Sarah Williams: Challenging Women to Toughen Up

Bored city worker turned adventurer inspires women to push their limits and get the most out of life.

Some women sit in their corporate cubicles fantasizing about travelling the world. Still others at management level fantasize about naps in the middle of 80-hour work weeks. But Sarah Williams isn’t your typical woman. She was created with the factory setting “limitless” and used her exit from corporate life to flip the switch.

From Pushing Papers to Pushing Barriers

Williams was by all measures a success. She’d graduated from university and landed a great job in the buzzing financial center of London. By age 32 she was restless and bored out of her skull. The dormant explorer inside her was stirring, ready to awaken a veritable powerhouse of sheer will and human accomplishment. In 2013 she left her job and set off on an 18-month journey around the globe.


“I Quite Like Shocking People.”

Hoping this expedition would show her a different path forward; Williams proceeded to blaze several all over the globe. She cycled Death Road in Bolivia.  She climbed the Villarica in Chile, one of the most active volcanoes in South America. But nothing provides clarity like climbing Kilimanjaro, which she also did. Upon returning to London, family and friends were gob smacked at her travel resume. They couldn’t believe a girl could master such astounding feats of endurance. A wry smile crept across Williams’ face. Astounding people was a lot more fun than a cubicle.

Girls Just Wanna Prove You Wrong

The limitless switch was irrevocably flipped and Williams knew this long trek was just the beginning of her wandering ways. Pushing herself to the limits of her abilities was her new drug of choice. She also loved the juxtaposition of tough and girly. Being feminine and blowing up the low expectations when it comes to women and extreme feats of physical endurance fascinated her. She wanted more of it.

Blogging Epic Adventures

She wanted to push the boundaries of her own expectations as well and started a blog about her travels. Posts began appearing about amazing places and personal goals met. After a year she noticed no one was reading it. But Williams knew her experiences had value and began speaking to school kids, presenting one awesome vista after another in her talks. And while it warmed her heart to see the excitement in the children’s’ faces it wasn’t enough. Williams wanted to reach more people and those people needed to be female.


Pink Fonts & Girls with Grit

Following a friend’s suggestion about podcasting, Williams decided to give it a go. She listened to several of interest and became mesmerized at the powerful connection made listening to a voice. It was much more interesting than reading a blog and made a powerful impression on the listener. She started the Tough Girl Podcast, regaling listeners with her adventures and interviewing other iron women who are conquering goals with determination and focus. Williams had found her Tribe and gave them a voice. Her branding continues the contrast of feminine and tough with its pink font and tales of badass women.

Amazon Chicks Got Nothin’ on Them

Tuning into Tough Girl podcasts is one amazing saga after another: rowing the Atlantic solo; scaling treacherous mountains and captaining a women’s national soccer team despite death threats from the Taliban. This was ballsy stuff, indeed. Williams’ podcasts were not only inspiring women everywhere to believe they could, she was also inspired to push herself even further.

6 Days. 6 Marathons. One Desert.

That’s what you’ll see if you Google “Marathon des Sables,” an epically torturous run across the Sahara Desert in Morocco.  Thousands of people show up thinking they can complete what is referred to as “the toughest foot race on earth.” To prepare, she worked with a trainer building muscle mass and burning fat, and then strengthened her endurance with a rigorous running schedule. She was ready to earn her place in the competition and show the world what she was made of.

Guess who walked out of the desert, owning it? That’s right. When she returned home, Williams coolly wrote an eBook How-To.


The 2,190 Mile Hike

Only a lunatic or Sarah Williams would ever vow to hike the famed Appalachian Trail in only 100 days. Old-timers in the mountains of Tennessee will tell you it’s “pert near impossible, ‘specially for a sweet young thing.” Well old-timers, hide and watch. Williams not only did it, but she did it alone. She documented her travels with a GoPro camera, showing the everyday triumphs, trials and tantrums along the way.

When she got home, she created a six-minute film which was entered into the Sheriff’s Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF).


Inspiring Young Toughlettes

Williams continues to challenge herself and podcast about women of incredible fortitude. Wanting to reach even more women she focused on the young this time, sharing stories from her show to inspire and let them know it’s okay to be a tough girl. Her message to them is about believing they can do anything they want to do, and more. Williams wants young girls to stand in the world with both their femininity and their ruggedness on full display. She has certainly set a perfect example for them to follow in that regard.

Eat Life Before It Eats You

Her life philosophy is to live every second to maximum capacity. So it stands to reason Williams will continue to be a blur to those of us still in cubicle hell. By leaving her mundane office life, Williams shot herself out of a cannon and into the world of adrenaline junkies. Absolutely no one is sorry about that. We’ll watch with amazement at Williams and her tough girls as they live life; every cell pegged to eleven.

Learn more about Sarah Williams at toughgirlchallenges.com.