I’m Sas Petherick. I have a Master’s degree in Coaching & Mentoring, and my dissertation was a qualitative study on the experience of self-doubt.
I became a coach after fifteen years of leading complex and risky organisational change. And facing the crucibles in my life: grief, loss and longing for a way to feel ok in myself. My own transformation has led me right to you.
So grab a cup of tea, here’s the full story…
When I was five, I was in the Red Group at my tiny village school in New Zealand, because I was best at reading. I had to sit at the front of the class because I was also best at talking. And questioning. Everything. All the time.
I’ve always had a boundless curiosity for words and people, stories and ideas.
At university I studied psychology, philosophy, poetry, feminism, theology and politics; consequently, I’m a fabulous dinner party guest. I also learnt not to let anyone cut your hair, in exchange for a Morrissey CD. Ever.
But no amount of book learning could prepare me for the sudden death of my beloved mother, one random Tuesday in 2002.
She was a vibrant and beloved 53-year-old with so many plans. I lost my anchor.
A year later came the equally unceremonious end of my marriage.
Grief-struck and sad, I raged against the universe for all the ways I had been wronged.
During the day, I was leading complex change projects; while at night, I resorted to my lifelong default of food and wine to numb out my too-hard-to-feel feelings.
I spent a lot of time in my little London flat, thinking and trying not to think.
Then I had a LOT of therapy.
I decided I did not want this to be my story.
Instead, I decided to say yes. Often.
And I found myself playing cards until 3 am with several German backpackers in an underground Estonian bar, exploring the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and running with bulls in Pamplona. I was woken by the call to prayer in a Marrakech riad, kayaked the Cares Gorge and climbed the Picos Mountains in Northern Spain. I watched the sun set in Santorini, attended the dawn service at ANZAC Cove, and survived a snowstorm in the Swiss Alps with cider, strudel and uno. I crossed the Charles Bridge in Prague and backpacked around Italy for weeks; I compared the breakfast pastries of New York, Bruges, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris and had my luggage lost every single time I flew Iberia airlines.
On the bathroom floor that January morning, I quietly, desparately decided to stop drinking. But I had no idea what I was signing up for.
I quickly discovered that removing the option of wine was like lifting up a massive rug to find all the emotional detritus I’d swept out of sight. Over the following weeks and months, up came all the feelings I’d spent a lifetime avoiding.
My sadness terrified me, and I fought against it with anger. And I didn’t know how to be angry without it spilling over into a scary vortex of fury that sucked the love out of everyone in the room.
During one such moment of pure helpless rage, I found myself alone, standing outside on a frosty night. I looked up at the clear night sky. Without warning, any sense of ‘me’ suddenly disappeared. For a few seconds, I felt myself embody both the sky and the earth: I was that, and it was me, and everything was incomprehensibly immense.
It was the weirdest bloody thing.
It felt like God looked at me with my controlling, judgemental, sarcastic, rage-filled self and said to herself, ‘oh that’s adorable‘ and shook me awake. I could no longer ignore all the ways I was betraying myself.
All of it set me on the path to the second half of my life.
During the summer of 2014, I had heart surgery. Unexpectedly, a defibrillator was needed to stop and restart my heart. After this literal ‘reboot’, I felt different.
After years of being unable to quieten my mind, I had an urge to learn to meditate. That daily stillness is now both as prosaic as brushing my teeth, and the most profound relationship of my life.
Soon after I completed my Master’s degree and I found I was finally able to internalise the legitimacy I had been craving. I claimed my work in the world. I softened into the mystery of being human, had my entire shoulder tattooed. I repaired some deep old wounds with my father. Two sister-friends left my life with no explanation. Creative ideas, inspiration, connections and work opportunities came to me.
It was confusing and beautiful, sad and exhilarating. Like always.
I suspect all of this was necessary preparation for me to be here, doing this work. This business of being consciously alive the world right now is not for the faint-hearted.
Now I’m seven years sober, mega-awake and without all of my shit together, but mostly, I’m in the flow of a fulfilling life.
I live in the fabulous city of Bristol in the west of England with Ash, our pooch Bohdi and the furs: Rex and Badger.
It is a daily source of
I’m finally home.
My work is about helping you come home to yourself.
Self-doubt holds us back from being our fully expressed selves. It culls our spirit and wraps us in defeat. But it is a very logical and understandable response to psychological risk.
I can help you make sense of your particular flavour of self-doubt – where it came from and why – so you can minimise the ways it is holding you back. And I can show you how to cultivate other resources within you – self-trust, self-belief, self-worth and self-acceptance – the best kind of selfies.
Coaching with me is a mindful, experiential and integrated approach to exploring the narratives that shape your life.
I have deep respect for your personal identities, circumstances, needs and preferences. I’m not the kind of coach that shares inspirational quotes, and you won’t see me offering up five-step solutions to your complex and nuanced challenges. But I am fascinated by your experience of being human.
You are remarkable to me. I can’t wait to get to know you better.