Midweek E-Meet Up: Meet Mentor and Trainer for Women, Amanda!

Her Own Glow, a positive space for storytelling.

Happy Wednesday ladies! Meet Amanda Blesing, a trainer, mentor, speaker and author! As the creator of The Ambition Revolution Program, she currently speaks with, and consults to, busy and ambitious professionals. What really switches her on is seeing these individuals step up, speak out and take charge of their roles, careers, aspirations and their communities.

Let the mingling commence…

Amanda Blesing.png

What is your purpose?

What I’m obsessed with is seeing women win the raises, promotions and recognition they truly deserve. I’m a little bit like a leadership coach but just for women with big goals and dreams. Many of my clients tell me that they woke up one day and realised that they’d spent most of their career making others look good, but hadn’t prioritised themselves. So, what I do is teach them a fresh approach to building their brand to help them halve their effort, yet double their impact. After all, women are already really busy. We don’t need more to do! We just need to be able to focus on the bigger things that matter most so we can make a bigger difference far more easily.

What does a day in the life of Amanda Blesing look like?

Busy! But strategic and incredibly rewarding. In fact, some would say I have a life by design.
6:00am – Morning rituals of gratitude meditations, reading and exercise – because it’s hard to help others when you feel under the weather or with low mojo. This is my deal-breaker. It’s a rare day I don’t do all three.
8:30am – Social media sweep to get the conversations and inspiration started for the day.
9:00am – One on one coaching calls with clients and possible clients, who inspire me as much as I inspire them.
3:00pm – Thinking and writing: I do much of my best thinking and writing in the afternoon after 3pm.
Speaking at a conference or Women in Leadership networking event.
6:00pm – No screen time. I’ve learned the hard way that I sleep much better when I’m strict with screen time. This means I have more energy to work with clients in the long run! So, I then spend time at yoga or an evening beach walk with my husband Russ. We often walk to St Kilda Beach in Victoria for dinner (about 45mins each way).

I travel interstate once or twice a month for clients or speaking. I love the independence and freedom of travel, and the way it breaks routine which in itself helps me see things differently and to spark new ideas.

Twice a year I run Women in Leadership Retreat in delightful destinations. 2019 included a Winter Retreat with log fires and wine tasting along with the leadership program, along with another in late 2019 in Palm Cove Queensland, which is a highly desirable tropical destination. My rationale? If I have to work hard, I’d rather far it be doing things I absolutely love, with people I enjoy hanging out with and on my own terms. What’s not to like?

What inspired you to create your brand?

As a former association or peak body executive, my career had been very much focused around providing opportunities for professionals to showcase their talents via speaking, writing, Awards and Board or committee work.  One of the things that puzzled me was that I would call for papers for our conference speaker panels, and 10 men would put up their hand, and only one woman. I’d call for Award nominations and women would be busy nominating their junior staff, and then be too worn out (possibly code for “I don’t really think I’m good enough” or imposter syndrome) to have the energy to nominate themselves. When I checked in with the men who had nominated, frequently someone else had written their nomination, they had asked the communications or marketing team for help.  These types of scenarios played out time and time again and I could see a real trend. The men were far more comfortable taking advantage of the opportunities to showcase their talents industry wide, and the women far less confident, so they didn’t.   As I was about to resign my role I had my “aha” moment, that this was work that would truly inspire me. To help women see themselves differently in order that they could be seen.  Hence my brand!

Your dreams don’t work unless you do. How do you stay focused?

I’m very focused on my purpose and mission.  Purpose is one of the key pillars of self-promotion. Not only does it women in particular to depress the Modesty Norm enabling us to self-promote more effectively, but it also helps us to get out of the comfort zone and tackle challenges with far more ease.  My mission is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.

This really lights my fire, and it’s always good to remember that you can’t help people if they don’t know about you!  I love receiving emails from clients. In June of 2019, I was working to help her to win her bosses job. Her boss had resigned unexpectedly, and she needed to build a business case to the head office to show them that not only was she interested, but she would be a slam dunk in the role. We role played, we created her pitch and business case and her plan of attack. I’m delighted to announce that she not only won her bosses job, but it came with a whopping $90K increase in salary. Suffice  to say she absolutely loves me, and this is one of the reasons I love what I do.

Three quick tricks for focus?  I find if I lift heavy weights in the morning, my focus and drive is great for a few hours after. I’m guessing it’s a bit of a testosterone boost. Another trick? I have cold showers (well I finish the shower cold). This is just like a shot of coffee and surprisingly doable even in the cold weather. My third?  I use the Pomodoro technique – 25 mins on and 5 mins off.  I’m totally amazed at how well this works.  Not only am I  able to get more work done, but I find the quality is better too.

What’s been your biggest achievement to date?

I live vicariously through my clients to some extent. You read before about my client winning her bosses job with a juicy new salary, but this is normal for me. In the last 12 months many of my clients have won national awards, had articles picked up by industry and or international publications, win juicy new roles with big salary increases, learn to negotiate for the first time, double their salary, speak on conference panels and take board positions.  My business keeps reinventing and evolving as my client needs grows and this in itself is a huge achievement.

In terms of things I didn’t really know I’d be able to achieve, I’ve just finished writing my 2ndbook (From Invisible to Invincible: a self promotion handbook for executive women).   I wrote my first book (Step Up, Speak Out, Take Charge: a woman’s guide for getting ahead in your career) in 2016 and vowed I’d never do it again because it was that challenging and I had a huge dose of imposter syndrome after I went to print. But, I’m pleased to say my 2nd book is now with the publisher now and due out late August. Once again, I can’t help more women realise their dreams, if I hide my own light under a bushel.  It has been a mammoth effort and I am very proud.

Who are your main sources of inspiration?

I couldn’t tackle this infopreneur journey on my own. I surround myself with experts and role models via Thought Leader Business School in Australia. This means I always have someone to ask, someone to admire or aspire to, and inspiration on a really wide range of topics from a wide range of authors or thinkers.

I also have three female leaders who are my role models at the moment:

  • Jacinda Arden, NZ Prime Minister – She is challenging the stereotype for great leadership at every level and rewriting the rule book for what leadership really looks like. Compassionate, feminine, inclusive and caring. The world will not be the same again because of her.
  • Christine Lagarde, Chair of the International Monetary Fund – Not only is she leading globally in a stereotypically man’s world, but she is not afraid to challenge the status quo, to call out bad practice when she sees it. I admire her very much.
  • Indra Nooyi – Now on the board of Amazon, but best known for her role as CEO of Pepsico. Her story about not fitting the stereotype but leading anyway is very inspiring. Besides, she is also really short, and I love the idea that short women can lead successfully too (yes I’m short!)

“We cannot see” is a great catch cry. But has it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? I love stories about women who lead despite not fitting the stereotype, despite challenge of masculine dominated industries or disciplines, despite not being perceived as a typical leader.  This reminds me that we just need a vision, a sense of purpose, along with drive, a good plan and a healthy dose of confidence, and we can all achieve pretty much whatever we set out to achieve.

What advice would you give to women starting out on their own?

Research tells us that when women start out in their own business or consultancy, they really only aim to replace their salary.  We aim much lower than men. But, that should really just be your starting point.  My suggestion would be to pick a number you’d like to earn, then double it and add 20%! That’s your new financial goal. And you’ll tackle your business differently from the get go as a result of this new goal. When you have your own business it’s tough going. We often pay ourselves last, under pay ourselves and don’t invest in our own financial future as we should. This can leave us under resourced, feeling like it’s hard yakka all the time and wondering if it’s all worthwhile. So, aim higher so you don’t short change yourself by accident, and enable yourself to live the life you truly deserve.

Tell us more about The Ambition Revolution program.

Some people think that women aren’t as ambitious as men. And I call bullsh*t on that. It simply isn’t true. It’s just that we measure ambition differently.  While men tend to correlate success and ambition with financial gain (“I get a promotion, it comes with a pay rise, therefore I am successful”) women see it differently. For women, while we value the money, we also want to know that our opinion is valued and that we’re actually making a difference. I call this the feminine ambition trifecta. If we don’t feel like we’re being heard, or making a difference we’re far more likely to “lean out” or to pick up our bat and ball and go elsewhere despite the money.  Ambition is not a pejorative term or an insult. It’s okay for women to own the word ambition and it not be perceived as negative. Finding the balance between never giving up and always letting go, between the comfort zone and where the magic happens – this is the dance!  So I help women to find the balance between their drive and their doubt, between their dreams and their fears, between their ambitions and the negative stereotypes that abound about ambitious women, so they can achieve their big goals far more easily.

You’re a mentor, a speaker and a coach. How do you find balance in your demanding and dynamic roles?

Several years ago my sister became ill.It was at a time where I was considering where to live, so I relocated cities to be near her. Over time she became even more ill, and I was the only family member living in the same city so became her primary emotional support. What I learned the hard way was that if I didn’t look after myself, I could not be there physically or emotionally for her.

This is a lesson that applies across every area of our life.  At some stage, we all need to learn to put boundaries around borrowing from the personal to pay for the professional.

How do I do this? I have a focus towards self-care with regular exercise for the body, yoga and meditation for the mind, discipline around healthy eating habits and practices are my go to and truly help me find the balance so that I can be there for my clients, yet still feed my own soul and inspiration for the long term.

Women bring a lot to the table! How do you build confidence and self-confidence?

Research tells us that women tend to tackle work in a compliant, conscientious and considerate manner. But in a world that confuses confidence with competence, we got the wrong memo! The trick to getting ahead is to remember that people who appear confident are the people we believe to be great at their work, until they prove differently, and even then we are more likely to give a confident person the benefit of the doubt.  I’m a big believer that women need a healthy dose of “delusional self-belief” to counter balance lower self-confidence. And how do we get that? We picture ourselves on our best day, when we’re feeling amazing with what we’ve achieved and our confidence is at an all-time high. We then need to ask ourselves, “how would my most amazing confident and high achieving version of myself tackle this project?” And do it that way.  Imagine what they world would be like if we all did this?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“You are your own worst enemy. You need to get out of your own way.” Girl, this is hard to hear.  What does this mean? You might be great at your job, but it will be your own beliefs, biases and baggage that will create blind spots, friction points and keep you from being even better. Not someone else. Yourself.  Put systems in place to help you get out of your own way more easily.

Self-love is the lifeblood of health and happiness. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Laughter. Love. Drive.

What’s your mantra?

I am safe, I am worthy, I am strong and I am enough.

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