Work Smarter, Not Harder: Amanda Boleyn of She Did It Her Way

Amanda Boleyn Chicago_0159

I am convinced different people awaken different beasts in you.

If you are new to Cedar & Rush, Work Smarter, Not Harder (WSNH) is a weekly column showcasing Chicago’s leading ladies – think CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and everyday women making a difference – and how they work smarter, not harder. I decided upon Monday so we can kick off the week asproductive and as motivated as possible. If you love a particular piece of advice or have any tips of your ownplease share by tagging #WSNH2015 on Instagram and Twitter.

I hope everyone had a “Hoppy” Easter weekend! Unfortunately it is time to get back on the old work wagon again folks. So hard! Today’s Work Smarter, Not Harder feature is one of the most enthusiastic and positive people I have ever meet! Amanda Boleyn has gone from corporate to finding her passion and possesses one of those contagious attitudes that lights up a room. Some serious fantastic advice if your in need of a good swift kick in the career butt! And be sure to check out her podcast afterwards!

Please explain your job and any other networks, projects, etc. you participate in on a regular basis. I’m the host and Co-Founder of She Did It Her Way podcast and travel the world as freelance consultant for sales and leadership development projects.

How did you get to your current position: Brace yourself! It is a tich long.

3 years ago this month (April), I left corporate American and went out on my own. The year and a half leading up to this decision was full of “what ifs,” indecisiveness, tears and side hustling but when the opportunity came to fulfill a dream the answer was so clear that there was absolutely no hesitation.

Post college (May 2010) I took a job as an Executive Team Leader with Target in their West Des Moines, IA store. It was an intense job, long hours and high expectations. About six months in I started realizing that the job wasn’t for me and I needed to get out. My co-works and friends thought I was crazy to leave because of high compensation, competitive benefits and a development plan that would lead to a six-figure salary by the age of 26. After all that I still couldn’t deny that I was unhappy, felt trapped and craved more out of life.

I was back and forth on actually wanting to leave Target four months prior to me officially leaving which was June 2012. One day I would be completely certain about leaving and the next I would think “This isn’t THAT bad, I can do this.” I would try to convince myself that what I was going through was normal and would happen anywhere I would go. I would also get nervous at the thought of leaving my comfort zone and freak myself.

The beginning of May 2011, I hit a breaking point after working thirteen, 12-hour days straight. I sat at my kitchen table, ate dinner in the dark and cried. It was that moment that I made the DECISION to leave Target, for good. No wavering, my mind was made up. I felt it. I believed it and there was no doubt that it was time to move on. I started applying for jobs the next day and had an interview with a third party agency that was hiring recruiters to work for Wells Fargo. I applied and was given an offer within a week. I put my two weeks in and say goodbye to my life at Target.

Working at Wells Fargo gave me at least 20 hours of my life back each week. I took a significant pay cut and had no benefits but it was well worth it. I was able to workout on a regular basis, have my weekends off and more importantly it gave me the space and time to network and really figure out what it was that I wanted from life.

During the transition from Target to Wells Fargo I attended a conference called Succeed Faster, a conference intended for college students and recent graduates. It was there that I met Chad Carden who is the owner of The Carden Group. His company works with clients from ATT to Kansas University Medical Center, Weight Watchers and more to help improve culture through changing behaviors and shifting mindset. After he spoke I approached him and told him “I want to do what you do,” and I wasn’t backing down. I continued to network with Chad and his team for the next 9 months; making phone calls, learning the business and attending trainings. In April 2012 I got a call from Chad and he gave me an opportunity to be a freelance consultant on his team to work with ATT. Without hesitation I said “Yes!” gave my week’s notice and booked my flight out to San Diego for the following week. I was 100% on my own at that point and I was on cloud nine and still am on cloud nine to this day.

The universe has taught me that if we don’t know what we want or if our actions don’t align with our desires, we will never get where we want to go. It is in the moment of our decisions that our destiny is shaped. We have to be willing to take risks in order to experience reward and step outside our comfort zones.

Instead of focusing on the questions that create doubt:

  • What if this doesn’t work out?
  • What if I can find a job?’
  • How will I know what I want to do?

Ask questions that create an emotion of excitement:

  • How will it feel when I free myself?
  • What will happen if I don’t leave now?
  • What are the consequences and what are the benefits to take action now?

What time do you typically get up in the morning? 5:30 AM during the week and 6:30ish AM on the weekend. I know, I’m crazy. Fortunately, I’ve always been an early bird.

How do you take your coffee and what do you typically eat for breakfast? I take my coffee black and usually a green smoothie; almond milk, spinach, Greek yogurt, frozen bananas, chia seeds, almond butter and a scoop of Vega Meal Replacement. So yummy and filling!Amanda Boleyn Chicago_0158

Quickly walk us through your morning routine: I get up, change into my gym clothes, chug water and head to a 45 minute 6:00 AM workout class. Once I get back I make my smoothie, grab a cup of joe prepared from the night before – LOVE having a coffeemaker that has a timer! I sit down at the kitchen table with my 5 minute journal. After that I spend about 15 minutes reading either the Bible or a book that I’ve started. At that point it is time to clean up!

What is the best way to get your foot in the door of your dream job? The best way to get your foot in the door of your dream job is to be tenacious and add value. I’ve learned that if people don’t get back to you after your first initial email it isn’t because they don’t care what you have to say it is probably because they didn’t see the email. There is fortune in the follow up. Secondly, if you want to work for a small, boutique sized company, put the consultant hat on and offer up feedback on something that they could be doing better and tell them what you would do. Any time someone can offer up a solution or do something better than the way it is currently being done is considered adding value. I would pay you!

What resources do you use to stay organized and remember tasks? I use old fashion paper and map out my to-do’s based on each project. Then I categorize them based on how important they are. Then I actually block out the tasks and put them into my iCalendar. I live by my iCalendar. I also use a notebook that has chapter pages at the beginning that allows me to take notes and mark at the beginning in a contents section what page it starts on and what I wrote about.

What mistake do you see people constantly make that they should be aware of? I wouldn’t say this is a mistake but more of something to be aware of. Something to note, I even coach people on this for a living and I still catch myself doing it. Filler words such as “um,” “like,” “ya know,” and “so.” Eliminating filler words allows us to be more convicted in our language and limits the distraction to the person we’re speaking to.

How do you conquer your inbox? I’ve divided my inbox into three categories; 1 TO DO TODAY, 2 FYI and 3 MEETINGS & CALLS. I make sure I’m unsubscribed to all non essential emails. I also attempt to only check my email from my phone or laptop when I can take action. I’ve found that when I check my email for the sake of checking it “just to see” and not actually do anything with it, drains me and wastes energy.

How do you format your emails? I personally like to get straight to the point and I like it when people get straight to the point with me. I also appreciate enthusiasm!

How do you make time for working out and staying healthy. Working out for me is what keeps me sane. I work out at Atlas in River North and can honestly say I get excited waking up in the morning and working out. It helps if I’m out during the week to limit my alcohol intake because I know how good I feel from working out and don’t want to miss it. Sometimes I slip up though and when that happens I give myself permission to not feel guilty.  Hey, we’re human, right?

What are your favorite tips for keeping an organized workspace? Everything has a place. Never leave your space messy. It will leave you recharged and energized when you come back!

What other pieces of advice/tips can you share? Don’t think too much, you might talk yourself out of something great.


* Favorite Apps: I just started using Evernote and love it! And Fitness Pal to track my runs.
* Favorite Books: Essentialism by Greg McKeown;  Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins; and Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso.
* Podcasts: Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn, Dishing Up Nutrition and The Dave Ramsey Show.

Amanda, I cannot thank you enough for joining us today! Your positive attitude and always having the perfect motivational quote at the perfect time lights up a room! Never stop and such a pleasure hearing your words of wisdom first hand. Xoxo.

Want more? You can find all Work Smarter Not Harder posts right here.

  • Amanda, this was so great!! I just started digging into Smart Passive Income and myfitnesspal is one of my favorite apps, ever.

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Thanks, lady! And yes, SPI is the bomb. Such good information 🙂 Hope you’re doing well!

  • This is my first time on your site and it’s so beautiful! You’ve definitely found a new reader in me! I love this series–hooray for powerful women!
    Also I don’t know why but I’m just in love with her morning routine. I don’t know if I could wake up that early, ever, but she seems to be so productive in the morning! That is so awesome!

    <(') hoda | joojoo azad

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Hoda, you must give it a try! 🙂 Early mornings are the best.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full

    Love her point on email- so very true that mindlessly checking wastes time!

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Amen sister! 🙂

  • I agree about working out keeping me sane when I actually do it. I love how you break down a project and put it into your calendar. I’m trying to do this more because when it’s in there it gets done!

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Nikole, you’ve got this! 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • I love listening to She Did It Her Way podcast every Monday! It’s so inspiring! Great post 🙂
    xo Emily

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Thanks gals! The She Did It Her Way team is thankful for their listeners 🙂 Hope you two are doing great!

  • Love you both! This WSNH is one of my favs so far!

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Thanks for the love and support ma’am! I need to see more of you! XO

  • Amanda aka Bo is one of my besties- well- done sister! You are PHENOMENAL! XOX

    • Amanda Boleyn

      Courteney, love you soul sista! Miss you too. Phone date soon! Keep being you! XO

  • You’ve linked to the wrong protein powder. This is Vega Protein powder >>

  • Mallory Cooper

    I would love to know what notebook you use that has chapter pages! Also can’t wait to check out your podcast and the others you recommended!