Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only organization for successful leading business and career coaches. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you. This week: Amanda Miller Littlejohn.
Amanda Miller Littlejohn is a top nationally recognized personal branding coach, trainer and speaker. She is an idea oven, brand problem-solver and creative powerhouse working at the intersection of public relations, journalism, marketing and social media. A former full-time print journalist and a writer first by training and passion, Amanda uses her unique storytelling lens and reporting skills to help her clients uncover and subsequently share better brand stories. Through her training programs, signature personal branding system The Branding Box, Amanda is a motivating brand advisor for entrepreneurs and experts who are seeking inspiration, clarity, and fresh ideas on how to emerge as experts in their chosen fields.
Business owners, innovators and executives at Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Burger King, Colgate-Palmolive, Time, Inc., Groupon and J.P. Morgan Chase among others all trust Amanda to help them think through their personal brand strategy and thought leadership.
What inspired you to become a coach?
If I look back as far as I can remember, it was my late father who inspired me to ultimately become a coach. A multitalented and multidisciplined engineer (electrical, computer systems, network, audio), he was one of — if not the most brilliant person — I’ve ever known. When he found himself laid off in his 50s, I attempted to help him get a freelance business off the ground. I was still in college and this was before social media and online marketing had become so widely available. Though I tried to help him best I could, he ultimately wasn’t able to make a go of it. It was in his struggle that I realized how critical marketing and public relations were to the success of one’s business or career. Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you are the smartest or most talented person on the planet; if your market isn’t aware of you, you can’t leverage your skills and talents for income or opportunity.
What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?
“Follow your energy.”
This is a cornerstone of my coaching process and one of the first ways I seek to help my clients identify their genius.
Your energy will never fail you, and if you can pinpoint moments in your working life when you felt physically energized by the work you were doing or the clients you were working with, you can find clues that will help you replicate those energizing projects and clients, resulting in more fulfillment overall.
What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?
My clients are high achievers, which means they’re the people who have been making A’s in school, earning advanced degrees and holding leadership positions their whole lives. They’re at a point in their lives where it’s no longer a question of “Am I any good?” It’s more a question of “Where should I focus my numerous talents?”
When it’s time to put that focus on a new unchartered path — for example, speaking, book writing or consulting — they can become crippled by the fear of really putting themselves out there.
My advice to them whenever they’re feeling anxiety or fear about a new challenge is to remember all of the success they’ve experienced up to this point. I remind them that there’s more success where that came from. They have the right to choose how they use their gifts and talents, even if most people in their lives see them as being a success in only one area. I remind them that they can be intentional about their next chapter. They can choose to do something different.