LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

Sarah Young's Work Toward Something Greater
By Emily Leas

SARAH YOUNG’S ENERGY IS CONTAGIOUS. There’s a quiet focus in her eyes that hints at someone who never stops working. You’d think this means she has overcome a struggle, or has a hardscrabble story that fires her up just under the surface. But start digging and you realize you’ve found her authenticity and a nonstop drive to leave a positive dent in the world.

As soon as Young knew what a teacher was, that’s what she wanted to be. But her career path took her to an eight-year career at Epic, where she was a project manager, team lead and staff management executive. Still, two years into her stint at the software company, her vision shifted.

“I got really passionate about what becomes possible when people are doing what they love and what they’re good at in service of something greater,” she explains.

That passion led her to pursue her CoActive Coaching certification through Coaches Training Institute, and then, as she says, “One day, it dawned on me that it wasn’t actually being a teacher within the walls of a classroom that I wanted. It was about empowering people to have an impact in the world.”

So she did something all the business books say not to do. She gave notice at Epic May 1, 2013, and filed the paperwork to start her own business, Zing Collaborative, the next day.

“It was really timing,” Young says. “It was a culmination of having that vision for a long time, but not exactly knowing the details, and then feeling like it was the right time to jump in and focus on this full time.”

Since then, Young has built Zing into a business that allows her to work with companies, teams and individuals to increase impact, develop leadership and grow what she calls “aliveness.”

Carey Baker, director of leadership at the Coaches Training Institute, who was Young’s coach and is still a mentor and friend, sees why Young was able to make the shift with such ease.

“She’s a unique mix of enough courage to take risk, but balanced with mindful, thoughtful, intentional actions,” Baker says. “She has the ability to speak boldly with a warm heart. She’s like this beautiful paradoxical existence.”

Young admits that being your authentic self and staying aligned with the values that light you up every day takes a level of vulnerability and risk that, especially as women, often makes us hesitate.

“I find that the closer we come to expressing our truest purpose in the world, the more some of that self-doubt comes up,” Young says, recalling its heavy weight the few months of launching Zing.

But now, she says, every part of her is completely seamless and aligned: the project manager, the nature-lover, her corporate knowledge, leadership training and the compassionate part that just loves seeing people shine and “be all of who they are in all parts of their lives.”

YOUNG IS GRATEFUL TO BE ON A PATH THAT ALIGNS WITH HER OWN VALUES.

Young’s client Erin Wehmann, a customer advocate at a Middleton software company, is working toward that goal. Divorced two years ago after a 19-year marriage, Wehmann sought Young’s help to solidify her career goals, which had long been put aside in favor of her husband’s. She’s still participating in group sessions led by Young.

“When I got divorced I realized I finally had the opportunity to focus on my career and goals,” Wehmann says. “While that was incredibly exciting, it was also a little intimidating.”

Her group members’ support and suggestions have been invaluable and empowering.

In 2017 Young plans to grow her business with new programs and virtual training, in addition to her coaching, workshops and speaking engagements. She’s grateful for being on a path that aligns with her own values. “We get an opportunity to create something every day based on those choices, and become very intentional and proud of what we’re creating, in little and big ways,” she says.

And that leaves a positive dent in the world, be it big or small.

 

Don’t miss Sarah Young discussing “Authenticity in Everyday Life” at BRAVA’s THRIVE Luncheon Nov. 10. For more go to BRAVAmagazine.com.

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