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Bring Your Baggage: RuNT Portland Recap

Written By Hannah Risser-Sperry | Jan 24, 2019

January’s RuNT event, Bring Your Baggage, was unlike any other we’ve put on – in the best possible way. While our talks are usually focused on the creative side of things, this time we did things a bit differently. We teamed up with Sarah Kay, a Nike employee and life coach, to talk about what it looks like to tell your story, warts and all, and how it can be a professional aid rather than a detriment.

Sarah grew up near Manchester, England and worked her way across a number of continents before landing in Portland. We won’t rehash the deeply personal story Sarah bravely shared with us, but it featured an ill family member who couldn’t care for her the way she deserved, which led to her living a life that felt out of control: she was living a story that wasn’t hers, but instead one that was handed down to her by her family member and through their shared, lived experiences. She decided to turn it around, and in doing so, she found some universal insights.


She splits her life into 20 year increments. 

Sarah does this because it helps her to separate the past from the present and the future, and helps to clearly see the learnings she’s had. It’s her way of pressing the reset button and change course as needed.

I go into every day trying to get fired. If I’m not, I’m not pushing at the edges.

Stepping back to these larger time increments allows a person to reflect on long term evolutions, rather than daily frustrations or temporary setbacks. It also gives space to believe in the vision of a future life, even when it’s not immediately attainable.

She annoys the people around her (no really, it’s a good thing).

Sarah was always annoying at school, at work, at home. She never settled for the easiest way forward, she asked every question she could think of, and she punched as hard as she could at the limitations others set for her. As she put it, “I go into every day trying to get fired. If I’m not, I’m not pushing at the edges.”

In doing this, she’s found that her personal life and her professional output got stronger. She moved up not only in her job, but in her personal relationships, as well. A bit of pushing helped her to exceed the potential she’d been told she had by the story handed down to her.


She works to “create a bold future.”

This isn’t just a list of goals or a list of New Year’s resolutions. Because she’s trained as a life coach, she does the work: she gathers insights, details her vision, creates a strategy, and executes it. Just like the work a Strategist of Planner would do for a brand, she does for herself. There are manageable expectations for work (“Ideate on how I can utilize my strongest strengths in my current role,” and “Brainstorm what kind of roles could make better use of my strengths”) and personal life (“See one friend per week for dinner,” “Book one trip to see parents this year”). And when one is achieved? “I reset. I reset to make sure that my vision is still intact and that the actions I plan to take will get me there.”

Easier said than done, sure, but paying attention to your own development the way you would a client’s? That’s something we can get behind.

Thanks as always to our incredible speaker, our host Instrument, and our incredible sponsors: Las Primas Kitchen (not a single empanada was left over), Buoy Beer, and Adelsheim. We couldn’t make incredible nights like this one happen without you.

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