Updated: Sep 6, 2019
It seems like Amy Morin always has an Ace up her sleeve for whatever hand is dealt. We had the pleasure to hear from Amy as she bravely shared with us both her tribulations and her triumphs. Her will power and poise allow her to consistently channel moments into helpful lessons for not only herself, but also for the millions who have received her message.
Breakthrough Marketing Group: It was great getting to see you speak live @ Hyper Growth in Boston- what did you think of that conference?
Amy Morin: I thought it was a great conference with lots of positive energy and a diverse lineup of speakers.
BMG: What excites you most about speaking engagements and performing/conveying the concepts you have written about?
AMY: When I write a book I don’t get to see people’s reactions in real time. So it’s fun to give a talk and see how the audience responds. And it’s exciting to be able to interact with audience members before and after an event to hear about some of the things they struggle with, or to get feedback on the things that resonated with them the most.
BMG: Do you have any strategies or tactics you use as a public speaker that work best for you (ie. Focus on one spot in the room/ etc.)
AMY: I never thought I’d enjoy public speaking. For much of my life it was my biggest fear. But I love it now. So I try to remind myself to have fun and enjoy the moment because it’s something my 17-year-old self wouldn’t have ever imagined I’d dare do. I also keep the focus on being in the moment so I can concentrate on what I’m saying, rather than worrying about what people are thinking.
BMG: Those are great lessons to apply not only in speaking but in general, focus on what you can control and be in the moment. Congratulations on all of your success thus far, it’s difficult to have even one book reach the acclaim your 2 have. And you have your 3rd coming up "13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do" can yo talk a little bit about that book- where did you get the idea to expand the 13 series?
AMY: Thank you. The ideas for my books have come from my readers. Readers of my first book kept asking me how to teach kids how to be mentally strong. So it made sense to create a parenting book that would help readers learn the parenting skills involved in helping kids build mental muscle.
Then, I kept getting questions from women about how to be mentally strong in today’s world. So I approached my publisher with the idea to write a book specifically for women and fortunately, they were on board with that one too. My publisher has been supportive of the 13 Things series from day one and I’m grateful they’ve been interested in these follow up books.
BMG: Wonderful, and the original book actually began as a blog post is that correct?
AMY: Yes, it was a 600 word blog post that was actually a letter to myself on one of my darkest days. When I was 23, my mother passed away. Then, when I was 26, my husband died. A few years later, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I found myself thinking things like, “Why do I have to lose someone else? This isn’t fair.”
I reminded myself that hosting a pity would drain my mental strength. And I sat down and wrote myself a letter of all the things mentally strong people don’t do. When I was done, I had a list of 13 things. I read over the last often in the following days and I found it helpful. I thought perhaps it might help someone else so I published it online.
I never imagined it would go viral but that list was read by more than 50 million people. But no one knew it was a letter to myself—they assumed I had mastered everything on that list. But the truth was, I still struggled with those things. Fortunately, in the course of all that, a literary agent found my article and suggested I write a book. Within a month, I had a book deal with HarperCollins and my life was forever changed.
BMG: I'm so sorry to hear that, I can't begin to imagine that feeling. It's incredible what you have been able to do and the massive impact you continue to have on helping so many peoples lives. With so many obligations and wearing so many hats, how are you able to structure and prioritize your tasks, and manage your day?
AMY: I’ve gotten better at learning how to guard my time. I reserve so much time for interviews each month and I only do a certain amount of speaking engagements each year. I have to say no to a lot of things—sometimes that’s hard because I get invited to do some really cool stuff but if I say yes to everything I won’t get the most important things done.
I still use a paper calendar to manage my time. I like to look at a month at a time to see what I have going on. I have article deadlines that I need to meet—both weekly and monthly. And of course, there are lots of deadlines with books. And I want to make sure I have time to prepare for speaking engagements. So I work on my schedule one month at a time to make sure there are enough days to get everything done.
BMG: There’s a quote in your book that relates to that and I really think is powerful “Each time you avoid saying no to something you really don’t want, you give away your power”- could you speak a little more to the notion/importance of being able to say no and the benefits of possessing that attribute.
AMY: Sometimes our default answer is yes because we want to do everything or because we don’t want to risk hurting someone’s feelings. But saying yes too much is quite dangerous. You risk losing sight of your values and you risk damaging your relationships more than if you were just honest and said no.
If you’re going to do something, whether it’s accept a task at work or attend a social function, don’t do it because you feel pressured to or because you worry someone’s going to be mad. Do it because you think it’s important. Otherwise, you give people too much power over your life.
BMG:Definitely agree. Are there certain stress-relieving activities that help you to clear your head if you find yourself getting overwhelmed?
AMY: I love to run and I go running almost every day. I also love the water. I go jet skiing almost every day. I spend time in nature too and make sure I enjoy simple things, like sunsets. I actually live on a sailboat for most of the year so enjoying the simple things in life is pretty easy.
BMG: That's amazing. The ocean has always been a great source of inspiration for me as well. What do you find are your audiences biggest stumbling blocks ( or most common # of the 13 ) and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
AMY: The most common one is not giving away your power. It’s the one I get the most feedback about from readers and whenever I speak about this topic, the audience always shares lots of stories with me about their personal experiences.
It’s important to recognize that you’re in charge of how you think, feel, and behave. And you need to set healthy boundaries with people who have a negative influence on you. Sometimes those boundaries are emotional and other times, they’re physical.
BMG: Of the original 13- what number do you personally struggle the most with- and what # do you personally feel extremely strong and confident with.
AMY: I struggle with all of them at one time or another. I’d say most recently I find myself tempted to give up after my first failure in the business world. This author/speaker career is still fairly new to me and I experiment with different things to see what works. And when something doesn’t work—like with my online course or a social media strategy—I’m tempted to give up on it. I have to remind myself that it’s a process of trial and error and I can learn from each failure. I’m pretty comfortable with alone time at this point. I do a lot of traveling alone for work and I work remotely and I’m comfortable being alone with my thoughts.
BMG: What is the most rewarding part about your various roles?
AMY: Right now, one of the most rewarding things is reaching people across the globe. I used to work with people one-on-one in my therapy office but now I get to share my message with people on a much bigger scale.
My first book is translated into 32 languages and I have students from all over the world who take my online course or watch my TEDx talk. It’s incredible to get an email from someone in Egypt who is interested in my work or a social media message from someone in Japan who just read one of my books.
BMG:During dark and painful periods of your life- how have you been able to motivate and overcome those difficulties. IS there a mantra or message you continually come back to?
AMY: I just remind myself that life is short and my world is what I make it. I have options in how I live my life and it’s up to me to make it the best that I can, no matter what hand I was dealt.
I have a strong faith too and that’s definitely helped me during my darkest days, as well as my social support. My friends and family have always been there to help me when I was struggling and I’m grateful for that.
BMG: In addition to the exciting news of the new book- what else can we expect from you within the next few years!
AMY: I hope to keep writing and speaking about mental strength as long as people want to keep learning more. I’m not sure what form that will take quite yet, but it may be more books, more courses, or just more articles and talks. I’ll just keep going and see where it leads me!