You guys this one hits home.
This particular badass has been intriguing me since I was 7 years old. We have had years where we picked on each other, years where we fought about boys, years where we didn't talk because we were growing in different directions - but she has always been, and always will be my best friend. She's the only friend I still have that knows I grew up in a trailer, who knows what I went through when my parents got divorced, who's own parents treat me like their own, and who has never stopped being there for me, even when I'm my most difficult.
But all of that aside, she is so much more to so many others.
Before I go on, I want to address the fact that I think "settling down" can sometimes get a bad wrap. When we think about following our hearts, we often have images of running away to islands, quitting our jobs, or renouncing material possessions and flipping our entire lives upside down. But I will tell you this: there is not only one way to be a true-to-yourself badass. IMHO it can only occur when one does what they are called to do. And Sarah is living every second of her life the way she is called to live.
She is my poster child for what life can look like when you follow your passion, stay true to yourself, work hard, and give all that you can at everything you do. She has hand crafted one hell of a beautiful life for herself and her husband.
She has landed every teaching position she has ever applied for, married the man of her dreams (who is also a teacher and now HEAD high school football coach), and today they closed on their very first home in the small, but not too small, town of Johnstown, CO.
But she didn't just get this life handed to her on a silver platter.
When we were in high school and the rest of us were sleeping in after a night of dirt road drinking, Sarah was up early running her show sheep so she could win a grand prize that would eventually help her pay for college. When we got to college she worked three jobs to ensure she never had to lean on anyone else. And when we started our "real adult lives," she didn't pass up opportunities just because they weren't glamorous (side note, i just had to sing a Fergie song to remember how to spell that. I'm so ashamed...) For her first few years as a teacher she lived by herself in a teeny tiny town on the border of Colorado and Kansas. She couldn't grab happy hour with me and she couldn't go shopping after a hard day. In fact, I am pretty sure the most excitement she had in that little house was when a Tornado would come and she would call me from her bath tub.
But she did it. And not only did she do it, she did it so well that her first 6th grade class invited her back for their senior graduation this year. Did you invite YOUR 6th grade teacher to your graduation? Do you even remember who your 6th grade teacher was? Yea - that's how badass she is at what she does.
She has had teaching positions she loved and she has had teaching positions she would karate chop in the throat if they were physical beings. But she no matter what she has always been patiently working hard, doing the best she can possibly do in that moment, while creating even better opportunities for the future.
In fact, instead of being complacent when she felt settled in at one of the best districts in the state, she decided to get her Master's Degree. What a smarty pants.
It also should be noted, that she runs a successful side hustle through AdvoCare on top of all this. Her skills as a social butterfly in small towns across the state, along with a die hard work ethic have lead to doubling (maybe even tripling?) her teachers salary on a consistent basis. This has allowed her to have the wedding of her dreams, pay for her continuing education, and travel the world with her husband all while helping others become healthier versions of themselves.
She is the hardest working person I know. And while my truth is running away to an island to teach yoga, her truth is to establish roots, start a family, and make a difference in her community. And the fact that we are this different and still so similar just goes to show that it takes all kinds of kinds to make this world beautiful and all we can do is listen to ourselves and do the best we can.
And with that, here is Sarah's take on the question and answer portion - enjoy!
- What does an aligned and centered life look like to you?
For me, alignment and center in life are achieved through balance. This is in not an easy attainment and something I am constantly striving for across all areas of my life- religion, family, friends, health/wellness, career, etc. I would say my life is most aligned when each compartment of my life are as equally balanced as possible.
2. Can you recall a time you consciously took yourself out of your comfort zone?
Several things come to mind when I think of being out of my comfort zone:
Sharing/talking about AdvoCare with others: I am a teacher, so when I come across as though I’m ‘selling’ something it’s completely out of my comfort zone. I have to put myself out there, a lot, and I hate making people feel like they have to try or buy something if they don’t want to (even though the products are awesome and people totally should haha)
Taking a group fitness class at the gym for the first time: It took me a good year or two before I finally got up enough courage to take a group fitness class at my gym. I was always worried about what I would look like and I never really had anyone to go with. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever gotten out of my comfort zone for because I love it and now that’s all I do at the gym!
Dancing: Those who know me know that I am not a dancer. I have little to no rhythm and my hips just don’t move the way I want them to! It’s fun, so I do it from time to time, but if you see me on the dance floor just know I’m not very comfortable out there!
Running a half marathon: Talk about having to talk myself into doing something over and over again. However, I have a new level of mental toughness because of this that I never knew existed. Can’t wait to do another one.
Talking and being up in front of people alone: Public speaking is scary, but this even can sometimes include a parent-teacher conference and I’m going on my 9th year of teaching. The worst is having the ‘difficult’ conversations with people in general. Whether it’s having to tell a parent their student is not behaving well or having to give a colleague constructive feedback, it’s hard! Same goes for job interviews, although a weird twisted side of me actually enjoys job interviews.
3. What does your perfect day look like?
As far as perfect goes, our all-inclusive honeymoon in St. Lucia was absolutely perfect. Crystal clear and warm water, white sand beaches, unlimited alcohol and food- literally paradise. I reminisce on that trip often and hope to do something like that again real soon. However, I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for here, so here’s my perfect day in a normal day-to-day example.
As much as I really do love being a teacher and I have a lot of great days throughout the school year, I have to admit that my ‘perfect’ days happen in the summer. I am a busy, busy bee during the school year going 100 miles an hour and rarely making time to slow down. In the summer I get to relax a little bit and take my time during the day. My perfect summer day plays out something like this:
Wake up around 6am.
Go for an early morning run. I love running early in the mornings and can hardly ever do it during the school year. It’s so quiet and peaceful, the lighting at dawn is perfect, it’s still cool and the air is fresh.
I come home and my husband is at morning weights for football (I mention this because as much as I adore my hubby, I enjoy a little me time each day). I eat my breakfast which is usually some sort of avocado toast or egg scramble and fruit with my AdvoCare Spark and AdvoGreens.
While I am eating breakfast I watch The Today Show. I don’t know why, but I just love it and I am always at school by the time it comes on during the school year.
Once The Today Show is over I water my plants, tend to the yard, make the bed, meal prep, load/unload the dishwasher and just tidy up the house as needed.
Then I read or work on some sort of a project while I still have the house to myself.
Lane is usually home around lunch so we get to eat together. Lunch in the summers always consist of fresh veggies, fruits (watermelon and cherries are my favorites in summer) in some sort of a salad or something.
Honestly, another one of my favorite lunches is a piece of toast topped with guacamole, and a spinach/egg scramble. Don’t ask me why, but it’s delicious, light and healthy.
After lunch Lane and I usually do something together. This could be a number of things. We love hiking, riding our bikes, reading, working in the yard, running errands together, hanging out at the park, etc.
In the evenings I get to go to a group class at my gym. Since this is my ‘perfect’ day, this class would hands down be the Les Mills Body Combat class. I have never found a workout I like better than this! Since the world isn’t perfect, and Body Combat doesn’t happen every day, I would take a Body Pump or yoga class on the days Body Combat isn’t offered.
After combat I take a shower (is it gross I workout twice a day but only shower once a day? haha) and start make dinner. My most favorite dinners in the summer come from the grill. Steak, salmon, chicken, buffalo burgers, you name it. Eating dinner on the patio with my husband while listening to music, probably sipping wine or beer and talking about the day is my happy place!
After dinner we watch a movie or benge a little Netflix and we are usually in bed by 10pm so we can get up early the next day!
4. More importantly, what would you eat that day?!?
I love that I already included this in the question above without seeing this one! Haha May I just add that in a ‘perfect’ world I would probably eat a lot of pizza and Chick-fil-A instead of healthy foods…. Just being honest here.
5. How do you handle negative emotions when they arise?
This is definitely something about myself I am constantly working on. One of my goals is to complain/whine less. I like to think of myself as a problem-solver, so if I’m feeling like crap, or I’m mad or frustrated my immediate instinct is ‘how can I fix this?’ This works great when the issue is fixable, but not so great when I’m not really in control (I am a huge control freak and will admittedly say I am uncomfortable when I’m not in control). One thing I’ve found that really helps me get out of my negative thoughts is talking it out with my husband, friend or family member. It helps me not only hear myself talk about the issues, but I’ve got some pretty amazing listeners/advice givers/motivators in my life who can help me work my shit out. If it’s something like me telling myself I can’t do something, I try to self talk and remind myself of all of the things I have already done, so why can’t I do this thing? That works particularly well on hard runs and exercise haha.
6. Can you recall the last time you took a leap of pure faith?
Here are a few particular instances that come to mind (all of which turned out amazing for me!):
Accepting my first teaching job in Burlington, Colorado. I met the Burlington administrators at a job fair at my college, they called me for an interview, offered me the job and I took it! I was 22 years old, moved to the middle of nowhere, leaving all of my friends and family behind and I didn’t know anyone there. It was scary living alone for the first time and having to start my very first teaching job/begin my career all at the same time. I have to say it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better community/school to begin my teaching career and living alone taught me that I could live alone and independently from there on out.
My side gig as an AdvoCare Independent Distributor. I came across the AdvoCare business opportunity and basically just tried the products and fell in love with them. I wasn’t even interested in the business side of AdvoCare for the whole first year I was involved. Then I came to the sad realization that I wasn’t going to be able to live the life I dreamed of on a teacher’s salary (not living paycheck to paycheck, getting out of debt and getting my master’s degree one day). So I jumped in with the business. In the 5.5 years I’ve been involved with AdvoCare I have gotten completely out of credit card debt, paid of my car, paid for our wedding in cash, paid for my master’s degree in cash, bought a house, gone on countless trips/vacations and have been able to live a fun life comfortably. People can say what they want about direct sales, but this was easily one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made!
Moving to Arvada, Colorado from Fort Collins. This past year my husband was offered a PE and coaching job at Arvada West High School. My husband has a lot of family in the Arvada area and has always wanted to be a head high school football coach. We thought that it was a good time for change and a great opportunity for my husband so we made the move. I loved Fort Collins and loved my teaching job there, but I wanted to be supportive and was up for some change. We ended up finding (lucking out) a tiny duplex in Arvada with insanely cheap rent. I got a job at an elementary school here and we were ready to our new journey. Well, turns out I ended up hating my job and wasn’t a huge fan of the big city. I tried as hard as I could to be optimistic and positive, but I struggled. Big time. I think it was a combination of moving cities, moving from a middle school to an elementary school, missing my friends, missing my old routines and just not loving my school. I ended up submitting my letter of resignation in January, having no clue what I was going to do- but I knew I wasn’t going to work there again. My husband, bless his heart, knew how unhappy I had become and started applying for coaching/teaching jobs back up in the Fort Collins area. He ended up getting the head football coaching position at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, Colorado in March. Not too long after that we started looking to buy our first house. Because our rent was so cheap, we were able to save up a lot of money. I ended up getting my teaching job back at my school in Fort Collins and we just closed on our first house in Johnstown! There were so many uncomfortable situations and really shitty days during this short (but really long) year of my life. All of which I truly believe had to happen in order for this next chapter of our life to begin.
7. When do you feel most “yourself?”
I feel most myself when I am with my family. My immediately family, of course, but I also have a large and very tight-knit extended family, all of which live here in Colorado. I’m fortunate to get to spend a lot of time with my parents and brother and whenever I am with them there’s just a sense of comfort I have that I can’t really explain. I figure them and my husband (and Yuri) all know me best and have known me the longest and they’re going to love me no matter what so I’m just completely at ease. Really, the same goes for my extended family as well. When I’m with my family I never feel any type of pressure, no judgment- just love. Always. In addition to family time- church. God doesn’t judge and when I go to church I feel completely at peace for many of the same reasons as I do with my family.
8. Can you divulge one current struggle you are working through?
As I mentioned previously, this past year has been rough. By rough I mean probably the toughest year of my life. I got myself into a situation where I hated my job, didn’t have a place at home to relax (the duplex was seriously small), had a really hard time finding trails/routes I liked running on, a gym that was not only close to home/work but also that I liked going to and had classes I enjoyed attending (my gym in Fort Collins was amazing) and worst of all I had some resentment toward my husband as it was sort of his job that lead me here, even though we 100% made the decision together. I fell into a major slump. I would go back up to Fort Collins to visit and it made me even more depressed it never didn’t feel like home to me, so visiting was super bizarre My workout routine in Fort Collins was part of my daily routine. I loved my gym and all of the people there. I lived just short of a mile from an amazing trail that ran 13 miles right along a creek. In Arvada I never really did get into a solid and consistent workout routine. The closest gym that had Body Combat was 30 minutes away from my house and clear out of the way in terms of my commute. I got really into yoga for a while, but that was also clear out of my way (Corepower really needs to look at opening a branch in Arvada!) and I think we probably lived in the hilliest part of all of the Denver area, so it sucked the fun out of running for me. I didn’t realize what a positive impact consistent exercise had on my life until it was no more (exercise creates endorphins, endorphins make people happy- name that movie!) My stress and unhappiness lead to a lot of drinking. I remember thinking to myself several times this past year “shit, I’ve drank every day this week.” Which, whatever, but I was totally drinking to escape and numb my feelings. In addition to drinking I ate my feelings. Every single one of them. Now, I shouldn’t have to tell you what little exercise, drinking and eating like shit will do to a girl’s body, but let’s just say I have got myself into quite the chunky situation. I am in no way proud of this, but at the same time I’ve learned so much from this experience. I speak as though this all past tense, but I’m typing this sitting on my couch in the same little duplex (we move into our new house next week!). I cannot even begin to describe the weight I felt lifted off my shoulders when I was done teaching at my school this year. My 6th graders were done after their continuation ceremony on a Wednesday night and we had a teacher work day the next day. I slept so hard that night that I slept through my alarm and was late to the teacher work day. I have never done that before and I am never late! But it was definitely my body’s way of recovering from the bitch of a year it went through. I had trainings in Fort Collins last week for my school up there and just being up there and with my old colleagues and friends, doing things similar to my old routines, I felt more alive in those three days than I have all year. I actually cried during savasana in yoga because I felt like I got the old me back again. I’ve noticed a drastic change in my mood, my energy level and just myself in general since I’ve been done with school. I’ve already gotten back into a healthy eating and workout routine and I think things will only look up from here. As much as I hated this past year, I will say that it made me tougher and made me learn to truly appreciate the things I love about my life.
9. Imagine you are completely content. Now, can you describe what you are doing in this image?
A few images come to mind:
Savasana at yoga
On a beach on vacation (I’m envisioning St. Lucia)
My bed after a long day
10. If you had to choose, what would you say you are most proud of in your life?
I’m proud that I have created a life I love. Even through the struggles and shitty years and what not, I have it pretty darn good. Sure I’ve gotten lucky here and there, but I think that the life I’ve made to love was created by hard work and the people I’ve chose to share my life with. I’m damn proud of my friend choices for sure.
11. What’s one thing you think we all as humans have in common?
We have all been through something. Something that has rocked our world in some way shape or form and that we’ve had to ‘get through’ for lack of a better phrase. Because of this I think we all need to cut each other a break every now and then. We are all so quick to judge, myself included, but we really have no fucking clue what someone else is going through. Be nice.
12. What traits do you find badass in other humans?
handling adversity like a boss
13. What traits do you acknowledge are badass in yourself?
So first of all, this is HARD, as I don’t feel like my characteristics are anywhere near what I listed above! I don’t think there’s really anything particularly special about what I do!
I may not be naturally good at a lot of things but I work pretty darn hard.
I try to always do the right thing.
I have pretty tough skin. Like most everyone, I want people to like me and I want to have a good rep. but aside from my close friends and family, I generally take what people have to say about me with a grain of salt. I’ve never let someone else’s opinion of me dictate my worry/stress level or change the way I operate.
I love to learn new things.
I’m driven. I have things I want to do, and I do my best to get them done.
14. Do you have one (or two) non-negotiable items you must include in your day to be the best version of yourself?
A good night’s sleep and breakfast (haha)
15. Any advice for other people who might be trying to harness their own badassery?
Find something you are passionate about and do what makes YOU happy. Don’t worry about anyone else. The important people will support and encourage you.
Whatever it is, embrace the process and the struggle- that’s where the magic happens.
Surround yourself with a badass tribe. Some statistic (you know what I’m talking about) says that you act most like the 3 people you’re around most or something like that. Choose people who build you up, inspire you, motivate you and love you for who YOU are.