EvolveMe #40over40: Amanda Hirsch
This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. EvolveMe's #40over40 list curates profiles of women who have or are in the process of reinventing their careers in their 40s, 50, 60s, and beyond. We're thrilled to share these stories of reinvention - women returning to work, pivoting careers, or launching new ventures!
Meet the inspiring Amanda Hirsch! Amanda is a writer, story coach, and consultant on a mission to fill the world with women's stories. Her company, Mighty Forces, helps women and women's organizations tell authentic stories in strategic ways.
Read on to learn more about Amanda's reinvention story!
What is the current focus of your career?
I launched my women's storytelling company, Mighty Forces, back in 2017. That marked a big moment of transition for me — not just the launch, but how it was born from a very difficult year...a definite low point.
That said, I feel like I'm almost always in transition moments, as someone who is both an entrepreneur and a writer...two parts of my identity that drive me to continually iterate and create the next thing.
Right now, I'm feeling pulled to create more of a community around Mighty Forces, and am letting some ideas percolate, as well as throwing a bit of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.
What prompted your career reinvention?
A combination of a feeling that it was time for a new chapter, then taking what I thought was the first step in that chapter, and failing spectacularly. Plus the 2016 election, which, especially as the mother to a daughter, gutted me. (It still guts me, 5 years later.)
If you want the longer story: I had been running my previous company, Good Things Consulting, for over 10 years, and was feeling strongly that it was time for something new. I got the opportunity to take a full-time role as the VP of Content inside a client's company, and told myself that this was "it."
I relocated my family, and six months later, the company eliminated my position.
It was the first time I'd ever been laid off. The way it happened was awful. As upset as I was, the truth was, I'd felt like a fish out of water in that workplace. I had naively believed that they would embody values they proclaimed for themselves; today I would ask much tougher questions during the interview process.
In retrospect, I see that I was seduced by the salary, the title, and the idea of being done figuring things out for a while. Now I know, I'll never be done "figuring things out," or becoming... that's life. And going in-house somewhere, getting a paycheck, can feel like claiming security, but as my experience shows...that's really just the story we tell ourselves.
Employers can let you go. And for me, the difficulty I feel being my authentic self inside an organization is more stressful than being responsible for generating my own income as an entrepreneur.
That said, I believe that if I found the right group of people, who made it feel safe to be my true self, working inside of an organization could be appealing because of the community and different opportunities for impact.
What's the best thing about mid-life career change?
Savoring the authentic and powerful job that I've created for myself, and growing this brand I love. I f'ing LOVE Mighty Forces. I get to work with the most astoundingly awesome women from across industries and life stages — what they all have in common is that they're super smart, and they have *depth*... they care about meaning. And they have big goals for themselves, even if they can waver in their confidence to pursue those goals.
Being part of helping them discover the true story they want to tell about themselves and what they're up to in the world, and then seeing what that unlocks — both practically, in terms of a promotion or a speaking opportunity, and psychologically, in terms of the clarity and confidence and joy they experience — is just incredibly meaningful and energizing and awesome.
When you are true to yourself — when you act boldly in alignment with what is true for you — you get to experience how big and powerful you are... and amazing things happen.
What's the biggest challenge?
For me, the biggest challenge is creating enough space in my life to fully pursue my deep passion for telling women's stories, and my deep passion for writing and performing...for getting to be the fullest expression of myself as both an artist, and an entrepreneur and story coach for other women. It's a good problem to have: So much inspiration, so many ideas. But it's also painful sometimes, to be so much more known and seen for my work with other women, vs. for my own artistic creations.
What's your personal mantra/mission? Why?
"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid." A lot of people attribute that to Goethe, but others have questioned that. I'll just say, I first heard it in the movie, "Almost Famous." Frances McDormand's character says it to her kids. I freaking love it. And I believe it. When you are true to yourself — when you act boldly in alignment with what is true for you — you get to experience how big and powerful you are... and amazing things happen.
Your best career advice for other women at midlife is...
If you work for someone else, i.e. aren't your own boss, don't put all your power or identity in them. Commit to sharing your story and being known beyond the proverbial four walls of your office. The best way to do this is by tending to your online presence.
When you don't tell your story online -- for example, by making sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile that authentically represents who you are and what you're up to in the world -- you are leaving power on the table. This goes for women who are their own bosses, too.
The internet definitely has its foibles, but it is an inherently democratic medium and allows you to reach an extraordinary number of people. It's where you can send up a "bat signal," a beacon, and the more authentic it is, the more magnetic it becomes. It helps you find the people who are trying to find you. Show up. Share your voice, share your ideas. You are a mighty force.