Official Title: Guinea Pig

pre-remote year Dec 18, 2018

In 2017, I walked into a zen-like wellness center in Chelsea, NYC called City Wellness Collective for my first ever acupuncture appointment. I see this woman behind the front desk looking beautiful and oh so familiar. I ask her on a whim “is your name Michelle?” and she says “yes, (pause) is your name Sarah?”

And as we both picture each other wearing elementary school uniforms and pigtails, we embrace and holler (zen-like of course) about how we can’t believe we haven’t seen each other since we were 7 years old and living in Queens, NY. 

After my appointment, over a chai latte, Michelle explains how she founded and created City Wellness Collective (picture WeWork for wellness practitioners) and left the corporate world a few years ago to become an entrepreneur in the wellness and healing space. 

Michelle would later take on the role of my re-found friend, spiritual coach, manifestation master, and hold me accountable for living in integrity with everything and anything I want in my life.  As I shared with her thoughts and ideas that were inspiring me lately, I brought up the book Primed to Perform and how I wanted to teach everyone in my organization what I had learned from the book on motivation to help them perform at their best. 

Michelle challenged me to discover this for myself first.  And she was right - I need to be the guinea pig for anything I roll out to my organization regarding self-development. 

So with her encouragement, I began to peel back the onion of my own motivations at work, with the goal of feeling a stronger sense of play, purpose, and potential.  What did those words mean to me and what would they look like in action?  I made sure not to let the current responsibilities of my role limit my thinking and I didn't let what I would be “allowed to do” in my company constrain my brainstorming processes.  Here's what I came up with and named my "2018 Total Motivation (ToMo)" list: 


  • Create and facilitate more live workshops with engaging interactive content
  • Collaborate more closely with senior level business leaders on talent development initiatives
  • Work remotely from anywhere in the world


  • Help my coworkers find deeper meaning and motivation in their work by introducing them to the concept of Total Motivation
  • Create career maps for 15 different functions in the company to help employees better understand the key skills and experiences needed to be successful
  • Send out post workshop surveys to better understand the value and impact of the trainings I deliver


  • Create a professional network of talent development professionals in the tech industry in NYC in order to learn and share best practices
  • Create a workshop for MBA students and teach at my alma mater, NYU Stern School of Business
  • Get a certification in Foundations of Design Thinking from IDEO

After identifying this list of what I wanted and how I wanted to get there, I took the list to my boss at the time, provided the business reasons for how these actions would benefit our employees, and got the green light to move forwards with the actions related to the company. 

I felt empowered that I had identified what I had wanted, shared it, and got the positive encouragement to take action on it.  If I’m being completely honest though, I didn’t tell her everything I wanted.  I didn’t share my desire to work from anywhere in the world. I had some fears holding me back that I still had to overcome.

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