Today we’d like to introduce you to Lily Sais.
Hi Lily, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was an anxious child who grew into an anxious adult. When I first went to therapy at 20 I felt like I could tell my therapist anything and she’d accept me and help me handle it without overreacting. I also had very fond memories of sitting on my middle/high school counselor’s couch talking about friendship problems. Those two women set the stage for me to work in mental health. I’ve been working as a school psychologist since 2009 and I’m currently the lead in my school district in Los Angeles. I wish I could say that I never struggled with anxiety as a school psychologist, but that would be far from the truth. There were definitely times that I was in a good place, but early in my career I had a panic attack while driving on the 10 freeway and that set me off for a few years of misery trying to prevent panic attacks and figure out how to navigate driving in Los Angeles. I often felt broken with my anxiety and panic and was always trying to fix myself.
Looking back now, I see that I was so uncomfortable with feeling off in any way. I thought there was something I could do to feel perfectly fine all the time. I was dealing with health anxiety OCD and was inadvertently overcomplicating it. After trying neurofeedback, somatic therapy, talk therapy, hypnosis, diet changes, naturopathic medicine, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, healers, emotional freedom technique, meditation/mindfulness, yoga therapy, two different week-long retreats supposed to heal my childhood trauma, I finally found something that changed everything- the Three Principles.
The Three Principles are a very simple way of describing human psychological functioning and it was through insights I had studying the Three Principles that started to realize that I didn’t have to take my thinking so seriously. That maybe I wasn’t broken. That maybe there was less for me to do. I started applying the principles to my life and started feeling better and better. I was “doing” less and feeling more peaceful! I wanted to bring this understanding to the students that I worked with so I got my district to purchase an evidenced-based curriculum based on the Three Principles. While being a school psychologist, I’d run groups for adults such as for women recovering from disordered eating (something I struggled with) and parents (and mothers and daughters). I’d always wanted to run more groups for adults and when so many things moved online during the pandemic I realized that I could offer virtual courses to help people find freedom from anxiety using the Three Principles. I spent the summer of 2020 preparing and writing my first course. I ran my first Peace From Within group (that’s what my company is called because I truly realized that peace was inside me all along) in September and the rest is history. I started off with one group, but my clients requested more groups and I ran a few special groups for relationship anxiety. Additionally, I offer a part two (Even More Peace) for ongoing support for people that have participated in my groups or worked with me individually.
I credit a lot of the success of my business to TikTok. I was using Instagram initially to market my group, but once I started posting on TikTok things really took off. I made videos sharing my experience with anxiety and they really resonated with people. My first video that went viral was on health anxiety, which is something that I struggled with. I have zero health anxiety now and I know that offers people a lot of hope. I also have videos on intrusive thoughts and some of the more taboo ones and I received so much positive feedback that I felt like I could honestly die now and be happy. Another one of my specialties is in rumination (overthinking) as that is how my OCD showed up. Lots of researching and looping thoughts. Today I’ve cut down a bit on my hours as a school psychologist and plan to do so more next year as I transition to anxiety coaching more. I love being a school psychologist and the district that I work in, but I’m finding so much satisfaction in anxiety coaching that it’s what I want to focus on for the future.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Ironically one of the struggles I’ve been facing is not overthinking my coaching or business. After a few months I noticed myself overcomplicating things. Rereading textbooks and thinking, “who am I to try and help people with OCD?” “Maybe I need to get my PhD?” Towards the end of 2020, I was feeling a little burnt out because I also still have my job as a school psychologist and I’m a mother. That experience was also humbling because I realized that part of me felt like in order to be an anxiety coach, I needed to be free of any anxiety or stress and that is just not possible. I continue to practice what I preach, which is seeing anxiety as a love note letting me know that I’m either going too fast or my thinking is off. I have two amazing Three Principles-based Mental Health Educators- Sarie Taylor who is a psychotherapist and Dr. Bill Pettit who is a retired psychiatrist. They help me stay in a place of peace while continuing my education and deepening my understanding of the Three Principles.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Peace From Within is a transformative coaching practice. I am the owner and founder and my speciality is anxiety. What sets me apart from others is that I have mental health training, but I also struggled significantly with anxiety and panic and am 100% through to the other side. I know personally what it’s like to have health anxiety, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and be stuck in the continuous loop of rumination, researching, and reassurance seeking. I am most proud of the people that I get to meet through my coaching and also that I make videos that make people feel less alone. I want your readers to know that there is hope if they struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. I want them to know that wellbeing is our default and the place we always return to and faster when we get out of our own way. I hope people know that they are not broken even if they feel like they’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. I want them to know that it’s actually a lot easier than they probably think. I would love to help anyone that is struggling with overthinking/rumination, anxiety, and panic attacks. I run groups and also offer 1:1 coaching.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Primarily I was a happy kid! I was social and loved spending time with my friends and family. My younger sister and I loved to play games, make up dances, and watch 80s movies. My parents read us bedtime stories every night, we ate dinner as a family and traveled to fun places. I was a little bit shy at first but warmed up quickly. What might not have been as obvious was how much of a worrier I was. After seeing Punky Brewster, I thought my parents were going to abandon me and honestly, I worried about this until 6th grade. Seeing movies where the parents died really stuck with me and I’d often sit in my parent’s closet smelling my mom’s sweaters thinking they were going to die when they went out to dinner or out of town. I was also very worried about someone breaking into our home. For me, if something was possible it seemed probable and I often worried myself sick.
- My signature anxiety group is 4 weeks long and we meet twice per week for 2 hours each session and that group is $600.
- 1:1 coaching sessions are $250
- I will be offering pre-recorded content soon
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.peace-from-within.com
- Instagram: @_peacefromwithin
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peacefromwithin
- Other: TikTok @peacefromwithin