Photo of Amanda Heal on stage

Who am I?


I thought it was time to let you know a bit about me.

I m totally blind, and have been since birth. I was borne 14 weeks earlier than I should have been, and weight just 750 g (that’s 1 pound 9 ounces on the old scale). They didn’t know about the effects of too much oxygen on the eyes back then, and thought you could never have too much of a good thing. But as we all know, you can. The oxygen saved my life, but caused a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity, which caused abnormal formation of blood vessels at the back of my eyes, which bled, scarred, and caused my retinas to detach.

Thanks to the determination of my parents, I was not sent interstate to a blind school, but had all my education here in the ACT. I studied Commerce and Law at the ANU, and worked for 17 years in the Public Service as a Government Lawyer.

Then, it was announced that the agency I was working for would be downsized, and we would all have to reapply for our jobs. The top 7 applicants would keep their jobs, and the rest wouldn’t. I wasn’t in the top 7, and so was offered a voluntary redundancy, which I took.

I decided to start a business selling skin care products. I had to completely reinvent myself, from being an employee, doing what i was told, to being a completely independent business owner, finding customers, selling products, keeping business records, and maintaining lasting relationships with customers. If I didn’t do the work, it didn’t get done, and I didn’t get paid.

This was a very lonely and difficult time for me. I’d been so used to being an expert, that I hated having to admit that I didn’t know what I was doing, and found it very difficult to ask for help when I needed it. I also felt, that as a blind person, I had to prove that I could do this all by myself, which was completely wrong.

That’s when I met my good friend and colleague, Wendy. She was running personal development training for skin care consultants, to help us grow our businesses. So I signed up.

Over the next year or so, I learned about leadership and personal growth, and how I had to be able to grow myself, and lead myself, before I could expect others to join my business. I learnt that personal growth didn’t just happen like physical growth does, and that I would actually have to do the work to grow. I loved the principles so much, that I started to apply them to my life, and that’s when things really started to change for me.

There was a skin care conference in Las Vegas that I wanted to go to, but no one else I knew was flying there at the time I wanted to go. So, if I wanted to go, I’d have to put all the planning in place to go on my own, which I did. I had to make sure that staff at the airports I’d be passing through were booked and ready to help me get from aircraft to aircraft, and from aircraft to hotel, and that hotel staff were able to assist me once I got there.

My guide dog, at that time, had become unwell and was no longer able to work. Rather than making the easy decision and depending on others to get me around while I waited for a new dog, I decided to make the right decision, and relearn to use a long cane, something I hadn’t done for over 25 years. I had to overcome my fear of getting lost, and learn the skills I needed to travel safely. Finally, I decided it was time to learn to catch busses on my own, and which terrified me. Now I travel all over canberra. I was taking control of my life and independence.

Wendy asked if I’d like to train to be a speaker and coach, and I jumped at the opportunity. What a contrast! I was finally using skills that I had already, rather than trying to take on a completely new set of skills as I had in my previous business. I could just be me, and do what I am good at- listening, talking, writing, and helping others. I suddenly felt that it was OK to ask for help if I needed it, and that I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

And how much I’ve learned! If you had told me 12 months ago that I would design and build my own website, I would have laughed at you and said “a blind person can’t do that!” Well, I’ve done it.

If you had told me 12 months ago that I’d be recording the third episode of my new podcast, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

And, if you had told me 12 months ago that people would actually pay me their hard earned cash to coach them and to speak to their organisations, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you!

So, why work with me? Well, I’ve survived the redundancy process, and have come out the other side, having transformed myself from disillusioned Government employee to happy business owner. Ive searched until I discovered my dream, and I’ve done what was necessary to gain the skills and the courage to follow my dream and make it a reality!

I’m a career transition coach who passionately believes that no one should be stuck in an unfulfilling job simply because they don’t know what their options are, or are too afraid to follow their dreams. Let me work with you to help you discover what you’d love to do and gain the courage to do it.

It’s easy. Just click here, to book a free 30 minute appointment on my calendar, so we can discuss your goals and needs, and decide whether we’d like to work together.

image with the words "Lets Learn and Career Transition"

8 Things You Should Do Before Looking For Another Job

Whenever things got bad at work, I used to look through the online gazette for jobs hoping I could find one that was better than the one I was in. But, when I did find something that looked good, I’d either get scared and not apply for it, in case it was the same or worse than the one I was in, or I’d decide that it was all too hard and not apply for it, as I wasn’t prepared. So, if you’re sitting at your desk, contemplating looking for jobs, here are 8 things that I highly recommend that you do before you even think about doing that. If you do these things first, you’ll be prepared to apply for that exciting sounding job, and will be less scared of the unknown, as you’ll know exactly what you want.

1. Update your CV or Resume

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do this regularly. There’s nothing that will raise your anxiety levels higher than finishing a job application the night before it’s due, and realising that you haven’t updated your CV for 5 years. Trust me, I’ve been there!

So take some time to update your CV at your leisure, so you can do it right. Find the duty statements for all the jobs you’ve done, and take plenty of time to cast your mind back into the past and remember all you’ve achieved since you last updated your CV.

Get a friend or colleague to check it over for errors, and if it really needs an overhaul and you’re stuck, get some professional help.

2. Reflect upon your past and present careers

While you’re updating your CV, this is a great time to reflect on your past and present jobs. Give some thought to what you liked about them, and what you didn’t.

Think about what satisfied you most about each job, and see if there’s a common thread. This will be something you’ll want to look for when considering whether to apply for jobs in the future.

Similarly, consider the things that dissatisfied you most about each job. You’ll want to avoid these in the future, if possible.

When I did this, I discovered that I was happiest in the jobs where I was helping people, an I was most unhappy when I was being closely managed.

3. Make an inventory of your skills

This is also a great time to make an inventory of your skills. Don’t just stick to your work related skills, but also consider the other skills you have.

You’ll always be happier doing a job where you’re using your best skills. also, this list will be useful if you want to change careers, as it will point you to other career options. It’s also a good chance to decide whether you might like to update your current skills, or gain some new ones, in order to expand your career options.

I was able to get my employer to pay for me to do 2 short courses, one on technical writing (as this was something I thought I might be good at), and one on starting a business.

4. List your interests

If you are thinking of changing careers, it will also be very useful for you to list as many things as you possibly can that interest you. These will not only give you ideas for different types of careers, but may also jog your memory to start that hobby you’ve been putting off for ages.

5. Consider your personal qualities and values

These are what make you unique, and will show what sort of work environment you’re best suited to, and the people you’d be most happy working with.

You won’t want a slow paced job if you thrive on the adrenaline of a tight deadline, and you won’t want an open and noisy work environment if you work best by yourself when it’s quiet.

You may not be as happy in a job if the people you work with have different values to you. I was in a job like that once, and while I loved the work, I never felt like I quite fitted in with my colleagues when we socialised after work, which was strongly encouraged.

6. Consider your goals

I’m someone who likes to run away and hide when people ask me to write down goals. But what I’m suggesting you do isn’t really as daunting as it sounds. Just give some thought to questions about the quality of your life, like:

  • How much do you need to earn to keep up with your bills?
  • Do you want to spend more time with your family?
  • How is your work life balance looking?
  • Do you want to take more holidays, or a different type of holiday?
  • Do you have the time to do the things you most enjoy? etc.

This will get you thinking about what you want your future to look like, and how your job will fit into that. If you’re not comfortable with long term goals, just look ahead a single year.

7. Brainstorm career options

If you are thinking seriously of a career change, use what you’ve listed in the points above, and start brainstorming different career options. This may take some time, and a good deal of research.

Find out as much as you possibly can about the careers you are interested in. If you can, talk to people who work in those careers, and see what a day in that career would look like for you.

When I was doing this, I didn’t have the luxury of time, as I only had 3 months to decide what to do. I knew I wanted to start a business, but didn’t know what. So, I jumped into a business which wasn’t quite right for me. Having said that, I don’t regret a single day in that business, as it lead me to do what I’m doing now.

8. Build your belief in yourself

If you are seriously thinking of changing jobs, there will come a time when you have to apply for one. Truly believing that you are the best person for the job is vital if you are going to win that job. After all, if you don’t believe that you’re the best one for the job, the panel won’t either.

I read a blog post the other day which said that if there were two people with identical skills, where one believed in themselves and the other didn’t, the one who did would be 90% ahead of the other one. Click here to read the whole post.

Let me tel you about 2 very different jobs I applied for. I read the selection criteria for the first job, and decided that I really wanted it. Before I started writing the application, I wrote down all the reasons why I deserved that job, and why i would be very good at it.

By the time I walked into the interview, I felt that that job had my name on it and, if I didn’t get that job, it would be entirely my fault, as I wouldn’t have done a good enough job of convincing the panel that I was the best one for the job. Needless to say , I got the job.

In the case of the second job, when I read the selection criteria, I knew I could do it, and wrote an application that was good enough to get me an interview. However, when I walked into the interview, I just couldn’t seem to muster up that feeling that the job was mine. A little voice in my head kept whispering “you might not get it”. That little voice was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I didn’t get the job. I didn’t believe enough in myself, and so the panel didn’t either.

I’m not saying that self-belief will get you the job every time, but it will certainly put you a step ahead of those you’re competing against, who may not have that self-belief.

I am a career transition coach, and I passionately believe that no one should be stuck in an unfulfilling job simply because they don’t know what their options are, or are too scared to follow their dreams. I’m not an expert at writing CV’s but if you would like help in any of the other areas I’ve written about here, please contact me.