Sarah Wright Olsen originally heralds from Kentucky and I can tell you that this Southern gal definitely has that sweet charm, warm hospitality and innate kindness synonymous with the South. (Full disclosure: I have a love (read: obsession?!) with that Sweet Southern Charm… aka Hart of Dixie is my jam.) Southern charm aside, Sarah is truly a sweetheart in every sense of the word; her tender, kind nature is infectious. She leads with a loving heart and is extremely lovely…so lovely. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you were to stop and ask all Sarah’s family and friends, colleagues, and pretty much anyone she has ever come in contact with to tell you about Sarah in one word… they would describe her as just that: sweet. And to add to her status of sweetness, something you may not know about Sarah is that she has the voice of an angel… an actual angel… and angels are sweet, right… so when she sings, she definitely ups the ante in thew sweetness department and it’s impossible to not get all the goosebumps and be taken to another level.
Sarah is an actress, co-founder of the beautiful conscious parenting blog Your Zen Mama which she runs alongside Teresa Palmer (side note: stay tuned for Teresa’s incredible interview coming soon) and thrives in her most cherished role as (the sweetest) mama to Wyatt and Esme (affectionately known on Instagram as Little bear and Squish). Sarah is driven by her passions and this comes across in all areas of her life from her work to the causes she actively supports to the incredible women she surrounds herself with. She is an incredible mama bear… and as you can see from the pics below, always has two cute little bears in-tow and aren’t they the luckiest little bears having this sweet lady as their mama. If you follow them on social media you may be like me, and want to request to be adopted into the Wright Olsen family, because it looks like they have the most fun, beautiful adventures and are really connected as a strong family unit.
That beautiful, bubbly, bright, beaming smile that is a constant feature throughout Sarah’s photos is truly so representative of her personality. She is always smiling and kinda just exudes naturally happiness like it’s oozing from her pores. She has bad days, sure…we all do. But I can safely say that this lady’s default mode is happy. She is definitely a glass-half-full kinda girl and that rubs off on all who encounter her. Sarah describes herself as optimistic, and there truly is so much to be said of optimism. I feel like when you look at life through an optimistic lens, you vibrate at a different frequency. Sure, you have to be realistic and of course there are things that pop up that challenge you and test that lens of optimism, but I truly think it serves you well when it’s your default. It’s got me thinking a lot too… is being a glass half full person nature or nurture? Is it something that is embedded in your DNA and comes naturally or is it a choice, to constantly (and consistently) choose positive, choose happy, choose to lead with love.
I love Sarah’s outlook and practical wisdom – particularly her thoughts on voicing a concern or something that’s on your mind which in turn makes it lose its power, I really believe this too and think there is so much to be said of this concept…. and while we’re being completely honest and on the loving bandwagon, I love that there is someone on this planet that loves and devours fonuts as much as me!
If you know, you know. FONUTS FOR LIFE.
Her interview below is filled with wisdom that one can only gain from experience (that’s the beauty of hindsight right, that it’s 20/20 vision) and Sarah openly shares honest, practical, real advice that will bid you well as general inspiration to inspire you as you go about your day or speak to you on another level if you are facing something specific right now. Sarah is an advocate for kindness and knows where it’s at – that kindness breeds kindness and so therefore we should all choose kindness in every opportunity. Sarah knows that the beauty of kindness is in the little things, it’s where the impact is greatest, which is why kindness should be the default, in every moment, because you truly never know the impact you’re having on someones’ day / week / month / year (/ LIFE – for real, kindness can have that much of an impact).
Sarah practices what she preaches, she is kind and surrounds herself with, and is drawn to, kind women. Her parenting site with Teresa is also centred around parents and caregivers lifting one another up, it is a really beautiful, inclusive, community and is a prime example of something I always bang on about, that we’re better together. And I love that Sarah (and Teresa’s) openess and vulnerability about their journeys with pregnancy and motherhood highlights that they are often finding their way in the dark too, just like everyone else (hello, you know I’m the hands-raised-in-the-air emoji right now at this beautiful example of women supporting women and reminding one another that we’re all the same). Because, at the end of the day, everyone (allow me to repeat so it sinks in… EVERYONE) is just doing their best in any given moment: isn’t that so reflective of life, we’re all in the same position and simply, doing our best from our level of consciousness, experience and ability.
Which brings me to my next point, what I love most about these interviews – and the reason that I am so passionate about sharing them with you – is that each and every one, no matter who it is, their story, their background, their journey… they all highlight the same thing… For, She Is You. Sarah is a role model to so many, she is looked up to, she radiates beauty and happiness. When we do that thing that we do, look from the outside and compare, it would seem that Sarah is living her best life… she has a successful career, two beautiful kids, a gorgeous hubby and appears to ‘have it all’, and she does, however, she is a working mama and doing her best to juggle it and, as you will read below, she is just like you or I, she needs to remind herself of her worth, she needs to take time out, she has the same inner dialogue and she has to tell herself to stop being so hard on herself and wants you to remember to do the same. Let this serve as a reminder that there is no (zero, zilch, nada) point comparing… and if you do, allow it to come from a place that we’re all made of the same stars, we all have our own personal s*!t going on, we all need to remind ourselves that we are enough, we all have our hang ups and because of this, we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves, and each other. Sarah openly shares her lessons, her advice and her vulnerability to remind you of this very fact.
I’m really excited for you to read Sarah’s interview and have this sweet lady’s musings inspire you to be a little kinder, turn up your sweetness metre and believe in yourself (because babe, you’re amazing!) and the timing of life, surround yourself with incredible women and lift each other up – because as Sarah will so beautifully remind you, we are better united.
SARAH WRIGHT OLSEN // ACTRESS + CO-FOUNDER, YOUR ZEN MAMA
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What would you tell your younger self?
My 7 year old self – Your “bowl” hair cut the “bushwhacker” gave you, will grow back.
How do you pick yourself up when you’re having a bad day or life throws you a curveball?
One hug from my kids it and it puts my head back in the right place.
What triggers stress / anxiety for you and what are some of your coping mechanisms?
When I have outstanding things to do it stresses me out. I feel really good when I can check off the tasks on my to do list. With kids, sometimes I can’t get everything done, and I find my shoulders rising up to my ears with the list of things I need to do and I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and make a plan to execute the tasks so they are not hanging over my head.
‘Just do you. It’s really hard to see that when you are young. You are enough. You have something unique and beautiful to offer to the world.’
What characteristics / values do you admire most in the women you choose to surround yourself with?
I have never sat down and thought about what I value in the women I surround myself with. In my early twenties I felt I shifted from just making friends to finding valuable relationships with people. I am drawn to women who are kind, who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, who lead with love, and are driven by their passions.
Have you experienced setbacks / failures and if so, what have they taught you?
HA this is an amazing question for an actor. UMMMM YES. In the career I have chosen I would say rejection and setbacks are about as common as seeing a white car on the street. How I have evolved in handling these situations has been a series of life lessons and is still a roller coaster I am on. They have taught me to work hard, do my best, believe in myself and even if it doesn’t happen this time, the right thing will come along. IN my personal life it’s the same. Its so hard and sometimes heart wrenching in the moment, but you have to trust that it will turn around, that there is something truly amazing around the corner.
Something you don’t tell yourself enough?
Stop being so hard on yourself!
‘The little things make a big difference.’
How do you cultivate self love and combat negative self talk?
Good question. I have a strong, intelligent, loving, and compassionate partner in life. When I am worried about something or beating my self up about something inside, he is pretty amazing at recognizing that I am doing it, and makes me talk about it out loud. When you say something that is bothering you out loud, or write about it, it loses its power. We make things SO big and scary and dark in our minds, but once we claim it, and own it, its power goes away.
What has been your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
Bringing my children into this world was life changing for me. I really believe that when a child is born so is a mother. I always felt very maternal, but having children grounded me in a way I don’t understand. It put life into perspective for me, it allowed me to let go, and focus on things that are really important.
There’s a stigma that talking about your feelings is a sign of weakness, what are your thoughts on this?
I believe the opposite is true. Talking about your feelings is SO important. For me they can almost feel like physical restraints, where talking about them releases me from the hold.
‘You are enough. You have something unique and beautiful to offer to the world.’
What is your ‘happy’ song?
It changes all the time. Music has this ability to change my mood. I still love “We Are Young” by FUN – Right now I wouldn’t be honest If I didn’t say I belt out a lot of the songs from the Moana soundtrack, all day long..
How do you define kindness and why do you believe in it?
Kindness is thinking about others needs and often anticipating them. Being available to people. How will this affect someone, how will they feel? Leading with a loving heart. Because I feel it has the ability to lift people up. To set off positive, happy chemicals (very scientific) 🙂 in a persons brain.
To be kind, also makes you feel good, and it breeds more kindness.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
Instead of highlighting a grand gesture I would say the little things make a big difference. I had a friend text me the night before the 1st anniversary of my fathers passing. It was a simple text to let me know she was thinking of me. When I read it I broke down and cried so hard. I had been holding a brave face, anticipating this day coming and thinking about my brother and my mom and my sister in law and how they would be doing. But when I read that text I realized how much I needed to release. How impactful this day was going to be for me, and how grateful I was to have a friend anticipate that and just let me know she was with me in spirit holding my hand. I felt that, and it was such a kind and loving gesture.
‘We can accomplish so much more united.’
In your opinion, how can we cultivate more kindness in our day to day lives?
With anything you lead by example. Role model – Michelle Obama that shit all day long. Lead with grace and remember “When they go low, we go high.”
What is the kindest thing you can do for someone directly experiencing unkindness?
Listen and be there for them. Check in with them, and show them how they are loved.
Why do you believe it’s important for girls and women to stand together, support and build one another up rather than tearing each other down?
Because we can accomplish so much more united. Love breeds love. Hate is a boulder that you carry, it weighs on your shoulders and directly affects everything you do.
How have you learnt to defy labels and be strong in the industry you’re in, that perhaps girls and women can apply in their everyday life?
Just do you. It’s really hard to see that when you are young. You are enough. You have something unique and beautiful to offer to the world. Find the things you are passionate about and go after them.
‘When you say something that is bothering you out loud, or write about it, it loses it’s power. We make things SO big and scary and dark in our minds, but once we claim it, and own it, it’s power goes away.’
How do you deal with criticism and rise above it?
It’s not easy, but my family my home life is strong and that is where I try to keep my focus.
If you had a minute to talk to, reach and inspire every single girl and woman around the world, what would your message be?
Everything we have talked about in this interview. Kindness, strength, love, and doing what you love. Believing in yourself.