Growing up, I wanted to be a number of things: an astronaut, a CEO, a Broadway musical star and a lawyer. My life has taken lots of twists and turns and many people along the way have rolled their eyes at the fact that I’ve changed career directions many times and have jumped from city to city across the U.S. For those people that thought I was scattered or hap-hazard, I hope they are starting to realize that it was all calculated chaos. With a great deal of hard work and an amazing support system, my journey is starting to make sense.
Let’s roll back and talk about the frustration of knowing that you are capable of doing amazing things but have no idea what they will be and how to set that in motion. I grew up with my parents encouraging me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and they still do. I went off to college as Pre-Law and then changed to Business before I even moved into the dorm. I didn’t blend well with the uptight business students – let’s say I’m a little too energetic for their liking. So that landed me in the career counselor’s office taking every personality trait test in existence that would tell me where I belong. Turns out that I’m exactly in the middle. This sounds like a good thing but according to the lady, it is the worst place to be because I’m perfectly balanced between creative (love of dance and music) and structured (my love of organization, event planning and running businesses). She then explained to me that no matter what job I would hold, I would always be a bit unhappy because there was no job in the world that allowed someone structure and creativity. I wish I could go back and punch that woman, seriously. Who says that to a concerned and confused 20 year old? So I left in tears and called my parents to wallow. My dad very simply said, “Well, if you love fitness and dance and you love to plan and organize things, why don’t you just run a fitness/dance studio? That would be the perfect balance of all the things you like.” Leave it to the people that know you best to really tell you what you should do with your life. So that led me to the major of Organizational Leadership and Supervision with a minor (unrecognized) in Dance. I was off to a good start.
Let’s sum up the years spent as a banker, starting our first company (t-shirt printing), hip hop dancing in Chicago and fitness training in Nashville and San Francisco by saying that I learned skills in all of these ventures and each one led me closer to what I did and did not want to spend the majority of my time doing. Once in San Francisco, I was doing fitness training both in the club, privately and corporate programs. I loved and still love fitness and personal training. Being able to educate and help people change their lives for the better has just always been the most rewarding and awesome experience. When my husband started Podcast Alley, I started a fun little audio podcast called Fitness Attack with Amy Mac. This was a daily 60-second health and fitness tip show. It quickly became popular in iTunes and that show went on for over 500 episodes, with millions and millions of listens. A side effect of that show was that I began doing voiceover work and still do it to this day! (To all the people that said I couldn’t make a living by talking – Ha!)
Podcasting got bigger and video podcasting became the new thing. I started my video show, Fit Life, which is still in production and has been syndicated and distributed through more channels than I can recall. I remember checking the stats daily to see how many views an episode had and it was so exciting to have a new subscriber. Those days were many years ago and while I still appreciate every viewer and comment, it is overwhelming to think of how many that has been over the last few years. Yikes! Taking a minute to reflect on that is very surreal, so thank you for indulging me.
If you’ve stuck around this long (thank you!), you are probably wondering why we are recounting the last 15 years of my life and the point of the story in general. I completely understand so I will try to move it along as quickly as I can. My chapter is capped at 1500 words, so rest assured knowing you are ½ way through!
During our 5 years in San Francisco, I was challenged beyond belief by the people surrounding me. I was a personal trainer when I started the podcasting thing. I began doing more on camera and voiceover work and then started working on a higher level in the production world. I started with content acquisition for a media company and then moved up to running the women’s network. This meant I got to use all my creative skills starting shows, making channel lineups and lots of script writing.
I also got to use my organization skills for arranging auditions, studio scheduling and every other production detail that was needed. Producing people, places and props is hard work! In addition to those tasks, I was still able to do fitness projects, “perform” on camera and publish 2 fitness tip books. It was the most frustrating, exhausting and rewarding years of my life. I really began growing up and becoming the person I wanted to be. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t use something that I learned from those years.
My mission since the early 2000’s has been to give people the knowledge to make healthier choices throughout their day, to maximize their workout and give them that information in a concise, entertaining format. That has always been the driving force for all of my fitness content and it has been amazing to be a part of people making their lives better. Now while that all still remains true, I have moved into the next phase of my journey.
I now own a video production company in Nashville, TN, where I live with my husband and son (as I write this, he is just 5 months old!). It turns out that while I was creating all of those fitness videos, people started to appreciate the entertaining style in which we delivered information. We started being approached by other companies wanting us to create great marketing, sales, product launch or tutorial videos for them with that same energy and style. It started out as side gigs that helped us pay the bills and purchase new equipment and then one day my partner and I looked around and realized that we had become a video production company! We embraced it because we had always loved the production side and could still do our regular content creation. Now if you’ve paid attention, then you’ve noticed that it all seems to be coming together, almost like it was planned.
I run my own company so while I don’t call myself a CEO, I don’t have to answer to anyone else. I get to organize lots of things everyday by producing videos and managing clients. The banking background has definitely helped with some of the basic operations of running and growing a business and I get to jump up on stage on occasion for my own videos, as well as on-camera talent for other projects. Not to mention the creativity that is needed to be able to envision the final project before it is even scripted.
Well, I think we’ve finally gotten to the point of the story – I hope you find it worthwhile!
I have never known what I wanted to be when I grow up and I still don’t. I never fit into the mold that most people thought I should fit into and I think I’ve done just fine without it. I could go into clichés about taking the road less traveled or making lemonade out of lemons but that would be lame. The real point is: Be true to yourself. Do what you love. I have lived through the rolled eyes at Christmas parties and the jokes about my various business cards and that you could never write my address down in pen. I have spent more time crying in the shower about what I’m supposed to be and where I should do it than I will ever care to calculate. The point is, that I seized every worthy opportunity that was presented to me and I took something, even if it was just the memories, away from it and I’m better for it. My experiences and my random assortment of skills are what make me: ME. As I sit here writing this, I’m looking at a poster on the wall that says, “If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen.
I think that is the perfect line to finish this chapter.