We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sarah, how do you think about risk?
On the surface, it might have seemed like I was taking risks regularly. I lived in China twice as a student. I have moved across the country three times, first to live on the East Coast, next, to California to pursue my graduate studies and last, to Iowa to help my aging mom. I regularly changed careers in my 20s, unsettled with the status quo (not to mention, quickly bored!). I regularly risked my life to be an outdoor rock climber, one of my favorite hobbies for many years.

All of that said, when it came to my career after graduate studies, I was really risk averse. I nearly didn’t take the leap to work independently three years ago. I feared so much: that I would not be able to earn money independently, that I didn’t have the drive it took to hustle, and that I couldn’t be self motivated. It had taken me years of contracting to land a full-time position with benefits in my career of choice at the time, and if I left, I’d miss out on the golden pension. I did start working on side projects to “try out” consulting, but it never felt like the right moment to leap. Fear might have kept me in place but my dad passed away and it was a wake up call. I could no longer spend 40+ hours a week creating content that didn’t give back to society. It took a few months, but eventually I gathered the courage to resign.

Shortly after, I posted on Facebook about how I was “thinking” about starting a podcast about grief over parent loss. That post went viral among my community; at the time, in 2016, there was nothing like this. That has since changed, but it was enough of a push to drive me forward. Before I knew it, I built up a podcast and community that was so deeply supportive, that it didn’t matter if my paid work didn’t result in purpose anymore. The risk I took to quit a job that wasn’t serving society felt very minor now that I was living my purpose every day.

My latest risk, to go “all in” on podcast production, was also scary. I took that leap just this year, and I have yet to realize if it will be sustainable. I’m still working odd gigs here and there to make ends meet, and it’s challenging sometimes not to feel a sense of stability. But I so value the flexibility and the continued pursuit of the work I want to put out in the world, that it feels more worth it than being risk averse. Taking leaps won’t take me nearly as long as they used to. I try to rely on intuition more now, while still honoring the part of me that likes spreadsheets and order.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since 2019, I have dedicated my creativity to the mission: de-stigmatizing grief and loss through open and authentic conversations, which is how Breathing Wind was born.

I’m proud that Breathing Wind spreads compassion through open conversations with guests about grief, loss, change and healing, and also through the overall message that it is OK to be vulnerable. I’m also proud that it has grown into a supportive community, and often I feel uplifted through the messages I hear.

While working with guest hosts for Breathing Wind, I also learned that I really enjoy coaching others to create meaningful podcasts, so I have recently shifted my professional focus to provide podcast coaching and production. That’s where I spend most of my time professionally.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I just moved back to Des Moines after being away for a long time, so I haven’t figured out all of my favorite spaces yet. That said, I live near Sherman Hill, home of Gateway Market and some of the best city walking you can do in the summer. I’m also near several lively restaurants: Eatery A, Thai Flavors and Manhattan Deli are my favorites, for very different reasons. What I’d do with my best friend visiting the area, aside from eat, is go kayaking at Raccoon River, bridge-exploring in nearby Winterset, check out a local brewery like Lua, drink coffee from one of the many lovely coffee shops in the area (my new personal favorite is the Slow Down), and head over to a farm to experience local farm culture.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many thanks to give, but related to podcasting specifically, first I want to thank the folks I met at The Everything Conference back in 2019. These friends helped me realize how possible it was to be thriving entrepreneurs and they helped me to find a way to “finish my podcast project” and finally get it out to the world. I’d also like to thank Nakeyshia Kendall, who was my first entrepreneurial friend who questioned my in-the-box thinking in the most compassionate and present way. I would like to thank my dad, who always believed in me and helped me find my voice. I’d also like to thank all of the guests and guest hosts of Breathing Wind, the podcast that I began that led the way to what I do now. Many of these individuals have become close friends and confidants. I would like to thank Britany Felix, who helped coach me on my launch, David Scott McDougall, who helped me hone my interview skills, Duncan Cheung, who helped me see the podcast vision and document it, and Toni Truong, who answered all of my audio questions with so many helpful resources. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Erica Venegas and Allie Stark, two coaches who helped me during my transition from full-time employment to self-employment and podcasting.

Website: https://connectedpodcaster.com/

Instagram: @breathingwindpodcast and @theconnectedpodcaster

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-s-davis/

Image Credits
Lauren Matysik

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