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Sarah Waylett

Sarah Waylett

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I started Dreamgarten because I saw myself in so many other women who were showing up in their lives with this idea of perfection in their work, in their relationships and everywhere in between. I have spent 25 years of my life chasing a standard of success that was not my own. What does success typically look like for a woman? She’s a good wife. She’s a good mother. She’s everything to everyone and puts herself last. It wasn’t until I read Glennon Doyle‘s Untamed that I had the words. She describes how being selfless is the ideal of womanhood. I had fully bought into it. I did everything to make myself perfect. I would overextend myself into such an anxiety-driven state that I couldn’t even open my laptop without having a panic attack. I knew something wasn’t right. Was this how I was supposed to live? Why were there these tiny glimpses into a life that was beautiful, slow and divinely imperfect every day? I began to study ways to manage my own anxiety in yoga and dance. I began to connect with my body deeply through movement. I began to understand I would have to put myself first. How selfish to do that while I was married, had young children, had a career where I was the breadwinner of our family? Slowly, I began the dismantling. I danced. I set boundaries. I had difficult conversations. I had more difficult conversations with myself. I started to make space for a life that was less a pursuit of perfection and more a pursuit of grace, spaciousness, beauty, meaning so that I could decide what was the next right action for me. At the same time, in my professional life, I created new ways of working because of the personal work I was doing. I applied the things I was learning about boundaries and space and hard conversations at work. And I applied the design thinking methods I used to facilitate business problem solving to my personal questions. And that’s where Dreamgarten was born, at the intersection of my own experiments to dismantle my expectations of perfection and my realization that I was not alone in placing society’s definition of success on my shoulders. What I had the honor to witness was nothing short of a beautiful unfolding. Holding space for others to discover the whole person they take to work every day and give them tools to learn more about themselves and others is my greatest gift. When you guide people to find what’s inside themselves and encourage them to think about the human at the center of any problem, the creativity they bring to solving those problems is endless.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

The moment in a squad meeting that another woman thanked me for the tools I gave her to help navigate the challenge she was facing at work. It was a moment I'll never forget and it gave me more courage to make the leap to entrepreneurship. I'm a member because I believe that women are powerful leaders and we all have so much to learn from and celebrate with each other!

How would you define your professional mission?

To help professionals redefine success on their own terms by teaching a different way of working, one that creates connection with self and others and is endlessly creative and fun!

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

Of all the projects I have worked on in my career, the one that means the most to me is the expansion of my kiddo's small non-profit Montessori school to include a Lower Elementary class. We faced a ton of challenges including a relationship with the host location organization that was strained at best. We created a business case, built a compelling story, and in the end the congregation voted to let us experiment for a year. Now that "experiment" has been going strong for 4 years and has helped buoy the school through a very tough time financially with the pandemic. I get to witness the impact this effort makes every day on the students in the Lower El class, including 2 of my own.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing my clients light up when they remember what it feels like to move their body freely. The smiles, the giggles, the eyes closed, just enjoying the moment...and then the clarity of thought that comes behind it. It's incredible.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I truly hope I'm creating (and joining) a movement! I am seeing a shift in what we think of when we say the word "professional". I hope the days of feeling like we have to leave part of ourselves at home when we go to work are ending. I want to see whole people show up for other whole people at work and in their lives in a more mindful and human-centered way. I have used these tools for myself and now I have the privilege and passion to share with others.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

I love to hold sacred space and I believe space is sacred anytime 2 people are fully connecting with each other. Whether that be with my husband, with my children, with my clients, or with a room full of people, I want my people to be seen, to be held and to be offered a safe space to own their own human experience.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Work gets in the way of life, and then life get in the way of work. This is my endless lesson. One I will continue to learn. I am a big believer in divine timing and yet have trouble trusting it. We all have seasons when we're on fire at work and feel great about our accomplishments, and then we have times when the work is just there, but our health, our family or our friends need our attention more than our work. The one thing that anchors and re-anchors me is my daily practice. Regardless if it's 3 minutes of dancing or 60 minutes of yoga or 10 minutes of reading, taking the time (and giving myself space) to breathe and reconnect with myself is the only way through for me.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My mentor once asked me why I thought I needed to go back to school to get a certification to coach people. I thought I'd be an imposter, but she corrected me and reminded me of all the leadership, facilitating, teaching and coaching experience I already had. I didn't need to spend all that money and get a piece of paper to tell the world I am qualified. It changed my mindset (and my life) forever.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Dance. Put on some music and shake your body, do it with your kids even -- they love this especially when they're little! It will pull you out of whatever thoughts you were having and help you feel more present in your body. And it only takes 3-4 min!


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