We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Ivey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I was a young adult, I had always wanted my life to be comfortable, safe, and predictable. I had strived to fit into the narrative of what success was pitched to me as; go to college, be a “good” girl, land a good job, find a rich husband, have kids… blah blah blah. I did some of those things, fell short, and found myself unfulfilled and unhappy. Not because I was doing it wrong, but because it wasn’t me. I also wouldn’t recognize that these “failures” were in fact necessary opportunities to pivot and lessons I’d draw from later in life. If you think about it, we are faced with risk throughout every moment of our lives; a collective of decision making where we have to evaluate the pros and cons of inaction vs action. Risk can be interpreted in a few different ways and I resonate with the idea that risk can be translated into opportunity, growth, and transformation. What matters most in my journey is the strength in repeated risk-taking. This has never let me down. The risk of going all-in has proven to be effective. There is no such thing as failure; there are only lessons learned and pivots that can occur, and either way, you will end up where you are supposed to be headed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a first-generation American; my parents are Moroccan and Peruvian. Interpreting where I fit in had always been in the back of my mind, until I figured that I had to plant my own roots. My spirit of tenacity and grit has allowed me to become the inspiring and thought-provoking entrepreneur that I am today. I’m not only a coach, but a strategist, a healer, and an idea content creating machine. My goal in life is to leave an impact by generating positivity, growth, and transformation. I have been freelancing as a User Experience Designer for the past 2 ½ years. For those of you who are scratching your head at the term, User Experience Design fulfills all the behind the scenes magic aka research, testing, branding, usability, visual design, interaction, and function when it comes to bringing a (digital) product or feature to fruition. 2020 has been one hell of a ride, but has gifted me with the time I needed to put together my soul-aligned business! I’ll be launching Grind & Shine Co. in early 2021. Built around my combined life experiences, and my foundation in User Experience Design, Grind & Shine Co. is bridging the gap between idea and action for womxn ready to expand on themselves and the business of their dreams. I want people to know that they should let their true selves shine. Leading your life and business from a place of authenticity may not be the easiest route, but it truly is the most fulfilling. The journey hasn’t always been easy but circling back to our risk talk, here is my journey, the lessons I learned, and how risk can be translated into opportunity. Sacrificing comfort for growth. I was 18, (and on my own) when I got my first job. It was a sales role at a fitness club where I also coached and nourished the souls of many women. I built a beautiful family dynamic with the staff and the patrons, we had also become a unit of goal crushers. I had lost a bunch of weight and had gained the love and kindness of my new family. I really loved this job, but was completely unable to realize at the time that what I loved most about it was the coaching and rapport building. I risked the comfort of staying in this perfect little bubble to go explore my horizon. Ditching an excess of socializing can benefit your personal gain. Eager to move on, I jumped into the restaurant industry. I started as a hostess. I was strategic and methodical and it didn’t go unnoticed. The owner approached me and asked if I’d be interested in being promoted to an office administrator. I sacrificed the social benefits I had become accustomed to in my hostess position (goodbye late-night espresso martinis), and I quickly uncovered how to manage the restaurant business and developed the ability to build my own business strategies. Do what makes you happy, even if it means temporary disarray and chaos. I was happily engaged (or so I thought) and had my first child at 23. After the birth of my child, I called off the engagement because I knew I had to risk the security of being married to the wrong person in order for me to find true peace and happiness. If it doesn’t set your soul on fire, leave it alone. I went back to school to ripen my desire to fit into a niche where art met science and studied Dental Technology. This was a 2-year financial, physical, and emotional investment. Work-life balance consisted of raising my toddler and then spending hours in the lab (more like work-work imbalance). I saw this through, completed my internship, and graduated only to find that I f#cking hated it. Walking away from a 2-year investment was painful, but a necessary risk. Always follow your heart’s desire. I met someone very different from all the others. He was confident, a go-getter, an outside of the box thinker, marched to the beat of his own drum, brutally honest, and adored me. I fell in love with my crazy talented, chef husband, and had my second child. If I had listened to anything but my own heart, I would have missed out on the best thing that ever happened to me. Trusting the process. I had an affinity for helping people so the next stop on my journey was working in recovery. This brought me one step closer to where I wanted to be. I was reminded that I had a special way in which I interacted with the people I cared about. Working in recovery exposed that instead of being in alignment with a clinical calling, I was actually in alignment with a spiritual and creative calling. I enjoyed the rapport I had built there but had to pull the “it’s not you, it’s me” on them. Although my supervisors pleaded with me to stay (and presented me with a hefty pay raise), I kindly declined because I could no longer ignore my soul’s purpose calling me out. I left without a game plan, but I had to trust the process. Intuition lives deep in the core of every living being, tap into it!! Random catering jobs and delivering food for Post Mates barely helped me cover the bills (there’s a premium price to pay for raising a family in Los Angeles). I came back to the drawing board and unearthed one of the most pivotal opportunities I would yet uncover… However, this meant I would be unable to lock down a “traditional job”, and sacrifice financial stability for personal growth, and as a mom of 2 littles, I was terrified to take this risk. I trusted in what seemed f#cking crazy, and went all-in! I was selected to attend a full-time 16-week Coding & Technology Bootcamp. Guys, when you know, you know. FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION. It was in this period of time that I found a chunk of the puzzle that had been missing in action. During the 16 week Bootcamp, I met the CEO of Snapchat, and we were graced with the presence of guest speakers from varying tech positions to teach us about their roles at Google, Munchkin, Sony, Amazon, Snapchat, FitBit, and General Assembly. I visited the Headspace headquarters and fostered my knowledge in UX Design. I toured the Honest Co. headquarters (CEO Jessica Alba) and had the opportunity to collaborate with their UX Design team as they shared the ins and outs of their day in the life. It turned out that I had always been a User Experience Designer, I just hadn’t known what it was called. Believe it then achieve it. Should I have accepted an internship role at the Design Agency that paid me less than I had been paid in years? YESSS! I quickly blossomed into a full-time User Experience Designer; startups, pitches, project management, research, testing, designing, reiterating, and brand strategy were some of the things I found myself working on. My boss and mentor gave me free rein to apply my knowledge and creativity on all the projects that I had been assigned to. I couldn’t get enough! Trusting and believing in myself birthed yet another puzzle piece with this fulfilling career. You’ve got to pay to play. Investing in yourself is the number one most important investment you can make. My success has lain heavy upon self-teaching, I have invested in many books, courses, and programs, and put in work. The most essential self-investment I made was in a self-enriching weekend retreat, called Rebel Mastery; a super intimate and catapulting experience. I knew it was going to be a wild ride, but I did not expect to come out of it with so much value, and value that would act as an extended-release pill. The outcomes of having put in the work and honoring that I needed to invest in myself were out of this world; new decision making patterns emerged, I changed the lens that I had outgrown, I faced challenges head-on, I was catapulted into the next best version of myself and had fallen madly in love with myself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
You’d think that being born and raised in LA would make me an expert on the subject, but the truth is there are tons of places I’ve yet to experience! If my best friend came to LA, I would plan the whole thing around food and nature. I enjoy a less crowded experience which is why I like to find the hidden gems of LA. For a casual but delicious food experience, we would visit one (or more) of the following: Guelaguetza Restaurant (they have amazing mole), Leo’s Taco truck (the tacos El Pastor are delicious), Los Balcones (their ceviche will knock your socks off), Sushi 101 in North Hollywood (say hi to Toshi), Porto’s Bakery in Burbank (I prefer take-out because this plays stays crowded), Pampas Grill at The Grove/Farmers Market, and Post & Beam in South LA (say hi to Jon and Roni). For breathtaking nature spots we would visit: Charlie Beach in Marina Del Rey, Solstice Canyon (whimsy and waterfalls), Kenneth Hahn hiking trails (breathtaking views of LA), Franklin Canyon reservoir (an untouched gem), Huntington Library gardens, and Hollywood Forever Cemetery (great for picnics, and their outdoor movie night).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love this question! It’s so important to recognize and appreciate who has helped you along your journey. Major props to my chef husband, Brandon Ivey, my role model when it comes to risk-taking, he’s always challenging me to be the best Sarah I can be. Also, his food is out of this world and has comforted me many a time (@sirius_chef). I owe a lot to my mom for always believing in my moonshot dreams, and for happily stepping in with the littles. I am eternally grateful for my beautiful and intuitive friends and family (you know exactly who you are), they are my main support system. Sharon Plunkett from the St. Joseph Center is a beacon of light. She is a warrior that hacks through excuses and drama with her magical machete and plants seeds of magic and exponential growth. I am forever grateful for Jill Dasilva, the UX Design Goddess who nourished my growth, gave me the freedom to apply myself wholeheartedly in her business, and showed me the ways of being an entrepreneur. Chiara Mazzucco is a Fire Starter of a woman; her coaching has ignited the f#ck out of me and has transformed me into my best self. Books have also skyrocketed my success as well; I have too many to list, but the one that started it all for me was You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero.
Goat Photo, by Deanan Dasilva.