Guest Interview with Sarah J Naylor, Lifestyle Success Coach and Mentor

Nov 30, 2023 | Coach Guest

“Show Notes”

She helps people who have got to a point in mid life when they start ask who they
are and what are they doing. Her job is about finding what really fires people up
and she helps them identify that and helps them make the change towards doing
what they want. “Life is an illusion of your own creation” How do you see your own

Marcus asks what she means by mid life. Sarah says it’s the forty to sixty age
bracket officially, but it’s also about mind set and where we are. And Sam
commented that this is linked to children leaving home. Sarah says this is a time
when people can lose themselves. It is also important to let them go and find their
own way in life. Hovering over the children and not letting them make

mistakes and learn doesn’t help them.

Mid life is a time when many people set up their own business, be that
photography or other businesses. Sarah went through a divorce at this time and a
little later set up her own business as a recruitment consultant.

Sam asked about what someone should do who is thinking about a move to
setting up their own photography business. Sarah says the key is just get out their
and do it. Find out what it is you like about photography and get out there and do
that specific thing. Right now don’t worry about making money from it. Just get

there and work on what you love doing. And as you get known for this area of
photography, you will start to find work. The key is find this area of photography
that is your passion.

Sarah says also avoid the push to always grow the business,

scale up and move to the next level. The key is to do what is right for you right
now. If you wish to make money so you can travel the world, why not make money

by taking photographs while travelling around the world. There are different ways
of doing things. Make sure you know what you want your life to look like,

and work out from there. And be creative in how you do it. Sarah says you should
value yourself, but also don’t focus on the money. Focus on what you want.

Marcus asked Sarah some tips of how to get from A to B. Sarah says the first thing
is define B and be specific. Where do you want to live, who do you want to spend
ime with, what do you want to do. And spend time thinking about this and getting
right. Without this clarity there is nothing you can do. Once you have this clarity
then you can think about when opportunities come along, are these opportunities
going to help me move towards B. Stepping into the role of where you are at B
helps. Tell people who you are. Be present with the language you use with yourself
and others. Know that B is where you want to be and talk about this in a positive
way. Be yourself and follow your own path. Don’t compare yourself to others and
let them bring you time. Just focus on what you want and getting to B.
Surrounding yourself with the right people can really help with this.

You can reach Sarah at any of the places below

“Show Transcription”

Sam: Hi Marcus, how are you doing?

Marcus: I am very well, Sam, very well indeed. I’m just out of the studio. They’ve let me out of the studio, so I’m recording in a hotel bedroom in a moment, so my sound might not be quite as good as normal. Hopefully you can still make some sort of sense in what I’m talking about.

Sam:  I think we will, and we’ll make sure we get Marcus safely locked back up after the show. Welcome, listeners. Welcome to the Shoot to the Top podcast. And today we have a brilliant guest who has lots and lots to share with us. So welcome, Sarah. We have Sarah J. Naylor, lifestyle success coach and mentor, with us. Hello, Sarah.

Sarah:  Good morning. Hello and thank you for inviting me along. It’s great to be here and great to be chatting to you both. Thank you for inviting me along.

Sam:  No problem at all. Would you like to introduce yourself, Sarah?

Sarah:  Oh, yes. So, as you’ve kindly said, I am the lifestyle success coach and mentor. So what does that mean? Well, really it’s about encouraging people, particularly at midlife, really when you get to that crossroads where we all live a great life, don’t we? In terms of we get onto this treadmill of doing sort of education and following this path that we might need to follow, but we evolve as a person along that time. And then you get to that midlife point, it might be the kids have left or you’ve got to be made redundant, it could be anything. And it’s just like, who am I? How did I get here? What do I want out of my life? Am I really living the life that I really, truly want to live? And that’s where I come in. I’ve got a background of 36 years working in the recruitment sector, so I’m well versed in helping people change career direction, change jobs, and listen to them and understand. And I’ve been a coach for the last eleven years as well, a qualified coach. And it’s really helping people to understand what fires them up. Because when you’re coaching somebody, you really see that change in that physiology and you can pick up stuff that they’ve not really recognized themselves. And that’s the excitement. It’s helping people identify what that is, what it could be, how they want their life to look, and then helping them see and help them facilitate that change. Because at the end of the day, we’ve all got that within us. We all know ultimately, if we have that opportunity to dig deep in a non judgmental fashion when you’re working with a coach and who can help you identify that, and then look at the options and how you can start to make that your reality. Because I like to use a phrase, that life’s an illusion of your own creation. So it’s how you see your life. And actually, when you start to read and you start to look at what you’ve got, and it’s about having that appreciation, that gratitude for what you’ve got, but equally so, identifying what it is and how you want it to look without being negative about what you have got. Because actually, you get what you focus in on. And so it’s changing that, switching people’s mindset, thoughts, actions, behaviour, and adding a bit of sass in the rass in the meantime.

Marcus:  Very good, Sarah. Can I just jump in there rather quickly and just of course, you mean by the midlife? I think I might be. What do you mean by midlife?

Sarah: Midlife? Well, it’s interesting you’d say that, Mark, because I had to Google it myself just recently, I tell you for why. I hit 58 in October and I thought, Do I still classify as midlife? And apparently I do. I think it’s that age bracket of 40 to 60 in all reality. So, hey, I haven’t got long left in midlife. But do you know what? Age is just a number. I think it’s very much more of our soul’s journey and where we are, you could pack loads of stuff into a short lifetime or do absolutely nothing into a long lifetime. And I believe it’s about maximizing the time that we’ve got, learning what we can learn and really enjoying the moment. Because even when you’ve got a challenge, trust me, I have had a very challenging 2023. Beyond challenging, it’s even had me banging my head against walls. And I don’t suggest it’s been very challenging, but it’s then looking at the positives, what are coming out of that when things don’t work, it’s things closing down and it’s reframing that and going, okay, actually, well, that’s closing down, what’s that opening up? Because when you let go of stuff, a vacuum doesn’t exist, so it’s creating that opportunity for new stuff to come in. And that’s what’s been happening in my world.

Sam:  Yeah. And I think what you mentioned, I think is relevant to a lot of people, is that kids, if you’ve got kids, that them starting to think about leaving, them leaving. That is such a massive change in your life, isn’t it? No matter what age you are. Minor 15,17 and, yeah, the 17 year olds talking about leaving already, and you’re like, yeah. Suddenly you’re like, Whoa, what the hell is going to happen then? You’re right. What is my life suddenly? What am I going to be doing?

Sarah: Exactly? Because if you have spent all that time focusing in on your children, because, and I know some people do, it becomes that whole life. There are women that obviously I was never one of them, but do take that complete career break. Men as well. I’ve got male friends that have taken that career break and they’ve been the one that’s been at home with the children, but you can lose yourself that very identity and we are all here. The point of having the children is to bring them into the world and provide that platform for them to go out and have their own journey. It’s not about for you to be sort of joined at the hip along the way, all the way, but having a great relationship is fantastic. But allowing them that allowing them that’s the wrong word. The permission that unwritten permission to go and have their own life, to support them, encourage them to find their own path, not to find the helicopter parent thing, it’s not finding the answers for them. They’ve got to have their own journey in life and find the answers themselves, because that’s what shapes you as a person. That’s what enables you to progress, that enables you to gain wisdom. And if you get things wrong, you get things wrong, you learn from that and then you don’t do it again. But if somebody hones in and goes, oh, no, don’t do that, don’t do that, you’re not going to learn anything. You got to move on. But then you’ve got to find yourself in the meantime, because if you have spent and children do take up a vast amount of your time I spent far too much on the time to the phone to my son’s at school. How much time? Not that teacher again, really? No. What’s he done? You know, you’ve created a vacuum when your children have left, or as I encouraged mine to leave, it was non negotiable in the end because he’d literally outgrown that phase  you know, we were.

Sam: yeah, it’s interesting as well, because we were interviewing, weren’t we, Aley Crew, Marcus just the other day, and her podcast is just a few back and yeah, that’s yeah, that midlife point went, right, I’m going to stop teaching and I’m going to be a photographer, and that complete change. And I think that move into business is something be that photography or other business is something a lot of people do at that sort of age, isn’t it? They suddenly go, I don’t want to work for anyone else so much. I’ve got that confidence myself where I can now get myself out there and do something quite different that I want to do and be my own boss.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And I have to say, for me, I got divorced at the end of a 20 year relationship back in 2005, and I was employed. I’d always been employed, I’d always supported my ex husband in his business. And to be fair, in terms of the relationship, I was never really supported or encouraged to sort of evolve as a person at that. Fast forward four years to 2009. I manifested because I wrote a book called Shining a Light On You how to Manifest Your Dream Job. And that was off the back of what I’d actually done back then, which is identify what it was I wanted to do at that time. And I created two opportunities that were presented to me as working on a self employed basis as a recruitment consultant at the time, of which I took one. But that was that start of that real well, getting divorced was the start of the journey for me of sort of that evolution. And then in 2009, at the height of the UK recession, I went self employed. And the journey that that has taken me on has sort of been exponential, really. I mean, it’s just kept on going and kept on going. I was a single parent, son of ten at home, and I had to get a bank loan to fund myself for six months whilst I built the business up. But as you said about that confidence, and that’s why I like working with people, because I was 39 at 39, 40 when I left my ex husband. And it wasn’t until I was 40, what the 43, 44, when I set my own business up. So you can do it at any time of life, and it might be somebody decides to do it in the 20s. Brilliant. And that’s what I’m passionate about as well, is getting the younger generation to follow their flow and really go. Because if you’re reliant, there’s always going to be a career related to it and you can live your life on purpose and fulfill your potential because you’re doing something you’re naturally passionate about and you want to do and you want to get out there. But like we come back to the midlife point, a lot of stuff can actually be put on hold. Like my life was effectively put on hold. I didn’t know any different because I just didn’t know I didn’t have a social life. I used to enter competitions and things like that, and I did all my sixty’s and my 20s, like learning how to propulster, do basket, do caning chairs and do all that kind of stuff. And so then I ended up having my 20s in my 40s, but who’s to say what route you’re supposed to do it? But the key to this is it’s finding yourself, identifying yourself. What fires you up. And that continues to this day. Even now, there’s still stuff that I’m doing and I’m learning and I get excited about I just have to rein myself in because I want to do everything all of the time and that’s not possible.

Sam: Yeah, again, I’m thinking with the photography, there’s probably a lot of people who are amateur photographers who are thinking, I’d like to do this as a business, but they lack that confidence. They’re not sure they should. They’re holding back because they’ve got the safe job and we can all say, just go for it. But that’s not that simple. Is the kind of things, advice you can give to someone in that position. What should they think about? What could they do from that position apart from us? Just said, yeah. Do it.

Sarah: Well. Do you know what, it’s really interesting you bring up that because one of my new coaching clients has got a photography degree and she got children and she has been employed. And I was only asking her yesterday, I said so about the photography and she’s lost her confidence in terms of doing photography. And so it’s something we are going to explore further because at the moment, we’re looking at a career move for her, which is an employed status. But she’s not even been picking up her camera on a personal basis, particularly. Yes, she’s use a mobile phone, but she’s got a photography degree. She’s got a two one degree, so she’s obviously good at what she does. But she has lost that confidence and I think that comes down from what she was talking about. That can be put on you when you’re going out and doing the weddings and parties and things like that, the detail of actually going back through. But I think the key is to just do it. It’s progress over perfection. It’s just doing what you enjoy doing. I love taking photographs with my phone and I would love to do more. I did have an SLR before they became more digital, and so I don’t use it. In fact, my son’s had it and he actually likes doing real on 35 mil film because he doesn’t know what he’s going to get. And there’s a bit of a magic to that. So find that thing that fires you up. What is it about photography that you love doing? Don’t worry about trying to get business or anything like that right now. Just is that really fires you up? Because yes, you can think about weddings, but there’s a lot of stress associated with that. You could be doing your group family photographs. Does that really fire you up? Do something that you are passionate about. Do something that you absolutely love doing. If it’s just photographing the grass that changes in the spring to the summer to the autumn to the winter, make that your thing. Have a thing that you are becoming known for because you’ll get work off the back of it. It doesn’t mean to say that just because your photograph won’t get work for something else. Because in that focusing in on the grass, you’re looking at growth, you’re looking at nature, you’re looking at that consistency and that approach, and you’re sharing those images, but really tune into what it is that fires you up and just do it. It doesn’t matter, even if you’re just doing it for your own pleasure, because it’s so wonderful, isn’t it, to have photographs? I mean, I’ve got something about 20,000 in my phone. I think I need to do something about it. Excuse me, excuse me, I have a problem, but equally so. I know my parents, my mum’s got photograph albums of photos from when she was in the it’s 50’s. lovely when she does get them out and you see all those photographs. So do it and do what bit fires you up. Whether it is digital or whether it is black and white, it is color or it’s something else, whatever it is, just follow that thing that really fires you up, because that’s what’s going to engage and that’s what you’re going to talk about and that’s what people will know you about then, as well.

Marcus: I’m nodding enthusiastically along with the word you’re saying, sarah and 100% agree, I think, as regards to making the idea of making money out of photography or whatever you’re going to go, has been the primary turn for doing it, I think. Do it because you love it, do what you love and then the rewards will come. There’s so much out there about how you got to make a six figure your business and put in reasons why you’re doing it second.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And this is where the lifestyle thing comes in, because there has been this massive push, oh, you’ve got to have this, you’ve got to scale up, you’ve got no, do what’s right for you, what is right for you right now, what is good enough for you right now. Yes, we all want to sort of, yeah, let’s face it, money is important, money helps. Buy this, do this, do the other. But do you know what? There are always lots of different ways of looking at things, lots of different ways of making things happen. You could think, Well, I want to get all this money so I can travel the world. Well, make traveling the world part of your photography and you get paid for going and traveling the world to take the photographs rather than making trying to get money out of the photos so that you can travel the world, if you see what I’m saying. I mean, there was somebody that I think I did on my podcast, actually, and I met her through something else and she’s a muddy archaeologist and she’s got a passion for archaeology and she gets paid to go On Cruises and Talk About Her Passion for Sort of Archaeology and Sort of History and Things Like that. And she had this very conversation with her son. He’s going? Well, how are you going to make money? When she explained to him how much a cruise would cost. And she’s actually only doing half an hour’s work, and she’s getting, like, a five- or seven-day cruise out of it, and she’s only having to. Why wouldn’t you? So what I’m trying to say is there are different ways of say I use the term earn an income sort of loosely, but there’s different ways of doing things. It’s how you want your life to look. What do you want your life to look like? And then it can happen in a different way. So you can still be doing what you want to do, but it’s sort of resolved or solved through other things that you do to create that lifestyle. I scaled up my recruitment business. But do you know what? I never really wanted to manage any staff. I love coaching. I love the flexibility. I love the variety of podcasting. I love writing. I like networking. I like doing all of that. And that’s what my life consists of. And soon I’ll be moving to the coast and so I’ll be able to go out and walk along the seafront. It’s just what do you want your life to look like? And sort of taking it from then following your passions. And as you said, don’t focus in on the money. The money will come. Secondary. You’ve got to value yourself. Absolutely value yourself. But there are some stuff there’ll be some stuff that you might want to do for free that you’ll get something else off the back of. But there might be other stuff that you can then go and charge a large amount of money for. It’s just going to but if you’re consistently focusing on the money, where’s the satisfaction?

Marcus:  Quite right.

Sarah: Because ultimately you could be paid millions. And if you really hate what you’re doing because isn’t ultimately what we all want is happiness. We want joy. We want a life that we enjoy living. Yes, money can help. But money is not the solution. You could have all the money in the world, be miserable and be traveling the world. What’s the point? It’s happiness, isn’t it? For me. I’m not materialistic and I don’t have aspirations to have a gold plated plane or anything like that. I just want live my life and enjoy it, but hopefully inspire and motivate people in the meantime.

Sam: Amazing. We’re talking about this with business plans, which people see is very dry. And we’re talking Marcus. And I think when we started, Marcus was thinking, oh, well, this is going to be very dull, because I just want to earn. We say no it’s just about where you want to be. And that doesn’t have to be financially. That May be part of it, but it’s just, where do I want to be a year? What do I want to get to? And your plan to get there? And I guess when it’s your own business, your sort of personal plan and your business plan are very similar, if not the same thing.

Sarah: Well, yeah, because they’re intertwined, aren’t they? Especially if you’re self-employed, but equally so, I think, even if you are employed, we spend so much time doing something, doing work sounds like work, but employed doing something that generates an income to enable us to eat, put a roof over our heads and eat and do things like that. So it’s not to be dismissed, but it’s to get it in alignment with what we’re doing. And then if you’re passionate about what you do, that flows through into your work, it flows through into your life. If you’re doing a job to earn lots of money and you hate it, you’re bringing that back home into your personal life and that’s radiating outwards and you’re coming home and you’re, oh, God, the baby’s hitting the pop and just not doing anything. I mean, I love getting out trail running and exercising and fresh air, and that’s part of what I love. And every so often I realize that the shifts are wrong, even though I’m in control of my own life, it’s taking that step back and going, hang on a minute, this is a bit out of kilter, isn’t it? Let’s have a look where I can adjust it and make some small shifts, because those small shifts can make the biggest difference. If I could really get myself out of bed at five in the morning, it would be absolutely magical. I’ve got to get to bed earlier at first.

Marcus:  Yes, indeed. Okay, this is a great idea. Obviously, you live once, make the most of it, but maybe just to start winding it, the show down, maybe. Sarah, can you give us some steps? How you’re going to achieve, how you’re going to get from A to B?

Sarah:  Right, okay. Well, I think first and foremost, it’s knowing actually what is B? What does B look like to you? I’m kind of getting specific about it. So who do you want to be around? What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to live? Who do you want to work with? What do you want that? What does that really look like for you? And spend time on that. It’s all too easy. People go, I want this, but what does it look like? And this is, again, what I was just working with my coaching client about, because I’m only mentioning her because she’s photography, and she’s just started working with me. And we’re really drilling down what that next move looks like for her, because it’s really paramount that you get clear on what it is you want your life to look like, because once you know, you will then start to be able to recognize the opportunities that are presenting themselves to you. So it’s getting clear, understanding that what you put out there is what you attract back. So you’ve got to also be mindful of your words, thoughts, and actions. So the next step is, yeah, this is what I want to do. I want to be a great photographer. Okay, so what options are available to you? Talk about being a photographer. Step into those shoes. Be that person, be that photographer. And don’t talk about, oh, well, I’d like to be a photographer, but this, that, and the other. Be positive. So let’s create, be specific, recognize the opportunities that present themselves. Take action on those opportunities, but equally so, be very present with your language and the language that you use to yourself, to others, and everything that you do and respond in a way that is going to make that your reality. And there’s that old adage of fake it till you make it. Well, I don’t like that specifically, but what it is, is using language to say that, yes, I’m a photographer, because what is a photographer? I could call myself a photographer. Really? It’s just getting your head around the language that you use and just using it in a different way.

Sam:  Balance between, like you said, fake it but you make it, but also impostor syndrome. It’s that saying that you are this word, yeah, you’re not imposter. You’ve got the skills, but often you feel you’re not. Don’t you feel that’s like imposter? Well, I’m really a photographer.

Sarah: Well, exactly. I know that I’m a speaker, but I could say, well, actually, I could look at it in another way and go, well, I’m not on that platform being paid thousands of pounds at the moment, and if you start to have that negative but actually, I am a speaker when I start to look at it. I’ve got a podcast that’s been downloaded over 40,000 times in over 129 countries, and I’ve got a networking organization that I host bimonthly meetings with. So I’m out there. I am speaking. I do get paid to speak, and I do go on radio and TV and podcasts and things like that, but I could equally go, well, I’m not like that person. Well, we’re all different and the beauty of it is that we are all unique individuals. What is language? So how do you use that language to yourself? Step into it. I hear impostor syndrome. I try not to let any of that get into my own mindset, but it is recognizing it when you do. And go on a minute, how can I counteract that? But equally so, I think there’s an element of that, that can drive you and motivate you, because actually it pushes you to be the best person that you possibly can be. So use it in a different way. Use that and power yourself up rather than pull yourself down.

Marcus:  Well, I mean, that’s fantastic. I’ve sort of been making notes here and I think I’ve sort of clarified that distilled that I should say down to three steps, be clear where you want to go, step into those shoes and own it and be the best possible version of yourself.

Sarah: Oh, I love that. I’m going to take that back.

Sam: Mark, a second. Taking over as the marketing expert here, that’s brilliant.

Marcus: Should have been a secretary.

Sarah: But that’s the power, that’s the magic. Be yourself. Don’t try and be anybody else. Be yourself. We are supposed to be different. We’re not supposed to be having this bit chopped out and that bit tweaked to make us all look like Barbie and Ken. We are all unique individuals. Step into your truth, step into who you are. Believe in yourself, regardless of what other people say. If other people try and pull you down, tell them to what’s it I mean, I’ll keep them a language clear. They will pull you down to their level because they’re not prepared to do the work to get into where you’re at, so it’s easy for them to pull you back down, so let them go. That vacuum which we talked about earlier, is created for other people to then come in that will uplift you, and that’s something else to add in there, is to surround yourself with great people that support you, not in a narcissistic way, but in being around good people. And I think, and I’m very grateful and appreciative for the community of people and contacts that I have now in my life, compared to 2005, when I left my ex-husband and ended up back at my parents’ house, the house I was born in, in my old bedroom with my son for nine months. And I had no social life, I had to start from scratch. And I have got the most incredible network now of friends and contacts and a community of incredible people, really supportive, encouraging and people that I can dip into and talk to, like today. It’s just wonderful. I’m just really thoroughly enjoying and appreciating the time that you’ve given me to speak on your podcast, because that’s magical to me. That’s what I love doing.

Sam: Cool. It’s been amazing to have you with us. Loads, the takeaway, all sorts of things. So, yeah, thank you so much for all of that wisdom and all of that thought and for being with us and sharing it all with us.

Sarah: You’re very welcome. Thank you again for inviting me along, it’s been great. Thank you. Sam: And we can hear a little bit more from Sarah. So we have a little bit of bonus extra for our newsletter listeners. If you want to subscribe to the newsletter, you just go to the website, you can subscribe there and you get all sorts of extra bonuses. We send you today’s episode, past episodes and then we send you little bits of extras, including bonus content for every podcast. So subscribe there. And thank you again, Sarah, for spending so much time with us and sharing so much with us. And Marcus, I will see you next week.

Marcus: See you next week. And again, for myself as well, Sarah, thank you very much. Been enriched.

Sarah: Thank you very much. No, it’s been wonderful. It’s been a delight to join you both. Thank you. Have a wonderful rest of the day and thank you for all listening.