In 2012, Sarah’s life was turned upside down by a debilitating ATV accident that left her feeling disabled. However, she transformed her experience into becoming an icon, appearing on major stages and platforms across the United States, including the Tony Robbins podcast, the Mel Robbins Show, and a featured story in “Your Second Act” by Patricia Heaton.
Sarah’s mission is to help others gain confidence and redefine what’s possible by embracing their “Vertical Self” through her Iconic Identity Method. As a certified Tony Robbins Breakthrough Coach with a diverse background in the fitness, fashion, spa, and television industries, she shares tools and perspectives to help others find richness and beauty in every circumstance.
She has helped thousands of people of all abilities shift their perspectives and own their stories, so their stories don’t own them. In this interview, our aim is to inspire you through the remarkable example of Sarah, who has dedicated her life to the mission of helping people rise up, become vertical, and own their stories.
Can you tell us about your passion for helping encourage others and why it’s so important to you?
Sarah Foley: After getting injured, my entire sense of identity had been shattered. Over the years, I discovered healing, growth and true transformation – falling in love with the process of becoming a version of myself I never anticipated. Sharing my insights and encouraging others through their own process is what makes it all matter. It makes me feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment knowing what I thought was a tragedy was actually setting me up for a beautiful life full of so much richness.
Do you have a favorite quote of wisdom, scripture or proverb?
Sarah Foley: A mentor of mine told me really early on “Only we can heal ourselves, but we cannot do it alone”. It reminds me constantly that it is up to me to take ownership of my life, and how necessary it is to lean on others and God as we journey through it. It also reminds me of my responsibility to fully step into my highest self (which I call my Vertical Self) for the sake of supporting others in their journeys. In Hawaiian, they call this our Kuleana. It is our responsibility to be accountable for all we do and teaches us how we have a responsibility to become our best selves—in order to better society. It reminds me that I need others to become their best selves so I can become mine, and vice versa. It is such a beautiful way to look at life and our potential.
As it pertains to business, what is a key lesson you have learned over the years?
Sarah Foley: The value of our business comes down to the value of our relationships, and begins with our personal relationship with ourselves and our mission. If I’m working for something greater than myself, it no longer feels like work and propels me forward. Clarity is key and knowing which relationships to nurture is based on the vision. It’s not so much about how, it’s about who. When we are fully aligned and the same person no matter where we are or who we are with, those necessary relationships will be attracted to us.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give now with the benefit of hindsight? How old would you have been if you could have shared this knowledge with yourself then?
Sarah Foley: I was injured almost 11 years ago when I had just turned 30. That girl was so scared and felt so broken. I would go back and first allow her to grieve. She felt like such a burden and didn’t allow herself to be sad. I would also tell her that although it doesn’t feel like it, this experience will be the catalyst for her to create the life of her dreams. She has been given a gift and given it because she has all the talents, passions, skills, drive, and determination to turn it into something incredible. She will need to dig deep, it will often feel dark, but she will get the privilege of discovering how bright she truly is. Be open, be ready, and be willing to become vertical.
You have triumphed over one of the most difficult situations that anyone could face. I noticed in your website bio that you mentioned a trip to Maui as the turning point in your healing journey. I’m curious, how did that trip give you the strength to embrace your disability?
Sarah Foley: This was actually a move that was inspired by a trip. My body felt so good in that climate and our little family was blessed with an opportunity to make the move to Maui. Something shifted in me when we arrived. I was so moved by the culture and their reverence for the energy of the island. I had finally felt this need to just surrender and opened my heart to healers. It’s interesting when I truly opened my heart and was ready to receive, I met so many healers, teachers, trainers, coaches, friends, therapists, support groups, books, and wisdom. I embraced it and at first, felt something was going to happen that would heal my spine and my legs. However slowly I realized my soul and mentality became vertical. I was able to see the bigger picture, I found a new love for my body, I developed a strong relationship with myself and I experienced true transformation. It was intentional, yet it was also so full of trust in what I needed to receive for my greater good. That’s where I learned what Kuleana meant and how everything was part of my responsibility.
You recently started your Icon Impact Academy. Can you tell us a little bit about the program?
Sarah Foley: There is nothing that brings me more joy than igniting an audience from the stage. I love the energy and I love crafting an experience. As I spoke on more stages, it became clear I had a unique approach and others asked to learn my ways. After some reflection, surrender, and planning, I created the Iconic Impact Academy, which is for others with a similar desire to be an icon for something that truly changes people’s lives. Everyone has a story, and everyone has experienced pain, but not everyone has leaned into their Kuleana – those are the ones I am called to teach. They already have a powerful story and a message, and I get to come in and help them create a transformational experience for their audience. It has been such a gift to help them make a bigger impact!
Acceptance is the key to creating change. What advice do you have for those struggling to accept something in their lives?
Sarah Foley: I struggled with this for so long and longed for the ability to change the past. I thought acceptance meant I had to be ok with what happened.. however, that’s not it at all. True acceptance is simply a release of resistance to what has already happened. It means I accept today, this moment, as my starting point, rather than emotionally living in the past. Once I accepted to begin from where I was, it immediately put my focus on the future and what I needed to do to make the most out of my circumstances.
The Hawaiian practice of “Ho’Oponopono” was a huge asset for this. It simply means “to make right” and is four simple phrases that I would say towards myself and anyone or anything I felt was preventing me from feeling joy. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you When I said this, I gained an appreciation for the strength, wisdom, resilience, and grit for what I once hated. I learned how to love myself and my circumstances for the vertical version of myself it was helping me to become.
Social Media Handle: @VerticalBlonde