Updated: May 1, 2019
This week we interviewed Sarah Anne Stewart (@sarahannestewart) a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner based in Los Angeles.
"For me, it’s all about a mindful start to my day. I can’t say enough about the effectiveness of taking a little time for yourself each morning in a quiet space that is dedicated to meditation and visualization."
Let's meet her and learn about wellness.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
As a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP), I run a coaching practice in Los Angeles that empowers women to achieve optimal health and develop a conscious, loving relationship with their bodies. My approach is highly customized but the goal is always the same: to ditch the classic diet and exercise methods of managing health and instead make sustainable lifestyle changes to heal one’s relationship with food and their body so they can step into the life of their dreams.
- When did your journey start?
At the age of 14, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite the doctor's orders to remove one of his kidneys, he opted to take an alternative route and use holistic treatments, including a raw plant-based diet, meditation, energy medicine, and biofeedback. After just seven months he was declared completely cancer-free. I witnessed firsthand the healing power of foods, the importance of meditation, and the value of taking the time to connect with your own body.
Around that same time, I was scouted and signed a modelling contract. I moved to New York City and my entire life became consumed by the fast-paced city and my agents’ demands to stay thin at all costs. As a result, I suffered from a decade of eating disorders and almost lost my life to laxative abuse and anorexia. When I was told that I needed to change my lifestyle or else, I choose to switch careers and go to school for nutrition. I slowly expanded my knowledge of holistic modalities and made my way back to the foundation of mindfulness, yoga and meditation practices that I had learned from my parents growing up.
As I began healing myself with mindfulness techniques and feeling better in my body, I knew I had to empower other women that they to could find self-love and body freedom.
- What’s the idea behind your business?
I want my clients to fall in love with their bodies and enjoy the vitality that they’re designed for! I’ve personally experienced life-changing results from holistic health practices and have witnessed incredible transformation in my clients. It’s important to me to make these techniques available to anyone looking to improve or enhance their health.
- Do you have a personal life motto?
A quote that’s been on my mind lately is Mark Twain’s "Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain."
Any time I set out to break a habit that’s detrimental to my health or wellbeing or advancement, my greatest terror is my only way out. I’ve come to realize that no one outside of me can actually give me inner strength and courage; I have to cultivate that within myself to create change in my life. This has been true for me, but I also see it with my clients and the people I love. I can beg and plead for someone to be healthier or to heal, but until they find the courage to change, they’re going to resist the depth of work that needs to be done.
- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneur?
When I first started it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that my business is constantly growing and changing and that I have to continuously evolve my knowledge and practices. I grew up around entrepreneurship; my parents were business owners of brick and mortar stores. Over the years, these businesses became stagnant and I watched them struggle- not just to stay competitive but to stay fulfilled. I’ve transitioned from two other business models as I adjusted to industry trends and client feedback; I try to see my business as something ever-changing and challenge myself to flow within it.
- How do you overcome it?
I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. There’s no end game in entrepreneurship, you never “arrive” and get to sit back and coast. I’ve had to drastically adjust my expectations of success and just focus on always showing up with the best of my ability for myself and my clients.
- What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey?
Getting a book deal with Hay House Publishing company is by far my biggest professional achievement, and I think the reason it stands out to me is because it’s also very personal. I was exposed to Hay House books my whole life, they were such a part of my family culture - my Dad and Mom would read us Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer books when we were kids. Hay House authors have had such a formative influence on me and my growth and I’m really proud to be in their company.
- What was your biggest personal achievement?
Overcoming my eating disorder is definitely my greatest accomplishment. Often times their is a misconception of the healing process; there’s an expectation that you eat and achieve a healthy weight and your body gets healthier and then voila! You’re cured! Often there is an intense amount of inner work that’s done to cultivate self love and mental resilience to shift the compulsion to relapse. I’m grateful that I took responsibility for my body and did the hard work to give myself the gift of healing.
- What is the greatest lesson you've learned from being an entrepreneur?
Don’t quit your day job! I tell this to every new entrepreneur. There’s this myth that you have to “go all in” and take a leap of faith and risk everything to do what you love but I’ve never seen anyone have success with that, it just breeds anxiety. When I was starting my business I worked all kinds of jobs to sustain myself - fashion, real estate, catering, event planning - and this financial stability gave me so much freedom to grow my business on my off hours. You can build a business at night and on weekends if you think creatively and manage your time well. I say: don’t eliminate your other jobs until the profits from your business have stabilized and you can reasonably live on that income.
- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
For me, it’s all about a mindful start to my day. I can’t say enough about the effectiveness of taking a little time for yourself each morning in a quiet space that is dedicated to meditation and visualization. Before I do anything else, I take a few moments to sit with myself. I rest my hand over my heart, set my intentions for the day, and anchor myself in gratitude for all that I have and all that I get to participate in during the coming hours. When I start my day in connection with myself and in gratitude for my life, I find that inspiration flows to me in really easy, surprising ways.
- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why?
Natalie MacNeil of ‘She Takes on the World’ is amazing. I deeply admire her authenticity. Her business practices, how she represents herself; it’s all completely true to who she is. She’s so committed to changing the scope of female entrepreneurship. Her work has been really influential for me and I think it’s so needed right now as women claim more space in the business world.
- How do you advertise yourself as an entrepreneur?
I’m grateful that my clients have come to me almost exclusively through referrals and I think this is the best growth strategy regardless of whether you invest resources in advertising yourself or not. Particularly for a coaching practice, it’s important to have a proven model for improving people’s lives. For me, there is no better promotion than testimonials from clients who have achieved lasting results and can personally vouch for my work.
- How did social media help you to promote your business?
I’ve gotten referrals from most major platforms: Instagram, Yelp, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook. I wouldn’t underestimate the ways that the public can find you! I have found Instagram and Facebook to be the most essential for my business, because they have the capacity to create movements and community. This allows me to extend my business beyond private coaching and engage with a massive audience. That said, I think it’s also important to build a local network in your immediate community. As much as social media is an asset, there is a disconnect in the virtual world that can be lonely. I find that a flesh-and-blood community of clients and colleagues really fulfils me and sustains my enthusiasm.
-Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?
Learn how to write copy and get really comfortable promoting yourself. From a technical perspective, especially in my line of work, it’s essential that I be willing to share my story and write copy that converts to leads. But I think there’s a mental and emotional side to this practice as well. As women, we often shy away from selling, we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves or talk about ourselves but our business depends on it - if we don’t speak confidently about ourselves and our products or services, how can we expect clients and customers to have confidence in us? Take pride in your efforts and your business and find a healthy relationship with promoting yourself.
Thank You Sarah! Discover More at www.sarahannestewart.com