I Pretended to be Smart for 37 Years

by Amy on September 17, 2014

Newsletter image Amy

“Look ma! Another degree!”

I volunteered today in Alice and Anthony’s classroom.


I listened carefully as Mrs. D. talked about ladybugs. “If there are five ladybugs but you can only see three, how many are hiding?” As the students pondered this riddle, she showed an illustration of three ladybugs, revealing 2 more hiding underneath a flap of paper that looked like grass.

(Math instruction has gotten better since my day.)

Then the first graders were to make their own math story questions. My job as parent volunteer was to help them.

This is when things went bad for Mrs. D. I could help the kiddos cut spiky green grass out of construction paper, but when it came to constructing first grade level mathematical story problems, I’m afraid I was about as good as the rest of the little people (actually some were better than me).

Here’s the thing that boggles my mind.

I used to be a policy analyst! I drafted reports for the Oregon Legislature, analyzing intricate spreadsheets about standard deductions and tax incentives.

“A strength is something that strengthens you. A weakness is something that weakens you.” Marcus Buckingham wrote this in The Truth About You.

In other words, a strength isn’t something you’re good at — It’s what fires you up. A weakness isn’t something you’re bad at (but doing it makes you want to stab a fork in your eye).

I wish someone would’ve told me this, like, a hell of a lot sooner.

I spent my entire, entirrrrrrre, adult life trying to improve this “weakness” of mine and ultimately decided, in an effort to “show them all,” I would became the smartest person on the planet.

I read books like “Math for Dummies,” took advanced research methods, learned how to program in Cold Fusion and PHP, and dabbled in micro and macro economics, until I could fool them all. And then BOOM! I was hired as a policy analyst where I could do some serious calculating.

Once when Gmail profiles were the hip thing I remember saying I was an “inspirational speaker” as a joke. The me of those days wanted to send the message that I was too cool, too angsty, and too good at math to do something cheesy like that.

But even then there was a part of me who clearly knew who I really was underneath – I just didn’t believe it was possible for me to do something cheesy albeit fun for a living.

All that time studying math, getting a masters degree, working as an analyst, I could have been reading Martha Beck, Debbie Ford, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Byron Katie… I could have read that Marcus Buckingham quote dammit!

I could have been writing irreverent blog posts of encouragement and love to countless readers.

I could have been standing on a stage somewhere rattling on about my latest crusade while actual real-life people listened.

No, I don’t tell the kids that math makes me want to stab a fork in my eye (most of the time). But if they’d rather be painting a butterfly than figuring out how to add and subtract them, I don’t worry too much about it.

3 Ways To Avoid Wasting Time Pretending To Be Somebody You’re Not

  1. Stop Trying to Prove Yourself! I get it. They underestimated you on a spectacular level. I know it hurts. But living your whole life trying to prove yourself to “them” is another form of pain that you, my dear, inflict upon YOU. [Tweet that!]
  2. So you suck at [insert whatever it is here]? Get over it. I’ll never be Pythagoras. All those years of trying to get good at math were a wasted effort trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. I just needed to spend more time and loving attention on what it was that turned ME on.
  3. I think it was Danielle LaPorte who said, “Be careful what you’re good at. You might end up doing it forever.” The thing is you can get good at anything with a little blood, sweat and tears. So put your time into the thing that makes you feel like a kid in a candy store. Your life won’t suck then. [Tweet that too!]

YOUR TURN: Where do you feel like you’re trying to overcompensate for your “weaknesses?” How can you spend more time on the things that light you up instead?


Brands that fascinate do this…..[Interview]

by Amy on September 9, 2014

I’ll be honest. I used to think that branding was another way of putting up a facade — an image for other people of someone you’re not to get them to see you and your business in a flattering light. Perfectionism and approval seeking on a large scale. And expensive! And I had a very boring brand (and I was trying to be someone else in my biz, no surprise).

Nowadays they say I have a great brand… And here’s what I learned: The difference between boring and fascinating is brand. And the way to get a great brand is not to hire a brand consultant to tell YOU how to look interesting. The way to have a great brand is to BE interesting by being YOU uncensored. No hiding. No perfecting. No glossing over the parts of you that you don’t want other people to see.

Which is why I love Kristen. She helps her clients uncover their personal brand as “the sweet spot where you, your purpose and your business intersect; the place where you can equally make the most money, and be of the most service, while being fully yourself and fully alive.” 

After talking to her I get that the most fascinating brands are the ones blinging out the REAL not pretending to be something else.

Check out our conversation and don’t miss the giveaway question below…

To be entered to win FREE access to Kristen’s popular branding course Ignite Your Purpose ($197 VALUE) respond to the giveaway question in the comments below!

What makes you feel most alive? (HINT: These passions point directly to your purpose)

Want to a chance to talk to Kristen about your brand? Hop on over to KristenIgnites.com to apply for a complimentary session. Spots are limited though so hurry up!


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September 3, 2014

I was crowned Homecoming Queen in high school. It was one of the happiest day of… … my mother’s life. I knew she wanted me to be homecoming queen. I’m not sure how but I did. I made it my plan to become homecoming queen for her. And thus marks the beginning of my style […]

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Why Sensitive Women Can be Bitchy

August 20, 2014

Guest Post by Mely Brown Hokey Wolf was a White German Shepherd x Siberian Husky. My mate, my soul friend, my nemesis and shadow self, all rolled into one. When he was a tiny pup, he was in a van looking down at a fully-grown German Shepherd, growling and barking. I lifted him onto the […]

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[Interview] with Abigail Steidley

August 13, 2014

I’ve always been interested in the mind-body connection. In the heyday of my approval addiction, I struggled with “undiagnosed infertility.” Took me six years, with the help of modern technology. Then I became a coach and embarked on a healing journey that allowed me to stop needing approval and fearing rejection. I don’t think it’s an accident that baby […]

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You are five.

August 6, 2014

Who were you when you were five? When I was five… I loved flowers — I vividly remember the plants from my childhood – the sunflowers in my backyard, the rose bushes by the patio, the filbert orchards and the Oregon grapes with berries you couldn’t really eat. I loved to swim – that feeling […]

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Eliminate This Word from Your Vocabulary

July 23, 2014

Write the word “ready” down on a piece of paper. Do it now. I’ll wait. Now take your pen and draw a line through it. READY You need to know that the word “ready” is not your friend. Eliminate this word from your vocabulary. Because real life is not like school. In school you study […]

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[Interview] with Sherold Barr

July 16, 2014

I had such a fun conversation with Mark Butler of YNAB during the last interview, that I decided to keep talking about money! It’s one of my favorite topics anyway So I invited Sherold Barr, Creator of Smart Women Make Money to join me for a candid convo about all things money mindset. Enjoy… Are […]

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How to Grow Rhino Skin (What Every Successful Woman Needs to Know)

July 9, 2014

Guest Post by Ann Marie Griffin I’m astounded at how much I’ve forgotten! Last week, I bumped into a former colleague who remembered every great achievement during the years we worked together. It was like he had it on total instant recall… it took me a full day to jog memories of those “good old […]

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The Thing that Nobody Wants to Talk About

June 24, 2014

When I was in high school I wanted to run for Student Body President. Probably for the wrong reasons (cough. Approval Addict!) But whatever… The problem was that Nate Aina was running. Nate was the nicest, most popular guy in school. Everyone (EVERYONE) loved him. So even though I wanted to run for Student Body […]

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