New business venture for Sarah helped her to move on from cancer

St Neots new business woman Sarah Stones.

St Neots new business woman Sarah Stones. - Credit: Archant

Setting up a new business can be a daunting and exhausting process, but for St Neots woman Sarah Stones it has proved to be a cathartic experience.

Sarah, 47 of St Neots Road in Eaton Ford, is recovering from breast cancer, and admits that it has taken a lot of soul searching and courage to strike out on her own.

The HR consultant has launched a business called Plain Sailing HR & Motivation which plays to her profession strengths and taps into her personal drive and determination to move on from cancer. She works with individuals and companies to help people develop an understanding of what motivates them in the workplace and equip them with strategies for improving.

“Having cancer changes everything and I honestly don’t think that I would have had the guts to set up my own business three or four years ago,” said Sarah.

“I have spent 25 years working in HR and supporting people with career changes and it made sense and fitted well. We spend too much time at work to be in jobs we don’t enjoy and life is too short. Most people are very set in their ways and need the skills to work out what motivates them in order to enjoy work and achieve the best they can. From an employer’s point of view, this understanding can improve employee engagement and reduce stress and sickness levels and ensure they recruit the right people for the right roles.”

Sarah uses an online tool to identify people’s core motivators and then provides feedback to clients. She has recently expanded the business to parents and teachers, using a Motivational Youth Map, to help them identify what makes children tick, which helps increase engagement and focus their energies at school.

Sarah, who has cerebral palsy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2014 after discovering a 5cm lump in her right breast while she was showering. She admits she was not someone who checked her breasts regularly and she lived under the false apprehension that because she was fit and healthy she was unlikely to develop the disease.

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“I look back now and I can’t believe I was so stupid,” she said. At the point I was diagnosed I had never felt healthier. I had undergone a hip replacement operation two years earlier and was going to the gym twice a week and feeling good about myself as my body was beginning to change shape. I started to feel a pain under my arms but I thought it was due to the exercise so I ignored it for a while. When I noticed things didn’t look quite right and found the lump it was quite advanced.

“I honestly don’t know how I didn’t realise I had this huge lump, but I now know that breast cancer is a well woman’s disease.”

Tests revealed that Sarah had an aggressive grade three tumour and she would need a mastectomy, plus chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There were days during her treatment when she admits she felt like she had been “hit with brick”.

“There is no point in looking back,” she says.

“I did come out the other side a different person and these days I am much more confident and self assured.”

INFO: Contact Sarah on 07816178616 or visit: