Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Drapeau.
Hi Sharon, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Around 2015, I started a blog. I was going to transform it into a brand that would nurture a community, bridge generations, and inspire readers through storytelling and interviews. By 2016, my mother had fallen ill, and I’d convinced myself that due to her questionable health, I’d need to be readily available with “real money” for flights and medical care. A blog was not the way to add the second income I wanted for my family. Though my husband said it wasn’t necessary, I asked for more hours teaching grade school kids video production.
A year later, I was still working that same job at the same pay rate with more hours and responsibilities. Between the hours spent editing elementary grade projects and late nights engineering sound for the most boring municipal meetings (they made C-Span look like Monday Night Raw), I was missing out on bedtime with my kids, watching silly videos with my husband, my husband’s home-cooked meals and simply relaxing at home. It wasn’t until my mother’s mysterious illness was finally diagnosed as Multiple Myeloma, rare cancer that I finally realized it wasn’t worth it.
I’d worked so hard to save a few pennies and was able to get to St. Louis and tend to my mother, with my 3-year-old in tow. Coordinating a replacement instructor and finding someone to cover my late-night shifts became the focus of my travel day instead of talking to doctors or making sure my daughter was adjusting well to staying with my grandmother.
While sitting in the hospital room, waiting for the next bout of pain to drive my mother to dementia, I made the decision that I could set my hours and be my own boss. I found a course for Virtual Assistants and reached out to the instructor about joining their most recent round of self-paced courses. The first phone call I made when I touched ground in New York was to my boss to tell her that I had quit. As a fellow member of the sandwich generation, she understood the demands and difficulties of caring for a parent while raising young children. Standing next to our car, my husband silently cheered me on as my boss wished me luck on my new venture.
For my first “HQ,” I bartered with a co-working space for a desk in exchange for managing their office. While giving the owner (and a few of his clients) tips on social media, a career counselor renting the conference room said, “Don’t give that advice away for free.”
Now, I own a business that caters to other small businesses, non-profits, and, soon, authors and other creatives. I’ve had more quit days since. I quit doubting my abilities. I quit letting imposter syndrome hold me back from fully realizing my purpose. I am here to serve. I embrace my clarity.
My next adventure, turning that initial blog into the nurturing community I always dreamt it would be. One that will focus on settling the emotional debts we carry that hold us back from walking in pursuit of our true purpose.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been the smoothest road for She Breathes Life. After launching the blog, my mother became ill, and my focus became funding my efforts to fly back and forth between New York and St. Louis. I put the blog and brand on the back burner despite its minor successes. Then, after struggling with my anxiety and PTSD, I began sharing letters I’d written to my emotions on the blog.
I thought it would be where I would reconnect with my audience. Unfortunately, it did little to increase traffic. What it did do was put me on the right path to coaching. Through research and discussions with female BIPOC entrepreneurs, I’ve discovered that many, like myself, suffer from past trauma, imposter syndrome, fear, and a myriad of other emotional debts that have gone unsettled.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am now an Emotional Wellness Coach, building a brand focused on community, support, and advocacy. I specialize in journaling, courses, and workbooks that help BIPOC community members get out of emotional debt. This year I’m partnering for two courses. The first is Doing the Work: Discussion Series Based on the Book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad in collaboration with Life Coach Tamara Gropper and the Harrison Public Library.
The second is Settling and Embracing Emotional Debt (SEED) in collaboration with Life Transition Strategist Tynia Coleman. Both courses speak to the pursuit I walk in the purpose of- living a life free of emotional debt regardless of upbringing, status, or career endeavors.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I prefer to think of it as faith, but I was fortunate enough to find a bit of luck when I took a chance to email the director of a program at Cornell. I’d been informed that the program had a 10-month waiting list but emailed about cancellations. Within an hour, I was told of just such an opening and was awarded placement in that cohort.
It was the start of a snowball to more “lucky” moments in a matter of a few days. Stepping out on faith, I received acceptance into another program I’d been on the waitlist for and landed a new client in my business when I’d be overwrought with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. It was just the lucky turn of events I needed to lead me toward my purpose.
- one-on-one Weekly Session $250/month
- one-on-one Weekly Session $400/2 months
- one-on-one Weekly Session $500/3 months
- S.E.E.D. Course $297
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: shebreatheslife.com
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- Twitter: twitter.com/shebreatheslife