As the old proverb says, “Those who find a job they love never work a day in their lives.” Sarah Brown, PhD, certainly subscribes to this notion, adding, “If that adage is true, a lot of Americans are doing hard labor.”
Sarah admits she never planned to be an entrepreneur. She founded The Book of You® to address a problem she witnessed repeatedly as a former managing director at a professional services company. “I often focused on talent management and met many mid-career professional women who were in the wrong job and miserable,” she recalls. “But when I asked them what they wanted, they were unable to answer.”
Sarah retired early five years ago and launched Book of You to give women the tools they need to improve their current job or find a career they love by tapping into their unique interests, strengths and needs. Specifically, women complete a Birkman Method® questionnaire, which generates a customized 100- to 150-page book that’s delivered via email. “The personalized guide takes women through a 21-day Know Thyself Process®. “It’s a three-week process because that’s about how long it takes to form a new habit,” explains Sarah. “That gives them time to interpret the information about themselves, test it and put it into action.”
The process has proven successful for many. “One woman lost her job and was looking to make a change,” recalls Sarah. “She discovered she wanted to be her own authority and felt happiest outside in the fresh air. Today, she owns several businesses, from dog walking to catering—all of which give her the freedom she desires.”
Book of You not only reveals a person’s strengths to foster, it also identifies personal stressors to avoid. For example, Sarah’s clients consider how much financial debt they can acquire before entering panic mode. “That was true for a woman who was about to enter a joint venture,” shares Sarah. “Once she became clear about her needs and stressors, she realized the joint venture was a poor choice for her and avoided the trauma of having to dissolve it later on.”
Not all women who take the assessment seek to change careers; some find it’s best to stay put. Applying their newfound insight, they can work to ensure their strengths are utilized, and even tweak their professional goals to achieve greater success in their current roles.
While Sarah is pleased to have helped 1,100 women so far, her goal is to reach 250,000 in the next 10 years by offering company workshops and teaching women how they can coach themselves. At the recommendation of a friend, she recently joined NAWBO as part of the NAWBO-Philadelphia chapter, where she’s already feeling the collaborative inspiration and looking forward to learning from fellow members.
In the meantime, she offers these tips to women business owners: “Get clear about your own interests, strengths and needs. Most women can articulate what they like and dislike, but find it difficult to identify their strengths. I recommend asking a trusted mentor or friend, ‘When was I at my best? What specifically did I do?’ Then listen, take notes, and you’re likely to get clarity about your strengths, which you can utilize in key aspects of your business to bring it to the next level.”
Improving a Romantic Relationship, The Book of Two™
Sarah applies the Know Thyself Process for those seeking romantic relationships as well. The idea sparked years ago when she responded to a singles ad in the newspaper. Her dating prospect had required a detailed response. Offended, Sarah sarcastically addressed each item in his ad, assuming she’d never hear back. What seemed silly at the time made sense in retrospect as that letter addressed the couple’s strengths, common interests and needs. What’s more, the couple will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 2020.