(Photo credit: @bflemingphotography + @je.virtualassistant)
When Amanda Aerin walks in the room, she's the type of human that makes you take notice. She has undeniable style, rocking leopard print booties and her signature blonde (sometimes pink) pixie cut. Her confidence rubs off on the people in her halo, and you immediately feel how real she is when she talks about loving a good deal as much as the rest of us.
"I have always had a hum inside me when it comes to creativity"- Amanda Aerin.
When we reached out to Amanda and asked her to consider coming to give the opening keynote at our inaugural conference, she immediately said yes. Although having given talks before, and being a regular on tv she admits that she usually talks about design and not her story so this would definitely push her out of her comfort zone. We asked her to talk about authenticity in a competitive creative field and how to stand out while staying true to yourself.
Amanda told an authentic story she has never told before about her struggles as a young mother, putting her own dreams on hold, using her support systems to rise up, and how she's driving a new chapter in her own story.
Amanda's top 5 lessons for cultivating an authentic life and career:
"Sometimes we put ourselves in supporting roles. Invest in yourself. You should never have to sacrifice yourself in someone else's dreams"
Don't let your passion take a backseat. Even though we all have responsibilities, and particularly as mothers we often put the needs of others above our own its important to listen to the little voice inside of your that wants more out of your own career and life. Being honest about your dream, and not being afraid to ask for what you need to make that happen.
"If you're not out there hustling, its going to be hard to compete"
The hustle is real, and if you're not hustling to grow your career/business then someone else is and its going be really hard to compete.
"The more design I do, the more I want" (on driving her career forward).
"What is your competitive advantage?"
What is your unfair advantage... that thing that you do better than everyone else. And how can you leverage that to make you indispensable to your boss/clients. This is what sets you apart and what makes you valuable to the people you work with, and what sets you apart from the competition.
"You can't build a new life without letting go of the old"
Listen, we all have a story (aka: baggage). What story do you have to let go of to allow a new chapter to begin? Is there a part of your history that shapes the story you tell yourself ("I'll never be as successful as her"... or something along those lines). Letting go of toxic ways of thinking will make space for a new story where the sky is the limit.
"I was going to drive an epic new chapter of my life with a fresh name" (on rebranding her business and putting her old married name behind her).
"If you're going through a difficult time, its ok"
Life is full of ups and downs, but in a time when we are inundated with images of seeming perfection on social media (newsflash: its not real!), we feel pressure to always seem put together and to be ok all. of. the. time. Its ok to give yourself to have a bad day, a bad year, to not be perfect. You will be ok, and you'll likely be stronger for it.
Thank you Amanda, for your bravery and being so real with our attendees. For showing women that behind the success and chic image is a story (told with humour) of grit, and the ability to be humble about past adversities and showing how they don't define who we are today.