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“Leap and the net will appear”, Sarah E. Williams and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Whatever we focus on only magnifies therefore I try my best to train my mind to focus on what I’m thankful for, what impact I hope to make, and why I’m the person for the job. Sometimes just reminding yourself of your strengths and past successes can help you remember that you’re much stronger than […]

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Whatever we focus on only magnifies therefore I try my best to train my mind to focus on what I’m thankful for, what impact I hope to make, and why I’m the person for the job. Sometimes just reminding yourself of your strengths and past successes can help you remember that you’re much stronger than any stressful situation in front of you.


As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah E. Williams.

Sarah E. Williams is a Professional Counselor, Entrepreneur and dedicated advocate for women and girls. She is the Founder of The Esteem Program and Sarah Elizabeth Diaries which support girls and women to reach their highest potential by nurturing healthy self-esteem and prioritizing self-love. When she’s not busy empowering amazing females you can find her cooking and creating self- love affirmations with her 6-year-old daughter London Elle.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Chicago and was raised by a single mom. I loved writing as a young child and was definitely an overachiever involved in every activity you could think of from choir to yearbook club and honors society. I was someone who loved to stay busy doing things I loved.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

By nature, I’m a systematic thinker and creative so being an entrepreneur was a much more natural fit for me than going the corporate route. I was once a law student on a full scholarship until I woke up one day and realized I was living someone else’s dream. Thereafter I committed to going on a self-discovery journey and realized my creativity, love for writing, and ability to streamline processes would be a great fit for business. Thereafter, the corporate route was history and I was on my way to pursuing entrepreneurship.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I would definitely say my mom is my biggest cheerleader. She’s believed in me when I’ve had moments of doubt and observed things in me early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I hadn’t noticed about myself. For example, it was through her observation and encouragement I realized early on in my business- I’m a connector. If she hadn’t pointed out to me that I’m always connecting people to each other and feeding them resources; I likely wouldn’t be intentional about it as a business leader today.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

One time a parent messaged me on Facebook asking how their child was doing in The Esteem Program after I answered her, I typed I’ll be right back going to take a quick break. My phone auto-corrected what I typed and said a quick smoke break LOL. I do not smoke by the way and I definitely wouldn’t do that with kids in my program around! Luckily the mom knew me and we laughed hysterically! Even to this day its funny to us! I learned that our phones quickly auto-correct messages and sometimes they are not right so definitely look twice before hitting send!

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

In a world full of inundated messages one of the most powerful things a young person can do is to recognize their voice, know who they are, what they believe in and why they believe what they believe. If you can stand in this power along with hard work you will achieve your vision of success but make sure its your vision and not anyone else’s for your life.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The bible impacts me every day. There is a scripture for every single thing we go through in life written in Gods word. Meditating on it brings me peace. Whenever I have doubts or a hard day, I often focus my mind on the scripture “For I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

This scripture reminds me everything for my business and life is going to work out because God is on my side.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Leap and the net will appear”- Julia Cameron. You have to be willing to take risks in entrepreneurship and even the decision of becoming an entrepreneur is a risk but if you stick with it long enough it will pay off. My decision to become a business owner was frightening at first but eventually my net (resources, connections, clients) did appear and now I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m working on a book called Birthright that helps women overcome insecurity and self-doubt to embrace their birthright of self-love.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

Tony Robbins talks about priming yourself everyday before your day begins. I took that approach and created my own twist on it. Therefore, each morning I focus on getting myself ready for the day by strengthening my mind, body and spirit. For my mind I meditate 10 minutes minimum, for my body I do a minimum of 20 minutes aerobic exercise and for my spirit I listen to a devotion and scripture in the holy bible app.

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

I have a list in my phone called “Times God Came Through” I started this list 5 years ago and it’s a running tab of times in my life I was stressed or worried and the outcomes of those situations ended up turning out in my favor. This list really helps me to know if I made it through high pressured moments before I can certainty do it now and that God is with me equipping me as I accomplish my goals.

Visualization is also key. Before any event or major project, I visualize every detail as if its already done. The visualization of walking through something I planned step by step and seeing it complete in my mind helps me to drive it home.

Whatever we focus on only magnifies therefore I try my best to train my mind to focus on what I’m thankful for, what impact I hope to make, and why I’m the person for the job. Sometimes just reminding yourself of your strengths and past successes can help you remember that you’re much stronger than any stressful situation in front of you.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

I’m a strong believer that self-love is an antidote to stress therefore I love doing self-love affirmation sleep meditations the night before a big project, meeting or event.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

Prayer

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

We are the sum of our habits. From an early age I was committed to my journey of success. No matter what life has thrown my way I built a muscle of resilience to keep going. This is a mental habit because I tell myself what I envision is possible and I will obtain it. In addition, I remind myself daily of why I want it.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop great habits is to be clear on why you need them and what it will cost you if you don’t change. This is the same for bad habits you need to replace them with new healthier habits but you must write down your reason why and what you will miss out on if you don’t follow through. Seeing things this way can help you to be truly motivated to change.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Honestly, I think we are in flow when we’re doing what we love most. Business requires you to wear many hats. For me writing gives me that state of flow so I have to carve time out each day to do it. It’s important to make time to do the activities in your business that make you feel good. Its about prioritizing and not expecting it to just happen. You must be aware of what puts you in flow then be intentional about making it a daily practice.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would reward all women a day of self-care to unplug from all responsibilities and do whatever makes them feel really good inside.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Arlan Hamilton- she’s super authentic and her journey of resilience to become a VC deserves a stadium size standing ovation.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can find me at www.sarahelizabethdiaries.com

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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