Posts

Photo of Amanda Heal on stage

Who am I?

“Transition

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.

Can You See Your Dream Clearly?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In recent posts, I’ve been covering questions that you can aske to see whether a dream is worth pursuing. This post will cover the clarity question i.e. do you see your dream clearly?

Mike Hyatt, the president and CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc., once said:

“What you need is a vision that is so big that it is compelling, not only to others, but to you. If it’s not compelling, you won’t have the motivation to stay the course, and you won’t be able to recruit others to help you. … If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.”

When I first joined the John Maxwell team, I didn’t have a clear vision. It was very broad. I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives through coaching, training and speaking, but that was all I knew.

It wasn’t until some time later that I got a clear vision of what I wanted to do. I was thinking back to when I was going through the redundancy process, and how lost i felt. I didn’t know what to do first, or who to turn to for advice. I also felt unwanted and devalued.

As I was thinking about this, I realised what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people who were going through a similar situation to the one I had gone through. I also wanted to help people who had decided that they wanted to change their job, but weren’t sure what to do next.

As my thoughts became clear, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a mixture of excitement and expectation, and I wanted to run out and tell someone that I knew what I wanted to do!

While I didn’t immediately have a complete start to finish strategy, I knew what I had to start with. I had to find the people who I wanted to help, and let them know what I could do for them.

Every time I took a new step towards my dream, the next step would become clear to me. I also found that I was able to more clearly articulate what I wanted to do to my friends, family and colleagues, who gave me a much more positive response than when I told them that I “wanted to make a difference”.

Can you see your dream clearly? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test.

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Are You Compelled To Follow Your Dream?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I asked if you had a dream, and mentioned that there were 10 questions that you could ask yourself to determine whether your dream is worth pursuing. This post will deal with one of those questions which is, the question of passion, i.e. does your dream compel you to follow it?

In his book, “Put Your Dream To The Test”, John Maxwell defines passion as:

”… an enthusiasm that not only gives you energy and focus in the present, but also gives you power to keep moving toward the future. It gives you fuel to pursue your dream.”

When I started my first business, after being made redundant, I thought that it was my passion. Everything was all shiny, new and exciting, and I had a great time. However, when things got tough, when I couldn’t find customers and didn’t meet my sales goals, I would get terribly discouraged and would stop working in my business.

One christmas, I got together with a colleague and arranged a product launch. Between us, we invited about 100 people to the launch, but only a handful turned up. I was so upset, that I didn’t do any work in my business for over a week, and considered quitting altogether!

After doing some soul searching last year, I came to the conclusion that, while I loved the products, and enjoyed sharing them with others, it really wasn’t enough to keep me going, particularly when times were tough. I also discovered that my main motivation for continuing with the business was so that people wouldn’t say to me “I told you you’d never succeed at that”. I still exclusively use the products, and am always recommending them to others, but it’s not my passion.

However, in my current business, when things don’t go the way I want, I may still get discouraged for a few hours. But, sometimes I don’t get discouraged at all, and I’m increasingly seeing these times as opportunities to learn, or change direction.

In my first business, i used to toss and turn at night, and try and figure out how I could get more sales. In my current business, I wake suddenly from a sound sleep, with a great idea for a new blog post, or a revelation about how I can better serve my customers. Sometimes I get so excited that I can’t get back to sleep!

It’s almost like my passion won’t let me give up! It’s what keeps me going through the tough times, towards the success of achieving my dream.

Are you passionate about your dream? Does it compel you to follow it? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test.

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Facing Redundancy – Where To Go For Help

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my previous post, I started to tell you about what happened to me when I found out that I may be made redundant. In this post, I want to recommend to you the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy, particularly if you want to keep your job.

Firstly, I would highly recommend that you join your union. they were an immense source of support and advice to me. Believe me, they won’t hold it against you if you join at this stage, and can be an excellent source of legal, financial, and other advice, including assisting you in interpreting the redundancy provisions of your workplace agreement.

Secondly, even if you’ve decided to take a package, it is essential to seek financial advice, preferably from a qualified financial adviser who is an expert in tax and superannuation. If your adviser is not an expert in superannuation, there are agencies who provide unbiased advice on superannuation, as they are not linked with any superannuation schemes. The agency that provided very good advice to me was StatePlus. Your employer may even pay for you to obtain this advice.

Thirdly, the Employee Assistance Program can also provide free counselling, which can help a great deal in coping with the emotional response to what is happening. This is confidential and free, and your employer doesn’t need to know where you are going, just that you have an EAP appointment. I had one of these sessions, and found it very beneficial.

Lastly, look closely at your workplace agreement, as there may be provisions referring to other assistance your employer will provide you with when facing redundancy, such as retraining, and career counselling. I was able to do a couple of online courses on technical writing, and starting a business, and also worked with a great career counsellor.

Finally, I recommend that you take up everything that is offered to you that you think may help you make a decision whether or not to take a package, or which will help you keep your current job or get another job in your chosen field. This is your chance, so make the most of it!

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Editor’s Note: this blog post was updated on 15 July 2016 to add a reference and link to StatePlus.