(Original publication location HERE on BostInno’s website).
Sarah Plummer has visited six continents and forty countries. She’s served two deployments in Iraq and volunteered in Europe and the Middle East. She’s a registered yoga instructor, certified holistic health counselor, and published author.
You could say Plummer has been everywhere and seen everything. But her life has been much more than glowing achievements and globetrotting. While she calls herself “blessed,” Plummer also describes her life as “one sprinkled with a good bit of tragedy.” Rightly so. Illness, accidents, and even sexual assault have plagued Plummer’s life. Is Sarah Plummer a victim? Far from it. She’s a warrior.
Plummer braved the darkest dangers and experienced the “utterly ugly.” But she doesn’t dwell in the past; she focuses on the future. Since she has found the strength to overcome adversity, to survive and thrive, Plummer has made it her life’s mission to help others do the same. She passed along her wisdom in her inspiring book Just Roll With It; created the Semper Sarah Mission, traveling as a health and wellness coach and speaker; and broke the silence surrounding sexual assault in the military by advocating for the Military Justice Improvement Act.
Plummer understands we all get stuck every once and a while, and she empowers us all to move forward, “to turn tragedies into triumphs, obstacles into opportunities,” and live our best life.
Sarah Plummer is a Marine and mentor; author and advocate. She is a survivor. Sarah Plummer is a woman to watch.
Your life has been full of experiences and adventures. What inspired you to translate those experiences into a career of helping others?
‘Semper Sarah’ Plummer: Realizing that although I have lived such a blessed life, and one sprinkled with a good bit of tragedy, as well, I am not unique. As I saw how connected we all are, I knew that my experiences could be translated into learning opportunities not just for myself, but for others…That seemed like a dream come true to be able to help people and also have it be my career.
Knowing that I’m not alone gives me the strength to keep speaking out in the hope that it helps people facing similar situations that I’ve been through… Sometimes, it’s as simple as that: just relating, and simply letting someone know you understand…
There’s no way I could have gone through everything I have without a reason. I am still alive and I need to do something with my life to give back whole-heartedly. I can’t be intimated, insecure, or fearful of what people might think; it’s not about me anyway. It’s about a larger message of hope, and about what I can helpfully contribute to other people on their paths of navigating similar rough waters.
What is the story of your SEMPER philosophy and how did you decide on these values? What inspired you to craft a life philosophy?
I developed my SEMPER Philosophy which stands for always being faithful, sincere, empathetic, motivated, perseverant, engaged, and resilient. As I thought about how I wanted to live my life after the military, and the contributions I desired to make to society, I realized I didn’t need another to-do list because living well is more about who you are at your core than what you’re accomplishing externally.
You have to walk your talk. I like that challenge. I like being held accountable for my own words. To me, leadership is leading by example, so if I can embody that in my brand as I concurrently teach leadership, then all the better. I found that as I cultivated and lived these traits, they were instrumental in guiding others, as well. It all goes hand in hand.
What advice would you offer to women entrepreneurs, or those interested in starting their own company?
Start before you’re ready. You’ll never be ready. There will always be more you can do. Prepare as well as you can, then “leap and the net will appear.” Being prepared doesn’t mean being perfect. In the Marines, I always had to get my feet wet with “OJT:” On the Job Training. You have to operate with faith and flexibility in entrepreneurship. You have to “just roll with it” pretty much all the time! Strive for excellence, not perfection.
What does it mean to “Just Roll With It”?
Letting go of the past; accepting the present; and moving forward with faith. There is more to it than that, of course, but it’s about not getting stuck in a moment, by a stressor, or with challenge; rather, just rolling with it is about seeing the seed of opportunity in every set back and being willing to try again.
You’ve made a career out of being a leader, coach and mentor. What does it take to lead?
It requires awareness and congruency: knowing who you are, and living it out day to day as best as you can… You must be able to feel alone and keep going off your own internal reserves. You must be able to handle criticism, learn from it, but not allow it to define you as a person. You must be healthy so you can think straight and achieve your peak performance allowing you to serve others to your fullest capacity. You must be authentic. Your words and actions must be in congruence. You will make mistakes, but you must own them, learn, then move forward. (This, too, is what it means to “Just Roll With It.”) Congruency means practicing what you preach.
Do you have any words of wisdom for young people transitioning into adulthood?
This. Is. Your. Life. Don’t poison yourself with bad work, food, relationships, or drugs. Give a crap about your health because it will enliven you and allow you to serve better; don’t worry about chiseled abs. Fill yourself up. Fill others up. Shine. Don’t let anyone else determine what is authentic for you. Make decisions you can live with, not what you think someone else might want you to do…
Pause. Take a breath. Think “If I really” – no I mean REALLY – “believed I was ‘worth it,’ ” whatever ‘worth it’ means to you, “what would I do with my life? How would I feel, fuel, nourish, and honor my mind, body, and spirit, and burn so brightly I would inspire others to shine too.” Do that. It’s worth it. Shine on and just roll with it.