Photo by Gaelle Marcel

NOTE: The New Direction Program on this page helps Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and other volunteers build fulfilling lives after service. Looking for focused career and vocation coaching for a general audience? Check out my Vocation Program.

Do you feel a big sense of loss after volunteering and aren’t sure how to fill it?

Does it feel like the first time in your life you haven’t quite had a next step, and you feel unanchored?

Do you feel like you’re searching for what’s next, but aren’t sure what you’re searching for—and aren’t even sure what questions to ask?

If so, you’re not alone—and you may be a great fit for the New Direction coaching program.  

Part of my purpose on earth is to help volunteers like you gain clarity and confidence in how you want to live after service.

Because with all your energy and heart, you’re far too powerful a force to waste feeling tired, discouraged, and unsure how to move forward.

I know what it’s like after volunteering.

Hi, I’m Sara :).

Just over a decade ago, I finished Peace Corps in South Africa, and just before that, did Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Seattle.

Volunteering was life-changing for me. And it also turned out to be a really hard act to follow.

I got a job back in Seattle at an organization I loved, in theory, but didn’t love the admin work I did there. I was also really lonely. Friends were getting married and established in their careers, and I felt behind.

Like you, I felt a void. I missed the meaningful challenges and constant growth of life during Peace Corps and LVC, and especially the community.

I wanted a life where I felt on fire and like this best version of myself again: connected, present, confident. One I felt really proud of, again, and was excited to share with others.

It took a little while, but now all that is true.

  • I have work I love that brings together passions from across my life, lets me be my best self, and do what I’m 100% sure I’m on earth for.
  • I have a wonderful partnership that’s the deepest I’ve ever connected with anyone, and the most I’ve been able to grow.
  • I have a rich community and a home I love.
  • I’m thrilled to be able to help volunteers across the globe discern who they want to be and how they want to live after service—so they can keep giving their unique gifts that the world deeply needs.

I don’t share all this to brag in any way. My life isn’t perfect, and living will always present challenges—especially for those of us who want meaning and ongoing growth. I just share it to let you know two big things:

  1. I understand the space you’re in right now, and what you’re going through.
  2. I can support you, step by step, to get to the other side of it.

I can help because I’ve come through this particular transition. And I’ve helped others come through it. And I know from the deepest soul place in me that you’re made for tremendous things, and you can come through this time into a new life that really fulfills you, too.

What exactly is the New Direction program and what results can you expect?

It’s a private coaching program delivered via phone or Skype. You meet with me regularly and together we walk through a proven, 6-phase process to get you from where you are now, to a next step in your life you’re excited about.

If you show up totally in this coaching process, do the work, complete all the assignments, and follow the plan we set together, here are some of the results you can expect by the end:

1. You’ll have started or be fully into a next larger step that aligns completely with who you are and how you want to live.

2. You’ll be able to make decisions more simply. You’ll have a personal mission statement, top 5 values, eulogy & more to check in with to determine if opportunities align with who you really are and want to be.

3. Your daily routine will align better with who you are, and have built-in personal renewal time, based on a classic time- and self-management tool you’ll learn.

4. You’ll better understand some of the key habits and behaviors holding you back (we all have them!) through your results on the Energy Leadership Index assessment—and have strategies to overcome them.

5. You’ll have a clear, five-month plan in place to make the most of your next step after the program ends.

6. Above all, you’ll have a clearer sense of who you are and how you want to live—into your immediate new direction and beyond. That can completely change the way you walk around the world, what possibilities you can imagine for your future, and how you make and sustain relationships. This is one of the most moving parts of this work:).

What’s included in the program and how it all works:

The process of coaching is simple: Once you’re enrolled in the program, we schedule your sessions in advance so you’re all set to go.  You call/Skype in to your sessions every other week and do the assignments I give you.  If you have a question or concern, or just want to share something, my door is always open! Please email and/or text me in between sessions as much as you want.

To get a little more specific, the program includes:

1. 10 private coaching sessions (mostly 60-minute, a few longer), via phone or Skype, over approximately 5 months. This is where we discuss your assignments and dig deep into whatever is churning in you around this work.

2. The 20-minute online Energy Leadership Index Assessment, a 10-paged personalized report, and a debrief with me. This internationally acclaimed attitudinal assessment is one of people’s favorite parts of this program. It helps you take an honest look at how your energy is currently working for you, and also against you and making it hard to move forward. This helps you maximize your strengths and true potential, and learn how to gently get out of your own way to start creating life you really want.

3. Follow-up emails from me after each session with 3 or more powerful things you said to sit with during the week. I’m a huge note-taker. It’s a big way I learn and process. I encourage you to take your own notes in our sessions, too, if that helps you. But I find that people I coach typically take more notes on what say, not what they say.

This seems natural (I do it, too, when being coached!), but since coaching is based on the belief that we each have our own answers within, the real gold is in what you’re saying. It’s my job and privilege to ask you meaningful questions that evoke real insights for you, then share back what you said afterward. Think of it as a regular reminder of your wisdom :).

4. Assignments tailored specially for you. Over our 6 phases together, these help you track your progress as you go, and give you an invaluable written record you can keep returning to, showing you what you want out of life both today and long term.

5. Unlimited email and texting during your coaching package.  Whether you’re stuck on a difficult conversation you’re struggling to have with a friend or colleague, proud of following through on some personal renewal steps you set out as goals, or just want to share words that inspired you today, I’m all ears!

Volunteers tend to have a natural gift for caring for others. But this is deep work, so I’ve built this program in a way where it’s my honor to fully care for you. So please reach out and maximize this support available. I love hearing from you:).

Who this is for:

The New Direction program is for you if you know what you’re doing in your post-volunteer transition isn’t working for you, you’re tired of losing time, and you want targeted support and accountability in getting from here to a next step you’re really excited about. If you meet any of the following criteria, this program has a lot to offer you:

  • You feel like your current life doesn’t represent the deepest you, and you want more fulfillment in your days
  • You’re distracted and fragmented, and having trouble making decisions about how to structure your time in a meaningful way
  •  You miss the deep connections you had as a volunteer, and aren’t sure how to build that kind of true community now
  • You want to live out your best self while also meeting a need in the world, but aren’t sure how, and are afraid you’ll make the wrong decision
  • You have some broad ideas of work you might like to do, but don’t want to pigeonhole yourself and start a grad or other training program when you’re not positive what you want
  • You feel tired and discouraged a lot—and like you want to close yourself off more than usual
  • You want so badly to know and truly feel what you’re called to do—but you don’t right now, and it’s keeping you from moving much at all

The 6 core phases of the program:

You can’t take meaningful steps forward without understanding what matters most to you, and why.

This is where we help you stop and take stock of who you are today (with your volunteer year(s) and everything else in you), along with—this is a big one—who you want to be by the end of your life.

Once you’ve dug deep into both, you’ll be able to stand more confidently in your own skin again and make decisions more easily. In knowing better who you are, you’ll soon be able to discern what you want to do.

Did you feel pretty optimistic about your life and what you’d be able to do and give after volunteering—and feel a little less optimistic now?

Do you have a voice in your head that wonders if your life will ever be as happy and fulfilled as it was during service… and if you’ll ever find your life purpose… and if you’ll ever manage to decide what you want to do next and actually move into it (because if you choose wrong, you’ve failed somehow)?

It’s not just you; we all have voices that bring us down. They feel brutal because we tend to assume what they say is true—but it rarely is. By the end of this phase, with the help of a 20-minute online assessment called the Energy Leadership Indexyou’ll learn how to see past this noise to your whole, true self, and recognize the choices, opportunities, and joy actually available to you.

At this stage we help you recognize the unique purpose you came to life seeded with, which both makes you come alive and helps the world more than anything else you can do.

One’s purpose is larger than any one profession, though work is one way to live out purpose. Once you understand you have a larger purpose, and that you definitely can be the positive force in the world you feel called to be, your whole life starts to make more sense and be more fun.

You feel more energy, light, and ease in your day to day, and more peace and excitement about your future.

Volunteers are hard-wired for connection and were never meant to go it alone.

As Linda Hogan beautifully puts it, we are each “the result of the love of thousands.” Taking new action in your life (as you will shortly) is exciting and usually scary; this is where you bring in the reinforcements. We help you decide what support (from friends, authors, speakers, the universe, God, and so on) really helps you be at your best, then we make a plan for you to engage with this community of allies more, and expand it.

Small changes lead to big changes. This is where the rubber really starts to hit the road as you look at your daily routine and ask how well it reflects your values, priorities, and purpose.

We introduce a tool to help you make small shifts to get the most out of your days—including built-in time for personal renewal and meaningful reflection—and get excited and confident about the larger changes ahead.

It’s time to move in a larger way, and you’re ready for it. In full awareness of who you are and what you’re here to give, this phase is about larger action in a direction you feel called.

Clients have made decisions around everything from work discernment, to graduate school, to travel, community building, and more.

As you have throughout the whole program, you have my full support and accountability to ensure you can first envision, then plan for, then start to move boldly into your best future. The one that really represents who you fully are—and all the light you’re here to give.

Ready to explore if the New Direction program is for you?

Great! The first step is to let me know a little more about you. In the form below, please tell me:

  • when and where you served as a volunteer,

  • what you feel is missing in your life now, and

  • why you’re considering working with me in this program.

I’ll respond and schedule a free consult to discuss where you are right now and if this program is right for you.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

How did you hear about Live Your Purpose Coaching? (required)


I look forward to connecting with you!



What exactly is coaching?

Coaching is a process designed to help people live their best lives, and maximize their fulfillment and potential. The methodology is rooted in the belief that the client has the answers within.

As an insightful, intuitive, objective partner, the coach’s role is to guide the client through meaningful questioning and targeted exercises to clarify what the client wants and why, and what’s been in the way of them getting that, then support them with planning and accountability to create that future they want.

How is coaching different from therapy?

It depends on the individual professional, but therapy is generally based in healing—often in relation to some type of trauma a person has suffered in the past or is still suffering. This is vital work that I’m not trained in. As needs come up for therapy, I refer clients to trusted therapists.

Coaching, in contrast, starts from the present and moves to the future. The process helps people first connect on a deeper level with who they are and what they want in their lives. Then it turns to the future, helping them make better goals and follow through with them to create the lives they want.

Another way to look at it is that people usually see therapists because they feel they need therapy at that time; they see coaches because they WANT coaching. People who seek out coaches are generally already strongly functioning adults, but they want to bring their lives to a new level.

I’m not sure I want to coach with someone I can’t sit in the same room with. Will this really be effective?

I completely understand. Volunteers are born connectors. I wasn’t sure how it would go either when I first started being coached over the phone and Skype.

What I found, though, was it not only ended up being convenient and time-saving for me, but very effective. And it also had some different benefits from face-to-face work. I found myself able to narrow my focus to just what the coach was saying, and not be distracted by other stimuli.

The reason I coach over the phone and Skype is so I can support volunteers all over the country. The best way to test out if this works for you is to contact me to set up a Skype consult.

How long does it take to work through the program?

For most people, about 5 months. We set a schedule for our sessions at the beginning of the coaching cycle, and I usually meet with clients every other week because that generally allows for the bigger work to seep in more.

That said, this is private coaching, and I always cater it to the individual I’m working with. If you’re on a roll and want to work through the program faster, we’ll explore that. Also, as you have things come up or just want more time with a certain phase or assignment, we adjust the schedule.

What’s the time commitment each week?

To get the most out of this program, participants are asked to set aside about 2 hours a week. That includes time for coaching sessions (every other week) and regular assignments. Sometimes this may be more, based on your individual goals.

I’m not even sure what I want. How can you help me?

Helping you figure out what you want is a big part of what I’m here for and what this program is designed to do! Through values work, a eulogy exercise, an online energy assessment, and more, we first drill down to what you want in your life—both right now and long term. Then we make a plan and give you the accountability and support you need to make it happen.

International and domestic service are really different. How can this process work for both groups?

You’re right—having been both a domestic and international volunteer, I totally agree that they’re inherently different experiences in many ways.

That said, the transition afterward contains a lot of common elements for both groups. Both need to find a new direction after service and usually, rebuild their communities. And most significantly, both must find a way to process their life-changing volunteer experience and determine who they want to be and how they want to live now.

This coaching program works for both domestic and international volunteers because it uses a transition framework in its phases and exercises that serves both groups, while leaving plenty of room for personalized support. This is private coaching and my focus is always on staying 100% in each individual’s agenda.

I see this practice is called Live Your Purpose Coaching. But I’m not sure everyone has just one life purpose. Will this work for me?

I agree—I also don’t think everyone has just one life purpose:). I introduce life purpose in this program as two-pronged.

The first part is simply living your life on purpose day to day—in a way aligned with your top values, mission, and deepest aliveness. This is what we all want to do and what coaching’s basically about.

The second part of life purpose is larger than the day-to-day. I believe we each come to the world with a unique gift no one else has, and we’re here now because it’s something the world needs now.

When we can give this gift regularly, we feel our most fulfilled and most ourselves. And while it usually maintains a common thread, this purpose evolves throughout our lives. What’s important is understanding our purpose as it’s clear to us right now—and living from it.

I think it’s great that other people do stuff like coaching—I even admire it. But I’m not used to self-help stuff. Will this work for me?

Coaching is a new experience to most volunteers and it’s easy to misunderstand it at first. People who seek out coaching are typically already high-functioning and highly capable—which is why it suits volunteers so well.

Coaching is designed to help explode people’s potential. It’s for people who want to live intentional, extraordinary lives, know themselves the best they can, and do the most good they can.

It’s a sign of strength to seek out coaching—and a readiness to take meaningful new action with your life.

Can I see testimonials from people who’ve been through the program?

Absolutely! See a few below and a bunch more right here.


Former Jesuit Volunteer, Detroit, MI; 2013-14

“Coaching has been fabulous. A really growing, stretching experience.

“After attending Holy Cross and doing JVC, where intentional living and reflection were more commonplace, I’ve felt a lack of connection with the values I cultivated so deeply during those years. Coaching has really helped me to integrate those values into my daily (adult) life by first understanding what makes me feel whole and taking the practical, achievable steps towards that state of being.

“It has helped me to feel more alive and more at home with who I am.”

CASSIE SODERGREN, Former Jesuit Volunteer, Berkeley, CA; 2014-2015

“I came to Sara in a time of feeling like I had no direction career wise.

Through working with her I was able to dive so much deeper than determining what I wanted to do (work in health and wellness in low-income communities); I was able to forge a path for understanding and creating space for who I am and how I want to be in the world.

Noticing the things that brought me joy and energy, and trusting to lean into them, allowed me to see more clearly the things I wanted to focus on, and put to rest a lot of the spinning thoughts (“what am I doing?” “where do I go from here?”) in my head.

Also, through naming what I felt called to do and making steps to move in that direction, I have had a significant decrease in my anxiety. Establishing a more routine self-care practice also aided in this as I saw the value of how taking time for myself really allowed me to show up more fully when applying myself to other things I cared about.

I took one year to really commit to leaning into myself and what felt right, which ultimately led to me defining my next major step: going back to school (which was something I thought I’d never do—even during coaching).

‘Leaning in’ is and was not easy but it was crucial for me to just trust the process. Now looking back I have evidence that this works which motivates me to continue using this approach moving forward.

Sara is dependable and 100% invested. Her questions and reflections on what I would share gave me confidence and clarity. I now have a solidified “tool box” that I can fall back on when I am feeling like I need to be grounded and find direction.”

GABE MOE-LOBEDA, ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Program; Mexico,  2013-14

“I came to work with Sara because I was in the biggest rut of my life. Not only did I not know how to move towards what I wanted, I didn’t know what I wanted in the first place, and I was beating myself up for not having a direction.

“Sara helped me recognize how I was treating myself in deeply negative ways, and helped me come to understand some of the things that were most important to me. More so, she showed me how I could move to focus more on those things in my life. Through a series of exercises, as well as her wisdom and insight, Sara helped me realize many things about myself I wasn’t willing to on my own. 

“If you’re wanting to make a change in your life, but don’t know how to do that, are scared of doing that, or don’t know exactly what that means, you should absolutely work with Sara.”