This week's guest, public relations pro Amanda Berlin, is all about making the best use of her gifts, talents, and skills to make a life (and a career) that matters–she calls it using her powers for good.
Acknowledging your powers–and using them for good
Through experience, Amanda Berlin learned that sometimes job dissatisfaction isn't really because of the work, but because of who you're doing the work for.
For the first twelve years of her career, Amanda worked in the corporate public relations world. She started out by doing celebrity publicity. Early in her career, she took a new job at a different public relations company that helped corporations book and produce interviews on different news channels across the country. She worked her way up until she became the editorial director of a firm that specialized in press junket type work. A lot of her work involved working with big companies with loud voices. She had achieved a high level of success, but she wasn't happy. Her work with these clients combined with the general culture of her company led to her dissatisfaction.
She'd become enthusiastic about life coaching, so when her company downsized, she saw it as an opportunity to change her career. She loved coaching and liked looking inward and being analytical about why we do the things we do, but she didn't enjoy coaching other people as much as she'd hoped.
She also realized she should use the communications skills she had developed over the years of working in public relations. An opportunity to work with a nonprofit school that needed to overhaul its communications led to an epiphany. As she worked on the proposal, she realized she loved communications work. She just wanted to do it for the right entities and for the right purpose. Once she could do the work on her own terms, it felt much more nourishing for her.
A Typical Day
Amanda doesn’t really have a typical day, but she has developed routines that create a rhythm for her life. Her routine includes getting up around 6 a.m. before everyone else, getting out her meditating pillow, and spending time meditating. She has recently been using the Headspace app to stay accountable with her meditation time. She spends some time journalling in coach Danielle LaPorte‘s Desire Map Journal, which guides you to focus on how you want to feel–your “Core Desired Feelings“– as a way to sculpt your life.
After everyone is up, Amanda typically drops her daughter off at daycare and goes to the gym. Her physical activity helps her stay mentally calm. She likes group fitness classes, and feels it weeds out the anxious thoughts.
After her workout, Amanda starts her workday around 10 a.m. Amanda’s workday usually includes client calls or client work, and she will devote an hour to one client and one task per client during that time. There are so many things that call to us each day, but Amanda has found that she will tell herself, “you only need to work on this one thing for this client right now.” This helps her stay on task.
Between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Amanda will pick up her daughter, and then have dinner. Later in the day she will do low-activity tasks that don’t require too much brainpower. She tries to be in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m. and then she only reads books for pleasure at that time of day.
Amanda wanted to have a flexible lifestyle and work schedule in her business, so she recently moved with her young daughter from Manhattan to New Jersey. Now that she doesn't live in the City and works mostly from home, she feels a bit more isolated. This is an emotional challenge for Amanda, who's used to having people around to bounce ideas off of. She tries to be intentional about reaching out to friends, colleagues, and clients, and has recently hired a virtual assistant who is enthusiastic about her work. Her VA has helped Amanda to stay organized and stay connected, and acts as a sounding board.
As Amanda has experimented with various schedules and routines, she suggests, “Be willing to try different scenarios to see what might work.” You might realize, “Maybe I don’t need that, but I need something like this.”
Amanda recently read the memoir Love Warrior, and really connected with the section that talks about how we can be there for each other as women. One of the things the author speaks to, Amanda says, is that we don’t want to swoop in and try to fix things for someone. It's more about being there and sitting side by side, and asking, “What do you need right now?”
Amanda says, “Having needs met is, I think, a very primal thing in relationships and in work. Identifying them for yourself is a massive growth opportunity. What do I need right now?”
The first question we need to ask ourselves when we're trying to make sense of our lives is, “What do I want?” That might be the hardest question to answer. We get so busy with the day-to-day that we don't take the time to pause and notice how we're feeling and what we want.
Amanda recommends a “good old notebook” and a pen. She likes to write things down and each Sunday night she writes down what needs to get done and what she wants to get done. She suggests that the hand is an extension of the heart, and sometimes you have to write things down, as it has a special power. Amanda uses a little notebook that she can slip into her laptop case.
Another favorite tool is her Apple Calendar. Amanda’s Apple Calendar is synced with her Google Calendar, and she schedules everything, including work tasks.
She also loves the Acuity Scheduling app to save her time when scheduling appointments with other clients. Rather than trading multiple emails, she can give someone a link that will allow the person to choose an available time that works for them, and the appointment automatically goes into Amanda's calendar.
What happens on a day you feel gets away from you?
Amanda is most stressed when she feels she hasn’t shown up as the best version of herself–if she feels impatient or frustrated, or she just didn’t take care of herself. When that happens, it's important to her to regroup and consider what did go well that day. She tries to remember those moments when she has felt fulfilled and proud of herself. She remembers her Mom quoting Gone with the Wind, and saying, “Tomorrow is another day.” It’s a valuable thing to remember. The stakes are not that high, and tomorrow is another opportunity to show up in a way you are proud of.
A magnet on Amanda’s fridge from Danielle LaPorte says, “Everything is progress.” Amanda tries to remember that she doesn't know what positive fallout might be from something that happened that day. Things are in motion, and everything is a step toward the next thing.
We can always find reasons to beat up on ourselves, but it's important to extend grace to ourselves and others.
Another journaling activity Amanda likes doing at the end of the day helps her get perspective. It includes using these prompts inspired by a friend’s twelve-step program:
- Dire needs, desperate pleas
- Prayers for emotional and physical healing for herself and others
- Document resentments.
What's on the horizon for Amanda?
Amanda loves the idea of spring and a rebirth and the opportunity to start a few new things in her business. She's initiating new ways from businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits to work with her to develop their communications strategies. Among those is a membership site called Pitch.school, which is designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs learn how to tell the world what they are up to and publicize their efforts. She's happy to stand behind her new clients because they are doing healing work.
Last Words on Making a Life That Matters
One of Amanda's favorite motivational quotes comes from the Disney movie Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” It's a reminder that no matter what's going on in your life, don't give up. She says, “There is always someone out there who needs you. We need to raise our voices so the people who need us can find us. It is our responsibility to show up, do the best we can, and be that light for that person. It also enriches our own lives, because we can be proud that we did what we were meant to do here.”
Connect with Amanda:
More about Amanda
After more than a decade in the New York City public relations world, Amanda Berlin now uses her pitch powers for good. She helps entrepreneurs write their web content, tell their brand story, and spread their message in the media. Amanda is the creator of PITCH School, and serves as onsite consultant in the online membership site that teaches entrepreneurs how to write compelling content for their websites and others, and how to become a publicist for their own brands, pitching interviews, guest posts, and product placements. She is also the host of The PITCH Podcast, where she strategizes with entrepreneurs on their next media pitch, and speaks to journalists, news, and podcast producers on how to effectively pitch in their medium. Amanda has a three-year-old daughter and lives right outside New York City. Learn more about Amanda at Amandaberlin.com, or at Pitch.school.
Resources and Links:
Check out The Desire Map, by Danielle Laporte
Announcements & Reminders
- Spend time this spring with a group of motivated women like you, in one of my paid The Productive Woman Mastermind groups. If you’re looking for encouragement, motivation, and accountability in achieving your goals and moving forward in a life that matters, you'll find it there. TPW Mastermind groups are small, to allow maximum participation and benefit. New groups will start the first week of May, but the groups are being formed NOW, and spaces are limited, so don't wait–visit the Work with Me page on the website for information and a link to the short online application. Questions? Email me!
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