Self Leadership and Giving Yourself Permission with Amanda Flisher

Cover art featuring Amanda Flisher

If Money Were Easy

Hosted by Mary Beth Storjohann and Neela Hummel

Self Leadership and Giving Yourself Permission with Amanda Flisher

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If Money Were Easy
Self Leadership and Giving Yourself Permission with Amanda Flisher

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Episode Summary

On this episode of If Money Were Easy, we’ll be diving deep into the fascinating yet challenging topic of self-leadership and giving yourself permission. Our guest today is Amanda Flisher, who shares a captivating analogy that perfectly captures the process of pursuing our goals – from sitting on the dock, yearning for the future, and taking that brave step into the unknown. We discuss the importance of understanding ourselves, giving ourselves permission to be authentic, and making decisions based on our personal values and desires. Amanda also shares insight into how she helps individuals discover their strengths through tools like Strengths Finder (now called Clifton Strengths), and how these strengths play a pivotal role in redefining success and fulfillment in our careers. Whether you’re in a corporate job contemplating a role change or simply wanting to better understand yourself, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us!

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How to start exploring self-leadership and find authenticity
  • The challenges we face in giving ourselves permission
  • Why giving ourselves permission can be essential
  • How to find your purpose and not follow someone else’s
  • A useful analogy to discuss life changes and why it can be such a challenge
  • How to redefine success and change your narrative
  • How to empower yourself and others through knowing your strengths
  • The importance of leaders knowing and understanding themselves
  • How to positively impact your team by defining your own strengths first

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

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Transcript of the Episode

Neela [00:00:14]:

Hey there. Welcome to the If Money Were Easy podcast, the show where we teach you how to expand what’s possible with your money. We’re your hosts Neela Hummel –

Mary Beth [00:00:22]:

And Mary Beth Storjohann –

Neela [00:00:25]:

Certified Financial planners and Co-CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show, we’re going to talk about self-leadership and giving yourself permission. But before we jump in, a brief disclosure from our compliance department. This podcast is for educational purposes and is not intended as investment, legal, or tax advice. Any opinion shared is not the opinion of Abacus Wealth Partners. 

Mary Beth [00:00:49]:

Let’s jump in. Today on the show, we are very excited to have Amanda Flisher as a guest. Amanda is a self-leadership coach and she works with individuals, teams, groups, and organizations to better understand that self-leadership is the path to extraordinary leadership. I like that. As an experienced leadership coach, facilitator, and consultant with over a decade in the leadership development field, she has worked to develop leaders of multiple levels and in multiple sectors. She has trained thousands of individuals to learn what it takes to redefine their achievements and take the lead in their own life. Amanda earned her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Master’s in Organizational Management. She is a professional certified coach through the International Coaching Federation, is trained in strength, an educator through Gallup, was an adjunct professor at San Diego Christian College for eight years, and is the current Board Chair to the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum located in San Diego. She began her private practice in 2014 after a career in sales, HR, and leadership development fields. Amanda, welcome to the show. 

Amanda [00:01:54]:

Thank you, ladies, for having me. I appreciate it. 

Neela [00:01:58]:

We’re so excited to have you here. 

Amanda [00:02:00]:

I’m excited to be here with you, too. It’s going to be so great. 

Mary Beth [00:02:03]:

So I love this topic. I know, especially for our listeners, this idea of self-leadership and giving ourselves permission. And so I think this probably looks a lot like boundaries, maybe. But tell me – I think my question is tell us about self-leadership and tell me if I’m doing it wrong. 

Amanda [00:02:22]:

Well, thank you for having me. Self-leadership, it is definitely this interesting place that we all play in, right? It’s this cross between understanding ourselves personally, understanding ourselves professionally, and that intersection of in-between where I’ve really taken it over the last ten years of doing this work is really trying to understand your values around it. How are you making decisions? How are you making your personal choices, your professional choices, and how do they match up together in these values-based decisions? And then the other piece of the puzzle that you’ve somewhat alluded to is permission, which is giving ourselves permission to actually lead our lives both personally and professionally and being the best authentic self we possibly can be. And I know that sounds a lot and it sounds like, “Oh, sure, that sounds easy,” but it’s not. There’s a lot that goes into self-leadership, lots of bits and pieces, as you two know, working through as a leader. What does it mean to lead from who you are, lead from a place of authenticity and really show up the best way you possibly can to every piece of your life, not just in these two buckets, but every ounce? 

Neela [00:03:33]:

It’s exciting. 

Mary Beth [00:03:36]:

So I think this idea of giving ourselves permission is so exciting and also so broad, right? Yes, I give me permission to be me. What does that mean? And so what are the steps to build upon? Are there specific things that I should give myself permission for, like, micro-permissions? Am I writing one big permission slip? How does one start to incorporate this throughout their life? Because I think it’s overwhelming to start. 

Amanda [00:03:58]:

Yeah, it’s overwhelming, right? So first and foremost, we all know that this word has been thrown around so much. Any podcast you listen to, anywhere you listen to, especially in the self-care world, there is this idea of “give yourself permission”, but there is no “What does that even mean?” idea behind it. So what is the meat behind giving yourself permission? And so basically, through the work I’ve done and do – coaching, training, even just my old corporate job that I was doing – I would see people struggle with that idea of giving themselves full permission to be themselves. They would hide, they would cover. It’s a really big thing that individuals do is that they’ll cover and just try to be something that they’re not. So permission is this place of really understanding. What is it that you actually want? What is actually happening for yourself? What do you really need? And there’s actually a really big buildup to the right type of permission for yourself. It takes some time. And then all of a sudden, when you’re finally ready to release or to make the decision, let’s say, for example, you’re in the C-suite and you’re ready to move into a bigger role and a bigger company, and you would like to move on, but there is a lot of hangup, a lot of background noise around. “Oh, I should just stay. I should just stay. It’s comfortable. It’s comfortable.” But there’s this nagging feeling of like, “But I’m ready to go, right? I’m ready to go.” And so usually what happens is that individuals get to the place of like, “All right, I’m done waiting. I’m going to do it.” And so they give themselves permission to go look or go jump or go do whatever to the next role. But then there’s a lot that comes after the permission, right? There’s a lot of like, “Did I make the right decision? Am I in the right role? And did I do the right thing?” Or, “This is fantastic, and there’s a weight lifted,” right? That’s usually the big one. You two are nodding your head, right, like it’s the big one, right?

Neela [00:05:44]:

Just vigorously like off a swivel, right? 

Amanda [00:05:49]:

When you finally give yourself a chance to make the decision and say, “Yes, I’m going all in on this,” there is this giant weight that’s usually lifted for individuals once they give themselves that permission. But that’s where all the self-leadership leads up to, which is understanding yourself, the self-awareness pieces, the self-discipline pieces. Am I just jumping for jumping sake into this next new thing? Permission is much bigger than just this thing that we throw out all the time of like, “Well, just give yourself permission,” right? It is a long journey to get there and to really make that decision for yourself. And so once you do – that’s the moment I think everyone talks about is just that small, little quick moment of “give yourself permission” and then everything will be fine, but you don’t know until you get there. 

Neela [00:06:35]:

So it’s almost like there’s two components. This idea of giving yourself permission is, first off, giving yourself permission to be you and know who you are and what you want and just being very clear on that and feeling like you can bring that authenticity to your job, to your relationships, to your family, et cetera. It’s really this idea of being comfortable in your own skin. 

Amanda [00:06:57]:

Yes, exactly. 

Neela [00:06:58]:

And then taking that to kind of the next phase of, “Okay, what does mama want? What do I want? What’s next? And can I act on it?” 

Amanda [00:07:05]:

Exactly. And, Neela, even just that moment, going back just a little bit behind that, is that sometimes it’s even hard for people to give themselves permission to even explore what it means to be themselves, to be authentic, to want what they want. And so I’m usually meeting people as a coach in that space of “I know there’s something there. I’m not quite sure what it is.” And that’s usually the place of – that’s the first permission step – which is, I need to stop and look at all this and put it all on the table and kind of do some self-leadership here and then there’s the bigger permission of whatever the thing is thereafter. 

Mary Beth [00:07:40]:

I think it’s so interesting. I just came off of a group call yesterday with other C-suite women from around the country. And one of the questions kind of in line with what you’re saying, this idea of, “What do I want?” One of the things we worked through was these quick questions, writing one word down. “What do people think about me from what they see on my resume? What does my resume say about me?” One word answer. “What are the takeaways? What are the things that the people closest to me know about me?” And then, “What is something about me that people normally don’t see?” So this idea of how we present to the world what those closest to us might see, and then, “What do I keep hidden?” And I thought that was really interesting because we went around, there were seven of us, C-suite leaders, again, sharing these things. And this idea of the self-identity, like, “Who am I?” That self-leadership, that is really hard work, right? And I think it gets really tangled, and it’s not like a sit down and write down what I want and it’s done. It’s almost like this journey that’s in tandem with the permission, like, you’re giving yourself permission to figure out what you want and then take action on. It’s almost like this fluid intersection. Do I have that right or am I completely wrong? It just happened to be this unique setting of women. 

Amanda [00:08:47]:

Yeah. And to work through, “What am I willing to expose? What am I willing to be authentic in?” That takes some time, right? Because, again, if you’ve built a persona that everyone perceives you to be but actually there’s some other stuff that you are not allowing out and it’s hurting you, or you want people to know this about you, you have to – as wonderful as Brene Brown is, she has explained a lot in her work that you’ve got to expose your story. You’ve got to work through your story. You have to be okay with whatever you’re about to release out to the world. So even, let’s say as leaders, there’s things that you want to be or showcase or do, but you’ve been working from a different place the entire time. And it’s like, “Well, this isn’t my true authenticity. I’m just faking it till I make it or something.” Whatever it may be, you yourself have to work through that story and make sure that you’re okay. So exposing it in little pieces like, “I’m going to expose it to this group. I’m going to expose it to my close team. I’m going to expose it like –” you just keep working the story until you’re like, “Now I could be my full self, right?” 

Neela [00:09:52]:

And kind of building the reps, taking these baby steps to kind of get comfortable, to build that out. And what just came up for me, thinking about Mary Beth, what you shared about these three different layers, is this idea that especially when we’re talking about our professions, it’s almost like a form of armor and that we are this title, we are this job, right? You meet somebody and the first thing they say is, “What do you do?” And then you go out. One layer is like, “What do just the people close to you see?” There’s a level of vulnerability to that. And then there’s that outer circle, which is like, “What do people not see?” is like, “Oh, it’s about to get real, real.” 

Amanda [00:10:25]:

For sure. Yes. And you kind of nailed it, too. We identify with our job titles so much that sometimes it’s pretty intense for people to unhook when they’re moving on to a new role or doing something else. They have a very hard time. Their worthiness is tied into that job title. 

Mary Beth [00:10:46]:

So one of the things that is interesting about you, Amanda, is that you work with all different types of professions. So you work with C-suite executives, you work with fire chiefs, you work with public sector employees. You have a breadth of experience in terms of working with just humans. And is there any one group that’s particularly impacted by this or is it just a human state? Is this just a human thing and it’s not even a man versus a woman thing. Is this just something, a hurdle that everybody is facing?

Amanda [00:11:19]:

It is everyone in different capacities, right? Women have different layers that they have to work through and still make a name, still understand the pay gap, understand these things. Like what is the culture in their organization? How are they going to navigate those situations? And then men have a completely different subset of stuff, right? Like they have status and money and things that supposedly, “quote, unquote”, matter, but maybe they want to talk about their real selves and what’s going on for them, and maybe they want to bring a different version of themselves to the table too, but they have also have to play these games that maybe they don’t want to. So to answer your question, it’s definitely a human experience. I for sure did not see myself in my career working with a whole slew of different types of people. I started this career so long ago being like, “I just want to coach people and help people.” But what I’ve noticed is that everyone has these hang-ups or desires, I should say, to understand themselves better and be a better leader. They want to do better. And research shows time and time again, the better the leader, the better they understand themselves, the better they can have vulnerability and compassion for their people and for themselves. They will be tenfold better as an organization as productivity happens, as things go. I mean, just research upon research shows that when the leaders themselves work on themselves and show up better, their people want to follow that. They absolutely want to follow that. So everyone could do better at this and wants to do better at this. 

Neela [00:12:57]:

So if we’re to pull back and go almost meta on this work for you, where I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you are giving yourself permission when you switch to doing this work full time, right? When you launched your own private practice, what was your personal journey in turning into this and the work that you’re doing? 

Amanda [00:13:17]:

Yeah. Thanks, Neela. I mean, I got chills, like, just thinking about it. The work I do is because of what happened to me. I had a great career in a corporate environment. I had a job that I loved. I had teams that I loved working with. It really was laid out perfect. But there was a gnawing feeling inside of me that what am I doing? This isn’t what I’m being called to do. I loved coaching. I loved training. I was doing leadership development for all levels. I was doing Strengths Finder at the time for thousands of employees at the time, and had started this whole train. And like I said, my team was amazing. But there was just this gnawing feeling and magically Brene Brown had had this first class she offered online with Oprah Winfrey, and if anyone’s listening and took this class so long ago, you’ll know, we’re the OGs of the Brene Brown fan club. So I took this class and she asked us actually to write a permission slip at the beginning of the work. And I couldn’t write it down. There was nothing I could write because it felt so heavy. It felt like a really big heavy thing to give myself and I wasn’t ready to give it. So I go through the class, I do the work, you find out about yourself. You kind of go through some of these exercises and then all of a sudden I’m sitting in this red cubicle and I’m just looking at the walls and being like, “What am I doing here? What is this all about?” And the words ‘let go’ just came and I wrote it on the permission slip. And to me, let go meant a couple of things. It meant stop chasing something that’s not yours. I was chasing this idea that if I climbed the ladder, if I got into these roles, if I found the money, if I found status in the job title, I would have everything. At that point, I was pregnant with my son, my first kiddo, and I just got married the year earlier. And I had just been very much like, “I don’t know if I could do this anymore.” And it was more of a “I’m about to have a child and I want him to be proud of me and I want to be able to do good in the world and why would I ever want this for him if I’m not happy?” kind of thing. So it was a very big A HA moment, like, “Let go of all this.” And it was very terrifying at the same time, right? So again, permission slips can be wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. My husband definitely thought we were going to be broke forever. He was very much like, “You’re leaving your corporate job.” My husband’s a high school teacher,

Neela [00:15:46]:

But health insurance. What about the health insurance? 

Amanda [00:15:49]:

Exactly. But I will tell you the work that led up to that. It was one of those moments where I had all belief in myself that it was going to be okay. Belief in the situation, belief in what was given to me this gift of let go and it’s going to be okay. So I have very much sometimes tried to track that self-confidence person down again. I’m like, “Where’d she go?” Because she was very confident all those years ago, but she comes every now and then. But it was a lot of work. And there were a couple of instances again over the last ten years of owning my business, where, again, I had to go through the gauntlet of, “What is the permission here? What do I need to do to move on?” And technically, right now, I’m in another one, right, where it’s like, “It’s time to figure out the next stage of things.” And that permission slip is very much lingering of, like, “What is the permission in front of me? What is needed? What’s being asked?” If that gives you kind of a context. Neela. 

Neela [00:16:43]:

I love it. It’s so exciting.

Amanda [00:16:45]:


Neela [00:16:46]:

Well, and just putting myself in your shoes and going back to these external ideas that were fed, “Get on this track”, and you kind of had this moment of pause, “Wait, no, this is this idea that I’ve been kind of working towards, but is this even my goal?” And it’s just taking that moment to reflect on, “What do I actually want?” It’s powerful. 

Amanda [00:17:05]:

It is. And I didn’t believe it. I was like, “Is this really what I want to be doing?” I don’t agree, but it was this deep feeling of like, “It’s going to be okay. Go do it.” And then in that, it was also this place of like, “Go do it so you could do it for others. Go help people how to do the same thing.” So my biggest mission in life at this point is leave people better than when I found them. Always. And I think that’s every coach that I’ve ever met that we want to do, leaders that really believe wholeheartedly in this work want people to be better than when they found them. So whether it’s a smile, a hello of being kind, a coach to the best ability, lead to the best ability, speak to the best ability, I think that stemmed from that day of being like, just let go. It’s going to be okay. It was a big, pivotal thing. So now I hope that I’m doing that for a lot more individuals out there 

Mary Beth [00:18:00]:

I love what you shared about continuing to write yourself permission slips. It’s not a one-and-done situation. It’s writing the permission slip, taking a step and then writing another permission slip and then letting it ride, but then writing another permission slip. So it’s really about this journey and allowing yourself to pivot along the way as well. It sounds like it’s not just this straight path ahead, even once you do decide, “I’m going to live my life authentically. I’ve got it down, I know what I want.” No, it’s like, basically I’ve heard you say in the past, it’s kind of like you’re getting in a boat and you’re going from one island, you’re on that island for a little bit, and you get in another boat and you’re moving to another island. 

Amanda [00:18:35]:

Yes, that analogy, yes. The analogy is another individual had alluded to something very similar at one point, and it was just this concept. So I kind of expanded on it, which was like this idea that we’re on the dock, right? You’re on the dock and you’re looking out at something in your future and you’re like, “I see it. I have no idea how to get there.” And so you get off the dock and into the boat. But for many years, we could just sit in the boat totally fine. We could just sit with it attached to the dock, it’s totally fine. And many people sit there and they’re like, “I know it’s there. I’ll get there someday.” But usually when I meet people is when they’re already sitting in the boat and they’re having a hard time letting go of the dock and taking off. And then the second part of it is that the middle is scary. Everyone who gets into this work, it gets a little overwhelming because you’re out in the middle. You cannot go back to what you know and you’re too far from where you’re going. So it just feels a little funky. Especially when I’m coaching or even in a training class, like even in a three-hour training workshop, sometimes people take this journey just in the three hours, which is, “I know myself prior to this, and now I know where I’m going, but I don’t know how to get there.” So it feels very overwhelming. And one thing to say about this part is that as coaches, what we’re taught a lot in our training and everything is that we are meant to coach the “who” and the “what” of the person, not how they’re going to make it work. The how is very performance driven. The how is very performative. There’s a lot of things, great coaching that way. But the coaching that I do particularly is coaching on the person, the who and the what, like, “What do they want, what’s going on?” So you’re trying to discover that in the middle of this, and then finally you get to the island, you bump up to it and you’re like, “Oh, I’m here. I had no idea.” 

Neela [00:20:11]:

Well, you’re teaching someone to fish versus giving them the fish. Yes, the “how” is giving the fish, right? 

Amanda [00:20:18]:

Yes. And I am a huge proponent. I played sports in high school and college, and I very much learned from the best of the best coaches in volleyball and those that taught me how to fish. I mean, I was able to go on and have a great career and do really great stuff, but those that were more authoritarian in the coaching, I never believed in myself. It would be very terrifying, but those that allowed me to do it. So, again, it’s one of those things where I want to take all those bits and pieces of my career, my life, and hand those off to other people. But, yeah, permission just to get in the boat and let go. Sometimes it’s a little terrifying. 

Neela [00:20:55]:

What advice would you give for our dock sitters and our boat sitters? Those who are kind of there and they’re feeling a little frozen, how would you help unstick them so that they could look up and start making some movement? 

Amanda [00:21:10]:

Yeah, it’s a great analogy. The dock sitters, I would definitely say you’ve got to redefine success. First and foremost. If you have no idea what you’re after or what the island is you’re headed to, you’ve got to examine that, right? Number one thing that I work with individuals on and that individuals should just do in general, is examine the narratives you tell yourself about where you’re heading, examine the success that you’re trying to go after. Is it your success, or are you trying to prove something? Is it your success, or is it something someone told you a long time ago that you think is still true to this day? It’s very much examining redefining that success. So examining success and what does it mean to you, those that are sitting in the boat and afraid to go? Find out why you’re afraid to go. What’s blocking you? You know where you’re going. Usually those are the ones that are like, “I know what I want. I know where I’m going. I’m just a little terrified.” So it’s understanding what’s keeping them stuck. For most people, I would say it’s comfort. Their uncomfortableness is, like, awful. It doesn’t feel great, but they’re comfortable in the uncomfortableness. They’re very much like, “You know what? I know what to expect. It’s fine. I could deal with this another couple of months, or I’ll just get through the summer, or I’ll just get through this.” I’ve had clients that have lasted for years in jobs because they’re just very much like, “Well, I know what to expect.” And I’m like, “Then why are we here? What are we doing?” So those that are just sitting there waiting to go find out what your stuck point is, and sometimes it really could just be golden handcuffs. Like, your job is just too cushy and too great. That has happened too many times. And so if that’s the case, then something’s not aligning to your values. Something’s bumping up against the value system, and you’re like, “I don’t want to be here anymore. I’m getting the Sunday Scaries, and I don’t want to do this, so let’s reexamine. Like, what do I want to be doing? What’s happening here?” Hopefully those are a few little nuggets that people can take and just reexamine a few things and what’s going on for them. 

Mary Beth [00:22:56]:

What role would you say that Strength Finders plays in all of this? 

Amanda [00:22:59]:

Okay, so for myself or for anyone, Strength Finder for my career was a huge A HA moment when we were getting trained. It was something that I saw that people were lit up about in the room and were like, “What is this?” And then what I love about it – it’s now called Clifton Strengths – is that the data, like, so much science and data goes behind this. And now 30 million people have taken this assessment. So, in that, I love helping individuals just discover their strengths, because it kind of reroutes, like, “What are you here for? What are you great at doing?” And there’s a language behind it. So even if you decide not to take Strengths, like the assessment, which is only $20 at Gallup, take an inventory of, “What are your best features, gifts, things that you offer that you are so good at doing, that come with joy, that come with excitement?” Time evades you in the world of positive psychology. It’s called flow, where time just evades you, you’re, just like, “That was amazing. I want to do more of this.” Try to find those things. But if you want to take the assessment, it’s a great tool to just help narrow down. And then there’s so many resources online to go through those five or those ten or whatever you decide to do, the whole 34. And like I said, I’ve been working with thousands of individuals at this point where I go in and help them understand that work. And honestly, my favorite group is this organization here in San Diego called the Honor Foundation. And just watching Navy Seals, Special Ops teams, individuals transferring out and retiring out, watching them discover who they are in a different way is some of my favorite work that they get to use into the civilian world. But like you said earlier, firefighters, social workers, teachers, CEOs, amazing Co-CEOs, watching them use the strengths to understand who they are and lead better is amazing. 

Neela [00:24:53]:

We got to have a big plug for that. Mary Beth fed the idea early on for she and I to do it, as you well know, and how liberating it was because we were able to learn about ourselves and how we each work. And then also seeing each other and learning each other’s strengths and then being able to – instead of trying to be the same person – we’re like, “What if we leverage my strengths over here? Your strengths over here?” It was kind of some of our early work in, “Oh, my gosh, we could really do incredible things if we try and leverage what we’re both great at and not try and fit into two different working styles.” 

Amanda [00:25:31]:

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s so fun, right? That’s what I think I love most about working with executives because it’s a big let go. “I can let go of not being this other person. I can just be myself, and these are my strengths.” But the funny thing always within these rooms is that it’s like, “Well, they have cooler ones than I do,” or “They have better ones.” And I always am like, “There’s no cool strength, there’s no better than the others. Everyone is equal here.” So the key is in understanding yourself at these deep levels, right? To know that particularly, “I have futuristic – I am driven by the future.” So much so that my husband sometimes is like, “Where are you?” And I’m like, “Well, I already won the lotto in my head, and I already bought that giant beach house.” And he’s like, “Okay, well, you need to come back to reality. We’re here with the kids.” 

Mary Beth [00:26:25]:

I’m already on our European adventure. 

Amanda [00:26:26]:

Exactly. So it’s knowing that my dreamy space sometimes is not always terrible. It’s actually a thing that I do, and it helps me move me along, but then also knowing “When does it get in my way?” kind of thing. But yeah, so strengths is a huge – in general, it’s definitely part of the self-leadership package that you’ve got to work on. You’ve got to know what you’re great at and what you offer the world. 

Mary Beth [00:26:51]:

Yeah, I say for Neela and I, it was such a game changer from early on, just in terms of figuring out our working dynamic. It was like a light turned on and we were able to kind of go, “A HA.” And then we actually started using the verbiage of, “Okay, I’m going to let you go over here, and then I’ll be over here, and I’m going to let you do your thing. Come back when you’re out of that thing. Let’s talk.” Or, “I just need five hours over here in this corner, and then I’ll be back to tell you whatever profound thoughts have come our way.” And so having that space was really empowering. It allowed us to build trust as well and just to kind of better understand each other and then to let go of certain things. She didn’t need to be where I am. I didn’t need to be where she was. And this A HA that neither of us expected that of the other either. And then we had the verbiage, though, right, of like, “This is me. I don’t expect you to be over here, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to be.” And so there was actually this idea of permission-giving to each other, and permission-giving to ourselves once we had the strengths on paper. Otherwise, it was just like this obscure thing of like, “What’s happening? And am I supposed to be there on that journey?” Or, “I need to sit in that corner also?” And so it was a little stressful figuring that out, but it’s been so empowering – and so empowering that we actually brought our whole leadership team in to do Strengths as well. We evaluated the whole team together to understand communication styles because we’re sitting together each week for an hour and a half and then we have these big all-day sessions and so understanding each other and each other’s strengths and understanding communication styles and being able to recognize what each person brings to the table is great. So then we know with our CFO how to articulate things or how to pull him back in, or our Chief of Advisors. And so it’s been really helpful just from a team dynamic, not just from the co-leadership, but just with the team as well, to understand ourselves as individuals and then to lean on that sometimes if we are having a, “This is kind of a weird communication thing going on,” or, “We’re hitting a roadblock, what’s going on?” And going back to those, I still reference back to those every now and again just to say, “Okay, remind me of this person’s strengths and communication styles?” And then it helps to navigate and kind of just give me some more empathy or understanding of what that person is, where they are presenting, and assuming positive intent. It’s not like a personality thing. It’s actually just communication. 

Amanda [00:29:01]:

Absolutely. Yeah. Yes, you said it all. There’s a lot that you two have probably done in that room to provide trust with each other first and then trust within the team for them to allow themselves to talk about these things and to be open and to do that. Because I have definitely seen this work go sideways real fast with people where they start to pigeonhole people or say, “Well, you can’t do this because this isn’t your Top Five,” or, “These are not your strengths,” or – I mean, it happened to me, and I just was like as I was being trained on it, and I could not believe what was coming out of this person’s mouth. So I give you two credit. It takes a lot of permission for you two and trust that you two have done to work with each other, to model “What does a great leadership look like and how can we be vulnerable to use that word as well”, vulnerable enough to share these things with each other. Because the big thing about that is that leadership, as leaders, you also have to know that you’re creating a container where things can feel safe, right? Like you need to feel safe in that room to share and to expose their stories, to work through their things. And what safety means is that it’s not going to be shared against them later. The team isn’t going to be shared against them later. And so in that you two are modeling a fantastic way to show up for each other, and then how does the team show up altogether as well? And then, like you said, the communication piece of this puzzle of like, “It is a let go, right? I can let go. They’re actually really great at these things. This is their strength. So how do we navigate them to go this way? And this is what we do. So how do we go this way?” And the number one thing that I always get asked is like, “Well, how can I hire with this?” And it’s like, “No, you cannot hire with this tool. You can know, but you can’t just take someone with particular things and slide them right into a team, that just does not work that way.” And that’s not great leadership anyways. You need to take someone who’s really great at the skill sets that you’re looking for, really great at the job, and has the personality that can be a culture fit and to use that with the team. 

Neela [00:31:00]:

I just love the intersection of self-leadership with these Strength Finders where you’re learning a piece about you, how you operate and then turning into not waiting for anybody else to give you permission to do certain things and just really giving that to yourself, which I think everybody can take with them. 

Amanda [00:31:18]:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I mean, that’s the number one thing that I always tell classes and workshops and teams that I’m working with is that the first thing out of the gate is you have permission to be here today. Your bosses have allowed you to be here to learn about yourself. So be here, be here, do the work, show up for yourself. Because once you show up for yourself again, you’ll model, you’ll do a better way for everybody else. And it is just a smidgen of what self-leadership is, is the strengths piece. But it’s a wonderful foundation for everyone to get a hold of and to start there. So if anyone’s on their first beginning journey of really understanding themselves, start there. Work into, “What does success mean? What does it mean to have values and needs and wants?” Those are all the foundational pieces of self-leadership. And then you just kind of build as you go and start to do it for others.

Neela [00:32:07]:

Go nano-permission by nano-permission. 

Amanda [00:32:10]:


Mary Beth [00:32:11]:

Well, thank you so much for this amazing conversation. We are going to pivot to our wrap up questions. 

Amanda [00:32:18]:

Sounds great. Okay. 

Mary Beth [00:32:19]:

What would you say is the best financial advice you ever received? 

Amanda [00:32:23]:

It would be from Mary Beth, actually. Many years ago, just wrapping my arms around being an entrepreneur was very daunting and terrifying and I had no idea. So just money sense instead of like, “How do you put taxes away?” was the big thing, it was just like, “Put the money away.” It’s not one of those things where it’s like, “One day we’ll show up for you. Put the money away as it’s coming.” So creating a separate account that you’re not paying attention to was a huge A HA thing for me as an entrepreneur to be like, “Yes, don’t touch it.” And I’ve now been carrying that on for twelve years. So when tax time comes, my teacher husband is very proud and very happy. Frugal husband. Love him to death. 

Neela [00:33:07]:

Love it. Okay, what is your favorite money mistake you’ve made and why? 

Amanda [00:33:11]:

My gosh, money mistake. I know this is wild, but we ended up buying a timeshare in the middle of escrow. And if Kathy Circus ever hears me talking about this, she would just die laughing. She was our mortgage lender. We heard not to do this. Like everyone was, “Do not do this.” We bought a timeshare in the middle of escrow while she had just fought tooth and nail to make sure we got a really good interest rate. So somehow we finagled ourselves through that one and it was like, “What did we do?” But I kid you not, we have been very smart timeshare owners and we use it to our advantage. And we just on Sunday came home from a wonderful trip in Cancun. So it was a mistake, but it has worked out wildly in our favor. And I don’t always recommend people buying timeshares. This is not a thing on the money podcast to be like – 

Mary Beth [00:33:58]:

Oh, thank you for adding that. Thank you for adding that. 

Neela [00:33:58]:

Large disclosure at the bottom of the show notes. 

Amanda [00:34:00]:

It was a random. Even if I was to have that, like having this story probably is another day for cocktails, gals. It was a very wild situation, but that in itself, my husband and I are extremely money conscious and we’re very good about things and we were able to do what was the right way to do this. So I do not recommend it for everybody. 

Mary Beth [00:34:20]:

Thank you. 

Amanda [00:34:21]:

You’re welcome. 

Mary Beth [00:34:22]:

Okay, so fill in the blank: If money were easy… 

Amanda [00:34:24]:

If money were easy, I feel that – gosh, I have to think about this for a second. If money were easy, there’d be things not worth it, right? There’d just be things not worth the hard work for the building capacity for. I have witnessed many people earn money too quickly or been handed an endowment or trust fund or handed something where money just became like, “I don’t have to worry about it.” Granted, that would be nice for all of us, but I do believe that if money were easy, I don’t think we would learn how to manage it better. I don’t think we would learn to take care of it better. So I do think that in the self-leadership way, you’re learning capacity, you’re learning how to build your wealth, learning how to take care of it. 

Neela [00:35:18]:


Amanda [00:35:19]:

Stewardship. Exactly. So if money were easy, I just don’t think we’d all be as caring about it and taking care of it as we could. 

Mary Beth [00:35:30]:

Good one. I love it. 

Neela [00:35:30]:

Well, Amanda, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Please let our listeners know how they can find you all over the interwebs. 

Amanda [00:35:38]:

All over the interwebs. So you can find me at That’s the number one place. Instagram, maybe I’ll come back to. I have very much not been posting there, but I’ve been told I need to come back there and then LinkedIn is probably the best place to find me if you want to reach out or talk to me. But my email is also available through LinkedIn. And then last but not least, I do want to get back into writing the self-leadership letters that I used to write on Fridays. I’ve taken quite a hiatus and again, permission slips are coming up to start writing that again. So get on that email train if you would like to do that. 

Mary Beth [00:36:10]:

Thank you so much for coming on the show. It was such a great conversation. 

Amanda [00:36:13]:

Thank you for having me. Love being with you. too. 

Mary Beth [00:36:17]:

Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode of If Money Were Easy. If this is the year that you want to expand what’s possible with your money, and you can use some professional guidance along the way, head over to, get started and schedule your free consultation.

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