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Speaker Stories: Tiffany Sauder, President of Element Three

May 3rd, 2017

Living your life transparently can sound scary – but it is the only way that Element Three’s Tiffany Sauder knows how to live. We were so excited to have Tiffany share her tips on how transparency in her life helped her step into opportunity, and how owning being open and vulnerable helped shape her career.

Choose to see yourself and your past as an asset. As the President of a successful marketing agency, Tiffany credits her beginnings on her family farm with putting her on her path. She spent a lot of time in her youth feeling like growing up on a farm put her at a disadvantage – how was she to know about and live in the modern world if she came from a small place? How could her skills possibly match up to other people who had grown up in bigger and faster places? No one was actually saying this to her – it was the narrative in her own head. Realizing that she had the power to change her own inner dialogue, she made a conscious decision to claim the skills that came to her because of her upbringing. “Don’t let the past define you – step in and claim who you are,” says Tiffany.

Steer clear of hanging out with people that only tell you what you want to hear – surround yourself with people that actually love you. As a young professional, Tiffany learned some key lessons in her early career life. “In your 20s, work and find a hobby that you love and do it – it helps you become the best version of yourself.” She recommends using this time in life to focus on finding yourself – not just busying yourself. Though the temptation to do a job just for the money can be high – especially right out of school when debt and lack of experience can weigh heavy – working to get better will take you farther. If you surround yourself with people who tell you what you want to hear, it inhibits your personal and professional growth. This can lead you down a path to becoming what others want you to be, not the person you need to be to achieve your goals.

Hard is not the end, it’s just hard. We all face times in our personal and professional careers when things aren’t going well – whether that be with our spouse, our business, our kids or our friends. When these things happen, it can be tempting to give up and go back to an earlier part of life when things seemed easier. Recognizing when something is hard vs. when something is actually ending is key to growth in every part of our lives. When Tiffany experienced this, she was ready to retreat, but realized that in doing so, she would be giving up on what felt like her true calling in life. “Show up each day and do your best. Life creates big squeezes – if you are willing to walk through these times, you learn,” says Tiffany.

Who you spend your time with and what you spend your time on is who you will become. Women can often feel stretched thin trying “do it all”. Figuring out how to spend her time was key for Tiffany in achieving her goals. She started by being intentional with her down time and having conversations that really mattered with other people (especially other women). In doing this, Tiffany was able to constructively move down the path that she wanted to go down – even if that means having to say no to some 7 a.m. meetings!

Work harder on your marriage and your family than your job. “Your first responsibility is to those that love and support you – business won’t love you back,” says Tiffany. It can be tempting to let your professional life dictate your personal one – and that can lead you to taking your partner, family, and friends for granted. Stressful times in business often make us give too of ourselves to our jobs and not enough to our families; only you can set the boundaries of your life and the rules to achieving your goals with them.

Riding the guilt train is a choice. There can be guilty feelings aplenty for women – but you must own that having those feelings is a choice. Finding the balance between personal and professional sides of yourself is unique to you. If something is making you feel guilty, you must reflect on if it is actually making you feel uncomfortable. And don’t be afraid to share how you are feeling with others – people relate faster to your journey if you are honest. By being transparent and letting others see the various sides of yourself and your life, you could be helping them as much as they are helping you.

“Do things that bring you joy – it can be anything. If you don’t know, make a list and do them all – even if some are scary.” We couldn’t agree more, Tiffany!

Want to connect with Tiffany? Check her out on Twitter at @tiffanysauder!

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