Another EXCITING interview coming your way in the Game Changing Girls series!
So honored to have this month’s incredible woman, Amanda Michelle Shenton.
For more than 10 years, Amanda suffered from heart palpitations, mental breakdowns, depression, fear and deeply-rooted insecurities that led her to view her body and her personality in a very negative light. Her general anxiety and depression made it nearly impossible to fully enjoy anything. It was after her very intense, and very scary panic attack that she decided enough was enough. Her breakdown led to a massive breakthrough.
Amanda’s breakthrough led to her leaving her teaching career and starting her coaching practice Anxious To Fearless. Here she teaches anxious women how to break through their anxiety, step into their greatness, and live a balanced and truly happy life.
Let’s get on with the interview.
JC: Tell me a little about yourself and your journey to becoming a coach.
AMS: I was born and raised in Long Island, NY and loved every minute of my childhood. I come from an unusually small Italian family – but I learned at a very young age that family is everything. In middle school, I became completely obsessed with musical theater and went on to perform in a number of community theater and in-school productions. I was classically trained, attended theater camp, and had a million friends. I was a textbook overachiever and perfectionist (and still am in many ways). I was seemingly perfect.
Middle school was also the period of my life when the symptoms of my GAD (general anxiety disorder) began to appear. I experienced bouts of depression that became more extensive in college.
I attended the University of Delaware, where I met my husband and began studying to become a teacher. Again, seemingly perfect life. I’ve been very blessed in life and in love. I started coaching people informally during my second year of teaching, and I found it to be very therapeutic. I’m a born helper. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I am addicted to helping others. Often, this was at the expense of taking care of myself.
In March of 2017, I experienced a rather debilitating panic attack that left me in a deeply depressive state for several days. That was the point when everything changed. I started my own business in October of that same year, studied the art of mindfulness, fell in love with meditation, and helped myself in the process of helping others.
JC: What’s been the biggest lesson in life that you’ve learned so far?
AMS: Happiness is whatever you want it to be. When you try to fit your happiness into the same mold as someone else’s happiness, you end up with the opposite.
JC: If you could go back in time, what would be the 1 thing you would tell yourself?
AMS: Amanda, you are a beautiful person, and the only person you really need to hear that from is YOURSELF.
JC: What are your clients struggling with and how do you help them?
AMS: Most of my clients are seeking effective and long-lasting coping strategies for their anxiety and/or depression. Many of my clients are currently at a crossroads, and they don’t know where to go. Do I take this path or that path? How do I know which path will bring me the most happiness and success? ALL of my clients are looking for a mentor, an accountability partner, and a strong system of support from someone who truly understands how they feel. I use a combination of mindfulness, meditation and motivational strategies to take my clients from anxious to fearless.
JC: What’s been your biggest struggle and how have you overcome it?
AMS: My biggest struggle outside of GAD has been my tendency to compare every aspect of myself, and my life to that of other people. That very common feeling of “I’m never enough.” I’m never pretty enough. I’m never healthy enough. I’m never smart enough. I will never accomplish enough. You know the drill. It’s a lifelong process and seeing my own progress has been a beautiful thing. I feel very different today than I did last year….hell, I feel better today than I did last week!
JC: What are you loving most about your business and life right now?
AMS: You know what? This is a difficult question for me to answer, mainly because the business side of things is a challenge. There is nothing easy about it. However, the most joyful and satisfying feeling for me has been experiencing the ebbs and flows in my own life, and using that and sharing those experiences to help someone else. I recently went to an alumni event at my alma mater, and I was shocked by the people who were coming over to me, telling me that what I’m doing has impacted their life in some way. It’s magical.
Life is wonderful. I’m loving my quaint little life with my hubby and corgi, Luna. I’ve found a job outside of coaching that I truly enjoy. It’s all good.
JC: If you had a mantra for life, what would it be?
AMS: I have SO many but one of the many mantras I live by is this…You don’t have to be just one thing in your life. You don’t have to have just one purpose. You don’t have to feel happy all the time to live a fulfilling life. You can be, and do, and feel, and say, and dream whatever you want, whenever you want.
JC: Where can we find you?
AMS: Instagram is my newest jam, @anxiousto_fearless
My website, www.lifelessonsandlavender.com
Thank you so much to Amanda for this intervew. Thank you for sharing your story so honestly and bravely and for helping all of us anxious women find peace.