A Bold New Path: Sarah Novak, Cancer Coach

June 4, 2010

Hi Readers- I’m feeling very revealing this week, so here’s a big announcement that I’ve been hanging on to for awhile, waiting for the right moment to share it…. and I’ve decided today’s the day!  Here goes: This update is in regards to my business, Envision Life Coaching.  As you know, when we moved overseas, I made the decision to focus on the expat population.  While I believe there is great need for this population, I found that I wasn’t attracting enough of the right clients.  I was very frustrated with how little I was coaching and decided that if I couldn’t find paying clients, then I would just do pro-bono coaching for a worthwhile cause (link to post about that).  No sooner had I set that intention then Carewell showed up in my life.

Carewell, as I wrote about in other posts, is a Cancer Resource and Wellness Center, a place for individuals to gather that are facing the Cancer journey.  Carewell provides a variety of activities for its members (membership is free) including Reiki, Qi Gong, Yoga and Art.  As many of you know, in March I began offering Group Life Coaching to its members.  While I am no longer working with Carewell on a weekly basis, a transformational shift took place for me during the 8 weeks I was with them.

It was during those spirit-filled, emotionally-challenging sessions that I was awakened to my higher purpose — that I was being called to coach Cancer patients.  I knew with every ounce of my being that I was supposed to be a Cancer Coach.  And for weeks I was shaking in my booties, wondering how I could coach something that I’d never been through myself.  And so I did what I do best, I reached out for support and opened myself to insights from the Universe.

I put out an email request to friends and family to do more pro-bono sessions, this time on an individual basis.  The response was incredible and I began working with 10 complete strangers in a matter of days.  This initial response and the coaching sessions that followed solidified for me that not only was there a great need for this work, but a consistency in the results that I saw in both the group and 1-on-1 sessions.  Additionally, I reached out to 8 different coaches that were currently working with Cancer patients.  Over the course of the next month they helped me realize that I had what it took to do this work and that YES, I did need to act on the calling, despite the massive amounts of fear standing in the way!

Through these conversations I realized the following:

  1. That I have a tremendous capacity to be with people who are suffering because of the painful two year depression period I pulled myself out of in my mid-20’s.
  2. That at the core of my being I know that painful experiences serve as a catalyst for deep transformation.
  3. That my best coaching is intensely emotional and deep in nature (the type of coaching that most coaches prefer to do on a limited basis because it is so emotionally draining)
  4. That although we CANNOT always control our circumstances, we CAN ALWAYS control how we choose to be with our reality.  And THAT is where the real power lies.
  5. That I am able to connect to an individual’s strength and hold the belief for them that they will come out other side, even when they can’t fathom it (just like someone did for me when I was in my darkest moment).

In my coaching work, I intend to empower Cancer patients to use their illness as a catalyst to step into their higher purpose and help them commit to making their remaining days on earth their most inspired and impactful ones yet.

I intend to work with 3 populations for now:

  • Cancer patients who have had the disease for 6 months or more and are moving towards either death or remission,
  • Caregivers, and
  • Cancer survivors who are in remission and looking to redefine what life looks like for them post-Cancer.

Over the coming 18 months I will be launching a variety of programs at varying price points, so I believe there will be options for all individuals, no matter their financial situation.  I will be re-vamping my website, launching a new blog and starting a monthly newsletter full of resources.  I will keep you posted on my progress so that those who are interested can get linked in to my new tribe.  I’m fully expecting it to be a wild ride!  Here we go…

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  1. Jessica says:

    How exciting to embark on this new adventure! Good luck to you. My mother (who passed away from cancer in 2001) would’ve found a resource like this very valuable. :)

  2. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks Jessica, I appreciate the encouragement!

  3. Chris Coleman says:

    This is so awesome – you ROCK! Imagine how many souls will be lifted because of your caring and coaching. You are so fortunate to have found your calling so early in your life. I imagine too that there will be some very difficult moments for you as you lift other souls, yours will be aching for the pain they are suffering, but the good you will be doing will hopefully far outweigh the heartache you see. Hang in there. Awesome, awesome life experiences for you.

  4. Bfiles says:

    congrats on your decision. I’m curious how coaching is different from psychotherapy and whether you’ve considered pursuing a degree in mental health.

  5. David L. says:

    Congratulations and best of luck to you!

  6. C says:

    You never cease to amaze me. You will be brilliant in this new endeavor. I am so proud of you and the work you do.

  7. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks darling, that means the world to me coming from you!

  8. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks David, I never told you this, but our conversation was a really important catalyst in helping me get clear about the decision to move in this new direction. I feel so fortunate that we connected!

  9. minnesotagal says:

    Coaching is still a very young field, so it’s not regulated yet. I am certified, but only about 15% of practicing coaches are. The main difference is that we see the client as naturally creative, resourceful and whole, believing that they have everything they need to create what they want in their life. There is no dis-function, nothing that needs fixing. It’s also forward-looking instead of past-focused. If you ever want to do a sample session to see what it’s like, I’m happy to do it. I do them all the time with people!

  10. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks Chris- it’s hard to fathom at this point what kind of toll this will take on me long term. I have this sense that I’m going to be able to handle it though….

  11. Sara Roy says:

    It’s Friday and that means that the State Department Weekly Roundup is up and you’re on it! Check it out here:


    If I used your blog and photo and you want one or both of them removed, please let me know!

  12. Congratulations on finding an avenue for using your positive energy to help others. For not just finding it, but choosing it.

  13. Selina says:

    Sarah, this decision is so inspirational and amazing… #5 especially: SO true, so YOU. Congratulations on articulating your vision and putting it out there. I will stand back and watch in awe as you live out your higher purpose.

  14. minnesotagal says:

    Selina, you know that means so much to me coming from you! Thank you for the role you played in solidifying the decision.

  15. Ryan Locke says:

    It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


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