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Sarah Savoca: From Playing Sports to Coaching Athlete

Hey there, wellness entrepreneur! Welcome back.

Today, I’m honoured to have on special guest Sarah Savoca. She is a mindset skills coach for athletes. And in this blog, you’ll read all about her story of how she became a mindset skills coach for athletes and how she got confident in this very dialed-in niche. You’ll also hear her story of how she has some viral reels on Instagram, which generated a bunch of consultations and some clients in her business where she was able to really both grow her visibility, so grow her audience, as well as sell.

Most of the times you can only either grow your audience and you’re not really selling anything or you’re selling and your visibility isn’t as high. She was able to do both, which is rarer. So make sure to read all about her story, also learn about how she was able to leverage all the work she’s done in previous masterminds and with previous coaches, as well as the work in the Awaken Mastermind to hit her biggest month yet.

Enjoy!

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Question to Sarah: Well, tell us a little bit about, dive right into how you’re helping these athletes, what you’re doing and how you got into this work.

Sarah: Yeah, so quick background, I played division one volleyball in college, grew up playing sports my whole life and faced my own mental challenges throughout my years playing collegiate volleyball and even while I was in high school as well.

And that has kind of, I always say, like when you have had a really hard time doing something and you found success on the other side, that is part of your purpose. And for me now, my purpose is really guiding elite athletes. I work with a bunch of high school athletes, some college athletes to heal any mindset blocks they’re facing and really excel in sport, maximize their potential. I do that through one-on-one coaching and group coaching as well.

Alison: I love that. I wish I knew of a coach like you when I was diving, because I did so much self-sabotage.

Sarah: Yeah, totally. That’s kind of my thing. I’m like, this is who I wish. Like, I want to be the person that I wish I had when I was an athlete. So, yeah, it’s not just volleyball, obviously, but all sports. And I can only imagine with diving. It’s like just you up there in the board and everyone’s watching. Definitely can be a very mental game.

Alison: Yeah, yeah, totally.

Sarah: Yeah. I was actually just listening to this podcast and it was talking about this lady who, she’s like the first ever free tightrope walker. I think that’s what you call it. Like walking about like a hundred feet above, just on this thin line. And she kind of started it as a hobby and she would do it like in parks. During I think 2020 or something like that, maybe it was before then. And she was really good at it and just totally was like no big deal. But then as soon as she was elevated to like 20, 50 feet, it was just totally mental and she struggled a little bit more.

Alison: So did she have a harness?

Sarah: I assume at the beginning, she probably started with a harness, but she’d be like 100, 200 feet up there with no harness.

Alison: Crazy.

Sarah: Yeah, like totally mental!

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Alison: A hundred percent! Yeah. And I’m sure so many parents are so grateful for your work because a lot of time, energy and finances are spent to shuffling their kids around, buying the gear, paying for the coaches and all the stuff. And it’s really your work that’ll make all that energy and time and finances worth it for both the athlete and just like family happiness, like parents, like seeing their kids succeed. Like that’s all they probably want for them.

Sarah: Totally. Yeah. And I mean, I’m not a parent, but I’m sure maybe you can relate to this in some way. It’s like as parents, you can say something to your kid. But because you’re the parent and that’s the relationship, they don’t always hear it. You know? It’s kind of like when you’re out the next. That’s a lot of what I’ve heard from parents is like, “I’m trying my best, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting across from them.” And of course, parents really want like their kids to be having fun in their sport.

So, yeah, it’s like for me, if I can really teach them, like what I what I’m really teaching them is life skills, even beyond sport truly. And that’s kind of what makes up my work there.

Alison: Yeah, I love it.

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Question to Sarah: So how did you go from division one athlete and then deciding and nailing, I must say, nailing this niche of being a mental skills coach for athletes?

Sarah: Yeah, so that was definitely a journey for me. It’s been anything but linear. So when I graduated, I had a really in college, I had a coach who, he was a philosophy major, and he was super passionate about mindset work. And so I remember going into my freshman year of college, he had us read like five different books. One of them was like four agreements, five dysfunctions of a team. There were a few others. I can’t remember them. But that’s kind of when the seed was planted for me.

And I don’t think I fully grasped it until about like senior year. I started to realize that I was kind of the common denominator for everything. So I started to become really passionate about mindset work and just like improving myself. And I actually was getting my finance degree. So when I graduated college, I graduated with my bachelor’s in finance and I went and worked in corporate America and I stayed there for four years.

I was working hands on with CEOs of five to 50 million dollar companies. And it was super great experience. And I’m glad I got to kind of understand what it meant to run a successful business, what it meant to have a healthy balance sheet and income statement, all of that stuff, all super valuable knowledge. And, you know, if you need to get any sort of credit or line or anything like that, what that meant as well. Ultimately, I just knew deep down that I didn’t want to be in corporate forever.

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And so I ended up hiring a life and business coach. And she really introduced me to the coaching world. And I think it was something as silly as like I came across this Instagram post of like a coach and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know what she does.” But like, I want to do that. And so I ended up hiring this life and business coach and worked with her for like six months and ended up launching my coaching business.

And at the time, since I was working with entrepreneurs, I kind of just totally like when I graduated, I was so done with volleyball. I just didn’t even want to look at a volleyball. I didn’t want to play volleyball. I was just like over it. So I was like, you know what, I’m working with all of these entrepreneurs in my in my day job. I love the mindset the entrepreneurs have, very growth oriented. And I would love to help them on this mindset work. Like I was starting to see shifts.

I was probably at least a couple, two, three years into my personal growth journey myself. And so I was like, I would love to kind of do that for entrepreneurs. So I ended up working with entrepreneurs on mindset work, got a few different certifications there. And I did that for like a year and a half, almost two years, maybe.

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And as I was going through and getting my board certification for neuro linguistics and programming, the last class, it’s like a nine-day class, they ask you to cancel absolutely everything on your schedule. So it’s very intensive. And I remember you’re just like in a hotel room going in class after class. I remember one of the key takeaways for me was regarding my identity. And one of our exercises, without going into too much detail, was to write five different metaphors. And every single metaphor I wrote was about being an athlete or was about athletes.

And so I was listening to all my classmates reading their metaphors. And then I noticed this like theme of the metaphors that I had. I was like, no one else is talking about athletes here besides me. So it’s kind of this epiphany that I had of like, “Wow, there’s a part of my story that I haven’t really been fully owning.” I had always kind of talked about like, “Oh, in the future, like I’ll work with athletes.” But I was like, why am I saying like in the future? Why is that not now? So then, basically as soon as I passed my board exam and got my certification, I went home and I was like changing my niche and doing all that stuff. So that’s kind of how I landed here.

Alison: Yeah, I love that. And so you touch on a couple of things that I teach with 100k branding is both, I think sometimes because I work with many entrepreneurs that have shifted from a different career. And they think like, “When I’m leaving corporate,” or, “I’m leaving becoming a lawyer, I’m leaving this this job that I have and now I’m following my passion. I need to abandon all those skills that I learned.” And I love how you just naturally brought them into entrepreneurship.

Because 100 percent like whatever your other career was, there are many skill sets that you can bring into being an entrepreneur. And the other part is it becomes part of your story, which you’re highlighting. And the more that you know your own story and your identity, then using this like expertise and skill set as well as like your own experiences. That’s how you can differentiate yourself in a marketplace.

And that’s exactly what you did. You honed in, “Okay. This is my story and no one is really talking about athletes at all.” And then that becomes like a really great niche. I just love that.

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Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. I think what you said there is so true. I’m a huge believer that everything happens for a reason and everything that, like your path that you’re on, every single job you have, everything, every single experience you have, there’s something to learn there as long as you’re opening your eyes and creating consciousness around it.

And so I think, like, especially with jobs for those people who maybe aspire to start their own business or they have their own business and they want to go full time in it or really leverage the skills that they have in their current job, like that is absolutely 100 percent possible. And there’s 100 percent skills that I learned from working on a team and from having to be super organized. Like I was working with, you know, portfolios of, you know, like 50 plus clients. And so that created a lot of like for me personally, like I had to be super organized with that. And that’s something I’ve definitely transferred over to my business. So, yeah, I think like that is something that is just it’s so true, whether you’re like, I don’t know, why am I in this job or whatever, there’s probably something there that you’re learning or that you can take away and apply in your business.

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Alison: Yeah! A hundred percent. And since we work together, you’re in the Mastermind, you really excel in two areas that I see have brought a lot of great growth and positive transformation in your business. And one is, yeah, you’re organized. If you say you’re going to do something, you always do it. And then the other is you’re so courageous. Like you just get out there and you’re going to try something like with Instagram, which we’re going to get into in a moment or leading your first few workshops and you just go out and do that. And I think those are such wonderful skills to have as an entrepreneur.

Sarah: Right. Yeah. And I have to say, like, I’ve definitely not always been that way.

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Question to Sarah: How do you think you’ve grown those skills?

Sarah: To me, it all comes back to like figuring out what’s blocking me and working with different coaches, even before you. Because I think I think you’ve seen me shine in those ways, but before I wasn’t like that way. So before it was working with coaches, a lot on like what is getting in your way? What is that block? Why are you maybe scared to be seen on Instagram or why are you so scared to create that mistake? What’s kind of the root there and creating a healing around it and just what’s the word I’m searching for?

I guess just doing it over and over and over again, doing it with people as well. Like, I love group coaching because I think for me, I have and I don’t think I’ve shared this with you, but in the past, well, you might know this part about me, but in the past, I have tended to overthink things and coming into this group coaching program with other ladies. It’s like, oh, it’s just so simple. Like, OK, here’s A plus B equals C and then do it. And then in the past, I’ve kind of tended to overthink that where I’m like, I just see other people do it. I’m like, “Oh, well, if they can do it, I can do it.” I don’t need to make a big deal. There’s no obstacle that’s like sitting in the way there. Like, I’m just going to go and do it.

That being said, I think I always have kind of been a person of my word. Like, I remember when I was younger, I was like, why do people say they’re going to do something and then they just don’t do it? Like, that always has been very interesting to me. And at the same time, if there actually is something that’s getting in the way of, for example, trying something new, doing that workshop that you’re really scared to do, market yourself, market that offer you just created or whatever, It’s kind of thinking for me, what’s been helpful is what’s the absolute like worst case scenario that can happen?

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And just being like, “Oh, okay, well, I’m still alive.” Like, it’s probably actually not that bad. And then on the other hand, after going to the worst-case scenario, like what’s the best case scenario that can happen? And for me, what happens in the worst-case scenario a lot of times is, well, there’s at least going to be some sort of learning there. Because it’s just another way that maybe is isn’t necessarily right.

And so you’re kind of like the John Maxwell book, Failing Forward. It’s like you’re not stepping back when you fail. You’re actually taking a step up because you’re learning one other way that it’s not the right way to do it.

Alison: Yes, one hundred percent. You just hit on so many golden nuggets for the entrepreneur, like reminders that to keep going, to keep going with coaches, because the work that you do, the work will pay off. And even if you are failing and it’s not quite working out that you are failing forward. And I just love to because what you’re highlighting is a lot of mindset work. So you’re totally embodying the work that you teach. So you’re so in alignment. So awesome. Yes. Very, very good.

And so, one area that I just love seeing your growth on is Instagram, because for a lot of Instagram accounts and in fact, there’s even podcast episodes on this, they’ll say like you on Instagram, for example, you can only work towards growth, meaning you’re doing entertainment or inspirational reels or day-to-day reels that are going to be viral and growing with no call to action and no selling and no offer. And you can go viral and grow your audience big that way. So you can go down that path or you can go down the selling and having calls to action and letting people know that you have services and your growth is going to be slower. And so not often someone can do both of those at the same time.

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Question to Sarah: And because you show up in my feed, I just love seeing one of your viral reels with like 300 plus likes and a very clear call to action. Like, so it’s so amazing. Tell us a little bit about how you got there.

Sarah: Yeah. For me, for reels and growing on Instagram, a lot of it has been again, just like trying different things and then figuring out what works and figuring out what doesn’t work and doing what works more. Like it sounds simple, but it’s true. I have a new reel format that I’ve been playing with right now that has helped me grow a lot lately, which has been great. However, before I wasn’t doing that format.

So I think a lot of my success on Instagram has been doing a lot of research on other accounts also that are in my niche and figuring out, “Okay, if there’s another account that’s in my niche that has had success in this specific reel, then how can I reformat it and kind of make it my own?”

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So the format that I’ve been using, I found another account who did a similar format reel totally went viral. And I was like, “I’m going to try that out.” And then for me, the first time I did it, I had like a ton of views and my views were higher and then they kind of got lower for a while. And then I did that reel and they kind of went back up again just with that one reel.

And so I was like, “Okay, so I kind of did that reel.” And then, you know, I was going back to some other different reel formats and I was like, “Okay, what’s working right now? What’s not?” And I noticed that one specific reel format was working. The likes on it, the saves, the views were all higher than my other reels. So I was like, “Okay, well, how can I make this easy, simple and fun?” Continue doing the ones that are working. So I think that’s kind of like been what has helped my Instagram growth the most is, just kind of playing around there. It sounds simple, but it does. It definitely took me a lot of trial of just letting myself post reels or post stories or feed posts or whatever that just didn’t get a lot of attention.

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Alison: And I love that a couple of times you mentioned easy and fun. So, you know, even through the trial process, it can still be fun. And for me, I do find Instagram like for me, it’s more creative, which is fun as well. And I want to make sure they go follow you so they can check it out for themselves. Where can they find you on Instagram?

Sarah: Yeah, totally. My Instagram is @coachsarahsavoca. So coach, and then Sarah with an H, and my last name Savoca. S-A-V-O-C-A.

Alison: Yeah. Go give her a follow and check it out.

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Question to Sarah: And also the result of all this is you’ve been getting consultations from that. People have been reaching out. So tell us about that process, because that’s the whole point, right?

Sarah: Totally. Yeah. So a lot of my, I shouldn’t say, well, yeah, a lot of my consultations, the ones on Instagram have a lot of them are just like random, like kind of DMs. I guess not super random, but they saw a reel or they’ve been following my content. And they’re like, “I really resonated with this post,”whether it’s a mom or an athlete themselves. I haven’t had any dads reach out yet. Otherwise, I would have said that. And just they’re like, “I would love like, can we work with you or what are kind of next steps?” Like, I’d love to learn about what you are offering, and just kind of going from there.

Alison: I love that. And so all of this has led to your biggest month yet. So huge congratulations to you.

Sarah: Thank you.

Question to Sarah: So what do you think has led to this success?

Sarah:  Yeah. Well, it’s funny. I think earlier you said like the hard work will pay off and you know this, but January this month has, yes, been my biggest month yet. But I have been so laid back when it comes to posting and when it comes to even just some consistency with this month specifically, just because I’ve been navigating some personal challenges. So it was just crazy because I have before this month been super consistent. And what was the exact question you asked me?

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Alison: What has created the success?

Sarah: Oh, there we go. The consistency. I guess I was just going to say that, yeah, it’s kind of like having that mindset of delayed gratification and falling in love or maybe not falling in love with, but having joy and having fun with the process instead of focusing on the outcome. Especially when we live in a society where we can get packages at our door in 24 hours. Like our brain is so wired for that instant gratification that we have to train our brain to operate in this mode of delayed gratification and knowing that with consistency and with continued little shifts and doing what’s working, that that’s going to be what leads to the success.

Alison: Yeah, I love that. And I love how you highlighted that, you know, the consistency pays off, but you’re not a robot. So if life happens, circumstances happen, you can ease, you know, you didn’t ghost, right? You didn’t stop completely, but you took your foot off the gas and took care of yourself first. And that is what’s needed and you hit your best month.

So that consistency, I call it the compound effect, it layers upon itself so that you can take care of life as needed, which is, you know, otherwise our business is controlling us instead of us like having a business that fits into our lives.

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Sarah: Totally. Yeah. And like, especially being an entrepreneur. And for me, like, I haven’t hired any employees or anything like that. And so it’s like, you are your biggest asset, like our own personal health and well-being is your biggest asset. So doing whatever is going to help you show up and be better the next day. Like, it’s so much better to take a day off and maybe lack consistency for a month when, you know, in the big picture, it’s like, OK, who really cared about a month? Like, yes, I would have rather taken that time for myself that I needed.

Alison:  Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. So many great reminders for entrepreneurs and congrats on your huge successes. There’s much more for that for you in the future coming up, I can for sure see.

Question to Sarah: So what’s coming up for you in the future?

Sarah:  Yeah. I think just like it’s great to have your best month and it’s kind of like, Okay, celebrate and then get to work. Like for me, I want to create this consistent high. Like, I want this to be kind of my new normal. So, yes. Yeah. So creating that consistency, continuing to just pour into my clients. That’s kind of where I just like where my passion is and where my heart is, is with my success with my clients. And eventually down the road, figuring out how I can impact clients beyond just the one-to-one setting.

Obviously, I’m one person, so I can only fit so many one-to-one clients in my calendar. So I have no idea what that looks like. Maybe that’s something that I uncover this year. But I think for me, the big thing is just creating that consistency.

Alison: Yeah, we for sure can work on that. I have it on my radar now.

Sarah: Yay.

Alison: Awesome. OK, well, thank you so much for coming for your time and all the wisdom that you’ve shared with us.

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Question to Sarah: Any parting words of wisdom?

Sarah: I think one thing that’s coming to mind is I was just talking with this about a client yesterday, which is probably why it’s top of mind, but just really practicing, like as an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get out of the present moment and focus so much on the future or dwell on the past and what hasn’t worked. And I think the present is what’s truly a gift and focus on focusing on being in the present as much as possible can really help.

Also, you know, I know you talk about this a lot, but like regulate your nervous system and in order to create that success, like your nervous system has to be regulated. So really getting in touch with your senses, what you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, specific thoughts that are coming to mind. For me, that has definitely been a game changer.

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And when I was talking with my client yesterday, she’s like, “Oh, kind of like Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda.” And I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” And so I was tubing the scene that Master Oogway was talking to Po and it was like, he has that whole speech of like, I forget exactly how it goes, like tomorrow’s a mystery, yesterday’s whatever, and today’s a gift, which is why it’s called the present and all of that stuff. So that’s what you get for working with high school.

Alison: I’m going to have to have my daughter watch that and we’re going to have to pause that several times over because she likes it.

Sarah: Yeah, so I think that’s kind of what’s coming to mind.

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Alison: Yeah, I love it. So important, so important. Well, tell us again, your Instagram and then also your website so they can go check you out.

Sarah: Yeah, so Instagram again is Coach Sarah Savoca. Savoca is S-A-V-O-C-A. And then my website is thesavocaco.com. So the, again, my last name’s Savoca and Co, C-O.com.

Alison: Awesome, and we’ll put that in the show notes so you can link right over to that. And thank you again for sharing all this wisdom and your time today.

Sarah: Yeah, thank you.

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Alison McLean

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