Sarah Dew is a master life coach, self-published author, and the founder of A Simple and Contented Life. An online platform that helps other women step out of a life on autopilot and into one of purpose so that they can become their best selves and live their best lives.
With almost 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring others one way or another, she is incredibly passionate about helping fellow mums strike a healthy balance between life, home, and work so that they have the time and energy to pursue their own goals and dreams.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her fight taught her that life is precious and that it goes way too fast. It made her realize that it was time to stop just ‘existing’ and start living. To stop focusing on and worrying about the things that didn’t matter and the things she couldn’t control. To do what she could to reduce the overwhelm, eliminate the unessential and make life less stressful and more enjoyable. And now, she helps women all over the world to do the same.
Hi Sarah, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Sarah. A mum, stepmum, fur mama to two Frenchie pups, and I’ve been married to my best friend for 14 years. At my happiest curled up in a chair with a good book and a glass of wine, I love experimenting in the kitchen, going for long walks in our local forest, and taking road trips exploring the UK countryside with my husband and two boys.
Why did you decide to launch your coaching business?
As someone who has been incredibly self-aware from a very young age, I’ve always been fascinated by all things personal growth and self-improvement. In my early twenties, I started to notice that people would always come to me with their problems, asking what they should do. During my chemotherapy, my breast cancer nurse suggested I try journaling to process everything that was going on. Writing quickly became my therapy, and having discovered a new passion, when my treatment finished, I decided to start a blog. Very soon, I began to get emails from my readers and subscribers asking for help and advice on how to make life less stressful and more enjoyable. I loved helping them and hearing all about the results they were getting. Becoming a life coach seemed a natural progression. So I became certified as a master life coach, and last year, A Simple and Contented Life transitioned from being a blog to a fully-fledged coaching business.
What is it that you do for your clients?
Many of my clients come to me because they’re feeling lost and overwhelmed. Stuck in a rut and frustrated with the life they are leading. They want to make a change for the better but don’t know where to start or how to make it happen. Often, they feel like they’re not living up to their true potential and that they’re meant for more but don’t always know what that ‘more’ is. And so, I help them get unstuck and gain clarity about who they are and what they want to feel happier and more fulfilled. Together we work to identify the blocks holding them back so that they can push past their limiting beliefs, overcome self-doubt and develop the mindset and confidence to embrace change. I show them how to set goals that truly resonate and help them to develop the course of action they need to take so that they can finally stop procrastinating and start becoming the person they know they’re meant to be.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who is fed up with living life on autopilot and wants to make a change for the better. Ready to stop just ‘existing’ and start living, they’re prepared to put in the work knowing that they are the only ones who can change their life. They understand that change doesn’t happen overnight and are okay with that. They’re willing to learn from someone who’s been there and can help them create the changes they want to make. Most importantly, they’re willing to step out of their comfort zone – even if they find it a little scary!
These are my favorite type of clients because I know they have it in them to become their best selves, and together, we can make it happen. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing my clients having those light bulb moments. Those breakthroughs increase their confidence so that they’re brave enough to leap to become their best selves and live their best lives.
Are there any common struggles that your clients share?
Yes. The majority of my clients tend to have the same three struggles, and they’re all interlinked. First, they want to create more balance in their lives, but second, they’re scared of change, and so third, stepping out of their comfort zone doesn’t come easy. I help them to identify which areas of their lives need their attention most and show them how to break that fear of change cycle so that they feel less daunted by the thought of stepping out into the unknown.
Your clients are mainly mums. Why is that?
Honestly, I think it’s because I’m a mum too. Parenting isn’t easy, and our kids don’t come with a manual. Often, we feel like we’re the wheel that keeps our families turning, and it can be hard to juggle all the hats as mums have to wear. As a mum and a stepmum of almost 18 years, I’ve had my fair share of parenting experiences, and I know that my clients resonate with this. I’ve been the stay-at-home mum and the mum who works full time. I’ve had a 9-5, and now I run my own business. I’ve simultaneously wrestled the teenage years with the toddler years, and more recently, like many other mums, I’ve had to find a way to juggle working from home with homeschooling. But through it all, I’ve managed to make a change for the better, to make life less stressful and more enjoyable, and my clients want to do the same.
Your diagnosis of breast cancer must have been devastating. Tell us more about that.
Yes, it was. I’ve always been a relatively fit and healthy person, and there’s no history of breast cancer in my family, so it was a diagnosis that came totally out of the blue. Whilst in the bath one Sunday evening, I discovered a lump in my left breast. Fearing the worst, it took me a couple of days to pluck up the courage to pick up the phone and make the appointment to see my doctor. But once I did, everything happened so fast. Within 3 months, I’d had a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and started chemotherapy.
A real whirlwind of appointments, scans, blood tests, ultrasounds, and decisions that had to be made very quickly, to say that it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life would be an understatement – especially as my son had only just turned 5 and started school a few months before. The thought that he might have to grow up without his mum around was absolutely devastating.
It made me realize that life is precious, goes way too fast, and that nothing matters more than spending quality time with the ones we love. I promised myself that if I made it through, I would do everything within my power to create a life less stressful, and more enjoyable. To stop worrying about the things that didn’t matter and to start making more time for the things that did. And during my journey, I realized that I wanted to help others do the same.
As devastating as my experience was, the reality is that it doesn’t have to take a diagnosis of cancer to make you want to make a change for the better. You can do it anytime you like. You just have to decide to do so. To commit to yourself, be honest about what truly makes you happy, and do one thing every single day to help you get closer to creating a life you don’t want to take a vacation from.
You’re a self-published author. What is your book about?
My book How to Create a Family Life You LOVE is a step-by-step guide to making family life less stressful and more enjoyable. In it, I share the three pillars to creating a life you love that the foundation A Simple and Contented Life is built upon – Love Your Family, Love Your Home, and Love Yourself. The idea is that if you invest your time in all three, if you give each area the attention they deserve, you end up with the fourth; you love your life. Just like a roof needs walls to become a house, being happy in each of these three areas is key if you want to live a life you love, and in my book, I share all the tips and strategies you need to make it happen.
So, how do you become the master of your own life? What ONE thing can we do to help us get started on the journey to becoming our best selves?
The first step is recognizing that you want to change and permitting yourself to change. Then, it all comes down to habits. What good habits do you have? What bad habits do you want to break, and what new habits would you like to adopt? We set goals, and we set new year resolutions. But habits are what helps us accomplish the things we want to accomplish. If you want to make a change for the better, you need to ditch those bad habits, the habits that no longer serve you, and create new habits that will help you take another step closer to where you want to be. Think about what you want to have achieved a year from now. What daily habits will help you get there? Write them down, and then do what you can to build them into your daily routine. Be consistent. Whether those habits are big or small, it’s the consistency that makes all the difference.
How do you stay motivated and focused?
I think more than anything, it’s knowing my why. Having a strong why, i.e., knowing why you’re doing the things you do, is key. Because when you know your why, no matter how tough life gets, you’ll always have the drive and determination to keep going. And if on those tough days your why doesn’t motivate you, it’s not big enough. It’s all very well to want to uplevel your life, but why are you doing it? For me, it’s all about creating a business that not only helps others become the best version of themselves but allows me to work from home so that I get to spend as much time with my family as possible during these precious years. That in itself is enough to make me want to jump out of bed and switch my laptop on each morning!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been?
Do you know what? Some of the best advice I’ve ever received has been in the form of quotes. I just love being inspired by quotes and even have a whole notebook full of them that I read whenever I need a dose of encouragement. Two of my all-time favorites are from Charles Swindoll and Jeffrey Fry; “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” and “The formula for success is 2% talent, 8% luck, and 90% of showing up every day.” I live by these quotes, and whenever my son is struggling at school or doubting his capabilities, I always remind him of these. And it’s the same for my clients too. Creating a life you love is all about doing the work, about taking those baby steps every single day, and keep showing up for yourself. Do that, and you will get to where you want to be.
What are your favorite books about personal growth?
Atomic Habits – James Clear
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
You are a Badass – Jen Sincero
Take Control of Your Life - Mel Robbins
Everything is Figureoutable - Marie Forleo
Do It Scared - Ruth Soukup
And of course, my book – How to Create a Family Life You Love.
What’s next for a Simple and Contented Life? What’s your vision for your business?
Right now, I’m working on my group coaching program, Intentionally You, and the podcast of the same name, which will be launching later this year. Long-term, my big dream is to host retreats. Retreats in beautiful spa hotels where mums armed with cocktails wanting to uplevel their lives come together for a mix of down-time, rest, and recharge whilst working on their goals. At the end of the weekend, they come away revived, refreshed, and armed with a plan to help them reduce the overwhelm, take back control, become the best version of themselves and create a life they love.