An Interview With Life Coach Amanda Hess – The Neurodivergent CEO

Amanda Hess is on a mission to guide Neurodivergent Women towards self-empowerment and emotional mastery, so they can embrace their uniqueness and lead fulfilling lives.

Hi there!  My name is Amanda Hess and I am a Certified Trauma Aware Life & Success Coach for Neurodivergent Women.  When I was in my mid-thirties, I had a life that everyone else would agree looked pretty perfect. I was married, had 2 kids, a dog, a house, and a professional career. It’s just that nobody really knew what happened behind closed doors.

I have always been what people would call “overly emotional”. I used to get in trouble for it at school and at home. I learned my emotions weren’t welcome, and I learned how to shove them down.

So I got to work on “fixing” myself. I started with drinking to try and cover up who I was. So I was a lot of fun in my 20’s. Until I wasn’t because you don’t tend to be “less” emotional when you are wasted.

In my 30’s I turned to the medical profession for help. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, prescribed SSRI’s with a handful of therapy sessions, and lived like a zombie for an entire year.

But when I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I knew that things were as bad as they could possibly get. I had uncontrollable anger and I didn’t know what to do. I tried all the therapy, podcasts, and books and ultimately, nothing seemed to help. Until I learned that I didn’t actually have to hate myself.

Here’s where the true transformation occurred: I discovered that self-love was not only possible but essential. I learned to comprehend my anger and provide myself with the care and understanding that I had previously sought externally. As it turned out, my brain was functioning as intended, and I could channel my emotions in constructive ways. This realization empowered me to navigate my emotions, transcending the need to lash out at others.

Through my personal journey, I’ve created powerful tools and strategies that I now employ as a coach. My mission is to guide Neurodivergent Women towards self-empowerment and emotional mastery, so they can embrace their uniqueness and lead fulfilling lives.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

What I had created in my own life was so transformative that I wanted to be able to give other women that same empowerment.  I knew that there were so many badass, hard-working women who felt like they were somehow “messed up” and I knew I could help them.  I knew that they didn’t actually need to make more money, or lose more weight, or take everything thing off their “to do” list to finally be able to enjoy their lives.  I knew that living in a constant stress response and battling daily anxiety while trying to hide how they were barely surviving from the rest of the world was not required.  When you are neurodivergent, you feel the world differently.  It’s sharper.  It’s harder.  But what is super cool is learning how to use that sensitivity to create a life you are in love with.

How do you use social media in your business?

I love Instagram.  So you will mostly find me there.  It’s a platform I know and love and understand.  It’s important to understand that to have success with social media, you have to be SOCIAL.  Which means you want to spend time on there and have conversations and create a community.  For me, this means searching hashtags that are relevant to my niche and commenting with authenticity.  It means going out and making friends with people on that platform.  While also providing value and making offers to help the people there when it’s appropriate.

You can also find me on Facebook doing the same thing.  Be a real person.  Have genuine conversations and make it your duty to make the social world you are in a better place.  

Lately, I have started dipping my toe into Linkedin.  I plan to do the same thing there.  It’s so much easier to participate in social media if you don’t look at it like it should do something for you.  Instead, use it with it’s intended purpose.  And show up as the best version of your professional self while you are there.

How did you market your business when it was brand new?

I started out just going out and having coffee chats with people.  When I started my business we were just at the beginning of the pandemic, so I offered free online workshops to help people deal with the stress of what was going on.  From there, I offered coaching to the people who attended.  

I didn’t have a website or a logo or anything at all really.  I had a small audience and I just genuinely wanted to help them.

Can you share some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from your successes and failures in business?

There are some key things I have learned.

  1. You know more than you think you do.  For me, being in the coaching industry means that I am surrounded by coaches.  A lot of those coaches are business coaches, so I would find myself going from coach to coach to try and figure out the “secret” to a successful coaching business.  There isn’t one.  Go and use what knowledge you have, and just try, and fail, and get up and try again.  Rinse & Repeat.
  2. Help people.  Just make it your mission to help people and good things happen in your business.  The more you help people, the more people follow you, refer you, and pay you for your services.  I still sometimes get hung up on vanity metrics, and what brings me back is always just helping one person.
  3. It’s normal for marketing and sales to feel like you are running through the street naked over shards of broken glass when you are neurodivergent.  If it feels like this, you are doing it right.  Learn how to take care of your nervous system.  Prioritize self-care like it is your lifeline, because it is.  Take care of your trauma and find ways to work with YOUR unique brain.
  4. You were never supposed to be different.  Use your neurodivergence as your superpower.  This is how people relate to you. The only way you can build a business you love is to be FULLY yourself.  Finding this out changed everything for me and my business.
  5. There is no RIGHT way.  There are just ways that you will find work for you.  Be patient.  Give yourself grace.  Keep going.  I learned this the hard way.  I would love for you to learn it the easy way.

I have failed multiple times over.  It hurts, but it doesn’t mean anything about you personally.  I have hired coaches who are amazing, I have also hired coaches who were not good, and coaches who were scam artists.  It’s all part of the process.  Keep going.

What routines do you follow every day?

I don’t really.  The one thing I do every day is ensure that I am THERE for myself every day.  I make sure to tend to my nervous system.  I make sure to tend to my soul.

In non-coach speak, this means, every day is not the same.  Habits and routines are not what will make or break you as an entrepreneur. 

The relationship that you have with YOURSELF is what matters more than any of that.

Work on approving of yourself.

Work on loving yourself.

Work on giving yourself grace and learning what makes you tick.  Learn what makes your heart sing.  Learn what drives you from a place of inspiration instead of desperation.

There are guideposts I use:

  1. Move your body and raise your heart rate daily
  2. Learn how to think On Purpose.  Get a 5-minute journal and try to use it as many days in a row as you can, and when you stop you can just start again any time
  3. Tend to your trauma.  Understand it. Don’t railroad or gaslight yourself.  Understand that this is a sacred part of you that needs love and understanding (especially when you are an entrepreneur or leader)
  4. Spend a few minutes each day either meditating or in purposeful silence.  Don’t believe everything your brain tells you.
  5. Just start with the next simplest step.  Don’t overthink it

Being a successful entrepreneur is not what will make you happy.  Being happy is what will make you a successful entrepreneur.

How do you boost your self-esteem in moments of doubt?

SUCH a good question.  I think finding support really is key.  Hire a mentor or a coach.  If you can’t afford that right now, find a group of peers that are in the same business as you.

Ultimately, I do get coached when this comes up for me.  It’s just really efficient.  

At the same time, when I find myself circling what I love to call the “drain of despair”, I find it’s because somewhere along the way, I started dropping my self-care.  I am not moving my body.  I am not grounding in silence.  I am not thinking on purpose each day.  For me, self-care is taking care of my nervous system in a proactive way.  Without it, I end up having way less emotional capacity.  And that is when self-doubt tries to park in my brain.  So it’s a good opportunity to sink back into tools that increase that emotional capacity.

What initiatives or actions do you believe are crucial for fostering a more supportive and inclusive business environment for women?

What’s crucial is understanding that every single person experiences emotion.  Every single person has experienced trauma.  It is insane to believe that people can or should just “carry on”.  

When anger is a celebrated emotion in a man and a shameful emotion in a woman, we get stuck.

Women get this.  We see how dysfunctional it is to try and bury emotion.  But what is missed is how it is actually completely toxic.  When women feel like they have to show up like men to be taken seriously, they are actually trying to morph themselves into an acceptable version of themselves for the men in the room. It’s masking.  It’s unsustainable and helps nobody.  It also ends up creating a boatload of anxiety and depression.

I think that the companies that celebrate what women bring to the table will be the ones that win.  Let’s stop masking.  Let’s start showing up as ourselves. Let’s create the companies that we want to see in the world and show up in support and solidarity of those qualities.  We, as women, need to go first.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment and why?

I finally learned the skill of self-love and fully changed my marriage, my parenting, my business and myself into something that I am immensely proud of.

People think that love is squishy and soft.  I think it’s BRAVE.

You have to have a ton of bravery to decide to love the very flawed version of yourself.  It is not a set-it-and-forget-it thing

When I teach this to my clients, I know that it can be a pretty rough ride at the beginning.  We bump into those things that we believe about ourselves that cause us deep shame.  We have become so good at hiding those things from ourselves, so we drink and scroll, and we overwork and we binge tv and we overeat to try and hide them.

Being able to look at those things squarely in the face and learn how to accept them and love the (bleep) out of them has changed my entire life.  I will never look back because it actually saved my life.  I am so immensely proud of that.

How do you set your business apart form others in your industry?

I give my clients every tool I have and share my heart with them.  I don’t tell my clients what to do.  I walk with them and help them gradually come to their own conclusions.

Neurodivergence is rough.  We have been through the wringer when it comes to not fitting in and being treated poorly.

I think that because I have been through it, and because I have a proven method based in self-love, my clients succeed.  

Not all coaching is the same.  Being neurodivergent means you need somebody with a special touch.  I am so uniquely qualified for that.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?

“The opposite of belonging is fitting in” Brenee Brown

Let’s stop trying to fit in 

Want more inspiring interviews? Meet entrepreneur Ann McKitrick, the founder of MOMentum and Nurtured Noggins, or read The Business of Yoga an interview with Kassandra Reinhardt, or learn about Sara Sutton Fell Founder and CEO of FlexJobs Who’s Making Meaningful Work From Home Happen, part of our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.

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