Sarah Boyd for

River Bennett (River Bennett Photography)

She was my husband's best friend's wife.

Joel had known Sarah for years and had great things to say about her. I wanted to get to know her, but living on the other side of the city made socializing hard.

Eventually she and her husband, Life Coach Colin Boyd moved closer to us and so began our friendship.

We were different and yet somehow our friendship just worked and grew. She was motivated. I liked that. She was smart. I liked that too. And she was fascinated with how the brain worked. I realised she had a lot to teach me.

Sarah Boyd is fascinated with the workings of the brain. Sarah holds a Masters in Educational Psychology, and is a Neuroscience Leadership Expert, running her own business,

I began asking Sarah questions regarding post natal depression, how to handle anxiety, and how to better believe in yourself. She made it simple and unpacked the science of how the brain actually worked.

It finally all made sense. It was clear. And I understood what sleep deprivation, and taking on too much creative work, can actually do to your brain.

I would tell her over and over how people need this information!

Especially mums.

Especially creative business mums!

Finally, a little over a year ago Sarah embarked on starting her own business. And let's just say we are all better for it.

1. What started your fascination in neoscience and the way our brains work? 

I've always been interested in people - why we are the way we are, why some people are different, how we're all the same, why some people get stuck in dysfunction, how some people break through barriers to the success they desire. The brain is incredible & all of our personality, preferences, & decisions originate from it.
So during my school & university study I chose Psychology & Neuroscience as my focus mainly because I was interested in it.   
At one stage I thought I wanted to be a psychologist, but I discovered I'm personally not wired to listen to people's problems all day long (I have great respect for those who are). 
So I began to be more & more interested in a type of Psychology called 'Positive Psychology' which rather than focusing on how to help those dealing with critical dysfunction get back to 'normal', it looks at how to help the average individual live an even more fulfilling life. 
So many of the insights I was discovering were helping me in my everyday life & I was astounded that most of the general public had no idea about it. So I'm passionate about communicating life-giving strategies to help increase the quality & fulfillment of people's lives. 

2. It's been years of study, did you study with the thought of running your own business one day? 

My long term dream was definitely to be doing what I'm doing now, but it always felt very far off in the distance. In the early days I also shared this dream with a few people who criticized it, saying that they thought I was better gifted at doing other things, or that type of business is only done by a few people (& you're not one of them). So I just left it & assumed it might happen in the future 'if it was meant too'. 
My husband, Colin also had a dream to start his own business, so in our early marriage he launched out into starting his Leadership Coaching & Training business. I totally believed in him & his capacity to build what he was building. 
So I became the primary income earner for a pretty substantial amount of time. The plan was always to build Colin's business up to a point that I would have the freedom to launch my business. But there were definitely a lot of times when this reality felt like a lifetime away or like it was never going to happen. 

3. In 2010  you were told you had cancer tell us a little bit about this? 

It was actually the day I was handing in my very last assessment to complete my Masters in Educational Psychology. I received a phone call early that morning from my doctor who told me to come into his office as early as possible as my test results that came back were 'suspicious'. Then he said that word that makes you feel like your whole world starts spinning - cancer.
The next 18 months were taken up by 2 separate surgeries and radiation treatment to treat thyroid cancer. It was a long time of dealing with indescribable fatigue and not feeling anything like myself. I'm proud to say I am in complete remission. 

4. What were some of the things that the cancer journey taught you?

My cancer diagnosis was hugely confronting - I was only 27 years old at the time, and it was the furthest thing from my mind. 
Probably the biggest gift my diagnosis gave me was the confrontation with my mortality. This was quite scary at first but it was the wake up call I needed. I was living my life quite controlled by other people's opinions or what I thought other people wanted me to do with my life. I was completely out of touch with what      I wanted. 

Also the confrontation that I was not guaranteed 80 years of healthy life shook me up from 'waiting' for things to happen in the future, and gave me the courage to start my business regardless of my overwhelming fears, and the critical words that still sat in my head from many years previously. 
As much as I would never wish the cancer experience on anyone, I now view it as a gift to my life. 

5. You couldn't have children while being treated for cancer how did this effect you?

It was one of the harder parts of my diagnosis. In the end I only had to wait for a few years, but on the diagnosis side no one could tell me how long we would be putting it off for.  
It felt scary, uncertain, and disappointing. Most of our friends were having their 2nd and 3rd babies, and we hadn't even started having children. I felt sad that I couldn't share that experience with them. And then there's those 'lovely' people who tell you - 'you shouldn't wait too long to have children', or 'why haven't you had children yet?' 

6. You now have a 2yr old son, Jonah, and are pregnant with your second child. How have you managed being pregnant, having a toddler and starting out in your career?

Mainly by adjusting my expectations. 
My health is a huge priority for me & because of my background, it also requires more time (for appointments & tests) than normal. I have also made decisions that I will not push myself to the point of absolute exhaustion in order to achieve something. 
Also Colin and I have made decisions about how we want to raise our children when they are little, and that means that I'm not working as much as I would like. Personally I wish I could work full-time & be home full-time!! 
So I've had to learn to be ok with the progress I can make in my business in the time that I have. I've done the journey with my husband and I know just how long it takes when you're working full-time at growing a business. So that has helped. 
I also just try to keep perspective that our children are only little once, and I want to make life decisions that I won't regret 20 years down the track. I admit that it's still really hard sometimes! 

7. What some neuroscientific advice you could give the Wolfpack Mrs. mothers who may be struggling as first time mums while running businesses?

Stop trying to do it all - because you can't. You are not a machine. So many mothers will run their business and give their best to their families - but not take care of themselves properly, sacrifice sleep, and rest time.
If you don't take care of yourself too, you won't be doing your best work. Creativity & inspiration come when your brain waves are in a stage in-between relaxation & sleep. For example, how you feel when you are taking a shower (if you get to have more than a 2min shower by yourself!). 

If you never have any 'down time', or if you are doing all your work after your children are in bed at night, and are sacrificing sleep, you not only will not produce your best work but you're setting yourself up to live overwhelmed, stressed & unhappy. 

Your brain only has a certain amount of energy to use up before it needs to be recharged to work properly again. For so many of us this can be used up in the first hours of the morning with organizing our families, planning, needing huge amounts of self control for tantrums, mishaps and fights. So don't beat yourself up when you feel brain-dead even by early morning some days. 
The best thing you can do is work out the times of the day/week where you naturally do your best work, and do your utmost to protect it. 
But mostly, be kind to yourself. Adjust your expectations. Even if you are moving slowly towards your goals, at least you are still moving! Focus on your progress, not just the distance to your destination. 



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