Amy Hilliard, author of "Pivot for Success," has been an entrepreneur since she was a young girl in Detroit selling handmade rose water and promoting her babysitting business. Amy carried that determination with her throughout her life making her an expert in reinvention.
A proven thought-leader on entrepreneurship, empowerment and marketing, Amy has been profiled in Fortune, Success, Entrepreneur, CNN, Black Enterprise, Essence, Ebony and NPR. An international speaker, she is also the author of “TAP INTO YOUR JUICE -- Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams” – endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
What makes Amy even more special is her willingness to tell the story behind the story and that includes times she’s been laid off, foreclosed on, divorced and how she reinvented herself through those challenges. Amy’s story is one of true grit that I’m confident will inspire you to keep going and reinvent yourself too.
Learn more about Amy: https://amyshilliard.com/
Amy S. Hilliard_Interview
[00:00:00] Jes Averhart: [00:00:00] Wow. Welcome to the re-invention Roadtrip, a coffee shop style podcast that is helping thousands of women dream bigger and level up in business and life. I'm Jesse Webber. Join me as we learn from the baddest women in the game who share their powerful re-invention stories, each one dropping unique gems and takeaways just for you.
[00:00:28] Listen, it's time to get inspired, dream louder, and own the keys that will unlock. Best version of you. All right team. We are back re-invention road trip, and we have a treat for you today, just before we jumped on, I was fan girling with Amy Hilliard, who is our, our guests today. I just love it. Love her content.
[00:00:55] I love her lived experience. I love her perspective and I'm [00:01:00] so excited to bring her to you through this podcast. So Amy are you with us? I
[00:01:06] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:01:06] am happy to be with
[00:01:08] Jes Averhart: [00:01:08] you. Thanks. Thank you. It's so good to have you on. So are so as you know, and I know you've listened to this podcast, which is, which is wonderful.
[00:01:16] Thank you for doing that. Um, what are sort of all about re-invention, which is why this synergy is so good because. You use reinvention, you call yourself a reinvention specialist. I saw that in your bio several times, and then you use it throughout the book. You also use the word pivot in the title of your new book, pivot for success, and they're kind of synonymous.
[00:01:40] So you're in the perfect place at the reinvention road trip. As we love to talk about. Re-invention before we jump in to all the things, I have a million questions, which we won't get to all of them, but before I do that, I want to get into your bio. And frankly, you sent me your bio friend, and I thought [00:02:00] we will not have time to read this whole thing.
[00:02:02] And also your bio. So many of that highlights in your bio. You weave those stories throughout the book. So I'm going to touch on it and sort of tease our audience a little bit if that's okay.
[00:02:15] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:02:15] That's fine. That's fine. That's fine. Just
[00:02:19] Jes Averhart: [00:02:19] here's here's my version of your bio. Our guest today is Amy Hilliard.
[00:02:24] She's an award-winning serial entrepreneur and successful senior corporate executive. She's also an author. A speaker and an educator, and that comes through in this book. I have to say this you're a native of Detroit. I'm from Ohio. So, you know, girl, we Midwest, I love it. Your date of, of Detroit, you are awesome honors graduate.
[00:02:45] We have to say this for all of our Howard university fans out there. You're an honors graduate from both Howard university and the Harvard business school. And then you also got some continuing education in digital and social marketing at Columbia university. So. [00:03:00] You know, well-educated, ma'am, you're the owner of three businesses, the Hilliard group sugarless sweetness, which is amazing.
[00:03:07] Maybe you'll touch on that when we talk comfort cake company as well. And you regularly consult for fortune 500 clients, including Nielsen IBM, Pandora jewelry, B E T T American express. HBO, the art Institute of Chicago and Pepsi, and so many others, Pepsi co I should say. And so many others that there was another list, but I, I grabbed those high, you know, this is personal to me or the former president of fashion fair cosmetics.
[00:03:34] And I remember when I was really young, I, those were the cosmetics that I used. You know that it was a makeup that fit my skin color. And so when I, um, realized that you had a lot, you had your hand in that it had so much to do with it. It just personally meant a lot to me as a, as a black woman, you know, that's history for me, I'm not finished.
[00:03:52] I know our listeners are like, geez, yes. Now we're not done. You're a thought leader in entrepreneurship and empowerment. Your [00:04:00] first. Tap into your genius, find your gifts, lose your fears and build your dreams was endorsed by our former first lady, Michelle Obama. She's a friend of yours and she's a lifelong endorser of your ideas, your principles, and so much of what shows up in your new book.
[00:04:18] Incredible. I also love that you're into health and wellness. You have this great blog, um, sizzle and after 60 thriving in every age, which is really cool because even though it says Ling after 60, the content is relevant to everybody. So it's so it's so good. And, and like I said, relevant for now, and then, you know what we're going to dig in today and what we're here to promote when I'm excited about talking through, because so many of the principles align with reinvention is pivot for success.
[00:04:47] For those of, you can see this book and the zoom, you can kind of see what we've got here. I've tabbed it all up. The things that, that spoke to me. So congratulations on all your lived experience. [00:05:00] Most importantly, from my side of this conversation, thank you for being authentic and real and true to your story.
[00:05:08] So welcome to reinvention.
[00:05:10] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:05:10] Oh, thank you. Thank you. Justice means a lot to me. I am so gratified that it meant so much to you because that was my whole purpose for writing the book. That's why I'm here. This is my mission to inspire women, to just keep on moving, just to never stop growing. And I'm just thrilled that.
[00:05:33] Resonated with you and with reinvention, I love your podcast. I love what you're doing and we've just got to keep lifting each other up. It's so
[00:05:41] Jes Averhart: [00:05:41] important. Agreed. Yes. Thank you. Thank you for that. Well, so I read your bio and it's all the good sizzle pop, right? It's all the stuff that you've done. And, and like I said, I didn't even read everything, but I like to start, or I would like to start with you today.
[00:05:57] What is your, how would you [00:06:00] describe yourself? Like who is Amy Hilliard outside of all the things? What would you say if, if you were stopped on a train and somebody asked you, what are you about? Who are you?
[00:06:10] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:06:10] Well, when I thought about that, I really start by saying, I'm a girl from Detroit. You know, that is in my DNA.
[00:06:18] And you know, it's right growing up in Detroit is, is something that's important because Detroit has reinvented itself. You know, it's a city that went through quite a bit of change when I was growing up there. It was just wonderful. The auto plants were moving fast. I grew up within walking distance of Motown.
[00:06:36] Um, so I was able to walk by not only Motown, but also Aretha Franklin's house was on the way to vote down so I could walk by her house and I could walk to Motown. So I could see all these stars building, building their careers. But importantly, I saw Barry Gordy built his empire. There were a lot of entrepreneurs in Detroit on my block.
[00:06:56] Not only walking there, but on my block, it was a working class [00:07:00] neighborhood, but there were doctors, lawyers, you know, numbers, runners. Oh my, yeah. I saw that. And I know it was really inspired by all of that. My parents, we worked very hard. They were educators at one point in their lives, but they were also part-time entrepreneurs.
[00:07:16] I grew up as a one of four girls. No, no brothers in my family and my father never made us feel that he was missing out and having sons, but he made us shovel snow rake leaves and all of that. Yeah, that's right. That's right. And my mother was an amazing woman. My parents have passed, but my mother was an amazing woman who raised four girls.
[00:07:37] We had four children and then she went to college. So I saw her go to college at night while she was working full time. So I grew up thinking that women could do a lot of things and that resonated with them. And so I always wanted to do things differently. I was always wanting to, to work, you know, I have a high work ethic when I was old enough to babysit.
[00:07:57] I printed out little handmade [00:08:00] business cards. I cut up three by five cards and I made my little business cards. And I said, if you want a babysitter on your girl and, and so I would pass those out on the weekends. Pretty soon. I was booked every weekend, so I always had a job. And, you know, I made perfume out of my mother's rose pedals from her rose garden that she had.
[00:08:18] She wasn't too happy about that. So I started not picking the rose pedals, but picking them up after they failed, soak them in water and
[00:08:26] Jes Averhart: [00:08:26] sustainability. That's what that is. Right. It's our re yeah, repurpose. That's all the news. The new wave, right?
[00:08:34] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:08:34] Rosewater and I'd sell it for a dime because I just wanted to have my own business.
[00:08:40] So that's where I grew up. And, and I am now, you know, a full fledged woman. I'm a woman of faith. I'm a proud mother of two young adults now who are college graduates who have left the nest. I'm very proud of that. You know, I raised a lot of their through their formative years as a single mother. And, you know, to [00:09:00] have two children go to college and complete their college education while I was an entrepreneur was no small feat.
[00:09:06] So that I'm very, yeah, I'm very proud of them. I'm very close to them and you know, and, and that means a lot. But even though you hear a lot about my story and my bias. What you don't hear often is the fact that yes, I'm a successful corporate executive. Yes. I'm a serial entrepreneurs that had some success, but I've also been laid off.
[00:09:26] I've also been foreclosed on, I've also been bankrupted and divorced twice, but I'm still standing because I learned how to pivot. And that's what I talk about in the book. Ooh. I
[00:09:37] Jes Averhart: [00:09:37] love that. I love it. Yes. And that's what makes it, that's what makes it endearing is that. You know, the, the bio can be intimidating because you're like, I'm not gonna to be able to have all these brands, you know, ma maybe I'll never have a consulting gig with Pepsi and IBM and, and Pandora jewelry.
[00:09:58] Does that mean that I [00:10:00] haven't lived a life that is. One that has lessons that can be, that can be passed down and be shared with my community and those that I influenced. No, it doesn't mean that because lived experience is what counts. And so I that's why I appreciate it. What makes it so really connected to the, to the reader is, is truly sort of.
[00:10:21] The downside of that slope, right. Because that's where that grit comes in and that's what we all sort of want to connect to. All right. So I've said enough, you can obviously tell I'm totally into this book. I loved it. It was really like my love language in print. Now you, you sort of touched on training the end, how you got to the second book of yours.
[00:10:41] Right. Kind of bringing the stories to life, pivot for success, but can you just tell us, like, what was the key defining moment and you writing this book? What was the impetus because you've already written one book and you've got all these great endorsements and you have these principles, but now you, you really dug in and [00:11:00] exposed a lot of the ups and downs.
[00:11:02] And what was that driver for you?
[00:11:04] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:11:04] Well, it really was to tell the stories behind these principles. I've been living by these 10 principles or pivots now for over 25 years. You know, I would try different things. I've always been different and I always wanted to create my own path. And so I started writing down.
[00:11:22] What was working for me and I would speak about them. I used to speak at this African-American women on tour. I don't know if you heard about it, but this was Maria offending, the Rio header African-American women on tour. And she would invite me to speak and I would talk about these principles. And then someone said, well, you should write them down.
[00:11:40] Yeah. And so originally I started, it was going to do a book called live with passion and profits will follow. So that was one after the wrote these 10 principles down and I couldn't get a book deal. And so I. I started self-publishing tap into your juice. You know, what find your gifts, lose your fears and build your dreams.
[00:12:00] [00:11:59] That was only a 28 page guide book. I called it a guide book, cause it was short. It was sweet. It was just like do these 10 things. And it was like with little exercises that you could do. That would align with the 10 principles. And I did that in 2005. And when I would speak about that, so people started asking me to speak about that, but then I would tell all these stories and people were like, well, we want to hear more of these stories in a book.
[00:12:26] And so I said, okay, let me try to get a book written with a book deal. And so again, I started doing proposals to PR publishers to do a full book. On these 10 principles and I still couldn't get a book deal. I couldn't get a book deal to write about comfort cake, you know, because people said, well, comfort, cake's not a, you know, a $10 million company and you need to be like a tech entrepreneur or something like that.
[00:12:50] You know, that's what people, the book publishers were saying. And I just said, you know what? I'm just going to keep trying. And when the time is right, it will [00:13:00] happen. I will not, you know, stop my life. That's not my whole life. So I kept the proposal. I kept it there and I would, whenever I had the opportunity, I would send it to a publisher or an agent would stop me or, or, you know, reach out to me and I'd try to work.
[00:13:18] It, it didn't work. It wasn't until last year, when a friend of mine who I had met at a, at a business. And, you know, we were, we were going to both be on a panel and we were in the green room and you know how women are we're comparing shoes. I guess she was, she was a writer and this was over 10 years ago.
[00:13:39] And she happened to know an editor. She said, you know, Amy, she said, I know this editor. And this was after, you know, the George Floyd situation had happened. And she said, I just want to do something. And she said, I know one editor that I can send your proposal to. She said, And let me send it to her and I freshened it up and I [00:14:00] retitled it to pivot for success.
[00:14:03] And within two weeks I had a book deal. Wow. Because this is what I, because it's a woman of faith. I knew that, you know, if it was going to happen, God would make it happen. And, and my friend was a spiritual woman as well. And so we prayed on it. And in two weeks I had a business deal with the biggest business publisher in America,
[00:14:27] Jes Averhart: [00:14:27] Wiley.
[00:14:28] Yeah, big deal. That's an incredible story. And it makes me think of your Venn diagram in the back of your book when passion meets purpose and possibility, sort of those things. Converging into that moment, right? Yes. Is that moment because you always had the passion, you clearly had purpose. The possibility was right around the corner and in that moment over shoes.
[00:14:55] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:14:55] That's right. That's great. That's why you'd never give [00:15:00] up on things. You just wait for the right moment and it'll, it will surface when it's supposed to. Oh,
[00:15:06] Jes Averhart: [00:15:06] that's so good. Thank you. Thank you for that. That's like speaking to me, I love it. So now I know our listeners want to know about your principles.
[00:15:15] What are they habits? Right. So I, you break it down in bite size. It's just like snackable in the book. So it's an easy read for anyone to grab it and because you can take it in and she's, she's broken it up into chapters and then segments within each chapter that are very snackable and digestible. Stop figure out what that means to you.
[00:15:37] You know, there's some exercise work in there it's really, really good. It's a great, I don't know. It's a, it's a great practice book. Right? You can get it and take it and learn something at the end. You actually are better for reading it. So why don't you walk us through the 10 where you want to, but maybe even highlight the ones, the favorite pieces or the pivots that stand out to you.
[00:15:57] But if you could just walk us through the pivot [00:16:00] points, um, for our listeners and then, you know, we'll go from. Okay.
[00:16:04] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:16:04] Well, you know, the subtitle of the book is it's, you know, when you pivot for success, I'm wanting people to have a blueprint. And you know, when you're pivoting, sometimes people think that you're just going to spin, spin, spin, and that's not what I want people to do.
[00:16:18] I wanted to give them a process that would be usable for anyone at any point in their life. For any organization, you know, that they're universal these pivot points and this process is universal. You can use it in a point in time and they don't go necessarily in order. But the strategic process is something that you use in addition to the 10 points, because I want people to be able to focus in on why they're important.
[00:16:46] So the three step strategic process is this number one. You want to hone your. And honing your vision is about the decisions that you're getting ready to make about your pivot without vision, the people perish, right? [00:17:00] So you want to hone your vision. Then you want to shift your energy toward that vision toward that decision, because energy is a very important thing.
[00:17:10] It's like electricity. You've got to make sure that energy is moving in the direction toward the decision you want to make. Because if that energy is not moving toward what you want to do, it's wasted energy. So make sure you're honing your. Vision, but that you're willing to make sure that energy that you have.
[00:17:27] Cause we only have 24 hours in a day. Everybody, that energy is moving toward your decision. Then you can make your move toward that pivot. Then you're, you're moving that pivot in the way that you want. So that's the process now? What are the 10 pivots pivot? Number one is finding your purpose. We all have a purpose and this is so important to believe because just like.
[00:17:53] Me, just like you, everybody has an indelible fingerprint, like nobody else's. So that [00:18:00] means that you have something. I have something, everybody has something that is very, very unique to them that can be given to them. Given to your community, given to your family, but I say given to the world. And so if you take that and really think about what is it that I have, that you need to me that I can give to others.
[00:18:20] And it's not about me, it's about we is what do I have that I can share? Because once you have that mindset, it opens. The fact that it is a gift that you can give to someone else and then it becomes less about, oh, I'm great. It's like, oh, I can give to someone else and help someone else. And it just gives you a different perspective about what your gift can do.
[00:18:44] That's number one, that's number one, pivot. Number two is believing in possibilities. And that is critical because everything that you've ever seen in this world, Just amazing. Somebody believed it could be [00:19:00] done. Nobody believed in it. Somebody thought about it. You know, the Eiffel tower is that somebody decided, well, I want to build that structure.
[00:19:08] You know, somebody decided that they wanted to have a haircare company. Somebody decided Mrs. Johnson decided she wanted to create fashion fair. Mr. Mrs. Johnson. Nobody would make cosmetics for her models in the fashion fair show. I mean, all of these things somebody believed in. And so if you believe in it with a tenacity of belief, when nobody else is going to believe it, but you sometimes that's all you need.
[00:19:34] Pivot point number three is defining your priorities because you've got to be very clear on what's important to you. And that one really works when you say, okay, and this is a test and this isn't. Yeah. But you got to really cut to the chase. If you only had five years left to live, what would be on your list to do then if that got cut to three years left to live, what would fall off the [00:20:00] list?
[00:20:00] If you only had one year left to live, what would fall off the list? And I say to you, what are you, what are you doing now? That would be on that one year list. If you can start moving toward that, you'd be amazed how your priorities fall in. Okay. And the priorities evolve. If you have children that evolves differently, if you're single, if you're in schools, they evolve, but you've got to keep those in mind because you don't want to waste time on this earth because as the pandemic has shown us, we never know when our time is up.
[00:20:34] Okay. So use your time rarely. Well, number four, pivot number four, envisioning prosperity because all money isn't good.
[00:20:44] Jes Averhart: [00:20:44] That's right. That, that lesson was clear in the book, I
[00:20:47] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:20:47] guess it isn't green. And so you really have to know the key question there is what is your enough? I spent a lot of time chasing that brass ring, but when you find that you don't need [00:21:00] everything that you thought you did, you're enough becomes really clear.
[00:21:03] And then you can do things that are in line and in alignment with what your enough is. Yeah. Pivot number five, getting prepared. Because I love the co the name, dream work, that company, you got to work to get your dream, and I'm willing to put in the work. Your dream will just be that it'll be a dream, but if you're willing to put in the work, you can get amazing results.
[00:21:27] So really be willing to get prepared. And in all levels of preparation, not only just doing the work, but mentally, get your mind straight, get your health straight, get your finances straight so you can do what you really want to do. Pivot number six. And this was a hard one for me.
[00:21:45] Jes Averhart: [00:21:45] Patience, smile. That's the one I have.
[00:21:48] I wrote up all over that, that chapter. This is tough.
[00:21:51] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:21:51] It was tough. It's like, I want it now. You know, and we're in a microwave society. We want everything instantly, but sometimes you've got to [00:22:00] wait for the right moment and there's power in patients. If you really think. So really think about having patients until the right moment happens for you.
[00:22:09] Pivot number seven, seeking positivity. Ooh. When Susan Taylor, my dear friend, who was the editor in chief of narratives of essence magazine told me that years ago that everybody can't have a front row seat in your life. Was, was that a word? That's a word, but what is so interesting about that, Jess is that, that doesn't mean you put people out of your life.
[00:22:37] What I took from it was that you are discerning about who you tell your dreams to, and that everyone who is in your life is in there. So you may not tell your big dreams to everybody, but that doesn't mean that you throw everybody out of your life, but that you are discerning as to who brings what to your life, because everyone can bring [00:23:00] an asset to your life.
[00:23:01] That's different. For example, you know, some people may not be able to rah, rah, you want a book that you wrote, but they may be able to give you great strategic advice on another aspect of your life. And so that's what you go to them. Because, you know, everybody can't be everything to you, but they can be something important to you.
[00:23:21] And that's a beer that was a very important lesson for me to learn because, you know, you feel like, oh my God, you know, your significant other is supposed to just love everything that you do. And then you get frustrated when they don't, but then you throw out the baby with the bath water, which is not a good idea.
[00:23:36] Jes Averhart: [00:23:36] Yeah, right. And you can, you'd get disappointed. You can breed resentment and bitter root. And really, it's not that other person's fault our expectations of other people with what we're holding them against. Yeah. And we really need to, plus it's a blocker, you know, you want to try to clear your runway so you can keep running fast towards the goal with that clear.
[00:23:57] And peaceful sort of spirit. And [00:24:00] when you create these expectations that other people can't meet, you're just putting up your own blocks. That's
[00:24:05] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:24:05] right. And it is, it isn't their fault and you're not giving them the opportunity to be the best at what they are good at for you or you.
[00:24:13] Jes Averhart: [00:24:13] Right.
[00:24:14] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:24:14] Exactly. Exactly.
[00:24:15] And so you've really got to seek that positivity pivot number eight point number eight is honoring your passion. Yeah. People always ask me why isn't that pivot number? Everybody's like, you know, go with your passion. I have it as number eight because everybody doesn't use their passion. The way that I think passion is best use passion is really important because it is a lubricant of your time.
[00:24:43] When you're down and out and you're trying to get your dream going. Sometimes passion is the only thing that's going to keep it going, but passion, without a plan can be a lot of hot mess. And so, you know, people come up to me all the time cause I had a food business and I've done a lot of different things and they're like, Ooh, [00:25:00] Amy, I make the best brownie in the world.
[00:25:02] So tell me how to do it. I'm like, well, have you. Who's written a business plan. Did you Google how to do a business plan? Did you Google out of, you know, create a food business? No. Well, I'm like, well, do that first and then talk, come talk to me because you've got to be disciplined in order to make your passion work for you.
[00:25:19] And so that's why I just tell people that, you know, passion is wonderful, but you've got to have a plan behind it. Passion, pivot, point number nine, maintaining perseverance. Bounce back a bit for the baby. You got the habit. And I learned a lot of that from my children because, you know, they would play in the backyard with my racketball, you know, that I used to play racquetball and they throw it down and it would bounce back.
[00:25:46] They'd want to see who can make the bowl. Oh the highest and that's what I'm. Okay. So you throw that ball down hard or you fall down hard, but it's not how far down you fall or her Howard. How are you fall down? It's how [00:26:00] high you can bounce
[00:26:01] Jes Averhart: [00:26:01] back up. Yes. I love that bounce back ability and stick to it to this.
[00:26:07] I've heard that before, but I don't think I've ever said it out loud, stick to it and bounce back ability. Then you also say in that same chapter protect what you create, which I thought was.
[00:26:18] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:26:18] Yes. Yes. Yes. Because if you we're, we, as a people too are great consumers of things and we're great creators of things, but we're not necessarily great protectors of what we create and you've got to do it.
[00:26:30] And I have been, I'm a, I'm just a sell it about that. I tell everybody if you're going to be in business for yourself, protect your intellectual property, and I've spent a lot of money doing that and, you know, That is important for us to remember to do. Absolutely. And then pivot point number 10 is managing perceptions.
[00:26:52] And that is so key because you've got to present yourself to the world and you don't get a second chance at a first one. [00:27:00] Well, if you're trying to, you know, present yourself in a certain way to get toward your goals, think about who you are presenting to. And when you step out that door, you know, I tell people all the time, women all the time, it's like, okay, you learn the ABCs in school.
[00:27:14] Well, if you're going out and walking to the grocery store, you're going somewhere, you still have to know their ABCs, which is always.
[00:27:22] Jes Averhart: [00:27:22] Always be cute.
[00:27:25] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:27:25] You never know you're going to meet when I was, you know, starting the comfort gate company. I always left the house with my little slices in my bag. Uh, business cards were there and I didn't walk out the house, you know, looking like anything because I didn't know if I'd be a customer.
[00:27:38] I didn't know if I'd meet a potential investor. You know, you've got to make sure you look like what you're trying to go into. Yes. And you know, so there, I learned some things that are in the book there too, in terms of some people who were in the business, giving me great lessons about managing your perceptions and it's very, very important to do so.
[00:27:58] Those are the highlights [00:28:00] of the 10 pivot points that Michelle Obama endorsed, you know, and said, I could keep for. I love it. It's
[00:28:07] Jes Averhart: [00:28:07] so good. Yeah.
[00:28:09] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:28:09] Very gratifying.
[00:28:10] Jes Averhart: [00:28:10] And I'm sure, I'm sure that's an incredible endorsement and a worthy endorsement. I mean, just as you walk us through it, it's, it's practical, but it's also, it's also convicting in many ways because it's like, it's like juggling for me.
[00:28:25] I'm just as I'm going to talk about this only for my perspective, obviously, but you think about these 10 peas in the air trying to keep them in the air. Right. And so it takes a discipline. Focus to make sure that you are working on your purpose and, you know, keeping it going and keeping that in jingle and with your passion and like having the patients that you need and thinking about your perception, like these things are, are they work together and they work, they working together at the same time.
[00:28:54] And when you let one go, you really, I mean, that takes an incredible amount of insight and [00:29:00] focus to keep them all up in the air so that you can get where you want to go. I don't know if it's quickly, but what would it be? What would it be? You're trying to, you're trying to not self-sabotage, that's what I guess I'm trying to say, because we can, self-sabotage right with our negative thinking and all of these things.
[00:29:17] And so we're supposed to, as you said, we have purpose in this life. We have that one fingerprint, the world needs that, right? The world needed needs your book. The world needs to understand that reinvention is a real. It's a real, tangible mechanism. Like as people we can become something new and greater indifferent for those around us, serving our communities and new ways, building wealth so that we can then give back and serve our communities.
[00:29:46] There's so much there that to not move forward. Would be a shame and it would be a shame and, and what you've provided us that blueprint is really a nice seamless map to get [00:30:00] to get us there. So I, I love it. I love it, obviously. Okay. Well, okay. So let's talk about that. So you're a great storyteller. And as you mentioned, you had so many folks asking you to, to bring these stories to life as you were out on the speaker circuit.
[00:30:19] What is there one story in particular that just has taught you a lot or that you love telling, or has a great deal of meaning for you personally, that you'd love to share?
[00:30:31] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:30:31] Yes. I thought about that. When you asked me about it, one story in particular, and it's a story that, that was, you know, had some tragedy in it, but it really, really resonates with me because my favorite cousin was in my wedding.
[00:30:46] She was she's from California. We were close in age. She was, she became a lawyer when I went to. Well, she went to law school. She used to give fabulous parties on new year's Eve and she drove a Corvette. You know, she had a yellow Corvette. I mean, she was [00:31:00] a, just a fabulous, you know, boss girl. And I was a business boss girl.
[00:31:05] And so when we were younger, she came to Detroit and we were going to go to New York. We went to New York for a week by ourselves as teenagers. And she came from LA in July. With a coat with that had a fur collar. Cause she was coming east in July.
[00:31:25] Jes Averhart: [00:31:25] We have summer everywhere. Everywhere.
[00:31:29] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:31:29] Right? Well, you know, she was in my wedding.
[00:31:32] I was in her wedding and then in 1980, We were at a family reunion and we got my, you know, her mother and my mother were sisters and my aunt called and I was in the room and she called, and she was just hysterical that she said, you know, there was a death. And I knew immediately that it was. Mm. And what happened was Brett was with her husband in Mexico on a trip.
[00:31:56] And, and she was in one of those Jeeps that didn't have, you know, they had [00:32:00] the rambler rumble bar and they were going across the curve and the car overturned and she was, was thrown from the car and her father was devastated. He could not help with, he was just traumatized and couldn't help with any of the rangelands in mind.
[00:32:18] Put me on my mother put me on the phone and she said, Amy, he's got to come out to LA immediately because your uncle can't handle it. And I need some help with these arrangements for Brit. So I got my stuff together. I got on a plane and my aunt picked me up from the airport and we went to the wig store because Brett had beautiful long hair.
[00:32:40] She said, you got to pick out a wig because I want to open casket. I'm like on a link really? She said, yes. So. I went and picked out a wig. We went to records from the wig store to the funeral home, and then I went downstairs with the mortician. And as he's putting her face back [00:33:00] together, I'm combing this wig on her head.
[00:33:04] That is when I had the closest understanding of what death was really like. I had an out of body experience because I'm saying, okay, Brett, this is enough. You can get up now because this is enough. This is enough. And of course she couldn't get up. And that is when I realized that as long as I can look up, I can get up.
[00:33:28] Yeah. And that was seared into my brain. It was seared into my brain, seared into my consciousness. I had to give a eulogy at the funeral and I had to get through all of them. And it was so seared into my consciousness that I told my children that I tell people that all the time it is my mantra. As long as I could look up, I can get up.
[00:33:51] So there is absolutely nothing that will throw me as long as I can look up because I know I can get up. And it was so [00:34:00] much of a mantra to my children that my son, before he left for Howard university, he had a tattoo on his arm. And that story is in the book. All those things that happened on the downside of my journey, that story keeps me going.
[00:34:19] And it's like, okay, so this happened, God's not through with me yet because I'm still looking up and I know I can get up because I know what death is. Like, I've touched it. I've been very close to it and I'm not dead yet. Right. So that is one of the stories. That really means a lot to me because it is.
[00:34:38] Part of my life. And I know that I can always get up as long as I can look up.
[00:34:44] Jes Averhart: [00:34:44] I love that. Thank you. I had a hunch that that would be the story that you would tell it's. It's beautiful. It's it is a searing story. Use that word and that's how it feels listening to you tell it. I also think it's important to point out that the story [00:35:00] that you opted to share is personal.
[00:35:03] It's about a light. It's about a life. It's about a relationship. At a relationship. And when you get this book, when our listeners get a chance to read this book, they'll, it's peppered with. Antidotes and your journey building multi-million multi-billion dollar businesses and leading multi-million dollar corporations.
[00:35:26] And, you know, being in boardrooms with fortune 500 companies and all the things and all the things. And yet the lesson comes from a personal relationship and sort of that, like you said, that, that. That contact with death and understanding just how precious and fragile life is and what are we going to do with today?
[00:35:49] And you could have picked anything, right? You have amazing, amazing stories. You could have picked anything. And so I think as we, as we prioritize how we [00:36:00] navigate each day, that's the lesson that I hear coming through is that one. Life is precious and fragile and relationships matter. The fact that I had that relationship with her in the way that you did that was so sweet and, and personal.
[00:36:17] It's beautiful because when you did lose her, that was that's real, right. You have a tangible memory of her, even though it had those ups and that the downside of the death and that contact, at least it was you and I, when I think about that, that was you that got to honor her in that way. So that's a gift that really is a gift.
[00:36:37] Thank you for sharing that.
[00:36:39] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:36:39] All right. Well then welcome. But, and, and, and, you know, it really permeates everything, you know, even the court. Stories, you know, because in corporate life and in business life, you have ups and downs and you can let those things take you out, make you depressed. You know, you didn't get the promotion, you didn't get, you know, your business [00:37:00] didn't make it the way you wanted it to be done.
[00:37:02] You know, all these things happen and you can let those things, you know, D you know, slow you down or make you stop. But then you think about. You can still keep trying they're still here. Yeah. So it permeates everything that I had to do and had to keep going through. So it was something that, that really is a universal thread through my, through all aspects of it.
[00:37:27] Jes Averhart: [00:37:27] Yes. Yes. So you can look up, which means you can have bounce back ability. It does not stop. It does not stop today. Yes. I love it. I love that. Okay. Well, we're nearing, we're kind of nearing the end here and yeah, cause we don't want to give too much away, but you know, I could talk to you about a couple of things, other things I want to, that I'd love to unpack.
[00:37:45] But for the purpose of this podcast, let's lay in this plane. Okay. So, you know, I do this, not always, but I definitely want to do this with you as we do. We sometimes end with this idea of two truths and a lie, you know, in a game you play when you're a kid. And in this [00:38:00] case though, I like to do it because we're speaking to an audience that's primarily women and oftentimes.
[00:38:07] You know, w w I'll ask what, you know, what's, what do you want to leave? You know, women, what is the one piece of advice, but in this case, what are the two truths? And there are so many in your book, but what are the two truths that you would like to leave? The women who are listening to you today? And then what's one lie that you told yourself that you had to face and overcome in order to keep pushing
[00:38:28] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:38:28] for.
[00:38:30] Well, I spoke about the two truths earlier and I'll just reiterate them because they are so important, you know, the truth of what is your enough, you know, that is, that is really important because it does change what you do with your time, you know, and how you use your time and really what gives you peace and joy, you know, because peace and joy is so important.
[00:38:54] You can think you're happy and that you're running around. You know, chasing things that really aren't giving you [00:39:00] peace and joy, then, you know, you'll look back at your life with, you know, perhaps not the happiness that you thought you would have. For example, when I started to comfort Kate company at 48 years old, and I sold my house to do it because, you know, I couldn't get a bank loan.
[00:39:17] I, if people ask me all the time, weren't you scared? Weren't you, you know, why'd you do that? I said, well, I don't want to be 85 years old and wish I had done it. So I didn't, you know, the big house was fun and I enjoyed it, but I live now in a very nice apartment. That is wonderful. And I don't miss my big house at all because that I know what my enough is.
[00:39:38] Yeah. And so the second one is that seeking positivity, because you know, when you are around people that lift you up and when you know that, you know, that's important to you and when you can find joy in the people that give you joy. It's worth its weight in gold. The other thing that I learned in terms of the lie that I had to face [00:40:00] was, you know, I've always been different and I had to learn that being different is not being difficult.
[00:40:08] Because, you know, I, you know, the other things that as women, you can join this group and join that group and do all the things that other women were doing. I was always doing something different. I was always like listening to my own drummer and at first, and I'm doing a lot in a lot of women and I still, I went through it and I still sometimes do that imposter syndrome.
[00:40:27] Well, I'll be doing it this way. And you know, I, you know, do I get butterflies when I am thinking of, you know, being on a big stage? Sure. I do. And when I learned that Barbara Streisand and Oprah and Diana Ross, I still get butterflies. I'm like, well, they don't, Hey, good company. I used to think that that was deficient.
[00:40:46] It is not efficient. Does not mean deficient. And I had to learn that and embrace my differences and say that's because, okay, I have that unique fingerprint, which is different, but it is not deficient. And that was [00:41:00] something that I started embracing the fact that I can tell my story differently because you know, I have a sister who is number one in all of America.
[00:41:08] And she has a whole different story, Mayfield bank. Some of you may know her, she's a whole different speaking style than mine. And I used to think, well, you know, I'm going to, I like speaking to, and I don't have a motivational speaking style like Gloria, so maybe I'm not supposed to do this. I am supposed to do this.
[00:41:24] And I have found that my speaking style is just as important, just as inspirational because it's mine. And it is different, but it is just as inspirational for different reasons. And my story and my journey is very different and we speak on the same stages and, and sometimes it's just very much very gratifying to embrace my difference and, and enjoy it.
[00:41:48] And so that's something that I've learned. I love
[00:41:50] Jes Averhart: [00:41:50] that. Yeah. Being different is not deficient that in fact, it's sets you apart. It sets you apart in the world, frankly. [00:42:00] Right? Trying to be in the mainstream with everybody else. Final, final thoughts and you resources. You know, I get a lot of people ask me and want to hear from our guests.
[00:42:11] Maybe what their routine is, how they stay focused, any books, they're reading podcasts, just like what's edifying you. How do you continue to learn or stay on track? Whatever you want to leave us, please. It'll be a gift.
[00:42:24] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:42:24] Okay. Well, I believe in being a lifelong. I truly believe in being a lifelong learner as an educator, that's important to me.
[00:42:33] I just was appointed the adjunct associate professor of strategy at the university of Chicago's booth school of business. Thank you. I'm so excited because I'm going to be teaching from my book. You know, it's just a course. That's brand new teaching is pivot for success, but honing the vision. Shifting the strategy and making the right moves in today's marketplace.
[00:42:56] So it's an evolution from my book, so I'm very excited about that. [00:43:00] But what I use and what I do every day is I take some time to center myself through prayer or meditation. You know, I wake up every morning and the first thing I do before I get out of bed is I thank God for waking me up. And then. It's all good.
[00:43:16] Life is good because I have woken up. So I do those things first. And then I try to get some sort of exercise in, even if it's just, you know, getting my steps in. Um, I try to do some sort of exercise because health as well, and I am very committed, particularly for our community. That's why I did my sizzling after 60 blog is like, you've got to do, you got to keep it moving.
[00:43:40] My mother died at 94, but she wore high heels. Until she was 90 something like, okay, then I'm going to be wearing my high heels as long as I can. And it's about, you know, making sure that you're eating the right things and I take care to eat the right things and not, you know, in a deprivational way, but in [00:44:00] a moderate way.
[00:44:01] So you're not, you know, cheating yourself out of the good things in life, but you're doing it in moderation. Yes. And then the third things that I do is that I read a. The book I'm reading now is I really think everybody should get it's called everything is figure out-able by Marie Ferrelo. Yeah. I love that book and I, you know how you turn pages of the book down?
[00:44:25] Well, the book normally is this big, but now it's this big because I've turned so many pages down and it's very much in alignment with my book, because if you think you can make it happen, You can, if you think you can't do it, you can't, and she is very, very proactive about, you can figure it out. Her mother told her that, and she has a whole business about it on TV show about it, an empire.
[00:44:49] Jes Averhart: [00:44:49] She's an empire around it. Yeah.
[00:44:52] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:44:52] I want her to read my book and I'm going to reach out to her and tell her how much her book read meant to me. And hopefully she'll have me on her show because it [00:45:00] means her book has finished. It's really good. And then the other thing that I will leave with everyone is you've got to move through your fear in order to make anything happen.
[00:45:10] And everybody is used. The term that fear is false expectations, appearing real full. A friend of mine told me an acronym for fear that I'll use for the king. And it is. Eventually attracts resources. Wow. And that is what I used to get through the fear to keep it moving. Anyway,
[00:45:31] Jes Averhart: [00:45:31] I love that. That's great.
[00:45:33] And that is a sort of a, a theme throughout your life because it has attracted resources that have moved you or have moved you and your career and new space in front of new audiences to get your message out at a scale. That's that's real. That's real. Thank you for this, Amy. Thank you for your time today.
[00:45:52] Thank you for the gift of your insight. We had a little bit of a hiccup early trying to get our tech and just patients, [00:46:00] your patients, and your sort of grace has been just so lovely. I've enjoyed this tremendous amount. Thank you so much for joining
[00:46:06] Amy S. Hilliard: [00:46:06] us today. Thank you. Just thank you for having me and thank you for what you do for so many, because it matters.
[00:46:14] It really matters. You know, I just believe that the positive energy that people can bring is going to change all of a sudden some of the issues that we're having, because the only thing that can change darkness is light.
[00:46:27] Jes Averhart: [00:46:27] Yes. Yes. And on that note, and on that note, we will see you on the platform, doing all your things all, all around the world.
[00:46:37] We'll see our guests next time. Thanks so much. Thanks friends for riding along on today's re-invention road trip. If you like, what you heard, tell a friend and leave us a review. I know seems like a little thing, but it is so important to see if we're on the right track. You can find the show firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash [00:47:00] podcast.
[00:47:00] And don't forget to join the re-invention road trip by signing up for our newsletter, where I share behind the scene details and nuggets that you won't hear on the show. New episodes drop weekly. So subscribe on apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you're listening to your podcast these days.
[00:47:21] All right, friends. Thanks so much until next time.