend everyone adopts this practice. It’s my non-negotiable “me time” that I create every week (typically in the early hours on Saturday morning) when I’ll go to a coffee shop, turn my phone off, read my book and enjoy my latte.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE WANTING TO RECONNECT WITH THEIR OWN NATURAL WAY OF BEING AND FIND THE BEAUTY WITHIN THEMSELVES?
I would say create a self-care practice first. I firmly believe that only when we take the time to care for and love ourselves, are we in a position to confidently and courageously create the life we’ve always wanted. You won’t have the courage or confidence to change your life if you are feeling shitty, bloated and guilty after drinking all night and chasing your liquor with a big cheese pizza. (I know from experience.) Fuel your body with only what nourishes you. That’s step one.
The next step is getting really clear on what exactly is holding you back from reconnecting with your natural way of being. Most often the answer is fear. Fear of failure and fear of judgement from others. When you experience either scenario, you realise it’s not a huge deal. I’ve been criticised for my blog, my new career choice, the green smoothies I drink, the lifestyle I live, the lifestyle I used to live, etc. I could go on forever, and yet, life has gone on. The world has kept spinning. You will be criticised no matter WHAT you do, so it makes most sense to be criticised for the person you want to be rather than the person that makes you miserable. When you give yourself the permission to start doing the things in life that make you happy, you actually become just that; happy! And when you’re truly happy, you no longer care what other people think. It’s liberating.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE YOU?
Oh gosh. I love that question. 5 years ago I hated it. I honestly didn’t even want to look in a mirror. I was stressed, anxious, lonely and miserable in my old life. I got my kicks out of drinking (a lot) and participating in various other destructive habits. I was disconnected from myself (which is a direct outcome of not giving yourself the permission to be authentically you). There’s been such a massive, beautiful and totally scary shift in the last year alone when I gave myself the permission to explore a new path that excited me.
Since making that decision, starting my own business, launching my own website I built from scratch and getting to work with the most incredible and inspiring women and helping them go from the dark, self-deprecating places they are in to the beautiful places they want to be, I now wake up every day totally psyched that I’m doing what I am doing. I wake up with a sense of purpose, passion, power and excitement. Sometimes I get so excited I do a little mini celebratory dance because I am having so much fun doing the things I get to be doing, trying new things, exploring, creating and living my life the way I want to and not the way I thought I should be. I freaking love it.