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About Amber Archives - The Strategy Specialist

About Amber

If I can do it, you can certainly do it!

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This one is for anyone who has a million excuses as to why they aren’t succeeding in life and/or anyone who hasn’t strengthened their mind to believe in themselves!

Let me set the stage – It’s 2006 – I’m several years into ‘taking over the family business’ and I am fighting an uphill battle in my personal and professional life.


Without going into too much detail ~

  • I was married in an extremely toxic relationship
  • Was raising 3 step daughters on and off throughout the years
  • Was the sole income earner in the household
  • Had DRAMA with my son’s father – court/custody battle – I believe the quote was “I am an unfit mother because I work on the weekends” – PS – Zero child support was coming my direction
  • Was trying to prove to my mother that she had not made a wrong decision in placing me in charge
  • Was fighting my mother’s long term business associates tooth and nail to grow the business even to the point where I almost quit (I gave my mother an ultimatum in 2007… and even then the choice was NOT obvious)

I share this NOT to put my business out in the street but to illustrate that anything is possible!  If I can be transparent about things I am ashamed of…. YOU should be able to accept who you are, where you are currently at in life, and live to your fullest potential!

I have a few colleagues that I tell on a regular…. You are smarter than me, you are savvier, you have gifts I don’t have…. You can far surpass any of my accomplishments if you just follow through with a strategic plan.  Nothing frustrates me more than wasted talent :/

Thanks to social media…. most people only see me whirling and twirling around with bandas and musicos at my house with champagne bottles popping LOL.  I try to explain that is the result of decades of work, heartbreak, and many struggles!

My son knows…. he saw it ALL – And Thank God he forgives me and accepts and celebrates me for my honest intentions and efforts.

I am hoping through these historical accounts, my hustle is respected that much more. When I speak, when I propose solutions…. I’m not just talking out of my ass ~  It comes from a whole lot of trial and error, crazy and diverse life experiences, and DECADES of scratching and clawing my way to achieve something extraordinary and live an honorable and meaningful life.

I often times wonder what my life would be if I were supported, taught, or told kind and encouraging words.  Would I have been useless and entitled?  Or would I have thrived even more?

I’m using this platform with the hope to inspire and create value to any and everyone who is striving to be their personal best ~ I’m also hoping it strengthens my current relationships with those who haven’t had the opportunity to meet the REAL ME ~ #dropsmic

Take Me As I Am

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This is a quick follow-up post to dovetail off of the frameworks and tools I shared yesterday.  I was introduced to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in my Psych 101 class back when I was 18 years old.

For some strange reason…. it resonated with me.  And over the years, I often refer to it anytime I am trying to figure out whether a certain situation is meeting my current needs.

Currently, I am motivated by ONE thing in my professional life (right side) –
Challenging Job/Achievement and Advancement – Why just the One? .. Well my logic is, if you achieve that, then everything below falls right into place.

A few years ago… my self esteem was heavily tied to work relations i.e. needing to be validated and appreciated… It actually was my #1 Need (smh).  Thankfully I have evolved and matured emotionally to a point where it isn’t much of a factor anymore, which allows me to operate at an optimal level based on logic, patterns, and professional intuition.

Don’t get me wrong, those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I am committed and devoted to supporting others in the work environment; always making myself available in hopes of adding value to a colleague’s life both personally and professionally.

But just like anything, personal relationships even at work…. can get personal, at which point expectations on both sides can splash into a ‘casual/friendly’ grey area, which often times is NOT healthy for business operations long term.

…which is why I highly recommend using the charts from my previous blog post!
(shameless plug)

Much of my younger audience will probably debate me on that point, as they are living in an era of a very nurturing and forgiving corporate culture sprinkled with lunches, team building, play time (on company time) and a great allowance for excuses with tons of opportunity for ‘another chance’….

I’m struggling with this concept, as I have not yet figured out a healthy balance between making everyone feel GREAT and running an efficient operation, where at times… sacrifices have to be made and standards have to be met.

And truth be told… as much as I appear to force logic and structure…. I actually have a VERY HIGH EQ (Emotional Intelligence)…. which nowadays… I hear is a GOOD THING lol….  

THANK GOD I have a quality that is FINALLY ‘in style’…. A mere 2 years ago, I may have been accused of being ineffective because I was ‘too nice’ or ‘too empathetic’ or ‘too invested’ LOL (that’s actually a true story).

Here’s what I know for sure… and I can only speak from my personal experience – For those few individuals who have been with me 3+ years who I do have a ‘personal’ relationship with at work…. they will tell you – we have a shared google doc that outlines our business and personal relationship line by line, year by year.  We have annual check ins to ensure that everything is on track, and at anytime if something gets out of sync on either side… we both open up our document and have a conversation as to whether the current ‘arrangement’ is meeting one anthers needs ranging from –

Is it a salary issue?  Do they want more Paid Time Off? Is their current role challenging enough OR is it too taxing? Are they shifting priorities in their home life?  Do they feel appreciated? Have they been overlooked for a position? Do they feel they’ve outgrown the position or the company?

No Lie… I actually work with people on an exit strategy if they’ve identified that they want to move on – with full support and enthusiasm!

It took me a while to realize that we are NOT all motivated by the same things at the same time.  Thankfully, I’ve been able to apply this to the rearing of my son as well.  And just like anything… sometimes a relationship comes to an impasse where the needs cannot be met on both sides.

And that’s ok too!  Rule #1 You will not succeed in ANYTHING unless you know who you are, why you are doing it and what you expect to get out of it.

SELF AWARENESS my friends…

It took me 40 years to get here!  And even though I’m losing my beauty, heavier than I’ve ever been, hair thinning… all the superficial things we fixate on…. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO CONFIDENT!

A song I used to play on HEAVY ROTATION… Mary J Blige – Take Me As I Am….

I sang the words but didn’t believe them in my heart at that time…..

Well just know, thanks to some self introspection, some strategy and follow through that has resulted in a pretty impressive/stable track record in business efficiency and profitability….Along with finding my voice and being able to communicate my expectations  without feeling awkward….

It’s NOW your girl’s anthem! (better late than never)

Know who you are! Own it!  Communicate it! Work your ass off! Stand out like the Superstar you are!  And Believe! …. If it’s meant to be… it will be! <3 

If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection

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Prior to starting this blog, I decided to summarize my life on a timeline to illustrate the various nuances that were occurring over the past two decades to illustrate a point to my best friend, who has been around for the past 6 or 7 years but didn’t witness the struggle first hand.

I remember when I sent it over to her she said quite sarcastically, ‘I get it *deep breath/eyeroll*
You worked all day and all night, sacrificing, saving, strategizing…..’
LOL – She hates me… And though I don’t do it any more – just to annoy her – I texted her at 6:30 am every morning and say – Gym Done. Laundry Done. Swept and Vacuumed. Heading to Work.  *crickets*

Presenting my life accounts with some humor is intentional because much of the content exposes the most vulnerable parts of who I am.

However, I feel it is critical to disclose the facts because it truly speaks to conflict resolution, strategy, course correction, and perseverance.

And as I review this table I realize… a day late and a dollar short btw… That for the past 20 years,  I was disproportionately living to please others.

The highlighted fields indicate the times when I was engaged in activities that brought me joy and inspired hope.

The unhighlighted fields….. Well they represent times of insecurity, fear, disappointment in myself and others… It was a VERY sad and lonely time.

I honestly felt like I had the world on my shoulders and it wasn’t my imagination – my son, mother, sister, significant other, step children…. From the age of 24 to present, the roofs over our head, the food we eat… our overall financial well being ultimately relies on the sustainability of a business that I am 100% responsible for.

Then add in the fact that I just LOVE to complicate my life for no apparent reason …. It truly is a wonder I was able to stay afloat.

Truth be told…. If you knew me during those years, you remember the sadness and despair.  Very FEW people know the REAL story… I’ll just say I have always had the power to change the things that did not honor me and I must accept responsibility for my inaction.

Even to this day I struggle with setting boundaries in relationships – personal and professional.
Thankfully even during the darkest of times, I held onto logic and just kept progressing – whether it was continued learning or pursing business opportunities… even though I didn’t believe I was even worthy…. I knew I had to overcome and prove to my son with my actions that ANYTHING is possible!

Let me tell you… when I ran from Vegas (literally) – I woke up in my new house in Laguna Beach the following morning and went out on the balcony and sobbed.  I was terrified….

Terrified of Failing….. Terrified of Succeeding….. Terrified of Living My Own Life

When You’re At Your Lowest Point

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So there I was… 25 yrs old, brand new baby boy, still estranged from my family (my doing), relationship with my son’s father in shambles…. The only thing going right for me (as per usual) was my professional career.  I had a great shift, making prevailing wages, worked well with management, had a great time with my co-workers making them laugh with my customer service tactics aka schmoozing LOL (we worked in the county jail with inmates and their frustrated family members who had to bail them out).

I mean… life was good – I didn’t have very high standards back then… but somehow I was able to pay the mortgage, daycare, car note, and still make my minimum payment on my JC Penney card (oh how simple life was).  My son and I had healthcare (huge deal), my son had a big boy race car bed in his Elmo room…. what more could I have asked for?

My mother was running the dance competition Rainbow Connection – I didn’t know much about it, other than I knew her gross annual income, and I had far surpassed that years before.  I did not know at the time that she needed double hip surgery so her boyfriend, now husband, called a meeting with me to present a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So you understand the power of this sales pitch… I must inform you that my mom’s husband was one of the TOP REALTORS IN HAWAII in the 70’s.  You want to talk about finesse… That man is smooth as silk.  I laugh now because in the first few years of me accepting the proposition, I honestly felt bamboozled.  However, that decision 15 years ago has paid off more than I could have ever imagined and I am incredibly grateful that he was so persuasive.

There were two reasons that led me to quit my county job, abandon my security, take a pay cut, learn an entirely new skill set, and work my ass off every day of the week all hours of the day for years!

#1  I was tired of being predictable and stable and needed to end my personal relationship so I figured if I did something crazy… he would run the other direction (it worked by the way).

#2  My step-father’s sales pitch was so powerful it made me question everything about myself such as: Why am I taking the safe route? Why don’t I believe I can do more? Why don’t I believe I deserve more? Why are my standards so low? Why do I want to work with inmates in a dungeon (that was the best one) ~

Literally the next day… all that I had dreamed of ~ all that I had hoped for ~ I walked away from.  I gave my two week notice and started working in my mother’s basement figuring out Rainbow Connection, which at the time had 3 partners, had been reincorporated 2-3 times since its inception due to financial instability, no assets (we leased the copy machine and the truck), 3 mortgages on my mother’s house, and an outstanding debt of around 200k to one of the partners.

Looking back now as I write this… WHAT THE F*#@^ WAS I THINKING?
I guess I love a challenge LOL