• I've interviewed job applicants for various cross-functional positions for more than 15 years

  • I've made drastic changes in my own work

  • I've been laid off

  • I've negotiated pay raises and promotions

  • I've been both employee and entrepreneur


  • Bussed and waited tables in Yellowstone Park

  • Operated registers at a grocery store and at a marina, and supervised cashiers at a big box store

  • Staffed nonprofit information booths at community fairs and festivals

  • Led hikes in Western Washington

  • Fundraised, door-to-door and on the phone, ​for forest protection

  • Cleaned motel rooms and offices, supervised other housekeepers and served as a front desk attendant

  • Designed ads for a daily newspaper, promotional materials for a seafood festival and all manner of marketing materials for respected nonprofits


  • Snohomish County Emerging Leaders Award
    finalist, which pays tribute to 12 individuals who demonstrate the ability to go above and beyond the expectations of a leader and serve as an inspiration to the community

  • Premera and Seattle Seahawks' Community MVP Award, which honors someone doing work for a nonprofit organization in the Pacific Northwest that goes above and beyond

  • In addition to my coaching and graphic design, I am a nonprofit Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisor.




Coach Training World Certified Whole Person Coach®

Photo at top by Azzam Talhami



Now, and then. Look at how young I was when I picked my career path!

Sara McArdle

I'm someone who considers herself "multi-passionate," and I wasn't born with one, clear "calling." My career consists of graphic design; marketing and communications; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and work-life coaching for women whose one line of work isn't working for them anymore. It's through dabbling in and making my living doing so many things that I love that I found myself where I am today.


Growing up, I saw myself as level-headed and, for the most part, did whatever I "should" do. I put a lot of pressure on myself to please others (family, teachers and friends), be a "good girl" and make the "right" choices about my future. (If you'd rather listen to me tell my story, go here.)

Unfortunately, thinking about what I "should do with my life" was so anxiety-inducing that I wanted to figure it out quickly and painlessly, and stop worrying about it. So, in the course of five minutes, 17-year-old me decided the one thing I'd do for the next 20 years. I read a description of "graphic design" in a university course book, I thought—that sounds cool enough, and concluded—yep, that's it! It was a practical extension of my interests in computers and art, I’d be good at it, I could make a living and my friends and family would approve. And it even sounds hip. Done, and done. Phew!

School was a blast. Then, I began working professionally. I remember thinking, "Ok, what I'm doing is fine and all... but is this really what it's going to be like?” I didn't realize how much of my time would be spent working solo, head-down, on deadline. Our school environment had been so collaborative, and we were constantly bouncing really creative ideas off one another, constantly learning and growing. In my "real world" job, however, I found myself laying out a full-page newspaper ad for a hardware store, featuring riding lawn mowers and weed eaters. And I had to make it look cool... as quickly as possible. For me, that was neither creative, nor fun. I get a sinking feeling just thinking about it.


So, on a quest for more meaning in my work, I entered the nonprofit world. I spent years working both as a freelancer, and with terrific marketing and communications teams, for top-notch organizations, on creative projects, toward inspiring missions, helping people and the planet. In theory, I should've been delightfully content. But it still wasn't fully "me." I just didn't know what "more me" would be... Frustrating!

Not recognizing that I could work in two different fields at the same time, I declined to look very seriously beyond marketing and design and got stuck in a loop of all-or-nothing thinking that went something like this... If I opened the door too widely to something else, wouldn't I close the door on my current options? I've already invested too much time, energy and money in my professional development to "give up" now. Wouldn't I burn bridges? Wouldn't I fall behind in my rapidly changing industry? And wouldn't checking out other possibilities imply I'd failed? What if I made the wrong choice, left for something new and wound up miserable? (What if, what if... what if?!)

Besides, I figured that being in love with one's livelihood is a "luxury" that some people were lucky enough to be born with (which I, myself, was not). So, I decided my work didn't need to satisfy my ever need; I could find some interesting hobbiesSearching for ever deeper meaning and continuous excitement, I spent years sampling evening and weekend activities and adventures. Finally, I discovered some workshops and volunteer opportunities that helped me start to identify what it feels like to do something I'm on fire about—like listening deeply and supporting others to transform their negative self-talk (as well as my own!), transcend their limitations and achieve their dreams (specifics in my qualifications).

Then, came a real turning point for me. Through these "side" activities, I joined a leadership group that met for 10 weeks. Participants were invited to examine how to live their lives to the fullest, and in alignment with their deepest values. Going in, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I figured I'd be in the company of others were committed to facing their fears and making changes, too. So, I jumped in and took a look at the thing that felt too big to tackle on my own: my profession. Eeek! 

In that self-guided series, I looked to a quote from Howard Thurman for inspiration: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." (Yesssss!) Through this lens, I gained a ton of insight, and I wouldn't be where I am today without that process. And it finally occurred to me that I could feed different parts of my personality and passions by working in different fields at the same time, if I wanted to (how liberating!). Yet, I still didn't have a clear direction to move forward in...


Then, it happened. After more than a year of independent soul-searching, everything came together for me in one, magical "aha moment"whoa, turns out this thing that I'm a natural at and love to do in my spare time translates into a valuable, professional service that has a name—coaching! I felt a level of certainty and excitement that I never had before. 


So, I researched coaching schools, signed up with Coach Training World, advanced through their amazing programs and earned my certification. Then, I took the leap, started working as a professional coach, and am now doing what I am called to doyeah!


Not only that, but I made a surprising discovery: now that I've met many of my needs through coaching that weren't being met through design alone, I'm happier doing graphic design, too! So, now I have two wonderful professions that I can mix and match in countless ways. That's good news for you, too; you don't have to give up one career to take up another! It's not an either/or scenario, if you don't want it to be.




While my path to discovering the recipe deeper life's work was a long, haphazard, uphill one, I'm grateful for how much all of my work experience has prepared me for success in coaching, and in running my business. In fact, I've always been in the business of helping clients think creatively and bring their vision to life. First, in graphic design. Now, in coaching.


And I count my blessings that I've never been miserable doing what I do. Unfortunately, only 33 percent of Americans are engaged at work, and the people who visit my site don't tend to be the ones who love their livelihood... And let's face itspending the majority of your waking hours doing something you're often unhappy doing really stinks!

That's why I’m here. With my help, you'll hone in on work that will align with a deeper sense of purpose for your life, and you'll take steps toward change much more quickly and easily than I did when I was in your shoes, but going it alone.

Why wait another minute to do what makes you come alive? Let’s go!