I'VE GOT TO POWER THROUGH THIS.
I lived in that mindset, the one where you have to try, work, strive, prove, and figure it all out alone, for years. In our society, it's upheld as proof that we are smart, capable, and independent. And yet it's isolating, it's draining, and for women, it can even wreak havoc on our bodies. It did for me.
The reality is, humans are social creatures, and we do our best when we are connected in a web of relationships that support us.
Are you personally feeling lonely, disconnected, and unknown, dragging through your days to get to the weekend? Do you feel like your team’s potential is being held back by inauthentic, superficial relationships?
It’s been said that to be known and not loved is our greatest fear.
But if you let that fear rule and don’t authentically connect with people, you’re likely to feel lonely. And being lonely has dramatically negative side effects - it disturbs your sleep, raises your blood pressure and levels of perceived stress, and is a major precipitant of depression.
Don’t make the mistake of blowing this off as unimportant: Developing authentic relationships with supportive friends and colleagues draws out our best selves and helps us do our best work.
I'M SARA BLANCHARD, AND I HID FOR YEARS.
It kicked off when I was managing editor of a college magazine. We were looking for a new editor-in-chief, and I put my hat in the ring - and then, a week later, got accidentally cc:ed on a group email that said something along the lines of, “We can’t let Sara be editor-in-chief; she regularly comes up with silly ideas…”
Ouch. I thought we all got along well and respected each other.
After that backstabbing episode, I let my previously shiny, happy voice be quieted - because who on earth wants to be known as someone who comes up with silly ideas? For years, I felt like I had to hedge my opinions and experiences, and dampen my enthusiasm and emotions and observations. While I had a huge network of acquaintances, in hindsight, I had one authentic girlfriend who I kept a close relationship with from that time. The rest, I kept at arms distance.
Sure, hiding my voice kept me safe from being exposed again,
but it also kept me from letting my true talents and visions shine.
I have put in years of work - training as a life coach, teaching positive psychology at Harvard, constantly inquiring about what it takes to help women thrive - to discover what it takes to build a trusted community that supports an authentic self.
The work has been pressure-tested, carrying me through challenging periods:
when I lost my father in my 20s;
when I switched careers - leaving corporate America to pursue my own coaching path, leaving that same path to raise two children, re-entering the workforce as a mother in a new way I outlined in my book Flex Mom;
re-building authentic communities multiple times as we moved around the world, from Tokyo to Hong Kong to New York to Arizona to Colorado.
As a listener, seeker, writer, and intuitive, I want to share all that I’ve learned along the way to help women feel known, to themselves and others, and feel free to produce their best work.
Using research-backed techniques (i.e. encouraging play and laughter - sounds hokey, but bear with me!), I hold safe space for a loosely associated group to peel back the layers and connect authentically through a deep level of conversation.
As you take a rare moment to reflect on yourself and hear real stories about the colleagues you work with, you’ll feel more authentically connected, known, and accepted; feeling authentic and happier fuels you to perform at a higher level.
WANT TO AMP UP YOUR TEAM?
Bring Sara into your organization.
Eight Fun Facts About Sara
(1) Grew up speaking Japanese, and feels like she's visiting her second home when she gets back to Japan
(2) Is a lucky mother to 2 creative daughters
(3) Plays classical piano, exploring Steinway Hall in NYC as a teen
(4) Has received her third degree Reiki attunement
(5) Is wife to a loving, adventurous, world-traveling husband
(6) Gleefully screamed for the entire 60-second free-fall through a 360 degree rainbow when skydiving in Australia
(7) Has a deep affinity for Newsies
(8) Is clever, inquisitive, and intuitive - and is one of the most authentic, loving people you’ll find!