How I Thrive: Own Your Voice Founder Sahar Paz

How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with Own Your Voice Founder Sahar Paz, who smiles first thing in the morning before she does anything else and takes a nightly hot shower by candlelight.

Name: Sahar Paz

Age: 42

City: Houston, TX

Company: Own Your Voice, a company that works with thought leaders to strategize, develop, and launch a personal brand identity that delivers.

Role: Founder & CEO
Beyond the role: Caregiver, author, salsa dancer.
 

Morning routine:

My morning routine starts the night before, I pop a B12 complex and set the coffee maker for the next day. Before I remove my body from my bed in the morning, typically between 5 and 6 a.m., the first thing I do is smile. I don't think about a thought to make myself smile, I raise the ends of my mouth to form the shape that will inspire serotonin to flow.
I remind myself what's important for that day, to not let other priorities distract me from what I've already determined needs my attention the next four to six hours. Typically I'll have a cup of coffee after a cup of room temperature water and the TV is never turned on. My quality of thoughts and emotions are vastly improved by not watching any television in the morning. As I sip my drinks, I review my hand-written calendar, trying not to look at any screens before 8 a.m. Next, I take my dog for a walk around the lake.
I do my best writing in the morning, but rather than look down at my phone, I keep my eyes on nature and use a dictation app. This bulk of writing is off my desk by 9 a.m;, and that's when checking in with my team and delegating begins for the next 30-60 minutes. Late mornings wrap up with me finally settling down at my desk to do a chunk of work.

The first thing I do after work:  

I clean up my desk and turn everything off. I cut the cord, because especially working from home, I need to honor my start and finish times. When I'm done, I converse with my partner, mother, or best friend. I find a conversation that will help my mind make a sharp left and begin to process differently. I usually take these calls outside, barefoot, or walking (with shoes). That is followed by some form of exercise, some days it's the walk, other days 30 minutes of yoga, and once in a while I reach an entire 60 minutes. It took a long time to learn to accept what you're up for—energy and time are always factored in.

Dinner ritual: 

Sunday through Wednesday, it's home-cooked meals for me, my mom and my partner. Thursday through Sunday, it's a mix of pre-prepped foods or ordering takeout from local restaurant. We want to support the local businesses through the pandemic, and having two entrepreneurs in the house we are always mindful with how much energy we want to spend cooking/cleaning when we can be conversing and connecting in other ways.

Nighttime routine: 

I take a hot shower every evening in candlelight or low light. Then I put my on yoga music, put a pillow under my back and get my feet up a wall, knees are soft, jaw is unclenched, and my forehead is relaxed. I process my day, and I refrain from to do list, I take an inventory of wins and that's all I focus on. I recall the small moments processing, because my brain loves to hold onto what didn't work. I've rewired my brain to see the good. This is ultimately how I found my voice, worth, and grew my business to what it is today.

Self-care guilty pleasure:

A daily self-care practice that is guilt-free for me is opting out of Zoom and asking my meeting guests to join me for walking meetings. I invite them to get outside and walk and talk to me. For the good old guilty pleasures, telling all the people in my life I am taking the weekend for myself, then I doing whatever I want ... reading, resting, massages, mani/pedi, eating chocolate and fruit in bed, swimming, going to the beach, or even renting an Airbnb.

Workday self-care hack: 

Walking meetings! Get off Zoom, get into your body and invite the other person to do the same. They will thank you.

How do you define self-care?

What feels good for me in that moment that brings me joy, relaxation, or reflection. No timeline. No prewritten definitions of spa-like antidotes. Listening to my body and following her wishes. Sometimes I sleep or blow bubbles inside my house like I'm six again.
Sometimes I dance salsa in my bikini and pretend I'm back living in Puerto Rico where I wrote my book, Find Your Voice. Sometimes I sit on my partner's lap and we make out for a few minutes like we just met. Sometimes my self-care is a fleeting moment in a work day, sometimes it's an entire 48 hours. It depends on the season I'm in with my business.

Favorite childhood toy or hobby:

I didn't grow up playing house, I played office. I mostly managed a veterinary clinic and brought in my two friends as my assistants. At the age of 13 I started my first business, a baby and pet sitting company. I've always been a leader, and I've always been interested in giving back.

That's why my firm is going after its Benefit Corporation status and hosts an annual give back initiative—Own Your Voice Summit. The little girl I was is very much alive in the woman in me now. And I've worked to soothe her pain so she can show up and play. It's been a lot of work, and now I'm able to have fun every day.

State of your (email) inbox: 

I love color coded labels in my inbox. I have 7-10 clients at one time, and a staff of 15. I rely on email for major pieces of communication. For back-and-forth messaging with my team and clients, I use Slack.

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