Impact Coach Katie Sandler Talks Luxury Retreats Next Year And Shares Wellness Tips

Katie Sandler uses her life experiences and education to help her clients reach that “a-ha” moment, enabling personal and professional transformation. However, she’s not a life coach, instead, Sandler is an Impact Coach. Her goal is to help clients meet their unmet potential, find purpose in their lives, and ultimately make an impact on the world around them. Sandler herself has overcome immense physical and mental hurdles, including being born without an ear, overcoming paralysis at age 17 and subsequently facing depression head-on. After struggling to keep her head above water, Sandler discovered the benefits of mind-body medicine. With over a decade of experience, including a Master’s in Mental Health Counselling, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a background as a psychiatric research assistant from Johns Hopkins, Sandler uses her expertise to impact her clients through one-on-one consultations, group consultations and her Impact Retreat and Group Impact Adventures, which take place all around the world.

We sat down with Sandler to learn more about what an Impact Coach does and what she has planned for her luxury impact retreats next year.

Photo Credit: Katie Sandler

HL: How did you become an Impact Coach?

KS: I was actually born without an ear and my parents decided to put me through reconstructive surgery for a chance at a “normal” life. My parents always had a great attitude about my situation and I believe some of that attitude and character was instilled in me at a young age. I remember when kids would stare at me, instead of hiding I would ask them if they wanted to know anything about my ear. This set me up to face many hurdles that were still to come in my life including suffering from transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder that left me paralyzed from the waist down at 17 years old. Thankfully, I come from a family with resources and I was able to find help at Johns Hopkins because they were the only institution studying the disorder at the time.

The hardest part for me wasn’t the physical ailment, rather it was the subsequent depression which was brutal to deal with. I struggled with daily life, but then I was introduced to psychology and more specifically mind-body medicine. I was 17 when I was catapulted into the field of psychology and decided to invest my time and efforts to understand it and myself. I graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology and ended up working at Johns Hopkins, studying a handful of things in neuropsychology, but specifically purpose in life. This ultimately led to my journey as an Impact Coach, diving into private practice, working in hospitals and now owning my own business where I focus on enabling my clients to succeed in life, whatever that may be for them, while also finding purpose.

Photo Credit: Katie Sandler

HL: Where do your retreats take place and what do they involve?

KS: I created what I call an Impact Retreat, which is a three to five-day, one-on-one or group retreat designed to focus on personal transformation, cultural experiences, and relaxation. In terms of where they take place, it really depends on the situation and the client’s wants and needs.With one-on-one situations, I go into my client’s environment, with their blessing,  to get a first-hand experience of their day-to-day life. From there we typically stay within the client area as to make the program conducive to their daily life and schedule. Other clients opt for a destination for their retreat, for instance, I’ve taken clients to Anguilla or a neighboring state. I also offer group retreats, this is a different experience all-together; not nearly as intensive and immersive as the one-on-one Impact Retreat.

In May I will be taking a group to Italy, in particular, the Tuscany region, for a mindful food and wine experience. I’m also planning a group retreat to Greece in September and Marrakech in October is almost completely sold out. I’m excited about Marrakech because I think it’s such an interesting destination. I have an interior designer coming with me to Marrakech and we’ve been talking about how excited she is to be inspired by the culture and aesthetics at the destination. She is also looking forward to seeing how her experience will translate when she’s back home.

There is an application process as we’re selective. No more than 8-people can be on a trip as I want to keep it exclusive, as well as wanting to ensure everyone gets along; good synergy during the trip is essential as the small-group size also provides the opportunity to meet like-minded people.

HL: What are some exercises people can expect at one of your Impact Retreats?

KS: Every retreat I plan is different from the other. For instance, in Italy, we’ll be discussing mindfulness in regards to nourishment. When we think of nourishment, we associate it with eating or drinking, but we also nourish ourselves with  relationships, self-care. I want to focus on incorporating mindfulness when traveling and indulging with people on trips. We will look at portion control, recognizing healthy foods and ingredients and at the end of the retreat, we will  explore how to move forward with what was experienced. I want clients to be able to walk away with an idea of how to incorporate this knowledge and new sense of being into their daily life when they get back into their real world.

Photo Credit: Katie Sandler

HL: One of the main things you focus on is living the process. How can we live the process?

KS: For me, living the process is based on mindfulness and awareness. I think it’s important to get off auto-pilot and approach the day with awareness. However, my version of mindfulness and wellness will be different from your version of mindfulness and wellness. It’s vital to understand that your life is yours and your process needs to fit who you are. Once we get off auto-pilot and try new things, we can see what works and what doesn’t. It helps give us more direction in life, which leads to living life with purpose and making a positive impact.

Photo Credit: Katie Sandler

HL: What are 5 tips we can implement in everyday life to stay on top of wellness?

KS: First of all, every morning is a morning to set an intention of moving forward. I think we can use mornings effectively to set the tone for the day. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or big move, it could be as simple as saying “I’m not ready for today, but I’m going to keep a good head on my shoulders.” Whatever you decide, it needs to be real for you.

Secondly, we all need to have a bank of things to pull from. The bank will include tools. Whether it be yoga, painting or calling a friend, you should be pulling from this bank on a regular basis.

Thirdly, use your support system. Don’t do life alone. It’s also helpful and important to find someone who can hold you accountable.

My fourth tip is to express compassion to yourself and others. When you express compassion you express gratitude, which is intrinsic and wildly beneficial for your overall well-being. Lastly and most importantly, you need to breathe. Your breath has been there since the day you were born and it will be there until the day you’re gone. It is the one thing you can constantly rely on to help you at any moment. Use it!