Sarae laughing

Hello, I’m Sarae.

I don’t know whether you are here out of curiosity or because life has thrown you a curveball and you’re looking for some support. Or maybe you’re here because you’ve seen something about me on social media and wanted to find out more.

Whatever the reason, you’re welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

Let me tell you a little about me.

I’m no a stranger to curiosity. Or curveballs for that matter. I may even have thrown a few myself!

As a child I was the archetypal ‘good girl’. Did well at school. Got good grades. University beckoned.

And then I threw my first curveball.

“You want to be an engineer?” they said. “But that’s for boys”.

“I’ll show you!”, my 17 years old self replied.

I loved the creative design. I loved scoping, exploring and solving challenges.

I loved being an engineer.

But when I joined the world of work, I learnt that even though my degree was the same as the mens’, I was the one expected to make the tea.

I was the one mistaken for the team’s PA.

And I was the one who – as I stood on a platform with my arm, shoulder-deep inside the wing cavity of a Eurofighter Typhoon jet – was told to “Step away from the plane.” Turns out they thought I was a cleaner.

And you know what? I did it. I made the tea. I ran the errands. I stepped away from the plane. And eventually, I stepped away from engineering altogether.

It was just too hard to be a ‘good girl’ and prove that I was just as good as them.

I retrained in Human Resource Management.

I worked hard.

I rose through the ranks quickly.

I lived and worked overseas.

And I said “yes” far more often than I said “no”.

You want someone to sit on a new Committee? Sure, I’ll do that.

You need a new volunteer for your charity? Yup, I can handle that.

You want someone to look after your kids, your elderly parents, your dog…….Of course. Count me in.

My friends and colleagues saw me as selfless.

I earned praise and admiration for my ability to handle it all.

And no matter how complicated things got, how tired I was, I just kept going.

Until something stopped me.

And as I lay on a hospital gurney having a tumour the size of a grapefruit being removed from my pelvis, I wondered if that tumour was the physical representation of every “no” I should have said.

I took a long hard look at me and how I was living. It was painful. It was hard. I had to ask for help to find inspiration, expertise and support to nurture me back to joy.

I realised that whilst I looked like I was succeeding from the outside, I had lost my joy.  I had lost sight of who I was. I couldn’t have told you what my favourite meal or film was. I was constantly fatigued, critically anaemic, completely burnt out: a great example of Superwoman! Cape on. Flying off to give her all for everybody and everything, but herself.

Through reconnecting with myself and help from some wonderful experts, I recovered.

Today, I’ve said “YES” to joy. On my terms. In my work. In my home. In my community.

I still throw the odd curveball and life still throws them at me from time to time. But now I hold my boundaries with grace and whilst I’m no longer always the ‘good girl’, I lead authentically and sustainably in my work and in my life. I’m clear on my values, and why time replenishing my vitality is essential to my energy and joy.

Maybe you think that all sounds too rosy to be true. What happened to Superwoman and her cape? Oh, she and unhelpful friends, Bitch, Martyr and Victim still hang out, just not with me. I see them around every so often and wave them on.

Why am I sharing this story with you? I want you to know wherever you are right now, I can walk right alongside you.