Happy No Matter What


The Live Brazen Manifesto


This is a public statement of what I stand for as the proud new mama of Live Brazen . . . I dedicate this manifesto to the change makers (you know who you are).

I will give myself permission to be who I am even if I secretly wish I were “cooler.”

I will let myself be happy, no strings attached.

I refuse to feel guilty because I don’t meet someone else’s expectations of who I “should” be.

I will never sacrifice me for a false sense of belonging.

I will look for the shadow and the light of each of my personality traits, no puffing up the “good” ones or hiding the “bad” ones.

I will do what strengthens me and bag, barter or better the things that don’t.

I will ask for things – favors, advice, introductions, testimonials — and be willing to hear the word no as often as it takes.

I will know my worth and appreciate what I have to offer and stand tall because of it.

I will not distract myself from facing the scary action it inevitably takes to reach my dreams.

I will not downplay my awesomesauce to make other people feel more comfortable around me.

I will allow myself to fall flat on my face as often as it takes without ever making it mean anything other than I’m a rockstar.

I will allow other people to think what they will about my language, behavior and/or ideas without trying to control their opinions of me.

I will care what people think of me but I will never let it stifle me.

I will remember that an epic life requires risk and risk is supposed to be uncomfortable.

I will trust my instincts, especially around the doubters.

I will take “expert advice” into consideration but I will listen to me first.

I will show people the truth about me even when it feels vulnerable because I know THAT is the only way to real intimacy and connection.

When I screw up I will seek help with humility and an open heart.

I will remember that doing something crappy is better than doing nothing at all — because it is action not perfection that is the key to success.

I will deliberately seek the company of people who remind me of what is possible even if I have to pay big bucks for it.

I will live it to give it.

I will acknowledge people in my life who inspire me.

I will never wait until I have my shit together to be of service or do something epic because I know that day will never come.

I will consider criticism from other people who are also “in the arena,” doing brazen shit in honor of their one “wild and precious life” and I will ignore naysayers standing on the sidelines.

I will do one thing each day towards my dreams that is easy to do, but just as easy not to do.

I will admit out loud that I am special.

And because I am special, I will remember that I am irreplaceable. That I’m not supposed to be like anyone else and so I wont try to be.

I will not shrink from my own power. I will own it. I will harness it. I will use it.

I will advocate for me instead of expecting other people to do it for me.

I will remember that I’m not responsible for other people’s emotions, they are. I’m responsible for mine.

I will never, ever reject myself first, out of fear of being rejected.

When I feel resentment, I will use it as a reminder to stop saying yes to other people before I say yes to myself.

I will know what I want – right now, tomorrow and in five years. And I will not be embarrassed about wanting “frivolous,” things, epic things, or darn right outrageous things.

If I’m getting too big for my britches, I’ll buy a size larger.

I will never again buy into the bullshit that there is a right and a wrong way – there are infinite ways to do anything. The more I can do it my way, the better.

I will never again try to seek success as a way to compensate for a family legacy of shame.

If I feel jealous, I will use it as a reminder of what I want that I’m telling myself I cannot have.

I will never deem someone else’s vulnerability as inspiring while discounting my own.

I will remember that there is nothing to fix about me.

I will always give myself a second and a third and a fourth…. chance.

I will show up each day even when I don’t want to.

I will never forget that no matter what I do, there will be always be haters.

I will remember that to have an an extraordinary life, you have to have extraordinary thoughts.

I will remember that success has nothing to do with talent.

I will remind myself that just because I’m “good” at something does NOT mean I should be doing it.

I will stop doing for others long enough to make sure there is plenty of space for my own dreams.

I will let whatever wants to grow inside me be – for its own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can make me look better.

I will always have a plan, even if it’s a shitty plan.

I will choose my regrets wisely.

I will ask myself what can I do that nobody else can, that will make the most impact in this world.

I will remind myself that there is no such thing as the “right” timing.

I will “fail” my way to success.

And If I can’t dance, I don’t want any part of it.


So…What did you think of the Manifesto? Post a comment below! And if you like where that came from there’s still time to get my free training, The Approval Trap! Just click here.

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[Interview] a heathen mystic speaks

For this month’s interview series, I had the chance to chat with my good pal Anna “What’s Her Name” Kunnecke about her signature program The Queen Sweep.

(Don’t miss the first 3 minutes. You will see all kinds of bloopers that I’m just too damned lazy to edit out (plus real life is sooooo much more interesting than any shiny and sparkly version I could have put together for you.))

Anna’s a Master Martha Beck Life Coach, a self-proclaimed heathen mystic (pretty brazen) and a lover of the finer things in life.

We talk about The Queen Sweep — how it’s all about practicing the principles of mysticism via your personal clutter.

After all, if you’re not actually doing anything concrete in the real world, it’s all just swimming around in your head… What good is that?

Click the image below to watch the interview and make sure you get in on her free call tomorrow where she’ll be walking you through a strategy LIVE to clear clutter in a very important area of your life…

Here’s that link to Anna’s class:


So… What kind of clutter do you have? Confess below in the comments section!

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(a house down to the studs)

I remodeled a house once. Yep me, the “general contractor.” I got the hair-brained idea to buy the rickety bungalow next door, take it down to the studs (I didn’t know what that meant either) and start fresh.

I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

I had to find a team of contractors which meant interviewing at least three service providers per category–3 architects, 3 structural engineers, 3 plumbers, 3 electricians, 3 framers, 3 HVAC mechanics, 3 insulation installers, 3 hard wood floor’ers, 3 dry waller’ers, on and on and on…

This brought up a series of other problems– what’s a fair bid? What’s the additional cost for supplies? How long does each thing take?

As I had never remodeled a house before, (I had a doll house as a kid, does that count? Probably not, my sister and my mom put it together… I just decorated.) I had no idea who needed to start when. I knew things needed to be demoed… but did the plumber go before the electrician? When did the HVAC guy need to come? Did the framer need to be done first or could they all work at the same time?

Then there were all the choices… I picked toilets, tile, insulation, light fixtures, paint color, brick, everything…down to the last knob and pull.

It was a massive project.

And I did it.

And it was glorious. It sold for above the asking price (a bidding war even!). The buyer worked at an international design firm. She wanted to know if I was a designer…

Nope. Just a naive person who had a hair-brained idea.

The moral of the story?

In the end, I learned I would not be quitting my day job. General contracting was not for me.

But I proved to myself I could rise to the challenge.

And you can too.

Here’s the shocking truth about getting things– epic, brazen, and/or just plain hair-brained shit — done:

You don’t need to have a clue what the hell you’re doing. Each step forward in the dark will reveal the next step.

You don’t need to have a clue what the hell you’re doing. Each step forward in the dark will reveal the next step.

One of the most insidious excuses I have ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot) is “I need to know how.”

You don’t.

Just begin.

No, my friend, I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t guarantee you success.

But if your heart says yes, get moving on that project, hair-brained or not.

I leave you with a quote from my dear friend Sarah Seidelmann’s latest book, Born To Freak: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans:

“Experts say the statistical chance of being born into a human body is about as slim as stepping in rocking horse feces. If that’s true, then this your moment! You’re here. Do something!”

So….what hair-brained project is your heart telling you to begin? Please leave a comment below. Because I LOVE that!

Psst! If you liked this article, check out:

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You Really Can Be Your Own Best Friend



It’s the recognition that we fit, that we’re a part of something. That we matter. As my mom used to say, “Amy, everybody just want’s to be part of.”

It’s not a luxury, it’s not self-indulgent, or frivolous.

It’s a biological drive.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, if we can’t get the drive met, we don’t do well. We get sick. We don’t get out of bed. Our creativity shuts down, so does our ability to problem solve or be spontaneous.

Human beings need LOVE. We need to get it and we need to give it.

Take the Tend and Befriend response. This human biological response to stress often gets overshadowed by the fight or flight response in conversations about self help.

Yes we humans flip the finger, and we check out, sometimes mentally sometimes geographically, when things take a turn for the worst.  But just as often, we affiliate. We join together in our fear and desperation. We give free hugs, we dance and sing together in mass flash mobs, we offer food, we provide encouragement, comfort, warmth, hope.

The more I focus on the incredible human capacity for LOVE, I see evidence of it everywhere.

I see it on the airplane when two strangers strike up a conversation,

I see it when a big brother hugs his little sister goodbye at school,

I see it in the grocery store when a man touches his wife on the back,

I hear it at a restaurant – friends laughing hysterically over who knows what…

And most of all, I feel it, in my own heart.

LOVE is everywhere, all around us, all the time. And it’s in you. It’s written in your DNA. It’s a part of your nature.

Which is why I have to remind you…

You’re 100 percent capable of befriending yourself, offering YOU compassion, friendship and love.

You’re 100 percent capable of befriending yourself, offering YOU compassion, friendship and love. If you don’t believe it’s possible, look around you. Each time you witness the human capacity for love, let it remind you of your own innate capacity for self -compassion.

It’s there.

You just have to recognize it.

Where did you see evidence of the incredible human capacity for LOVE today. Please share in the comments section below because I LOVE that.


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[Interview] are you a happy-preneur?

For those of you who missed the memo, I started an interview series! I get to talk to people who inspire me and share them with you. So on this Valentines Day I can’t think of a better person to share because Heather Laughter is ALL LOVE .
She helps women go from solopreneur to HAPPY-preneur. I love that!
We had a very fun converstaion about owning your value and standing in your power without hiding or trying to be like anyone else!
At this point, some of you may be asking, that’s great Amy but how do I do that?!
Well, Heather actually shares a very powerful technique that you can use right away to start connecting with the value of what you do.
(And she coached me on the spot!)
So be sure to watch the video to learn how. And Heather was generous enough to share this gorgeous worksheet you can use while you follow along (yes that’s her art work).
And finally, be sure to click here to take advantage of the other free goodies she has to offer.


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Singing Blue-winged Warbler

[Note from Amy: Nancy was one of the earliest members of "Be Brazen," my five week coaching program which is now available as a home study here. Since I love case studies (since it's so much better hearing about coaching programs from the actual participants, right?!) I was excited to share her experience here.]

I wasn’t looking for Be Brazen. I wasn’t even sure how Amy’s announcement got to me, but I immediately related to the issues she mentioned–letting clients run sessions because you’re afraid to assert yourself, fear of raising your rates, fear of really being yourself because, OMG, someone might not like you! I was stuck in the Approval Trap–never mind that I’d never heard of it before.

Debilitating Stage Fright…

I could see how the course fit me and my business, but my real, deep reaction was, “I don’t need this for my business, I need it for my life!” For one, I had a strong sense that there really was no difference between the two–if you’re in the trap for one, how can it not carry over to the other? I’d also just decided to get over my decades-old debilitating stage fright by signing up to sing a few weeks later. I won’t lie; one of the first things I did was look to see how far into the class I’d be by then. I signed up, and boy, am I glad I did.

Yes, this course has deep business implications, but as I suspected, it hit me most on a personal level. Why should I hide who I am? Why should I listen to anyone else rather than listening to my own deep wisdom? Just what made me think that others might know better than me? Better, what made me think I didn’t know better than they did? Ahh, right–I needed their approval. In fact, I was desperate for it.

Listening to Others Over Myself

Over the last 3 years or so, I’ve become much more aware of and in tune with my own inner wisdom/intuition/whatever you like to call it. That’s because I discovered SoulCollage® and then became a facilitator while I was enrolled in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach training. The two are very different, but they both emphasize listening to intuition, tuning out the voices that lead you astray, and following your true inner voice.

And yet, I still tended to listen to others, often to excess, going around soliciting fifty opinions about a situation when two would be more than sufficient, hearing that voice but being afraid to listen to it because this time, it was REALLY IMPORTANT and what if I screwed it up–or worse, looked like a complete idiot? There’s not much approval value in falling flat on your face for everyone else to see, and it was keeping me from doing things I really wanted to do.

It All Boiled Down to Believing in Myself First

For me, it all boiled down to believing in myself before others– making what I want important enough to go for it no matter what anyone else tells me. It wasn’t until I started the course that I realized just what an approval addict I really was. I could barely move without having to get someone to say what I wanted to do was okay and pat me on my head. If they said no,I went straight back to the drawing board, crushed or not, no matter what my own inner voices may have said. What the heck did I know? (It’s more than a little ironic coming from someone who works so much with intuition and empowerment, I know. Worse, it’s embarrassing.)

Fortunately, Amy Pearson is a fountain of knowledge and insight, and as a recovering approval addict herself, she gets how insidious it can be. Be Brazen gave me a lot to think about, resources to delve into at my leisure, and opportunities to practice via not one but two different kinds of homework . I never managed to make a single call, but not only were the recordings available quickly, there were transcripts–something I really valued as a more visual than auditory learner. The online group was the glue that held it all together. I’ve made new friends via this course in a community where we can remind each other that critics often don’t know what they’re talking about, and since they’re not the ones doing the actual work, they don’t even count.

Reclaiming Your Authentic Self is Worth All the Gold in Fort Knox

I Got Up And Sang!

You count. Your voice is important. Knowing that, and reclaiming your authentic self, is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox.

And what happened with that stage fright problem? I got up and sang at the end of September for a room full of people. I won’t lie: I was shaking and terrified. But I did it anyway, and have done it a few times since. (Yes, it does get easier!)

I’m also exploring ways to improve my life and others that are off the beaten path, like my free Create Joy in 2013 Facebook group, where almost 100 women and I are sharing and experimenting with ways to find and create more joy in our lives this year. For me, that seems to include limiting my exposure to things a lot of people think we need, like news, politics/political Facebook posts, and anything else that just drags us down, including people. Others may think that’s crazy or even irresponsible, but I really don’t care. I’m listening to myself this time.

The course is not a miracle cure. You have to do the work–and the work is SO worthwhile. It’ll probably take more than five weeks to sort through it all, but the class is a great foundation. And I still believe that this is a life course at least as much as it’s a business course.

Be Brazen isn’t just a class; it’s a community, and I’m excited that it’s growing. If you’ve ever felt like you needed to come out of your shell, stop caring what everyone else thinks, and sing your own song, I hope you’ll come join us!

To join Nancy and the entire “Be Brazen” community, get the details HERE.

Nancy Norbeck is a Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, SoulCollage® Facilitator, Laughter Wellness instructor, and tutor in New Jersey. In 2009, she completed my MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College. Her mission is to help you find your voice, whether through writing, SoulCollage®, or pursuing a creative dream. You can learn more about what makes her unique by visiting her at http://nancynorbeck.com.

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25 Simple Ways to Be Kind (To Yourself)

1. Give yourself a hug
2. Call yourself “sweetie”
3. Buy yourself some body butter (my favorite is Brazilian Mango Grapefruit by Pacifica)
4. Laugh at your own jokes
5. Make a promise to yourself and keep it
6. Call yourself a “rock star” when you do
7. Write “You are beautiful” on your bathroom mirror in lipstick
8. Do something right now that makes you happy
9. Make time to move your body even if it’s 10 minutes (then call yourself a rock star).
10. Make yourself a “you are awesome” playlist
11. Send yourself a thank you note
12. Do something “frivolous”
13. Admit that you are special
14. Stop hanging out with that negative and judgmental “friend”
15. Paint your fingernails
16. Eat more greens
17. Stretch
18. Look yourself in the eyes and smile
19. Let yourself suck at something so you can get better at it
20. Go with the flow (you don’t have to control everything)
21. Laugh
22. Write down what you want. Everything. Then refuse to judge it.
23. Put on your favorite dress and take yourself on a date
24. Don’t make yourself do things you don’t like to do (especially if you’re good at it)
25. Eat something yummy and (gasp) actually let yourself enjoy it 

I’d love to change the title of this post to 100 Simple Ways to Be Kind to Yourself, so post your own tip below and I’ll enter you in a contest to win a tube of my favorite body butter by Pacifica!

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Do you love money?

Big news! I’m starting something new on the blog… an interview series. I think it’ll be a fun way to introduce you to brazen people who inspire me and might inspire you too. So the plan is once a month, I’ll do a short interview with someone cool and post it to my blog.

This month my very first interview is with master coach Sherold Barr. She has a program called Smart Women Love Money AND she’s teaching a free class TOMORROW (you can sign up here).

I’m really passionate about money. Money is a huge shame trigger for women… (so is motherhood and physical appearance btw). When we feel shame about our “worth” — whether it’s our pocket book, our waist line, or the way we raise our kids, we hide. We cover up Who We Really Are and we fall down the approval seeking bunny hole.

I, for one, have had a lot of shame issues around money. And 2013 is the year I vow to clean up my money mindset so I can be even more brazen.

After all, we women on a mission can’t make the impact we were meant to make when we’re wasting mental energy worrying about that bounced check.

So check out my interview with Sherold, founder of Smart Women Love Money, and be sure to sign up for her free class here.

(And yes, I skyped with Sherold from my guest house in Hanelei!)

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[Note from Amy: I hope you enjoy a guest post by Master Coach Lin Eleoff. She is a very funny lady and a pretty wicked-talented illustrator (see her original art work below). And she happens to know a few things about a few things. So read her wisdom below and make sure to check out her blog for more good stuff!]

I used to be famous for blaming other people. In fact, it earned me my very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Blame.

It’s her fault!

He promised he would do it for me.

The butler did it.

The trouble with blame is, it doesn’t actually make you feel better. It just prolongs your own self-imposed suffering.

So, why do we blame?

Why are we so determined to find someone or something to blame for the way things turned out in our lives? Why do we think it’s someone else’s responsibility to make us happy? Because somewhere along the line we missed the memo that spelled out who is actually responsible for our very own  happiness.

Um… we are.

Each of us is responsible for every single thing we think, feel, and do, every day of our lives. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we missed the opportunity to take the reins and take charge. Actually, make that, opportunities. Plural.


Each day we face Another F***ing Growth Opportunity, or AFGO. An AFGO is an emotional signal from your body that indicates you are out of alignment: that basically, you’re not happy in that moment.

When you blame someone or something else for your unhappiness, you are abdicating your responsibility for your emotional well-being.

For example, let’s say you’re angry with your husband because you think he is “lazy.” You have amassed all sorts of evidence for this: he doesn’t take out the garbage, he likes to watch TV at night, and he never wants to go out. This “makes” you unhappy. You blame your husband for your unhappiness.

Who’s really making you so unhappy?

And I say, it’s not the husband who is making you unhappy. You are making you unhappy. By hinging your happiness on whether your husband behaves a certain way, according to your Rule Book, Chapter: Husbands.

It’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot change someone else, you know that.

But, but, but….

He’s driving me crazy;

She’s ruining her life;

The sky will fall if I don’t teach him how he should do it!

Only you can make you happy

Here’s the thing: it’s no one’s job to make you happy. Ever. Only you can make you happy. When we “allow” ourselves to be unhappy because other people don’t do the things we want them to do, we have abdicated our responsibility to find a way to be happy in this life.

Happiness is an inside job. No matter what anyone else chooses to do with his or her life, your life is still yours to live, fully and completely and authentically.

If someone isn’t doing something you think they should be doing, by all means have a conversation with them; discuss your concerns, ask them what they’re thinking and try to broker a compromise, if possible. But don’t let the outcome determine how you are going to feel.

Guard your happiness, at all costs. Guard it with your life.


Lin Eleoff is a Martha Beck Master Coach and the author behind theworstmother.com. She is the self-proclaimed Smart Ass Coach and her fr*ee ebook, How to be a Smart Ass, Like Me, is available HERE.

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The Anatomy of a “Good” Goal

I know it’s not very sexy but I love goals.

Yes goals.

People ask me how I get it all done. They assume I’m extremely organized. In reality I’m pretty ADD. On top of that, I have 3 small children at home and I only work part time. But the truth is I do get a lot done.

Here’s why… I’m no longer addicted to approval but I’m still an addict.

I am addicted to goals.

I love them. I love creating them. I love thinking about them. I love working towards them. I love realizing them.

I will never say to myself, “I have finally arrived!” because I know there will always be another thing for me to strive for.

Because there is so much joy for me in the striving. Goals, to me, are play– creative, daring, adventurous, experimental play.

Like all good play, my goals teach me all kinds of stuff in the process. How to be proud of my accomplishments and my failures, how to persist, to persevere, problem solve, innovate, risk, have a sense of humor to name a few.

Good goals? Or bad goals?

But it didn’t always used to be this way. I used to take my goals very seriously. I used them as a measuring stick, a way to quantify my self worth.

I had a list of things I was supposed to accomplish by the age of 30. I was supposed to speak four languages, graduate with honors from Columbia University, solve the hunger problem, win the Nobel Peace Prize, etc., etc.…

As you can guess I fell short.

So the goals I created back then were really more like intangible torture devises. Each time I came up short, I used the goal to figuratively whack myself on the head …

The anatomy of a good goal

Nine years later, there’s a different energy behind my goals. The stakes are not so high yet, ironically, I’m achieving my goals more often and I’m much happier.

Part of it has to do with permission. I now give myself permission to just be happy. Not happy if…  Not happy when. The by product, I have found, is that when I can Just. Be. Happy, I don’t judge what I want as stupid, frivolous or just plain crazy. And my goals get to be for me not about me.

Second, I am way more willing to fail than I used to be. Since my goals are now my source of joy – a gift I give to myself really – and not a measuring stick with which to beat myself over the head, I can afford to be creative, daring and at times downright cray-cray.

Getting high off goals

Human beings are built for goals. We are like bicycles. When we are not in motion, we fall down.

I just read Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy. It’s a book about productivity. He says that task completion actually triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain.

Yes, you can literally get high off goals. And I’m all about getting high without drugs.

Are your goals working for you?

But if your goals feel bad or you’re just plain stuck, my guess is you’ve got to do a bit of work first to make sure those goals are working for you and not against you.

3 Tips to Clean Up (and get high off) Your Goals:

1. What is your WHY?

A few weeks ago I heard Danielle LaPorte speak at the World Domination Summit. She says, when you feel inspired ask yourself, are you moved on a cellular level or do you just want to be like the person who inspires you?

Put another way, are you in integrity with your goals? Are they a true reflection of Who You Really Are or just another gold star used to elicit ewwws and ahhhs?

2. Reframe failure.

Jeff Olsen author of The Slight Edge, says “successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” It’s as simple as that. Stop believing that failure somehow reflects upon your worth. When you no longer see it this way, roadblocks stop meaning failure and start providing the feedback you need to reach your goals.

3. Go with good enough.

Perfectionism is just a form of procrastination in disguise, I’ve heard it said. Go with good enough. And just do something!

So there you have it. I dare you to post 1 goal in the comments below. Because I LOVE THAT.

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