I’m humbled to get to share the brave story of my next Show Me Your Brave series. Sarah Shuttle is the boss behind Wonderland Design, which has rebranded to Verity Road. Sarah & I originally connected through The Savvy Community and I am just humbled by the heart and realness behind who she truly is. I’ve watched Sarah create bold and brave posts about her weight loss journey online to opening up about her years of alcoholism she endured. To know who she is now and see her strength she’s garnered from overcoming such obstacles is amazing. I love seeing the woman behind Verity Road and am so excited about her launch next week! (read: community over competition, ladies!)
Sarah’s journey is exactly the type of story that inspired me to create this series in the first place. I wanted a place to talk about the true things we go through in our lives aside from just being a business owner. I hope you’ll take a moment to get to know Sarah and her brave heart.
Tell me about a moment when you were brave, and stepped out into your business?
The moment I first posted on both social media and my about page introducing myself as a recovering alcoholic, eating disorder and mental illness sufferer was terrifying. I was felt so exposed and vulnerable, thinking people wouldn’t want to work with or even talk to someone who has a history of those illnesses. I wasn’t ashamed, but I was anxious about the stigma still attached. However, it needed to be out there for many reasons. I need to own my story, so I can reaffirm to myself I have nothing of which to be ashamed. Furthermore, I want other women to be able to overcome adversity, and know that their problems don’t define them. And if I don’t do that, then I can’t spread the message with integrity.
Why do you do what you do?
I tell stories, through concepts, visuals, and words, because I know how amazingly powerful and transformational they can be for someone if handled correctly. I love graphic design because it’s an outpouring of my passion into a visual depiction of a message, where words aren’t needed. I’m a natural storyteller, and to use that to help other business women realise their dreams makes my heart full.
What is your business super power?
As above, I would say my ability to tell stories in my content (especially my open vulnerable content). I wouldn’t have gotten the success I have achieved in a short space of time if I was still talking purely practical tips.
What in your life has allowed you to give away what you give in your business?
Recovery from my addiction and eating disorders. By that, I mean being part of a 12-step fellowship, seeing how I can help others and learning to accept and love myself while trying to be a better person.
What is the hardest thing you have ever gone through in your life?
Being an active alcoholic, 24/7 drinker, by age 20, self-harming and my eating disorders after that. It’s not an easy story to hear. I dropped out of uni after one year because I couldn’t cope with the mental health issues and my alcohol abuse. I would hide in my bedroom at home with the door barricaded, bottles and bottles of drink hidden, knives to cut my arms and I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I hated myself with a passion I can never describe, which is why I would use anything to hurt myself, even broken glass if I couldn’t find a blade. After I went to rehab the first two times, I just switched to another addiction, which was not eating, and I was admitted into the hospital within 4 months for being dangerously underweight. My friend thought I was going to die. I was anemic, my periods had stopped, I was always cold, my bones stuck out. I can’t really remember it in great detail because I was starving my brain. It hurt to sleep where my hip bones dug into the mattress. And then going the other way into binge eating and obesity.
What do you wish you could tell the world more than anything else?
You can overcome any hardship, struggle or pain and go on to achieve your dreams, even if you can’t see it. You can design any life you want for yourself, and you have the power to create it.
What was the woman like that started her business, and who are you now?
The woman who started her business kept her true self away from people in case they thought less of her. She hid, had no confidence, very low self-esteem and would put herself down openly. Her inner critic and negative voice were incredibly loud. She didn’t look after her health from a nutrition and exercise point of view, she didn’t practice self-care. She didn’t put in boundaries. Today, I am visible, not just on social media but in everyday life- I go out and don’t hang my head low. I smile at people. I help people. If I catch myself thinking something negative about me, I change it to a positive. I eat well and exercise to become fit and healthy (not skinny). I am confident to share my story, I do public speaking, video calls, and live posts. I work on loving myself a bit more each and every day, and I am full of belief in my potential.
What big thing are you currently working on?
Share your secret to success!
Eek, just one? I have to pick two here. Obviously, 1) getting authentic with your audience and 2: Leaping first. In other words, investing in my business when I didn’t feel ready, or that I needed more money to do x or y. A great mentor (something I invested in) said we always need to act from a place of where we want to be, not from a place of where we are, and have faith that this will always bring results.
Thank you so much, Sarah for being real and honest with us today. My hope with this series is that my audience can get to know a deeper side of the various online business owners we all come to know and love.
You can follow along with Sarah by connecting with her:
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