PP 244: AmyK Hutchens, Author of The Secrets Leaders Keep and Founder and Intelligence Activist at AmyK Inc

“Stop Shoulding on Yourself.”

In her 20’s, AmyK’s philosophy was “Fake it until you make it.” Today, it’s “What you see is what you get.” This is just one of the many topics we discuss during our chat.

AmyK started her career as an elementary teacher, and is still teaching today, however from the stage and at a global and corporate level. During our chat, we discuss the need to ditch the cookie cutters, tune out the noise of social media, and be our true, authentic selves. We also talk about the good and bad of social media, the quirkiness of life, the choices we have in how we react to situations, and so much more!

.@AmyKHutchens & @thekimsutton discuss the need to tune out the noise of #socialmedia, and be our true, authentic selves, the quirkiness of life, the choices we have in how we react to situations, and so much more: http://www.thekimsutton.com/pp244 #podcastClick To Tweet

Resources Mentioned

AmyK’s Book: The Secrets Leaders Keep

Previous Positive Productivity episodes discussing the benefits of being a podcast guest:
Tom Schwab
Dan Moyle
Jeremy Slate

Episode Transcription

Kim: Welcome back to another episode of positive productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton, and I’m so thrilled that you are here to join us today and I’m thrilled to welcome our guest, Amy K. Hutchens. Amy is author of The Secrets Leaders Keep, and the founder in Intelligence Activists AmyK Inc. Amy, that was a little bit of a tongue twister. Is it just me or do people have a little bit of problem with that? Sometimes. Is it just me?

Amy: They always ask: “what is that, what that even means?” My very first response, Kim, is, yeah, it is a tongue twister, but Intelligence Activists is just somebody that really wants you to reach your potential, so I ignite the brilliance and all the answers that you have within, that you might not just be able to find on your own.

Kim: Igniting your brilliance within, that’s absolutely amazing, and untapping potential. That’s a lot to start right of with AmyK, can you give an introduction even more than I just said and let listeners know where you’ve come from to be where you are today?

Amy: I’m so sorry, I just totally lost it!

Kim: Oh my gosh! Positive productivity seriously do not even worry about it. I have a cat that’s hanging from blinds right now.

Amy: That’s hysterical! So here we were just talking about, so I have to say with everybody. We were just talking about the whole concept of this is going to be one of those glitchy days and sure enough like five seconds in. We’re already doing the crazy sounds, so Kim am I back with you?

Kim: Yeah you are back.

Amy: You’re great, that was so funny! So let me just say to everybody that’s listening. That is classic the way that it works. And so that’s part of my journey, is that my journey is the – when I was in my 20’s, I was like: ” well let me just fake it till I make it,” and now that I’m in my 40’s , I’m like: ” Hey, what you see is what you get and what you hear is what you get,” and that is the real world technology quits to. I started off loving teaching, loving the way that we learn. I started off as an Elementary School Teacher, and I love working with children, but I was so fascinated with the way that we learn and we process information at a neurological level. Then I went back to Grad School. And I actually studied the Brain and Cognitive Science and Education, and then turn that around to train teachers in our International School System. So a lot of times we’re given this curriculum and then we kind of cookie cutter how we approach teaching and children are so different and they have such a myriad of ways that they process kinesthetically, visually, spatially, some people, we may call, have maybe a learning disability or they’re challenged to learn in a certain way, and so I got fascinated and intrigued by how do we, instead of applying a cookie cutter approach? How can we adapt and actually meet the needs of every single individual child and set them up for success, and let them feel good about themselves, so that we get them intellectually curious and excited about learning? And so I trained teachers in Brain-Based Methodology, and then I went, and I became a Corporate Trainer and then I became a training company and then here we are 26 years later in my career and I’m still an educator. I’m still a teacher, I just play on a global stage, and I work with leaders and I have a blast doing it. But my journey as a circuitous as it sounds, and very much as a threat of education through it.

Kim: Oh, I could see that, circuitous wow! I feel like I’m getting so many tweetables and a vocabulary lesson and I was actually thinking about how you were talking about educating kids, and how will we try to cookie cutter them, but also in the entrepreneurial space. So many people try to set up cookie cutter methods that you know: ” this worked for me, it’s gonna work for you.” No!

Amy: No!

Kim: So it worked that you are doing what you’re doing.

Amy: Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting! There’s a great example right there. So I just went on my mastermind offsite, so there are three other women and maybe we get together once a year. This year was in Cancun, it was, it was rough, let me tell you, it was a terrible trip, but we were down in Cancun, we’re drinking Margaritas and we’re all working on our strategic plans. And you could not ask for more for disparate individuals. I mean, we’re so different from each other, and yet, what we realized is that’s the beauty of it. Every single person approaches the same task with such a unique perspective that we all learn from each other without judging like: “Oh, maybe she’s doing it better than me. Now, it’s different, she’s running her business in a different way, she’s still highly successful,” but we don’t have to be that other person. We can take like a gem from them, we could take a nugget that resonates for us, but we don’t have to be them to be successful.

Kim: Absolutely. Thank you much for saying that. And that was a three and a half year struggle in this journey of entrepreneurship for me to realize I didn’t have to be everybody else to do something that was impactful.

Amy: It’s true. We get a lot of mixed messages. We get a lot of noise. You know, we get the, Oh, you know, you should be doing this and you should be doing that and you should, you should, you should. And like one day I woke up and it took me awhile to Kim, but one day I was just like, you know what? I just got to stop shitting on myself. [laughing]

Kim: Oh, I love that! I’m gonna have to borrow that. Stop, should I shouldn’t say it again?

Amy: Stop shoulding on yourself.

Kim: Yes.

Amy: And we all know what it sounds like, we all know what it sounds like, what the word is actually should stop shoulding on yourself.

Kim: I know. That’s why I’m having trouble saying it because I really want to say the other thing.

Amy:  [laughing] That’s part of that beautiful new habit, but it really is one of those things where, um, and you and I were talking a little bit about this earlier too, it’s, it’s really hard to stop tune out the noise, especially in this world of social media. It really is.

Kim: Yeah. The comparison syndrome. I went for a year and a half wondering why wasn’t as far along as these people who had been in business for as long as me. And then I had a great friend said, well you are Kim, you are not insert name here. And I realized you’re right, you know, I am, I’m me and I’m not going to paint my hair a certain color, or you know, start cussing every word that might pop into my brain, but I wouldn’t even say normal life just to get attention. So I’m not saying that other people do. I’m just know I got to do things. I have to be me. Yeah,

Amy: That’s right! And the person who wants to color their hair and cuss, it’s not really them. If it’s not a gimmick then it’s awesome, because then they’re, they’re expressing who they are. And I think that one of the things that, um, I’ve been talking about lately because it’s really become ubiquitous, is that social media does an extraordinary amount of good. I mean, I, I cannot tell you how much I love that I can donate to charities or I can participate in somebody’s Go Fund Me, or you know, two days ago, tragically we lost a firefighter in the California Fires and I’m in California, and so to be able to go on and very quickly be able to support that family both with words and money, I really do believe that social media has given us access to a lot of good. The flip side of it, is that it gives us access to a wealth of information, a lot of noise, a lot of: ” Hey, look at me, look at how amazing my life is.” And it’s not that we wish anybody ill. It’s just that, one of the things that we tend to forget is that social media, especially if you’re on like a facebook or an instagram or snap chat, it’s somebody’s highlight reel. And we’re looking at somebody’s highlight reel and we’re comparing it to our daily grind. I mean, I seriously doubt that you’re taking selfies can, where you’re like: ” Oh, I am picking up cat poop, or my cat just packed up a furball like, let me take a picture of that.” Like: “No, that’s, that’s never on facebook, like here’s the real world!” And so, one of the things that I was talking with a group at a women’s conference recently as I said that the United States used to be number one at Math and Science and sadly today, what we are number one at what we beat every other country in the world and as our anti anxiety or anti-depression medications. And that’s not judgement! Mean if you need it, absolutely that’s not judgment about who you are. I’m just saying that I think the reason that it’s going up, is because we have so much more negative comparison, people feel more stressed by this level of comparison. They feel more anxious about the competition and I just think we need to remind ourselves that we got to swim in our own lane. We really shouldn’t be looking at anybody else’s lane in the process.

Kim: That is so amazing that you brought that up because that is a big point that I try to make regularly on positive productivity in the brand in here as well is that anxiety. It can be affected so much by looking outside, but so often it’s just the simple changes on the inside. They can also help us get out of that. For me it was remembering or not remembering, starting to sleep again. I was sleeping two to three hours a night for a year and a half to two years consistently because I was trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Amy: Oh, wow!

Kim: No!

Amy: That could not have ended well,  [laughing] that is extraordinarily hard on the body. The mind, the spirit.

Kim: Oh No. It didn’t end up all well and ended actually the night before I had that conversation with a friend who told me: ” You know, you’re Kim,” because I was about ready to just end it all together because I was just so, well, my, my mind was just so over anxious and depressed because of what I was doing to myself that it could no longer make competent and safe decisions for myself. And that was when it all just came crashing down, but in the best way possible.

Amy: Well, you got to go through the fire and really and truly, that’s one of those things that I think now that in your 20’s you’re like, oh, I’m just going to avoid all the fire, and then when you hit the four days, you’re like, no, I’m walking through it because I know that it’s walking through it that actually allows you to see the beauty on the other side. You can’t avoid it. You got to go through it.

Kim: Oh, absolutely. So what did your journey up to writing your book look like?

Amy: You know, highs and lows, I think like everybody else, it seemed like there were days of chaotic joy, and then there were days where you just like: ” No, it’s just chaotic and sucks.”  [laughing] So I think that I’ve had, I’ve been blessed, I will say that I’ve been extraordinarily blessed. I was raised in a beautiful family by beautiful parents and by beautiful i mean, smart, loving, compassionate, and that’s, that’s like a leap ahead of the game already. When you come from an extraordinarily functional loving family, you’ve already kind of beaten the odds in so many ways. So that was just by the grace of God and the luck of the family that I was born into. And then I really wanted to teach, and so I became a teacher and I had a starter marriage, so I had the classic, you know, get married really young, meet him in school. I’m way too young to know who I was yet, but smart enough to know that this wasn’t the person that I was destined to live with forever. So we had that very quick marriage, very short marriage. And then I went overseas and I taught, I lived in Shanghai, I worked Corporate in London, I had some incredible international experiences, and that’s one thing that I think that has probably stayed with me the most, is that just living overseas for five years, you realize the world is an extraordinarily large place to figure out who you are, to figure out how it all works, to realize that we’re all diverse, different value sets, different belief systems, but they all work. And they can all work beautifully when we respect them, when we honor them, when we love one another, and so that really kind of just launched me into this whole, I want to play bigger, I want to serve more people, I want to transform more lives, and so in 2000, I started my own company.

Kim: Wow, AmyK, I had one of those starter marriages as well, but the relationship lasted 13 years.

Amy: Oh, um yeah. But you know why? You won’t, you don’t, please tell me that you’ve moved into a space of:  “I wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience.”

Kim: Oh, I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am. I mean, I wouldn’t have moved to Ohio and if it hadn’t been for him and I wouldn’t have in the end met my husband who is absolutely my soul mate and our house wouldn’t be insane with you know, as many kids and animals that we have now had that not happened. So, everything for a reason.

Amy: Yeah.

Kim: Sometimes you don’t need to go to Shanghai to get that like big difference in perspective. I mean I moved to the middle of nowhere in Ohio from right outside of New York City, whoo, awesome!

Amy: No! It could be a trip to Costco! I mean, I think what it is is that, it’s one of those strange things so where we were kind of sold this myth when we’re little. And that is that when we get older it’s going to be easier. Like we’re going to have some magical shift when we reach adulthood. Roellich will know the answers and we’ll look so in charge and efficient and organized and through those big eye as a little kid, we look at this adult fantasy of, oh, have it all figured out and what you realize as you get older, as actually it gets harder, it gets messier, it gets quirkier, but we can become more grounded in that, but life is just this quirky, crazy ride and it’s not about trying to get off the ride. It’s about trying to say, OK, can I enjoy the highs, the lows, the dips, and really take full advantage of this rollercoaster.

Kim: Absolutely. I’m over here laughing thinking about what you’re saying and also the title of your book The Secrets Leaders Keep, because I burned dinner on a regular basis and I can’t use the restroom in my house when my kids are at home without someone finding a sharpie marker. I mean –

Amy:  [laughing] I do remember years ago, so like all of my nieces and my nephew are teenagers now, but it was so funny because I do remember my sister in law is saying: “Do I really have to lock every crayola in a drawer just to pee?”  [laughing]

Kim: Yes.

Amy:  [laughing] It was like, yes, yes. I think you do.  [laughing]

Kim: Yeah. Actually, in going back to what you were saying earlier about posting on social media, I think I did one of my first Facebook Lives on my Personal Profile last week and it was actually after my three year old daughter found the sharpie and colored her whole face cream –

Amy: Ha? –

Kim: – And, yeah! It was, she just looked at the camera and she says: ” I colored my face and I can’t get it off.” And then she’d be big toothy white smile through the Green Lips.

Amy: Oh that’s awesome!

Kim: Yeah. So no, I don’t share like me scooping the litter box. Actually my husband won’t let me do that, but I’m not gonna hide the hilarious, you know, what I would tend to have hidden even just five years ago in the background, no –

Amy: No, but then why come to a place that is very secure? And I think that that’s, you know, again, we, we come from a whole new perspective and I think for years, women really got told through magazine advertising and magazine stories, and television sitcoms that, unless your house was really perfect and your dress was starched and the hot meal was there, you know, we had a lot of old school. Everything in its place and we’ve really kind of honored the fact that no, you don’t want to live like a slob, and live life, but we do need to honor the moments that you know your kid’s lips are green. You can either laugh about it, you can cry about it, you can get angry about it, but that’s a choice and that reaction right there is what to me is where all the power is is how do you really want to react and that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a human responsibility, but you’re bigger than that. Then that’s kind of a really cool thing to remember too, is I have a dear friend who once said to me, she’s a, she’s an awesome speaker, which is like: ” We are always bigger than our initial reaction.” And it was like, yeah, we are.

Kim: Actually, I see that with my husband sometimes. Like I’ll want to say something and then I’ll just keep my mouth shut because I know it’s better to just keep my mouth shut and they’ll look at me just sort of puzzled and he say: “Do you want to say something?” Like: “No, I think it would be better if you just give me a couple of minutes.” But, yeah, for all parts of life, I mean there’s those emails that we want to send sometimes in the heat of the moment and the comments back on a Facebook Thread, yeah, we’re better than those initial reactions.

Amy: We are! And if we would just, if we would just pause a lot long enough to say, look, this reaction is normal, this reaction is human, but this isn’t necessarily the reaction that I want to continue with. So you can be angry, you can be jealous, you can be upset. That’s human, but then what do you do with that? How do you channel it? Can you stop long enough to say, OK, now what am I really going to say? Am I gonna you know, which ones am I going to use? Because there’s only a couple of words that are gonna hurt and there’s only a couple of words that are going to help. Which way am I gonna go?

Kim: I’m going to have to remember that one too!

Amy: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really good one. So for me, one of the things that I did years ago, um, I, I tend to be very compassionate until I’m blunt and that’s just, it’s a really kind of, it’s just, I’m just being candid about my personality. I can show you the biggest amounts of grace until all of a sudden, like, my line is crossed and then I go from gracious to too blunt. And so I had a card in front of me, uh, just an index card and it said hurt question mark or help, because I’m really good at the health health health of, oh, you’re really pissing me off, I’m going to hurt now.  [laughing] It was like, no, no, no. Stay on this side of the card. And it was a great! There’s just a wonderful visual reminder that everything that I say, is my responsibility, it’s my choice!

Kim: Do you think there’s anything in between those two? Because I can see myself like help, help, help, help, help until it’s too late, and then it’s gone too far, but maybe it’s just a woman thing. It’s hard to find that middle ground.

Amy: I don’t know. You know, that’s an interesting question. I think of my, my first response would be, no, and here’s why. This is not one of those areas where we get 50 Shades Of Gray. This is one of those where I would say, OK, you know that what you’re about to say is either going to be hurting or it’s going to be helping. Now there might be a town up, OK, what I’m about to say is tough love, but you actually are helping, but you’re not coming from a place of insecurity, fear, lack, desperation, crankiness, because really at the end of the day, you’re either coming from all those or you’re coming from a place of love or you’re coming from a place of understanding and compassion and that is always a choice.

Kim: Very true. When I was in interior architecture students, the professors often went with a positive, negative, positive critique approach. They would tell us what they liked about what we doing and then they would give the feedback that wasn’t positive. I can’t tell you what’s next necessarily negative, but it definitely wasn’t positive and then go back with a positive again. And that taught me so much about how I want to run my business and even with my kids. And sometimes it’s hard to remember, you know, I appreciate the fact that you started working on the kitchen. This would be my 15 year old, however, your chore is to do all the dishes. But again, I, I appreciate that you’ve gotten started and so many times it can just go straight in for the – Yeah – But why didn’t you do? Why isn’t it yet done?

Amy: And that goes back to a lot of, um, when we coach leaders, I’ll often say, you know, we, we, we’re so quick to want to fix it or we’re so quick to just respond because we’re annoyed. They will even do the why. Like why didn’t you do the dishes? Like, why didn’t you finish it? And that puts somebody immediately on the defensive. And so instead of just getting all pissed off, it’s that deep breath of, OK, help me understand what prevented you from finishing, help me understand what caused you to not do it all the way or, you know, help me understand what’s going in your thought process. Or maybe maybe I didn’t make my expectations clear. I’m talking about every single dish. So this is an awesome start. It doesn’t mean that you can’t hold somebody accountable. It just means how do we approach that conversation? And I think, can you read this, I’m sure, but one of the things that I truly believe in, is that life is happening one conversation at a time. Chunk it down. It’s no more complicated and a crazy complicated, but it’s no more complicated than one conversation at a time. Doesn’t mean they all go well? It just means that if we can just be like, OK, how do I want to help in this conversation? What do I want out of this conversation? What do they want out of this conversation? It makes us slow down and actually get more out of our relationships.

Kim: And sometimes the conversations with ourselves, are the ones that are most impactful.

Amy: Oh, absolutely! And absolutely includes ourselves.

Kim: Yeah. Wow. Before we jumped into the recorded session, we had an amazing pre chat and you were talking about think tanks, which seems like it would be very impactful in the conversation side as well. I mean, would you jump into that a little bit?

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. So again, my background is in Cognitive Science Education, so how we think, how we process and one of the things that we know just from years and years of research, everything from University of Michigan to Berkeley to Emory, to MIT, they’ve all proven it. We are better problem solvers, we are better thinkers, when we collaborate, Da, you got more brainpower. So one of the things that we do is we run think tanks inside companies and we can do them personally as well. Like sometimes it can be like a mastermind group, where you have a bunch of different people, but we also run think tanks and we run the think-tanks either inside a company or with like 15 to 17 CEO’s that are all in non-compete situations. So everybody’s from a different industry, so they feel like it’s safe to play. But what you do, is you get all these bright people in a room, and you tackle various challenges are various opportunities, but the idea is that you’re going to raise the level of critical thinking very quickly because you have a myriad of perspectives. You have so much thought, expertise, experience and wisdom in the room that we want to leverage it. It goes back to why I’m an intelligence activist because a lot of the collaborative work that I do, is around collective intelligence, so it’s no different than if you and I get together and let’s say we’re working on some challenge or opportunity that we’re facing, we’re gonna be far more successful in our ideating, and our brainstorming, and our problem solving, because two heads are better than one. We’ve heard that classic proverb and it’s true, when you get 17 people in a room. You know, you really can, say oh, well, the collective intelligence of the room is going to drive our business forward faster.

Kim: Wow, I would love to be a fly on the wall for one of those.

Amy: Oh, I love them. They’re absolutely a blast. I love what I do for. I absolutely love it and it really is cool, so like just two weeks ago, I was up in LA and we were working with a Financial Company and there were only four of them in the room, the top, the top leaders. But what was fascinating is one of the women came up to me and she says, I think that might be one of the best meetings that we’ve had in like 10 years, because it wasn’t out of habit. It wasn’t that Download Data dump or going through the motions we’re checking in. we’re telling people what we’re working on. I was like, no, we’re problem-solving. I mean, she’s like, I’m tired and I’m exhausted and I’m energized all at the same time. It was like, OK, I’ve done my job.

Kim: So many meetings can fall into that though and I been in so many myself where it’s, it just feels like a waste of time after having spent two hours in there and really having gotten nothing accomplished. Why do you think that people are able to accomplish so much more in the think tank session then if they did it on their own?

Amy: [inaudible ]Because we’re, we’re engaging them in a whole new way. So you’re forcing them to think differently. So here’s here. I’ll just do a real world example. So Kim, whatever you’re willing to share, go ahead and share, but what’s one of your business objectives for 2018?

Kim: I am launching the Positive Productivity Pod Group coaching program.

Amy: OK, terrific! No critical thinking required. Not your fault. It’s an example of the question that I asked you. I asked you something that’s low level recall. In other words, you already knew the answer to it. So I’m going to ask it again. You just repeat your answer. So Kim, what’s one of your objectives for 2018?

Kim: I’m launching the Positive Productivity Pod Group coaching program.

Amy: OK. Now, you just repeat something that you already know the answer to. That’s a recall question, but now if I asked you how are you going to launch that successfully, how are you going to launch that so that it’s more profitable and more transformational than any other project you’ve done in the past? I only asked you one compound question and I’m not asking you to answer it today because it’s a crazy big question, but what are you actually have to start to go do, in order to answer my question?

Kim: A hell of a lot of work.

Amy: Yes, and this is where our think tanks becomes so engaging. So what we’ll do is we’ll find those four or five, what I call bigger, badder better, bolder questions, and those four or five are the ones that we work on. So if you and I were to get together, we would spend, let’s just say 16 minutes answering that. How would you launch it more successfully, more profitably than anything that you’ve ever done? And then we would dive in and we would dive in from this incredibly creative and innovative, we’d hold space, as I say, we’d hold space for us to explore all the possibilities, put a plan together. I mean, it’d probably be the most robust 16 minutes you’ve done, maybe not you because you’re a new kick ass and take names. But it would be an incredibly intense session where I’m challenging you to think reflectively. Well, what have you done in the past that worked well? Did you think about an evaluative sense? OK, well, what are my current personnel resources, dollars, energy constraints? What are the consequences, the unintended consequences? What do I want to put into this? How am I going to define success with this? OK, let me predict another high form of thinking. Let me go forward and map out my next 30, 60 90 day game plan. That is a whole different level of thinking and it only took one better question and that’s what we teach people to do is find that bigger badder, better bolder questions.

Kim: When I see that in my brain, it looks like the New York City subway system copied about 18 times on itself and rotated, so there’s just so many strings coming off. I can see how it could be exhausting.

Amy: It is, but it’s also energizing and that’s the cool thing that we do it in such a way that you don’t feel overwhelmed, you actually feel more excited and in control. And that’s probably where my skillset comes from as a Facilitator, is that, that’s a nuanced approach, you know, to be able to facilitate that, whether it’s a coaching session with somebody or a think tank scenario, the idea is to get you excited and jazzed, so that you can drive the business forward. So that you can take action that’s chunkable, that’s achievable, that makes you feel like you are actually making progress and then I’m a big fan I don’t know where you are on this, but I get so tired of people moving the finish line. It’s like, no, no, no, no. Chunk it! Celebrate your progress then move to the next one. Chunk it, celebrate your progress. Then move to the next one. Don’t wait for, oh, 10 years down the line, I’ll stop, I’ll breathe and I’ll celebrate. It’s like, no, this is the journey guys. You got to celebrate along the way.

Kim: Absolutely. I mean, I started the initial funnel three months ago when I knew it was still a month out and I did celebrate the funnel wasn’t even ready yet.

Amy: Yeah?  [laughing]

Kim: I just want to. I just want to say though that even though I said I can see how it would be exhausting, like just that question being asked of me, I already got excited because I hadn’t been asked that and now I’m even looking at what I’m doing now, and I’m thinking, yeah, what am I going to do? So thank you.

Amy: No, it’s fun! This and I do believe it’s fun. Like it’s fun for me. I get jazzed and maybe that’s why, you know, after doing this for 26 years, I still love it, its because I do talk about business as playing. I do talk about it as fun and if it’s not play and it’s not fun, you need to find a new sandbox. You really do.

Kim: It sounds like you’ve found your why, like in 26 years ago or if not more, then that’s amazing, because so many entrepreneurs are still chasing the wrong. Well, they don’t know their why, so they’re chasing the wrong thing.

Amy: Well, I think, you know, we’ve gotten a lot of attention on the why and I think it’s also the how. And I’m not, I’m not negating that all because yes, I’m very clear on my why, but I think here’s the thing, there are a lot of different house. There are a lot of different ways that I could do it, but you and I were talking about this before we started recording. You have a brilliant bad-ass podcast and you’re like, oh well you do you have one? I was like, no, I like being a guest on somebody else’s because my why is really clear, but so is my how, having my own podcast doesn’t jazz me, but finding somebody else who’s jazzed by that and being a guest on theirs, that does jazz me and so again, it’s, it’s that same it goes back to that comparison. I’ve had so many people over the years, like, you need your own Podcast, you need your own Podcast. And I was like, no, I’m really clear, that’s not my How. That’s going to detract me from my focus over here, which I love and get passionate about and that’s think tanks and speaking, so if I let somebody else do the podcast and the world and abundant place and we’re all doing what we’re meant to do.

Kim: Amen to that, and you’re right, i love having my own podcast, I have to say that part of the love also comes from the fact that yeah, it’s the first project that I have actually stuck with for as long as I have, so now it’s not. It’s a habit.

Amy: It’s a good habit.

Kim: It’s a sense of accomplishment. I love connecting with people and I’m not saying that you can’t connect with people on other Podcasts and I totally agree with, with AmyK like getting on other Podcasts is huge, and listeners, you can go back and listen to prior episodes with Tom Schwab and Dan. Sorry Dan, I don’t remember your last name at the very tip of my tongue, but from interview valet and they get people on other people’s Podcasts. There’s so much value in there and sometimes, well not sometimes. All the time. We just need to know what is the best use of our time right now and how’s, how’s it going to fulfill or how fulfill our whoa. Yeah.

Amy: Yeah, i know its absolutely fulfilling your house. And I think that that’s, you know, the other thing is too, is that people say, do what you love and the money will follow. And I’m like: “Ahh, only if you have a skill set that goes with what you love. I mean I love music but I can’t carry a tune.” So you know, I could, I could quote unquote launch my singing career, but the only way I’m going to sell an album as if it’s a parody of what bad scene is all about. So –

Kim: So we should have a record.

Amy: So, you know, I looked at you and I, and again I’m not blowing smoke, but one of the things that I think is really important is to honor what people are really good at. You are brilliant, not blowing smoke at running your own show. And I think that my best use is to say, OK, somebody else is awesome at that. Let them be awesome at that, and I’m going to go figure out my own house and that goes right back to the, you know, finding gems from everybody else’s and realizing that: “OK, I don’t have to be like everybody else and there’s enough space in this world for everybody’s gifts to shine.” So when they find them, when you find your ” why” and you find your “how” and you’ve got some skill set, will then you are off to the races. I mean like you don’t even need like a Unicorn tears and a magic wand. You’re just off to the races.

Kim: Do you see this being a common issue with the leaders that you help?

Amy: Yes, I do. I see it, especially with emerging entrepreneurs. So, one of the things that I think one of the traps that we all have is that, you know, the immersion entrepreneur has this brilliant idea and then they think that they have to know everything about everything in order to be successful. And I’m like, no, get started and surround yourself. And it’s very difficult, and I understand this because I was an entrepreneur myself, you know, people will be like, oh, just hire, hire, hire. And it’s like, no, you don’t understand, I haven’t sold anything yet. So you do have to do that balance in that Inter, um, interpersonal work I should say, of, OK, am I willing to go into debt? Do I want to ask for a round of funding? Do I want to take out a credit card? Like how am I going to do this in my own comfort zone? What’s my level of risk? How much risk am I willing to tolerate? And that’s probably one of the first questions that I would tell an entrepreneur to answer is, don’t just say you’re going to take risks because that’s a no brainer. You absolutely are. But how much risk are you willing to tolerate before you think you’d lose your mind? And that’s that sweet spot of, OK: “I can handle some debt. I could bring on like a Virtual Assistant or I could hire the media expert or I could join a mastermind or I could participate in this group over here.” But you definitely can’t do it alone, and if you try to do it alone, it will take you a lot longer to be successful.

Kim: Yes. To all of the above. But I do, I mean going back to what we were saying before, just if you’re going to use Social Media to connect with that, just make sure that you’re finding the best group for you that it’s not all about comparison. Because there is somewhere out there on Facebook, there is a group that’s all about supporting each other and taking each other to the next level and not just wanting. Yeah,

Amy: Absolutely. And I think it also goes back to, you know, and we can flip it on its ear. One of the other things that I’ll tell people who say, oh well, you know, every time I go on

New Speaker: Facebook, you know, I’m like filled with rage and jealousy. And I’m like, OK, well then let’s look at you for a second. Because if you were feeling secure, if you were feeling like you were good enough as a human being that you were worthy, then you don’t wish other people ill will. You can actually cheer and be their champion and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a gentleman named C. S. Lewis, but he’s the one that wrote The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and many other incredible books, but he has one of my favorite quotes from him. He’ll say, “Praise is inner health made audible,” and I love that because when I can be happy for you and genuinely be your cheerleader and champion, it means that I’m healthy with myself on the inside.

Kim: I love C. S. Lewis and I love Sam. Yeah, yeah. It’s one of my favorites is so beautiful. So would you say you have fun from stage and I know you have fun in your work, but I’d love to hear more about that and I’m sure the listeners would as well.

Amy: I would probably define that a couple of different ways. One is just the jazz have seen, you know, a thousand people in a convention center or 5,000 depending on what we’re doing and knowing that you’ve got so many stories that will resonate, that if one story doesn’t resonate with Kim, it might resonate with somebody else or vice versa. But that you really are letting them know that it’s a human journey. And so my messages are all about either Leadership, Sales, Innovation, Creativity, Team Culture. I mean I’m a very hardcore secular business speaker that at the end of the day I have a very strong message of self worth, self belief, playing better, but you know, being your most authentic self. Those are threads that I weave through all of my keynotes. And so just to have somebody walk up to me afterward and say, you know, this story resonated with me or this tool, I’m a big believer in tools. This tool, like I just did it and it turned my whole thought process around and I’m like, I like, my eyes are opening or, or I had one guy, this was fun. So a week ago I’m in Chicago and I’m doing a Sales Event and it’s a Sales Event and this guy walks up to me and he says: “I’ve been in therapy for 10 years, and that one tool that you shared about turning your thoughts around,” he said that was better than 10 years of therapy. And I was like, oh my God. He made me teary eyed. He was like, you’re doing good work. I was like, that, I can float on that for months.

Kim: Wow! Yeah, I would be able to float on them for months too.

Amy: So that’s. That to me is how I define fun is that I really do believe I’m making a difference. One of my, like when you ask somebody what their personal mission is, my eye, it sounds corny, but it’s true. My mission is to be that activist so that you can be brilliant in business and happy in life. That’s it! My mission in life is to help you be brilliant in business and happy in life because that makes me ridiculously happy. Um, and everybody’s like, oh, that sounds so woo. And then they meet me and they’re like,: “Oh God, you’re actually doing so that is what you do.” And like, yes, yes it is what I do.

Kim: AmyK, how is this the first time that we’ve ever talked?

Amy: Because. Yeah, because we’re human beings and there’s, there’s millions of us on this planet, but we did connect and that is serendipitous or synchronistic or however you want to define it. But there’s a reason why we connected.

Kim: Absolutely. Well, I’m going to be out in your neck of the woods twice next year, so I hope that you’re not, you know, of on the other side of the world or you know, it would be funny if you were actually in there, when I’m, when I’m there both times?

Amy: Oh i hope you already do, because if I’m in town we’re definitely getting together.

Kim: Yeah, definitely.  [laughing]

Amy: And listeners, that has been another huge journey of mind through the whole Podcasting journey is just all the amazing people that I’ve met through my own show. But I’m sure AmyK can see at the same thing about being on other people’s shows. I mean, it’s, it’s amazing the people that you wouldn’t have necessarily spoken with, had you not connected even through the Podcasts because in this environment, especially the entrepreneurial environment, we can be so often hold up in our own space. Like if I didn’t have shows to record some days, I think that the only people that I would talk to are my husband and my kids,

Amy: Yeah, that’s true. But that’s real. I mean, that’s, that’s the entrepreneurial journey. I mean, it’s one of the things that, um, it sounds strange and again, I’m not being hypocritical because I just said you have to collaborate. You really do have to find other people that want to play in your Sandbox. But at the end of the day, the entrepreneur’s journey can be very lonely. I mean, it’s, it’s an extraordinary amount of work that you’re doing in your office, you know, in front of a screen to get it up and running. And of course we’re all people oriented, you know, you’re doing things that are, that are helping people’s lives, but there are many a day where you gotta be a pretty darn good introvert.

Kim: Yes. And I am naturally an introvert, so this is quite, these are actually a blessing for me. I actually have started making sure that I block out one week a month where there are no calls just so I could get all that stuff.

Amy: Yeah, that’s really, really smart because now see now you’re working on the business rather than in it. And that’s just brilliant.

Kim: Oh yeah. And it took forever to get here. I will, what felt like forever, it really wasn’t. It was five years, but I remember just two years ago asking somebody that I looked up to as a Mentor, how did you do it? You know, how did you start stepping away from client work and give yourself the time to be working on your business instead of in? And she said: “Well, I just started taking the small steps. Maybe it was just a half hour a day.” And at that point, even that half hour a day, seemed incomprehensible to me because I was. I was working all the time on my client work and I, I felt like I couldn’t. But there also came some confidence and allowed for it all that happened. So it will come. If you’re an emerging entrepreneur out there listening, it will come! You just have to start taking those little small steps.

Amy: No, absolutely. And I think that’s part of the: “Given yourself permission to change the habit”. You know, just say you know, and, and naturally like treating yourself like you treat a client and it sounds so goofy to say, but if you were talking to a client on the phone, let’s just say you and I were having a phone call and somebody called and you saw them on your phone, you would like, you’d hit OK send a Voicemail. Like you would ignore them because we were a priority in that moment. So why don’t we do that for ourselves? Why would we not carve out 20 – 30 – 45 minutes for ourselves? And then when that phone call comes in, it’s like send a Voicemail because we are just as important as the client.

Kim: I have actually just recently, even though it’s been about a year since I started, you know, making sure that I have some time for me, it’s only just been recently that I shut off Skype notifications and Email notifications.

Amy: Yeah, because they are so distracting. We’re like Pablo Vans dog, I don’t know about you, but I even have pushed notifications on my phone that dang, and it sounds just like a text message, so I used to, and this is just being vulnerable, but I used to turn around like, like Pavlov’s dog “ding ding ding,” and it’d be like you know, Politico, CNN, you know, MSNBC like the Washington Post and the New York Time, and I was like, OK, none of this matters right now. So turn off your phone,  [laughing] And it was, it was. I realized, you know, I had to take my own advice. It was like I can tune out the World Headlines for two hours while I actually do something productive.

Kim: Speaking of what tool or tools help you be the most productive in your everyday?

Amy: Oh, that’s a great question. Um, how do you mean? Like more specifically than I live on my laptop? I would say there’s two things that I do that actually kind of set me up for success and one is just a note program, so it’s like everybody’s Apps, here’s might be evernote, but mine, I just go into my, the, the notes that came on my Iphone, but I am constantly, and this might even just be a sign of age, but I am a big believer that when you get that brilliant idea or when you, when you recall something that you should have done, I just immediately go in and write it down on my phone now and it’s one of those things where it’s the only time where I might actually be slightly of the: ” Oh, Kim, you know, we’re talking face to face having a cup of coffee, but you just gave me a brilliant idea.” I need to write it down because I now realize that 46, that idea may not be recalled three hours from now. So just having the Note App is a huge, a huge boost for me.

Kim: I used it too, AmyK.

Amy: Yeah, I just, I live and breathe by that one. Um, and then you’re going to laugh, but I also use on my phone, I use my timer and I get really fun alarm sounds now that are more energizing than waking up to like that horrible beep when your alarm goes off in the morning or I have like a really fun one that all set for 20 minute chunks when it’s like, OK, I just want to work on this for 20 minutes and give it my undivided attention. But then a fun alarm goes off versus like kind of that horrible angry sound that can sometimes come on your phone?

Kim: Yes. You know, my husband could sleep right through the angry alarm sound on his Iphone. So we actually started using, I think it’s the bedtime function within the phone. Uh, we both now have birds waking us up in the morning, which is, we’re going through the winter right now. Listeners at the time of this recording. So it’s a little bit strange hearing all these tropical birds, especially since we don’t live in the tropics, waking us up. But it’s so nice to wake up to something gentle.

Amy: Yes. And that can change it up too. So some days, and um, you can set your alarm to, to have music play. It’s like an actual song can be your alarm. So I have um, one of my speaker friends, she um, does journey and she’s got, I think it’s believer or something, believer, sorry, I’m blanking on it. But then I’ve done Alicia Keys’, This Girl Is On Fire, and so again, just having something that changes it up that keeps it different, that like, which your brain up for a different purpose so you can wake up and I’m like all about the whole. Let me wake up slowly. Let me look at the, you know, let me look at the world peacefully for just a second. Let me kind of roll into this day. And then there’s other days where I’m like: “No, I just want to get up and jump out of bed.” But just changing it up is fun.

Kim: The last time we woke up to an alarm are somebody had switched the alarm clock in our bedroom to the Country Station and I am not knocking anybody who’s listening, who listens to Country. I listened to Country for a little bit, but the song that was playing on that morning was American Harvester, and that was the last day that we listened to music, so we might have thought,  [laughing] again.

Amy: [ laughing] Whatever works, whatever floats your boat however you want to do it, but those are two things that keep me productive and you know and you’re going to laugh at it because it’s also date and I’ll give you one more thing that I still love, and I know there’s an App for it now, you can do the Post-It Note App, but I, still in my office I still use Post-It Notes and that really dates me, but there’s a part of me that loves that visual of moving ideas around, feeling that flexibility and people are like, well, you know, you can do that electronically. I’m like, I know you can. But there’s a part of me that just that kinesthetic, that touch of picking up, you know, four or five different Post-It Notes and plane with them visually is how I still write my books. That’s how I still work on trainings and keynotes, like I’ll, I’ll have a wall plaster with multicolored Post-It Notes, but it’s just this beautiful creative exercise for me and I still love it and I know it’s Old School, but it’s me,

Kim: Pastels, brights?

Amy: Both.

Kim: I just had to ask.

Amy:  [laughing] I totally get it, but yes, both from neon pink to a beautiful wedgwood blue.  [laughing]

Kim: No, I work with postage too, and when I can’t find them because the kids are taking them and decorated their room with them, it’s almost, well I always have index cards in a roll of tape, so my, around my monitors decorated the same way . AmyK , this has been an amazing conversation. I want to thank you so much for joining us on the positive productivity Podcast today. Where can listeners connect with you and get to know more?

Amy: They can easily go to my website, which is just four letters. It’s super easy. It is A – M – Y – K, so AmyK, my first name, AmyK.com and they can read all about us we have tons of free stuff too Kim, like they can watch videos, they can get attached to our Amy Chasms, we’ve got, um, over 30 of them now, they’re really short videos, really short content, we’re very irreverent. I’ll warn your listeners, very irreverent, but we have lots of free tools that they joined the community. We send you a bunch of free stuff. We have classes, we have think tanks. I obviously I speak from stage, but they don’t, you know, depending on what you’re interested in, there’s just all kinds of resources there for whatever kind of, float your boat.

Kim: Great. I know AmyK.com is not hard to remember, but listeners in case you’re out and about, you can go and find all the show notes and eventually a transcript at TheKimSutton.com/PP244.  AmyK , thank you so much again. Do you have a last piece of advice or a golden nugget that you can offer to listeners?

Amy: I would say because I’m such a big believer in questions that I’ll leave you with one question and then a thought that goes with it, and that is: ” Who do you want to be in 2018, um, or any year, and can you be Her, here? “ Meaning, how do you have to change your thinking? How might you have to change your behaviors in order to be this incredible result, the biggest result of your potential that you can be? So who do you want to be? Can you be Her here? And if you can’t change your thinking, change your behavior and you will get a definitely changed result.