Today we talk books, magic, energy, and ghosts — just in time for Halloween. Join Jen and Sarah Hadley for an interview about her transformation from an Occupational Therapist to a business owner. Part 1 of 2 (don’t forget to check out part 2!).Books, magic, energy, and ghosts — oh my! We also talk about how an occupational therapist came to own a soda company. #podcast #business #magic Click To Tweet
Notes and Links:
- Pod Murphy
- Mt. Angel Brewing Company
- Women with Moxie
- Online Networking Women with Moxie
- Cyndi Dale, Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy
- Cyndi Dale, Energetic Boundaries: How to Stay Protected and Connected in Work, Love, and Life
- Occupational Therapist
Sarah is a reformed hood rat, who has made it to the suburbs. She reads Tarot, writes books, and tries her hardest not to cuss at the bus stop.
She writes for others the words they struggle to write for themselves. She’s am a professional storyteller and freelance writer. This year, she also became the owner of a craft soda company — but that’s a story for another day. Every person has a story to tell, whether it’s the story of their business or the story of their life. Sarah helps to tell those stories.
She lives in the Portland Metro area with her husband and two teen boys. Her daughter is traveling the country with her husband and Sarah’s adorable grandson.
You can connect with Sarah
About Jen McFarland
For over 12 years I’ve tackled business problems and provided simple, powerful solutions. I’ve led 7-figure projects and helped entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive.
I teach women how to build their business, not around spreadsheets, bottom lines, and formulas, but around equity, leadership, mindset, courage, and resilience — you know, the things we are born to do.
Are you starting a business? Confused about how to grow? Check out my favorite business growth tools.
Jen also loves appearing on podcasts. Here’s her Podcast Guests profile.
Follow the Podcast
Jen: 00:00 Hello and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Jen McFarland. Today we talk books, magic, energy, and ghosts, just in time for Halloween. Join me and Sarah Hadley for an interview about her transformation from an occupational therapist to a business owner. Sarah is a reformed hood rat who has made it to the suburbs. She reads tarot, writes books, and tries her hardest not to cuss at the bus stop. She’s on a quest to normalize everyday magic. You’re not gonna want to miss this.
Announcer: 00:30 Welcome to the podcast. Recorded at the Vandal Lounge in beautiful southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the third paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek. Management consultant Jennifer McFarland is your third paddle helping you get unstuck.
Sarah: 00:49 [inaudible 00:00:49] is the first part of this novel that I’ve been working on. And she’s this amazing character that came to me. And she’s just one of those people that you’re like, “Man, I need to figure out what she’s about and where she’s going.” ‘Cause that’s kind of my writing process. It’s very ethereal. Like I sit down. And I hear a story, and I write the story. And so she’s magic. But she doesn’t know that she’s magic in the beginning. And so it’s about … The whole story is about how she handles the power that comes with magic, how she interacts with the world as kind of a different person, because magic people tend to be different. And she has a lot of ethical dilemmas, but she doesn’t really know if they’re her ethical dilemmas because she has always been led to believe that power innately will turn you bad.
Jen: 02:01 Really?
Sarah: 02:01 Yeah.
Jen: 02:03 I didn’t get that when I read … ‘Cause I’ve read it.
Sarah: 02:06 Mm-hmm (affirmative). But we’re just getting started.
Jen: 02:09 Yeah. That’s true.
Sarah: 02:10 Like pretty much, that’s the opening of the story.
Jen: 02:13 How many parts are you gonna release?
Sarah: 02:15 The plan was three, to release it in three parts. And then by the end of the third, then it would be a full length novel.
Jen: 02:22 And then you could see if you could shop it around as a novel? Is that … How the process works?
Sarah: 02:28 Yeah. Well, yeah. Part of it. Because one of the things that agents want to know and publishers want to know is how many Twitter followers you have and how many fans you have and all that kind of stuff, and whether or not you’ve published before, which makes sense. But at the same time, it’s just like you’re a gigantic publishing company. Your job is to market me. I write. Right? And so I sit by myself a lot of times with make believe characters, which doesn’t lend me a huge Twitter following. So part of this has been …
Jen: 03:02 Are you saying that your imaginary characters don’t have Twitter accounts?
Sarah: 03:06 They don’t have Twitter accounts.
Jen: 03:08 You need to start manifesting that shit.
Sarah: 03:10 A Twitter account for my …
Jen: 03:12 Yeah.
Sarah: 03:12 Okay.
Jen: 03:13 You can do it.
Sarah: 03:14 Yeah. Actually, I think that’s a really good idea because [inaudible 00:03:17] Murphy is a really likable character.
Jen: 03:20 Yeah, she is.
Sarah: 03:21 People just want to be her friend.
Jen: 03:24 Yeah.
Sarah: 03:24 And then there’s also these other great characters that came in like Bernie, the scarab. He’s … I don’t know how to describe him. But he’s fun.
Jen: 03:38 He’s fun and opinionated.
Sarah: 03:41 He’s very opinionated. And I don’t think that that’s going to be the last of him. I think he will come back.
Jen: 03:47 I think a lot of people liked him. So he probably is like, “Come on, bring me back.”
Sarah: 03:51 Yeah. Yeah.
Jen: 03:53 That’s awesome. So you’re estimating that some time in the fall and then spring? Summer?
Sarah: 04:00 Well, the plan was summer, fall, winter. My plan was by the end of this year all three parts would be out.
Jen: 04:08 Yeah. But you bought a soda company.
Sarah: 04:09 I did. But at the same time, writing isn’t particularly difficult.
Jen: 04:16 Well, not if you’re, you know, in conversation with the characters.
Sarah: 04:20 Right.
Jen: 04:20 They probably tell you what they want.
Sarah: 04:22 Exactly. Yeah. And so a lot of it is just me sitting down and being like, “Okay, so what happens next?” That’s often my question. Like what happens next? And then it just goes. And then I just go with it and I just write it down. And every now and again, I’ll get kind of hung up. And the great thing about writing about people is that people are habitual. And so it’s very easy to make sense of what would happen. Like what would that person do? And so you can then put in something that’s logical that makes sense or isn’t gonna make the reader go, “What? Wait a minute. Where did that come from?” They call it the sticky spot. And so it’s easy to do that. Like, if a person were in this situation, what would they do?
Jen: 05:11 I think that speaks a lot to your character development though that you’re at the point you’re like, “What would they do?”
Sarah: 05:16 Yeah.
Jen: 05:16 That you spent the time to figure out what they would do. Do you ever disagree with what you’re being told and go a different way?
Sarah: 05:25 I don’t know if disagree is the right word. But I have been like … I realized early on that I am not … So there’s two camps of writers. There’s planners and there’s pantsers. And planners are the people that go, they create an outline, and then they write by that outline. And the pantsers are they just sit and write and the stories come.
Jen: 05:47 By the seat of their pants.
Sarah: 05:48 By the seat of their pants. And I’m kind of …
Jen: 05:51 That cover you?
Sarah: 05:51 I’m kind of that person. I tried to … Like as I was learning the craft of writing … Generally, they teach you some sort of outline, snowflake method or whatever. And I just could never stick to it. Like, that’s just not how my story went. I didn’t know where it was going. I usually know … ‘Cause anytime anybody reads a story, what they really want to read about is transformation. And so I know that. I know what transformation is going to happen. What happens in between the first time we meet Pod in the diner and when we say goodbye to Pod after she has transformed, I don’t know.
Jen: 06:34 Yeah. I think that’s what makes a TV series like Seinfeld so unusual is it’s literally about nothing.
Sarah: 06:41 Yup.
Jen: 06:41 And they don’t really change. Which, for me personally, got to be kind of grating after a while. I’ve been kind of on the fence about Seinfeld over the years.
Sarah: 06:50 I was never a Seinfeld person.
Jen: 06:51 Whereas people have been huge fans, and I would dip in and dip out. And I think it’s because I love change. I love seeing things develop. I love seeing things happen.
Sarah: 07:01 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jen: 07:03 But that series has stood the test of time in a lot of ways.
Sarah: 07:07 Yeah.
Jen: 07:07 And probably because the transformations age on television and maybe not in a novel or in a series. Could Pod Murphy become a series?
Sarah: 07:19 It’s possible. I mean, there’s definitely enough there to make it a series. And I’m open to that. I put this first part out and I scheduled it to put the first part, second part, and then third part as a way to start getting people excited about her and start getting followers so then when I go and get an agent, ’cause I plan on getting published by one of the big publishing houses, I can say, “Here’s the interest, here’s the sales, here’s my ratings, here’s my Twitter.” And then that makes them a little bit happier.
Jen: 07:56 Yeah. Yeah.
Sarah: 07:57 But yeah. It could definitely be a series.
Jen: 08:00 Totally. Did you realize that I have always thought that we met on Twitter, even though I don’t think we actually did?
Sarah: 08:08 I stalked you on Twitter. That’s probably why.
Jen: 08:11 Like so we’re both members of an organization called Women with Moxie. And I’m sure that you were on there, ’cause I do online networking every other Thursday …
Sarah: 08:22 Yes. I first met you as Mix Master Jen.
Jen: 08:26 Mix Master Jen. That’s so funny. But because there’s a lot of people and I don’t go into the networking rooms, I don’t always know everybody’s name. And so it was only after we had started bantering on Twitter that I realized that you were in Women with Moxie and on there.
Sarah: 08:45 Yeah.
Jen: 08:46 So it’s kind of backwards. And I don’t think anybody’s ever stalked me on Twitter before.
Sarah: 08:51 Yeah. I full on stalked you. I saw you and I was like, “She’s a person I want to know.” And then I went to Twitter and found you. And then I just really … I liked your personality and things that you were saying, but I was also just so impressed with your Twitter presence, just in terms of everything that you should do right with social media. Like how you were releasing bits of content and what you were releasing and your mix of … Clinical is not the right word in business, but … I did health care for years. But kind of the … And not dry. But technical. That’s the word I’m looking for.
Jen: 09:30 Yeah. Quotes and funny and technical.
Sarah: 09:32 Right. And then puns and some random like it’s … Lick peanut butter of the spoon day or something. You know?
Jen: 09:42 Well …
Sarah: 09:42 Just really random days that you’re just like, okay. But you pull it all together and it’s awesome.
Jen: 09:52 Thanks. Well, now that you know me better, you know that it’s just who I am. Like …
Sarah: 09:56 And it works.
Jen: 09:57 Creative and whatever ’cause I just can’t be anything other than this.
Sarah: 10:03 I understand that.
Jen: 10:04 Do you?
Sarah: 10:05 I do. Yes.
Jen: 10:08 Okay. So we’ve talked about your writing. You mentioned the soda company. Do you want to talk about that?
Sarah: 10:13 Yeah. Just this last month, my husband and I bought a craft soda company. It’s Mount Angel Brewing Company. And that was not my five year plan. I did not think one day I would own a soda company. That was another just really cool opportunity that fell in our laps. And it came up for sale. And we kind of looked at each other and we’re like, “Hey, you want to own a soda company?” And we’re like, “Sure. We’ll try it.” And then we bought it. So now we’re just trying to figure out what we’re doing. ‘Cause I really don’t know anything about brewing soda.
Jen: 10:49 Okay.
Sarah: 10:50 Yeah. So the whole thing is an adventure.
Jen: 10:53 Of course. Right? Well, the first step is you’ve got to find a place to put all that stuff.
Sarah: 10:56 Right. Yes. So we’re looking at some places this week. So that’s hopeful.
Jen: 11:01 And then you have recipes I’m assuming.
Sarah: 11:03 Yes. Yeah. Recipes for like award winning sodas. And existing distribution channels. And we ran into somebody in Salem this last weekend. We went in and we’re like, “Hey, what do you got on tap for your soda?” And she’s like, “Oh, I have Mount Angel.” And we’re like, “Oh, funny. We just bought that. We’re the new owners.” And she’s like, “Yeah. Can you get to brewing because I bought every last keg that he had when I found out he was going out of business or selling it. And I’m running low.”
Jen: 11:32 And you were like, “Okay.”
Sarah: 11:35 Yeah. I was like, “We’ll try.” What are you gonna do?
Jen: 11:39 Right. It’s all stored right now.
Sarah: 11:41 Oh my God.
Jen: 11:44 Yeah.
Sarah: 11:44 But I’m really confident with the way that the whole soda thing came together, just how easy it was and how … Like, it’s whole origins. I’m certain that there’s a place out there that’s gonna be perfect for us that’s gonna come to us soon.
Jen: 12:00 Oh absolutely. So you’ve been in business for five years.
Sarah: 12:04 Yes.
Jen: 12:05 What is the five year plan?
Sarah: 12:07 From now?
Jen: 12:08 Well, yeah.
Sarah: 12:09 I don’t know. I’m not a planner.
Jen: 12:10 Oh. Okay. So you’re a pantser even in business?
Sarah: 12:13 I’m a pantser in most things. Yes.
Jen: 12:16 I mean, you said the soda company wasn’t part of the five year plan. So it just means that when you were thinking about your enterprise, it didn’t involve making award-winning craft soda?
Sarah: 12:28 No. Actually right. And the only reason I say that my five year plan is because that’s what people are supposed to do when they have businesses.
Jen: 12:34 Oh right.
Sarah: 12:36 So it’s just kind of using the lingo. Like I don’t have a five year plan. I’m building an empire. I know that. I am building an empire. I’m going to be ridiculously rich. I’m gonna own a Porsche.
Jen: 12:46 So your five year plan involves money?
Sarah: 12:51 Oh yeah. Tons of money.
Jen: 12:53 That’s awesome.
Sarah: 12:54 I know. I know. Because you know how many great things you can do with money? People want to act like it’s this bad thing or it turns people into evil people and … Money is a lot like divorce. They’re kind of the same thing where when you come into it, it doesn’t change who you are, it exposes who you are. And so when divorces get nasty and you’re like, “Wow.” And it’s just like, “No, that’s the shit that’s been going on behind doors for the last 15 years. And this is why they’re getting divorced.” And so if you are a good, honorable person broke, you’re gonna be a good, honorable person when you’re a millionaire. And then when you’re a millionaire, then you can go build all sorts of non-profits. And you can make things happen because in our world right now, money is power. And it’s people like you and I that need to be in power. We need to get these old fuckers out of here, right? Because that’s not working anymore at all. Clearly. And it’s people like us that need to have the power. We need that power shift.
Jen: 13:57 Yeah.
Sarah: 13:57 So I’m on it.
Jen: 13:58 I’ve never heard of … Well, and I appreciate that.
Sarah: 14:00 … and I appreciate that, just gonna say. I’ve never thought of … I like the idea of money and divorce in terms of it exposing peoples’ flaws. I do think that money definitely exposes peoples’ flaws. It’s interesting, when I talk about money, I usually equate money with energy. I think it’s that I’ve read it, but I’ve also kind of felt like it’s just how things move.
Jen: 14:28 It’s no accident that we call it currency.
Sarah: 14:30 Like a current.
Jen: 14:31 Right.
Sarah: 14:32 Okay, I think my mind just exploded. Hang on a minute.
Jen: 14:34 Okay. Pause.
Sarah: 14:39 Yeah. It’s currency. It’s meant to flow. It’s meant to move from one thing to another and sometimes it’s a little slower and sometimes it’s a little faster. Once things start flowing and collecting, then it amplifies dramatically.
Jen: 14:56 Right. So, when did you first start kind of understanding things like energy and flow and all of this?
Sarah: 15:05 Well, I first started experiencing it when I was little. I was very, very intuitive. I understood energy around me, When I was probably four or five, I remember seeing things and just telling people things that I shouldn’t know. “Your dog’s name is Gem.” and they’re like, “I don’t know you strange child in the grocery store. How do you know my dogs name is Gem?” and it was before Facebook or anything obviously. I’m a child of the ’70s and so I wasn’t seeing it there.
Sarah: 15:43 That really made adults around me uncomfortable. Then they started telling me, “Well, you can’t know that.” Or “You can’t say stuff like that.” So, being a five-year-old child looking up to the adults around me as some sort of leader, I was like, “Okay, I don’t know that.” Then I kind of turned it off.
Jen: 16:03 Shut it down.
Sarah: 16:03 Yeah.
Jen: 16:04 Which is very common.
Sarah: 16:05 Yes. Yes. Children understand. They operate out of energy and intuition just as their natural … That’s why we really need to be better about honoring our children and who they want to be around. Especially when kids are little, we’re like, “Here, go kiss Aunt Mable.” And they’re like, “Oh God! Aunt Mable’s terrible. She’s awful.” We’re all embarrassed. We’re shoving our kids in Aunt Mable’s face and the kids are like … What they’re picking up on is their Aunt Mable’s gross.
Jen: 16:42 Right.
Sarah: 16:42 Right? We’re not honoring that of the kid. The kid’s just like, “No way. I don’t want any part of that.” It’s like, “No, that’s what you have to do.” That’s the cultural norm. This is how we’re not gonna be rude. “Don’t worry about me being rude to you and totally breaking all of your boundaries and disrespecting what you have to say, cause that rudeness doesn’t count. We need not to be rude to Aunt Mable because that’s what counts. That’s what matters.”
Jen: 17:10 Cause she’s old.
Sarah: 17:11 Cause she’s old. Right, and I’m uncomfortable so we’ll just make you uncomfortable so I don’t have to be uncomfortable so Aunt Mable doesn’t have to be uncomfortable because she’s old.
Jen: 17:20 … and weird apparently.
Sarah: 17:21 Obviously. Yeah.
Jen: 17:24 Right?
Sarah: 17:24 So, when I was young, yeah I was very, very intuitive, knew all sorts of stuff that I shouldn’t. Then I turned it off. Then there was a few places in my life where I looked back and there was definite, what I want to say, breakthroughs of that same intuitive piece. They were really critical moments
Sarah: 17:52 There was one time I was driving and it was when my daughter was still an infant. I was driving with her biological father. It was on an Oregon-coastal road in the Winter, so its foggy and rainy and you can’t see very well. We’re going down the highway and there’s a car that’s coming the opposite direction in front of us and he goes to pass a car. In a voice that, I don’t know where it came from, I told him, I said, “Turn on your lights. He can’t see us.” So, I flipped on the lights and the car immediately slowed down and went back in behind the other car because he didn’t see us. Otherwise, we would have just been hit head-on at highway speeds.
Jen: 18:33 Wow.
Sarah: 18:33 Yeah, and there was no preignition that went with that. There wasn’t me thinking, “Oh, he can’t see us.” It was just immediately come out of my mouth. I even hear it in … I don’t think I was speaking in tongues or anything, but when I hear it, when I think back on it, I don’t hear it in my voice.
Jen: 18:59 Right. It just came out.
Sarah: 19:00 It just came out. Yep. There was a few times like that, where it had come through. Then when I was in my early thirties, shit just was not good and I had done all of the therapy things. I could tell you everything there is to know about every therapy intervention and all of this sort of thing. Things weren’t awesome.
Jen: 19:29 This is when you were an occupational therapist too, right?
Sarah: 19:31 Yes. Yeah. That’s one of the things that led me to know. I mean, I had sought healing of my own but then I also worked in residential treatment centers for drug addicted and mentally ill teenagers. As a residential unit, we’d have them for a couple of months. Sometimes we had them for a year or more. We were working with world renowned doctors that were doing really cutting- edge stuff at the time. So, I knew all this stuff.
Sarah: 20:04 It was around me every day and naturally I applied a lot of it to myself but I still didn’t … There was just … I wasn’t there. I knew there was something more. I didn’t have any idea what that looked like. That’s when I first stumbled across my first mentor. Well, I didn’t stumble across her at all, she was completely brought to me. It was the first time of my life where I had … I was absolutely honestly open to anything because I had tried everything I knew how. So, I was like, “Okay.”
Jen: 20:48 To make shit good.
Sarah: 20:50 Yeah. I was like, “I’ve done all of this stuff and shit’s like, kind of good, but not really good. So, I’m totally open to what you got.”
Jen: 21:00 So, then what happened?
Sarah: 21:03 Then I sat on a couch across from her. She was a marriage and family therapist as well as energy work.
Jen: 21:13 That’s an interesting combo right?
Sarah: 21:15 It is an interesting combo. One that you’re seeing more and more though. Which is good.
Jen: 21:19 Yes.
Sarah: 21:19 Because talk therapy is severely limited in what it can do. So, I sat across the couch from her and I, without too many words and without her touching me or anything, I felt her open up my torso and she started poking around in my organs. It was the craziest thing I had ever experienced in my life. I was just like, “Holy cow.” Then she got to this one part and I felt like I was absolutely going to lose my mind. Like tears, vomit, diarrhea, I was just gonna be this explosion of nervous system stuff.
Sarah: 22:03 So I told her. I was like, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but you have to stop or I’m gonna lose my shit.” and she says, “Okay.” It just felt like she encapsulated me in this warm soft egg and then it all went away. So, I was like, “What was that?”
Jen: 22:22 Right, cause you’d never experienced anything like that.
Sarah: 22:25 No. No-
Jen: 22:26 It was probably weird.
Sarah: 22:28 Yeah, so she started telling me about it, and I said, “Well, I need to know more.” My logical brain was just bit onto that. I was just like, “Oh my God. What was that?” She gave me a couple of people that I could read up on and learn more about energy and chakra work and all that kind of stuff.
Sarah: 22:52 One of the people that she had recommended was Cyndi Dale, who I recommend to everybody. She’s brilliant. I said “Okay.” Then I go to the bookstore and I get a book of Cyndi Dale. She’s got some great shorter books. One of her best books is “Energetic Boundaries”, that I’ve probably bought at least 10 copies now and have given out, but she also has books that she has written that are academic textbooks, all on the energy body.
Sarah: 23:29 That was what I picked up. I just opened it at random and what I saw was an anatomical structure of a person and where … She had labeled where the chakras were. I was looking at that. I was like, “Oh my god. That is all … The chakras align with your nerve Ganglia and your pineal gland and your pituitary gland and I knew that because I’d worked in healthcare, right? I was like, “Were talking about the same thing here.”
Sarah: 23:55 From that point, it was on. I was just on this mission to learn everything I could about it. That was kind of my reawakening of back to childhood; back to childhood, back to my naturally really-powerfully intuitive self, learning how that works in my life, learning how it doesn’t work in my life, and then just figuring out, “Okay so what am i going to do with that?”
Jen: 24:28 Were you living in Idaho at that time?
Sarah: 24:30 No. I was here in Oregon.
Jen: 24:31 Oh, you were here.
Sarah: 24:32 Mhmm. (affirmative)
Jen: 24:32 ‘Cause I was gonna say, “That’s even more amazing.” Now if you were in Idaho …
Sarah: 24:36 Yeah. No. I was here.
Jen: 24:37 But you were here in Oregon.
Sarah: 24:38 Yeah.
Jen: 24:39 Then as soon as you knew logically that you could make sense of it, then you realized that you could deal with it? You could handle it?
Sarah: 24:48 Mhmm. (affirmative) Well, and it wasn’t even the logical part because it was … There’s still a lot of stuff that I can’t explain but I experience them.
Jen: 25:00 Okay. What do you mean?
Sarah: 25:03 Okay. Here’s one great example, and this is something that my whole family can recount to you ’cause we’ve always lived in haunted houses apparently: We lived in a house early on when we lived here in Oregon and it was an awesome house. It was a ’50s style ranch and we were only the second people, kind of like you, we were only the second people to ever live there.
Sarah: 25:25 The man had built it. His family lived there. He raised his kids and then both he and his wife died there. When we moved there, he was in the garage, the old man ghost. We hadn’t gotten to this point in our exploration yet, so nobody really talked about this ghost that everybody saw in the garage; until one day, one of my boys, who were probably like four or five at the time, said something about him. Then my daughter goes, “Oh my god. Do you see him too?” My other son goes, “Yeah.”
Sarah: 26:02 They all saw him. They all explained exactly the same way as to how he looked and I was like, “Yeah, me too.” Then we built this really cool relationship with this house because it was awesome. Then we had to move and the house actually had a tantrum. It had a full-on tantrum.
Sarah: 26:21 Sam and I were in the garage at one point and we were packing. There was the garage door and in the back there was a man door. The man door slams open, hits the wall behind it, then slams back shut. We kind of look at each other like, “Well, that’s weird.” I thought, “Oh, well maybe I didn’t latch it and the wind caught it, or something like that.” So, I go over there, and its dead bolted. The door frame’s not broken and it’s not off-kilter. It is full-on dead bolted into the door frame. I looked at him and I said, “It’s locked.” and he’s like, “What? Yeah. That’s strange.”
Sarah: 27:08 Then we started talking … We’re like, “Okay, so the house does not want us to leave. It’s throwing a tantrum.” We’re talking about how … ’cause the house was up for sale because there’s something … it had been … it was supposed to have gone in a trust, or something like that, when the people died. I don’t know what the deal was but all of a sudden it had to go up for sale. We didn’t wanna buy it, so we talked about it as a family. We’re like, “Yeah, this house is gonna choose it’s next people.”
Sarah: 27:41 One day we … and the realtors were really nice. They tried to stack all of their showings up in a couple of hours so that … like Tuesday for a few hours or something, they could get it all done so we weren’t having to be in and out all the time. They had scheduled all of these people and it was three full hours packed of showings and-
Sarah: 28:00 … full hour’s packed of showings. And I get a call from the realtor, and she’s panicked. And it was 15 minutes after the showings are supposed to start. And she’s like, “I can’t get into the house.” And I was like, “Well, don’t you have a key box on the front door?” And she’s like, “Yeah. I can’t get it open.” And I said, “Well, what about the keypad on the garage?” And she’s like, “It’s not working.” And I was like, “That’s weird.” And that house had locked itself entirely, and let nobody in that day. Yeah. It wanted nothing to do with any of those people. So, the key that they had, that was in the lockbox on the front door, did not work. The garage pad did not work, just randomly. When we got home, everything worked.
Jen: 28:43 Like, it was okay for you to go in.
Sarah: 28:45 Yes.
Jen: 28:46 How did you make sense of that? ‘Cause this was before you kind of, had embraced it altogether, right?
Sarah: 28:53 Yeah, it was before. And it was kind of at the beginnings. So, a lot of it was just like, yeah, I don’t have any idea what’s going on here. But this is real. This is a thing. And we’re all experiencing this. And so it’s not just some sort of hallucination that I’m having. And so just roll with it, you know, like, okay. And one of the things that really helped when … and it goes back to when I was seeing the old man in the garage.
Sarah: 29:19 I was working with a fellow occupational therapist, and he’s Vietnamese. And so I was talking to him about this, about this type of thing. And was like, “I don’t really know what to do, like, I don’t know what to do about it, or if I do do anything about it … like, I don’t even know.” And he goes, “Well, have you talked to him?” Like it was just the most normal thing. And I said, “Well, what do you mean, have I talked to him?” He’s like, “Well, have you talked to him?” And I said, “No.” And he said, “Why don’t you start there?” And I was like, “Okay. Like, what do I ask him?”
Sarah: 29:54 And so then, we had this really great conversation. And I remember, it was funny ’cause he said, “You don’t live in Vietnam without encountering spirits. You can’t live in that small of an area that has experienced that level of war-time over its existence, and not encounter the spirit world. It’s like totally normal.” And so I did. So I was like, “Okay, I’ll give it a try.” So, I go home, and I was going up to the garage, and I’m like, “Hey. Hi. I’m Sarah.” I didn’t know how to, like, how do you start a conversation with a ghost?
Jen: 30:37 I don’t know.
Sarah: 30:37 I don’t know either. Like, Google doesn’t even have the answer to that. So basically, what I did is, I just talked to … And I said, “Thank you for letting us live here. Our family’s very happy to be here. And we’ll honor your space.”
Jen: 30:57 Right.
Sarah: 30:58 And from that point, he was not as much of a presence. Like, he was keeping watch over his space. And then once I was like, “Thanks. We’re glad to be here, and we’re going to take care of things.” Then he felt free to go.
Jen: 31:12 That’s really cool.
Sarah: 31:13 It was really cool.
Jen: 31:15 Yeah.
Sarah: 31:15 It was nice that he didn’t have to feel bound to that house anymore.
Jen: 31:18 Right. ‘Cause he probably didn’t want to be, or just was ready for something else, or …
Sarah: 31:24 Yep.
Jen: 31:24 So, I have a sense you’re going to tell me that you don’t care. But what do you do about people who don’t get it, when you describe these stories?
Sarah: 31:36 If they don’t get it, but they want to get it … or, they want to know more about it, or they want to learn about it, then I’ll talk to them. But if people are like, the only reason that they’re engaging with me is to somehow call me out as a fraud, or just to be like, “No,” or [crosstalk 00:31:54]
Jen: 31:54 [crosstalk 00:31:54] you.
Sarah: 31:53 Tell me I’m going to hell. I get that a lot. Yeah, then I just don’t engage. Like, “Okay. Go do your thing.”
Jen: 32:03 Right.
Sarah: 32:04 “I’m not up your ass about what you’re doing.” Right? And so, “I’m just going to do my thing over here, because my thing is not impacting your thing.”
Jen: 32:12 Right. But isn’t that kind of the problem, just in the world right now?
Sarah: 32:16 Yes.
Jen: 32:16 Too many people want to be up in each other’s stuff.
Sarah: 32:19 Yes.
Jen: 32:19 When we’re not really impacting each other.
Sarah: 32:22 Right. Yeah.
Jen: 32:23 Yeah. So okay, things started happening. You start embracing it. You see it. At what point does it become a bigger part of your life?
Sarah: 32:33 Well, part of the intuitive awakening was like, I have this understanding that I was going to be done with my professional career. That a shift was going to happen. And my husband and I had kind of talked about it, but I think he was thinking maybe it would be further on down the line. Or that it wasn’t really a thing. I don’t really know what he thought. I don’t think he took it very seriously. [crosstalk 00:32:59]
Jen: 32:59 Or [crosstalk 00:32:59] not as big.
Sarah: 33:00 Right. I don’t think, it wasn’t that he wasn’t taking me seriously. I just don’t think that he put a lot of value into me actually quitting my career. And so, I literally woke up one day, and I said, “It’s time for me to quit my job.” And he goes-
Jen: 33:16 “I’m sorry, what?”
Sarah: 33:17 Right. “Are you sure?” And I said, “Yep.” And he said, “Okay. I believe you. Are you sure?” I said, “Yeah.” And I said, “It’s time.” And he said, “Okay. I believe you know what you’re doing. Are you sure?” I was like, “Yeah.” And so, I put in my two weeks that day. And I walked away from a career that I had been doing for, at that point, I think it was like 14 years. I was making a lot of money. And I was just like, “This has been awesome. Bye. I’m off to do other things.”
Jen: 33:50 Yeah. ‘Cause occupational therapists are kind of well-paid-
Sarah: 33:53 Yes.
Jen: 33:53 … and do a lot of amazing things. Can you maybe speak to that a little bit?
Sarah: 33:56 Yeah. First of all, we don’t find people jobs. I’ll just clarify that right now, because that’s what everybody asks me.
Jen: 34:05 Really?
Sarah: 34:06 Yeah. ‘Cause, apparently, people only think that there is one definition of occupation. But basically, a person’s occupation is everything that they do in a day. So, it is everything that consumes their time, and that they do that’s meaningful to them. So it’s everything from getting up out of bed, to getting dressed, to taking a shower, to engaging in any sort of meaningful activity.
Jen: 34:27 Okay.
Sarah: 34:27 And it’s meaningful activity, whatever that means to you. And when there’s a disruption in that, when there’s a disease process or an illness, or an injury that prevents you from doing that, then that’s when occupational therapy comes in and says, “Okay. Your function has been impacted. How do we adapt your life? How do we adapt what you can do now, so that you can continue to engage in things that are meaningful to you?”
Jen: 34:54 Okay. Makes sense.
Sarah: 34:56 Yeah. Really fucking cool gig. And then, throughout my years, I was able to … I worked in a psych hospital, residential treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, school districts, home health … I mean, the variety was just awesome for me. Because I get bored really quickly. I have about a two to three year attention span for careers and jobs, and stuff. And then I’m like, “All right. I’m out.” So, that was very helpful in being able just to move around there.
Jen: 35:30 And do different things.
Sarah: 35:31 And do different things.
Jen: 35:32 And yet, you walked away from that.
Sarah: 35:35 I did.
Jen: 35:36 Although you do seem to use your knowledge in that realm, to help you with where you’re at now.
Sarah: 35:42 Yeah. Because you have to be pretty … Like when I worked in the residential treatment for example. You have to have a certain amount of energetic control, and charisma and suave, in order to talk somebody out of throwing chairs through the windows. Or stabbing you with pencils, or trying to harm themselves in some way. We had some pretty sick kids.
Jen: 36:12 Yeah, sure.
Sarah: 36:13 Those sorts of things were pretty common. So that’s where it started, talking people out of harming themselves or somebody else, in this really crisis situation. I just got really good at that. And then, you also have a really good understanding of your biomechanical system, and your neurological system. And occupational therapists also do a lot with sensory processing disorders, which is all energy.
Jen: 36:40 Right.
Sarah: 36:41 And that’s what I did a lot with, with all of those populations, was addressing the sensory processing … It used to be sensory integration; now they call it sensory processing disorders. And it’s just like, “Okay. So how is your sensory body interpreting the world around you? And is that working for you, or not? And if it’s not, then how do we adapt that?” And that’s all energy. Those sorts of things made the transition really easy to talk to people about energy. And then, also to coach people.
Jen: 37:14 So what happened? You gave your two weeks notice, and then what happened?
Sarah: 37:21 Then I was an absolute disaster for the next six months. Because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was just like, “What have I done?” Right? But I just kept going. Like, there’s no going back. You just have to keep going forward. I said, “Well, what does this mean?” I didn’t know anything other than this is what I was supposed to do. So there was a lot of just really dark days, where I really doubted myself and what I was doing. And I was just like, “I’ve ruined my family.” Which wasn’t true at all. We never lost our house, our cars were never repo’d. Our frig was always full. Our kids probably never even experienced a blip in that sort of thing.
Jen: 38:07 Right.
Sarah: 38:08 But I made it that way in my brain. Like I was causing all of the things, right? Hurricanes were happening in the east, and it was my fault, because I quit my job, right? That’s kind of how it felt. It’s raining in Oregon. Oh, no. It’s my fault.
Jen: 38:23 Yeah. ‘Cause that never happened before.
Sarah: 38:25 Exactly. Yeah, so I had no idea what I was doing, how I was going to structure things. I didn’t know anything about business. I’ve been in business for five … in July, I celebrated five years with Mindful Energy. And it wasn’t until about two years ago, that I got my first business coach. It wasn’t until two years ago, that I started running a business.
Jen: 38:49 I love the stories of you and your business coach. [crosstalk 00:38:53] show up in your blog, by the way.
Sarah: 38:54 Yeah.
Jen: 38:58 So, I hope you pay that person a lot.
Sarah: 39:01 Are you saying I’m difficult?
Jen: 39:03 Yes.
Sarah: 39:03 Okay. That’s true. Yeah, I am.
Jen: 39:07 I’m saying it as someone who is …
Sarah: 39:10 Is equally difficult.
Jen: 39:11 Yes.
Sarah: 39:12 Yes. Yeah, I am. And I’m not for everybody. And that’s one thing that I knew right off the bat, and was one of the more difficult things to incorporate into running a business. Because, everybody … Well, one, when you buy a business, everybody has an idea about what you should do with it, and how you should do it. And all this kind of stuff. And people were kind of mortified that I was turning away clients. I’m like, “Yeah. I’m not working with you.” I just spent the last 14 years adhering to doctors’ orders and insurance companies’, as to how and who I could treat people. Fuck that, I’m done with that. That’s why I’m on my own. This guy is a douchebag. I do not want to work with him, and so I’m not going to. And everybody’s just like, “You’re not making any money.”
Jen: 39:58 “But that’s money.”
Sarah: 39:59 Yeah. ” You’re not making any money. Why are you turning potential clients away?” And I’m like, “Because [inaudible 00:40:07]
Announcer: 40:07 Thank you for listening to the podcast. Be sure to catch every episode by subscribing on iTunes. To learn more, check out our website at www.jenmcfarland.com/podcast. The podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth, LLC., online at www.jenmcfarland.com.
Jen: 40:29 Oh, hi. Did that seem a little abrupt? Like, maybe you wanted to hear more about Sarah’s story? Well, I’ve got good news for you. If you subscribe, you’re going to get to hear the next half, next week. But if you don’t subscribe, you might forget. And that would be awful. We just want you to have the best Halloween ever. So, don’t be afraid of those ghosts. Be sure you talk to them. And be sure to tune in next week, when we get the rest of the story for how Sarah Hadley has been on this amazing journey, and brings out bravery and magic in so, so many people. Tune in next week.
Jen McFarland is a business owner, business advisor, podcaster, blogger, and project turnaround artist. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women business owners overcome leadership and technology struggles.
Hi! I’m Jen! I have over 25 years of training, teaching, and executive experience in leadership, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. Today, I am the founder of Women Conquer Business, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to helping women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community build sustainable businesses. I’m a frequent guest speaker and trainer. Get access to my free business growth accelerator and hang out with me on my weekly women in business podcast, Women Conquer Business.