The “Lucky” Ones – An interview with circus performer & entrepreneur Sarah Morgan

I’ve been following today’s interviewee’s blog for a couple of years now and have always loved her style & insight. Now, I’m happy to introduce to you Sarah Morgan!

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Two years ago, Sarah Morgan quit her job and ran off with the circus. Literally. And as a web designer, business consultant, entrepreneur, blogger, aerial instructor and, yes, circus performer, she’s spent the past couple of years encouraging and teaching others how to follow their own passions as boldly as she has—while wearing many hats.

Sarah’s blog, xoSarah, is a showcase of both her aerial artistry and web design prowess, and through it, Sarah has established herself as an authority on solid web design and blogging how-to. She just recently published her second ebook, How to Double Your Blog Traffic in 90 Days (or Less!) and launched the Badass Babes Blog Club + E-Course for bloggers who want to amp up their own online spaces. When she’s not dominating the interwebs, she’s swinging from aerial silks as part of The Weird Sisters trio.

Welcome, Sarah!

Your talents are so varied! But let’s start with joining the circus. How did you get into aerial arts, and when did you decide to make it a profession along with your fellow Weird Sisters?

I randomly signed up for an aerial class just over four years ago as something fun to do and trained for about two years before we began to perform. Over the next year we ended up booking a lot of shows and at the same time my design business had grown enough that I was able to make those my full-time occupations. Soon after I added teaching aerial to the list as well.

How do you discipline your body to stay fit for such a physically demanding job? Do you have a regular routine you abide by?

I teach six to eight classes a week, so just going to work keeps me in shape for aerial. Since I’m in the air so often it’s more about injury prevention than building strength or flexibility. My routine is what we cover in class: cardio, abs, climbing, skill-building, stretching.

Describe the most interesting/random/weird event you’ve ever performed in.

We perform at a giant Halloween show every year called Theatre Bizarre. It’s not weird at all to me, but the random person off the street might be totally shocked by what they find inside. Contortion, burlesque, suspension, fire spinning/eating, strange sideshow acts—there’s really no way to describe it, it’s something you have to experience. This past year we performed as super sexy bearded ladies and fit right in. Here’s a video.

Sarah Morgan

On top of all that you also have your own successful web design business. How do you juggle these two very different jobs?

Calendars! I make sure to schedule everything and have five calendars to keep track of each aspect of my life. (That sounds nuts now that I’ve written it down, haha.) I don’t adhere to a super strict schedule for design work, which keeps me from feeling overwhelmed, but I know what needs to get done and when.

What are some of the biggest challenges that come with your professions? Do you ever experience self-doubt?

Personally, because I have two full-time jobs, it’s making sure I schedule my life in a way that I have time to take care of myself. Today I had rehearsal for three hours, then I came home and worked, and then I go back to the studio to teach and rehearse for two hours tonight. I have enough work to put me in the air or in front of my computer 16 hours a day every single day, so I’ve gotten really good at saying no and taking on only what I can handle.

I generally don’t feel self-doubt, which makes me sound like an over-confident jerk I’m sure. I suppose that if I’m going to do something I’m just going to do it, and worrying if I’m not good enough or going to fail isn’t helpful. I’m aware of both possibilities, but I deal with it after the fact instead of letting it slow me down or stop me from what I want to accomplish.

What was it like making the leap to total self-employment? Are you happier on this new path?

I had gotten to the point of being so unhappy at my corporate job I was essentially a real-life version of the movie Office Space. When I decided I was going to leave about 9 months before my escape, I became super motivated and excited to work on my side hustle. I prepared enough in advance that when my last day at work arrived I didn’t have any worries. It felt extremely freeing and I’m so so much happier working for myself.

Sarah Morgan

If you could live by one mantra, what would it be?

“Whether you think you can or think you cant, you’re right” – Henry Ford (there’s that no self-doubt thing again!)

What are some of your favorite books? Favorite blogs?

I really loved Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. It’s about marketing your business by sharing why you do what you do instead of what you do. AKA “I’m passionate about helping creative businesses build online homes that allow them to share what they love” vs. “I’m a web designer who makes beautiful and functional websites.” It really changed the way I market my business and my blog.

For bloggers I’m always inspired by Alexandra FranzenMarie ForleoThe Middle Finger Project and Betty Means Businesslots of badass ladies talking about building powerful online empires.

 

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your story! Have any question for Sarah, or just love what she has to say? Let her know in the comments!

What it means to be brave

I’m really excited to revive my guest post series today, because a) I somehow always get fabulous submissions like today’s and b) I’m crazed as hell and happy to occasionally let others do the content creation for me. Today, I share with you the lovely Ashley Wilhite of Your Super Awesome Life. She’s an ambitious entrepreneur, a talented writer, an insightful life coach, and a dedicated runner. (She just ran her first marathon last week!) And her post couldn’t be more fitting for what this space has been about lately, so I’m going to let her do the talking about being brave.
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Have you noticed when people say “You’re so brave,” what they don’t seem to notice is that you’re trembling inside?

They see you embarking on a solo vacation, sharing your story with others, asking for a raise, or doing some other monumental thing that they perceive as outside of their comfort zone.

But they can’t feel how your stomach is full of butterflies and your toes are tingling with fear. They can’t see that your palms are sweaty or that your mind is racing with anxious thoughts, questioning whether this a huge mistake.

That’s the thing about bravery, though. It feels like fear, but it looks like courage.

One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability,” and that encapsulates it perfectly.

To everyone else, you appear confident, fearless, and heroic. But on the inside you feel nauseous, shaky, and hesitant. You feel vulnerable.

via Flickr user paix_et_amour

When I think about what it means to be brave, I think about being afraid, but doing it anyway. I think of the times I wanted to quit because I was scared. I think of the moments when I didn’t know how it would end, but I kept going anyway.

I think of the months when I was floundering, trying to start my business. With a heart full of passion, ambition, and determination, I threw myself into this new adventure. I started before I felt ready. I jumped in before I knew how the chips would fall, before I had all the answers, and I figured it out along the way.

I think of the moment when I launched my newest program, Cake for Breakfast. I believed in the power of what I had created, but I was still scared to share it. It’s a vulnerable thing to put yourself and your work out there for other people to judge. Looking back, it was one of my bravest moments, but at the time I felt exposed and insecure.

I think of the day I ran my first marathon. I woke up knowing I would run 6.2 miles further than I had ever run before, but I didn’t know how I would make it through. I felt nervous, but I started on the course with the other runners, put one foot in front of the other, and kept going until I crossed the finish line.

Bravery isn’t a magic spell you cast upon yourself. It isn’t a matter of ignoring your feelings or never being afraid. It’s about trusting yourself, locking in on your faith in your ability to follow through. It means pushing through your fear and choosing to hold on to courage instead.

 

Your Super Awesome LifeAshley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she coaches 20-something women and helps them figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives + find the confidence and courage to actually go through with it. She is a huge fan of hot pink nail polish, sparkly cupcakes, and only doing what feels good. You can find Ashley and get your free copy of her e-book “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love” here.

 

 

 

 

 

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