Sydney Dawson tells us, “I was widowed in August 2022 when my fiance died. After months of intense grief and symptoms of depression, I determined the rest of my life would be lived in his honor, focused on healing and purpose. Through this effort, I came to the decision to leave my event planning career and pursue a newfound passion in helping others find hope and meaning, when there is none. I am now a certified life coach and have started a business called Shift Life Coaching, which allows me to live in this purpose every day.”
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I am an only child of two hard working professionals. I had a really wonderful childhood, full of love, support, and opportunities. We are a mixed race family (my dad is black and my mom is white), and I have always been grateful for how that has shaped and formed my worldview and perspective – I rarely see things in just black and white. I grew up in competitive gymnastics, which also shaped many things for me. That is where I developed perfectionist tendencies, as well as an acute understanding of how to present myself for favorable external judgement – both of which I am working on releasing. But it also taught me discipline and perseverance, which have served me well throughout my schooling, career, general life, and in my grief journey. I attended the University of Delaware where I had a fantastic college experience and graduated with a bachelor’s in communication. I then worked in various event planning roles in both university and non-profit settings, before finding my way to my current passion in life coaching.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”
My motivation was to live with meaning and purpose. After losing my fiance, Tyler, at just 27 years old, the “life is short” philosophy became glaring to me. In order to honor Tyler’s life and legacy, I had to abandon the lifestyle of meeting external expectations and doing things just because I thought I “should.” I needed to connect with myself more and figure out what I really wanted in life. When I discovered I wanted peace and fulfillment, I allowed myself to release everything that didn’t meet those desires, including my traditional, professional career, which allowed me to spend all my time and energy on healing myself while I helped others do the same.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
I just launched my business, Shift Life Coaching, which provides both grief coaching and transformational life coaching. Life is full of shifts – some planned and some very unexpected. I support clients through it all. The grief focus provides education and support – helping clients understand, accept, and process loss. The transformational coaching offers guidance to clients who are ready to make a shift in their lives. This can be following grief support or unrelated to grief. I describe the philosophy of my transformational work with the analogy of a car and “shifting gears” because of the parallels in life, but also because Tyler was a mechanic and loved cars. So it’s special to incorporate his passion into mine. This coaching journey begins in the park, sitting still and evaluating your current life & lifestyle. This self-reflection and introspection leads to clarity and a better understanding of who you are and what you want. Then you release all the limiting beliefs and external expectations that are not serving you with a car wash before you shift into neutral. This is where you build a positive, resilient mindset, determine new intentions, and coast through trying new habits that better serve you. As your path forward reveals itself, you are guided through establishing boundaries and affirmations and practicing manifestation and gratitude exercises to help sustain your intentions and make your shift. It’s all about finding what is true to you and allowing yourself to pursue it.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I am only 2 months into the endeavor, but launching this business is an achievement in and of itself! 😊
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I want to see a more universal understanding of and compassion towards grief, so it can be met with the compassion and support that it requires.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?
I am incredibly inspired by women who are breaking the glass ceiling and making space for other women to join. Though I believe there are many environments that only talk of equity in the workforce, I do think we are making progress to allow women to stand in the power they deserve.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Trust yourself. You are capable of truly anything you want to achieve. Pursue causes by which you are deeply inspired. Disregard what the world expects of you, so that it may never be a limitation to you. And know I am always cheering you on!