#010: Answering your Heart’s Call for Quiet: Leading by Doing Less with Amanda Silver

podcast Nov 18, 2022

In this interview Amanda and I discuss:

  • What’s Good about Fall and Rainbow Trees
  • How to integrate racial justice values into our families, especially with young children.

Amanda offers specific tips.

  • How you can only bring what you have to racial justice work and how she has increased her capacity over the last five years to go from freezing and appeasing to calling out racism.
  • How to help her children hold a Jewish identity in a Christian dominant culture.
  • How to go from an extremely hectic schedule with kids, building a business, and community racial justice work to taking time for stillness, quiet and contemplation.

Amanda took a gradual approach that helped her stick to it.

  • How Doing Less and Doing Meditation has enabled her to show up with more healing and Presence for her children, clients, and community.
  • How Amanda’s school district Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee works and why she felt it was important to do that work and let other things go.
  • How sometimes we use our fatigue and exhaustion as a badge of honor, as proof that we are good enough.  But we are already good enough.

Amanda’s Bio:

Amanda is a leadership development consultant, trainer and executive coach with over 20 years of experience in developing the effectiveness of social change leaders and organizations.

Her unique heart and mind approach draws on expertise and training in racial equity and inclusion, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and strengths-based mindsets.

Amanda is the founder of the Women’s Leadership Incubator, an intensive group coaching program for women in leadership to take their goals to the next level.

Amanda's Website: https://www.amandasilver.com/

Amanda on Instagram or on LinkedIn.

See Transcript Below.

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[00:00:00] Aminata Sol:

Excellent. So this is Aminata Sol Plant Walker, Firewoman interviewing our special guest, Amanda Silver. And today our theme is to talk about doing less, doing differently, and healing the. So Amanda is a leadership coach. She particularly works with folks who are in social justice and women in leadership positions.

And she and I met via the internet and we only met in person this past summer at a a Sister Queens retreat that I was hosting on our land Kuku LA Day. A couple months ago. But I have known Amanda for about four years now. So we were both surprised and realized we had never met in pur in person, given how much trust there was between us.

Welcome Amanda.

[00:00:59] Amanda Silver: [00:01:00] Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm thrilled to be here and loved doing some movement before jumping into the conversation.

[00:01:10] Aminata Sol: Yeah. Yeah, that's part of the thing about doing differently, I think, is to really honor our bodies as we go. And but let me ask you, I always like to start these conversations off of what's good.

Anything that you notice that is good in the world or good in your body or good in your town.

[00:01:30] Amanda Silver: That's a great question. I'm gonna say right now what's good. I live in Hanover, New Hampshire. It's cold and wintery eight months out of the year. Slight benefit is that we get peak foliage like two or three weeks before anybody else does, and right now what's good is just looking outside.

There's just the most amazing hues of red and orange and yellow and [00:02:00] green and rainbow trees. Those are my favorite ones. So I've been spending a lot of time admiring. And really connecting to the foliage, which is a peak season. Right now, it's a little bittersweet because in probably a week it's all gonna be gone, but it's it's beautiful.

Yeah. What kind of tree did you say in particular? Oh, I said rainbow trees, which is, what is that? , that's a name that I created just to highlight when the trees are turning and they're like red, orange, yellow, green, and you can see all the hues in the tree at the same time because different portions of the tree have changed.

And it's going through its own metamorphosis, but each level of the tree is doing it at a different timeframe. Yeah, I call them rainbow trees. My kids and I drive around in the minivan and I'm like, look, a rainbow tree. It's missing a couple of colors, but it's close about. [00:03:00]

[00:03:00] Aminata Sol: That's a sweet image of you in a minivan driving around with your kids.

Yeah. .

[00:03:05] Amanda Silver: Yeah. They're big. They're, and they're good too. The those two are really good too. When you say what's good spending time with them outside really getting them to appreciate the nature too is very good. Yeah.

[00:03:21] Aminata Sol: Yeah. I just remember when my kids were little on our way to daycare, sometimes we would I'd be pushing them in the stroll.

And I would stop and hug, hug some trees. There's some huge sycamores. They're really pretty. For some reason I just like them. This is in the, early two thousands . And and at some point I stopped doing that and I remember once my one, I think it was my daughter, said, mommy hug the tree.

[00:03:48] Amanda Silver: Oh. Oh, I love that.

That's so sweet. And you never know what your kids are what they're taking in from you and what they feel like is a pattern and behavior. I really love [00:04:00] that. Yeah. That's precious.

[00:04:02] Aminata Sol: Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's such a responsibility modeling, through our actions for our kids.

And I know that's one of the ways in which we first met, we were talking about. Racial justice and doing that kind of work inside your family. And then, so I, and one of the things I had said that I wanted to ask you about was like, compared to where you were maybe five years ago, four years ago, I remember, and where you are now, what do you what are the, some of the maybe highlight changes that you feel like you've made in your thinking on your actions?

Over that period of time.

[00:04:37] Amanda Silver: Yeah. When I first met you through the internet, really, it was you did a five day challenge to to, take a look at your bias, implicit bias, and I, I had done a lot of work, but I had and I was working in a lot of multiracial environments and I realized that if I was gonna do.

Be the [00:05:00] best person I could be doing equity and racial justice work. I needed to do more work and really look at the internal aspect of how I had internalized whiteness and privilege in my work. And so I would say and that was a big part of racial justice from the heart and our work together.

And the, I would say the big changes have been first it's like, It's become an integrated lens into the way that I think about both my work, but also how I'm being with my children and how I'm being in my community. And. It's also become like on an internal level I think I had a lot of fear, a lot of shame and it got in the way of me speaking out and speaking up and I'm not proud to say that, but like I, I have, I tend to have a free, like when I'm, when I, when [00:06:00] my amygdala goes off and I'm in stress mode, I, my default is to freeze or appease, and that doesn't.

That doesn't go well with facilitating groups and calling out racism when it needs to be called out. Not in a punitive way, but to speak up and point things out, right? So I noticed myself freezing a lot. And so what's changed is that I'm. Like I'm much more comfortable speaking up both in one-on-one conversations with colleagues and friends, and also when I'm facilitating in in a group like to name a dynamic that's present and to know that it's okay, that it's gonna be uncomfortable, and that it's really an important part of the work that we all need to do to to move to a place of equity and racial justice.

[00:06:55] Aminata Sol: Yeah. I was talking with a friend today cause I just came [00:07:00] back from facilitating a multi-day, very deep workshop on race and one of the things that we talked about was you can only bring to the table what you have, yeah. You really cannot bring more than what you have . Right?

[00:07:16] Amanda Silver: It's one of those very simple but deeply profound statements.

That's very true. Yeah. So it's

[00:07:23] Aminata Sol: And obviously it works, it's true in your life too. You can only bring what you have. And so if so, the more you are cultivating, an awareness or a muscle or Being heart centered or, noticing when your amygdala is been stimulated and finding your breath.

All how you know you, we start where we are and we bring what we have. Yeah.

[00:07:48] Amanda Silver: Yeah. That's all you can do. And I think for me, the journey has been like increasing my capacity to bring more because I have a different, [00:08:00] Toolkit. I have a, I also, I have a different community too.

That's been huge too, is the racial justice from the heart community and and a number of other communities that I've become a part of that are intentionally multiracial, intentionally committed to racial equity, which. Allows people to have conversations that before had just been like in my head with me, like just spinning over and over again, not actually serving or doing anything for anybody out in the world.

[00:08:31] Aminata Sol: Yeah. Yeah. And I know just because there are a lot of people in this community and who listen, who are following the podcasts, have children, or have children in their care, or mothers or parenting or teaching working with children. So I wonder how do you find yourself.

What shifted in how you bring, [00:09:00] racial justice or any of the things that are associated with that. To your mothering or whatever other work you do with kids.

[00:09:07] Amanda Silver: Yeah. That's a great, that's a great question. So I think I am My, a lot happens in my family with reading, so I, a strategy that I've continued to use that works really well is to bring in both books.

Where, just to make sure that the books that we're reading have very diverse characters from lots of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and cultures and that, and then that in and of itself is. Is a good baseline, right? But then also bringing in books that are, and this, I think for us, it's worked really well to bring in books about historical figures or leaders that are African American or of other backgrounds, and [00:10:00] to really learn about their stories and have conversations about them and.

Ask the children like, what are, what do you think about this? And how does this relate to other things that you have learned about? And so that, that helps keep a level of awareness and conversation happening in our household that that is really important. And then I would say on a different level, it's not directly with the kids, but it's for the kids.

  1. I joined the diversity, equity and inclusion committee of my town to make sure that there was a a policy for the town around inclusion. And so my kids, I've talked about that at home a bit and I think being able to. Talk about what's going and where there've been, challenges around that.

Policy development is also a way that they get to understand that not everybody actually believes that there should be inclusion and equity in [00:11:00] built into the way the school thinks about its work. And and why is that? And also why do we understand that it is really. Important and valuable and that we have to keep stepping up and asserting even if it feels unpleasant and it doesn't, even if we feel like we're fighting.

So I think that is also through the modeling piece is really helpful. Having conversations about race is really helpful. I think the biggest thing really is It's also giving my, like asking pointed questions. If we read a book where all of the characters are white, for example, or coming from a particular I, I understand it to be a pretty like mainstream white perspective or maybe patriarchal perspective.

All of those things like to ask pointed questions like, what do you think about this? What's missing here that we see in all of the other books that we read, to give them a chance to make observations also. Yeah. Yeah. [00:12:00] Yeah, those are some of the things that that we do on a regular basis and, but I will say it's not.

I don't have this all figured out. I think it's the intention and the commitment and continuing to identify opportunities. In particular here, like we live in a predominantly white town European American. And so very intentionally searching out friendships and relationships with with families.

That are not European American, that are of other ethnic cultures and backgrounds and races. So that's also something that I think about,

[00:12:38] Aminata Sol: . . Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I like how it's woven into what you. Not a special occasion . It's, yeah. Like it's part of what you do in your town, it's part of the books that you read.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And is there a way I guess[00:13:00]

the, to me, isn't there like a dance, because I know that you're also Jewish, Amanda. So is there a way that you are like, and you live in a predominantly white town? I don't know how Jewish it is.

[00:13:13] Amanda Silver: Not very not Jewish . Okay. So very not Jewish,

[00:13:16] Aminata Sol: And it's like you're like this outpost of down something that's important to you.

If it is important to you and I

[00:13:23] Amanda Silver: I this conversation, it is. Yes. Yeah.

[00:13:25] Aminata Sol: And it could be hard to hold something if you don't have a whole community holding it with you. Yes. It's just beside your family.

[00:13:35] Amanda Silver: Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah, which is why I think it's important, but from the Jewish piece, I will say I didn't bring that in, but we talk about what it is to be Jewish and.

It comes up very regularly in the same conversations that we're having about difference because in this environment around religion, even though we are, European, [00:14:00] American, white skinned, we, there is difference around our religious identities and in a very Christian dominant culture. What does that mean?

Like, how do we build. How do we build the traditions that are important to us and how do we find the spaces in the community for us, and how do we deal with folks who don't actually appreciate Jews and antisemitism and antisemitic attacks that, that not are happening here per se, but are happening around the country and the world.

And . So that gets filtered into the, to the conversation also. And and often creates a good link for us to talk, even though it's not the same. And I do, we, I do try to weave in the fact like even though we're even though we are Jewish we still have skin that allows us to have privilege in ways.

Other [00:15:00] friends of ours don't, right? . So we do talk about that and it is difficult and I think it's like the community piece is really important. Really important. So I would say also like where my friends do have children. My friends are very close with friends that are from other ethnic backgrounds, cultures and races, and You know that does help cuz we have that community and everyone's really open, they're open with us about our Jewishness.

Even though we're the only Jews in this space, we're everyone's open about their different ethnic and cultural and racial heritages. So it is really important. It's essential, I think to just hold it in your own family is difficult.

[00:15:44] Aminata Sol: . . . Yeah. I just know from having brought my kids up in a predominantly white space, it's Yeah.

Holding your traditions and also having, being in multiracial spaces that are open where you can openly talk about it and , yeah. [00:16:00] It's yeah, it's, it has to be intent.

[00:16:01] Amanda Silver: It has to be intentional where we live. , it has to be intentional. . . Otherwise it do it, it doesn't have, it won't, it doesn't have, it's just by, by numbers alone.

It wouldn't happen. I see Jenny has a Jenny's question. How do you do that in a way that doesn't center you and what you need? And I love that question cuz I think about it a lot. I would never, ever wanna be like, The, so white person coming in and saying, oh, we should be friends just for to fulfill yes.

An idea that I have about that's, that just feels really terrible to me. And so I would say the way we have. Approach. It is. There are so first of all, my kids through sports are making friends and in particular my son and soccer. And so we're meeting families of other cultures and backgrounds and so there's a link [00:17:00] there that is connecting us and enables us to build authentic relationships around things that matter to both of our families.

So it's not fake. Or it's not fake and it's also not intentional in a way that that, that would center my needs as a white person. I would say, , And then the other way, which we are, we're, I like, it's something that I wanna continue to do more of is there are different networks, partially because there are communities of people of different backgrounds and ethnicities here and there are different clubs and spaces where folks are gathering that are not, that are multicultural.

And I'm looking for those spaces. So for example, there's the Buena Vista Club is for folks who have an interest in speaking Spanish, either as native speakers or people who are who wanna continue to practice. And it's a pretty diverse group. And so that's a space where I've [00:18:00] been able to build some relationships.


[00:18:03] Aminata Sol: Yeah, that's a great question. I think what I hear in that is, build on what is authentically you and also where you are invited. Yeah, and where people want you to show up, they want you to show up if you wanna do practice Spanish and they want you to show up or, yeah. Yeah. So thank you for that question, Jenny.

And Amanda, one of the things that we've been focusing on this month is like doing lush, just because I gotta I just was. Emailing people in my community asking what they were struggling with, and so many people were struggling with feeling exhausted, worn out. Yeah. So overwhelmed . Yeah. So what do you, what's your sort of take on doing less and doing differe?

[00:18:51] Amanda Silver: Oh my gosh. I love this topic. I love the theme. It's so deeply resonant with the way I'm thinking also about [00:19:00] both myself and my life personally and how I'm thinking about my work and also a hundred percent resonant with what I'm hearing from my coaching clients.

Women in leadership, and. The first thing I'll say is the timing is beautiful because I just think, I think September, October is. Is a, it's just, it's a, it's an intense period of time for a lot of people cuz we're coming off the summer and the summer has a different rhythm to it. And then everything, I don't know about other folks in this community.

I don't wanna make assumptions, but as a parent with two small children, ages eight and 10, the back to school thing is. No, I, it caught me off guard this year, even though I know that it's busy. And I think the other thing that's shifting for folks is like, despite the fact that there is still plenty [00:20:00] of covid happening, the protocols we know a lot more, like the protocols for socializing have shifted.

Things are moving back to more more of what we had before. So there's there. There's that happening too. At least that, those are things that are happening in my life and in, in the li lives of people that I've been talking to. So yeah, so doing less, I think it's just. I think it's really important.

So what so I don't know maybe I'll just start on the individual level, how I've been thinking about this because, is that helpful? What do you think, Amanda?

[00:20:37] Aminata Sol: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Give us examples from your life, cuz I know you're committed to healing the world and you have your own business and you have, you said two small children and you.

You earn a diversity equity inclusion committee for your town, so tell us Yeah.

[00:20:52] Amanda Silver: You

[00:20:53] Aminata Sol: know how

[00:20:54] Amanda Silver: is that for you? Yeah. Yeah. So I will just say that I have been, I love [00:21:00] being in this space because of the Focus on heart and spirit. And I will say like last year around this time, I I've had an on and off again meditation practice for about 20 years.

I say off and on, like sometimes I'm on it and I'm meditating every day for 10 minutes. And it's great or never every day, but it's more like three to five times a week. And then sometimes weeks go by and I don't do anything with intentional sitting on my pillow and meditating. But last year I was feeling such a deep yearning, a very deep yearning for stillness in my life, and I had no idea how to get.

And I was, I felt like just I had to keep doing all the things that I was doing. And one of the things that I did, which, which was so meaningful was I worked [00:22:00] with a, I'm still working with her. She's wonderful. I worked with a spiritual director who for folks who aren't familiar with spiritual directions, I don't know, I, a spiritual director is someone who like you check in with on a regular.

Basis, like once a month to talk about how Spirit and God if that's, if that's language that speaks to you resides in like how is it residing in your life? Like where are you finding it? How are you? And through the conversations I had with her, I realize I need more quiet. And she suggested why not?

Can you take a half a day? Once a month to do some. Retreat, go on personal retreat for yourself. And and I was like, no, I can't do that. That's crazy. I can't do that. That's that's tab billable hours. It's time. I should be with my kids. I should be cleaning the house, whatever, but I, she posed the question and I thought about it and my heart was just like yes. [00:23:00] And so I. I figured out how to do it. And you know what? It actually wasn't. It took finagling. It took reorienting my schedule, it took shifting patterns of behavior. But then I put it in the calendar and it was there and I planned around it and so I started, Do this once a month.

And the first, after the second time I did it, I felt oh, I want more of this. How can I do more of this? I don't know what's gonna emerge from this. But every time I did it, there was an opening of possibility around creating more space. And so anyway, long story short, I started to plan that time in every other.

So I was doing that in the spring and it was incredibly meaningful and every time I allowed myself to get still insights and perspectives [00:24:00] and ideas about how to create more. Stillness in my life, more of doing less in a way that was still giving back to the world. Like those things would just surface because I gave myself the time to do it, to be quiet and not expect anything from it.

Just to be quiet, for quiet sake. Yeah, and then summer came and that went away except for being on our sister Queen retreat, which was such a delicious, spacious place to explore heart and spirit. But all of that led to me signing up for this five day silent meditation retreat that I did in September and.

That was something I used to do before I had Children's was the first time I'd been on one of those in 10 years. And it's countercultural, right? And when I tell people about it, they're like, you did what? You didn't talk to anyone for five days. [00:25:00] Did you go? Did you go nuts? Did you like, weren't you bored?

Yeah, I was bored every once in a while, but mostly I just watched my mind get quieter and stiller and in that spaciousness. A lot of gratitude and connection came out of it, which is what I've really been yearning for, I think. So I don't know. I'll stop there. But that's on a on a personal level, I think that's what's been the practice for me this year is finding those moments of stillness,

oh, you're on mute.

[00:25:44] Aminata Sol: Thank you. I can relate, man. I had a whole episode about when my Deep self told me, stop everything. Stop everything. It was intense, but it was

[00:25:55] Amanda Silver: such a, yeah, we talked about that. Yeah.

[00:25:57] Aminata Sol: It was such a yearning though, a heart yearning. [00:26:00] So I wonder for folks who are considering this possibility of, creating these pockets, in the schedule of intentional still.

I wonder if you could reassure them that somehow that helps to heal the world. Is there any way in which you know that you're sitting or you're quiet led to you giving something or doing something differently than you would have previously and it having a good

[00:26:21] Amanda Silver: impact? Yeah, a hundred percent.

It was in the stillness that. Realized and got very clear that I wanted to launch and run the women's leadership incubator, that I developed this group women's leadership coaching program if I hadn't given myself the time to be still. And then to dream from that place of quiet, like all the other stuff, so busy and hectic and when it came through, it was very clear to me yes, this is something that I wanna do.

And I I wanna [00:27:00] build it. From a, from this place, not the place of oh, I need to do this cuz it feels important and my ego's interested in it and all this stuff. But so there's that. But there's also, I came back from the silent meditation retreat. So much more present for the work that I'm doing with my clients who are like everyone.

So all of us like feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious. So being able to show up, like fully present for them and hold space for them to do that from a place of feeling whole myself. It's a very different kind of way of giving back. And it's where I wanna be when I'm doing my work, but I'm not always there, right?

Like when I'm anxious or overwhelmed myself. And I will say also with my children, like I'm able to be. So much more aware and able to manage [00:28:00] both to observe and notice what's going on, notice what's going on in my own system and not react, but to respond. So much more skillfully in high heat situations with tempers and, when kids are not listening to you or they're having meltdowns because of whatever, so I, I think those are three very clear areas. Another, and then I'll just say one more is that it became very clear to me. What I should be prioritizing and spending my time on in my work and what I need to let go of. What are things that are distractions? Cause I think a lot of what makes and again, there's so many things that contribute to overwhelm and wanting, having too much on your plate.

Oftentimes one of those factors is the inability to [00:29:00] say no to things because we feel like we want, it's coming from a good place of wanting to help and support lots of different things. Somebody asked you for help or support, asked you to do something, but it became very clear to me that there are certain things that I need to focus my energy and attention on right now because they're priorities and they're connected to.

My, my felt purpose of helping to change the world through supporting leaders. And there are other things that are actually distractions that I need to wrap up and say goodbye to or hand them off to other people, or, pause them, whatever. So I think, yeah, it helps me be more it's helped me actually be more effective in.

Prioritization and decision making about what I'm giving my energy and my life force to, yes. To

[00:29:56] Aminata Sol: to make change. Yes. [00:30:00] Yes. And I'm just let's take a moment here to let people know about the upcoming meditation challenge. So Amanda has beautifully talked about, making time in her schedule on an every other week basis, to be in quiet.

Starting October 26th, we're gonna do a meditation challenge where we're asking people to take 15 minutes every day for two weeks. That's all 15 minutes, every day for two weeks, where we focus on a self-compassion meditation. Because you remember how I said at the beginning of this interview, you.

You can only show up with what you have. Yes. So if you wanna increase what you have, then you, this meditation, the loving kindness meditation is a place to increase that, to fill your cup. And so I just wanna encourage you all, even if you're not yet ready to take a big chunk of time, Commit to 15 minutes of time each day and watch how [00:31:00] that, what impact that has on you.

So you can find that at dr amanda kemp.com/meditation challenge, racial justice from the heart.com/meditation challenge either one of those places. All right, so let's go back.

Amanda, if.

[00:31:19] Amanda Silver: You mentioned having a

[00:31:22] Aminata Sol: DEI committee in your town. I bet you a lot of people are like, wow, how can I do that in my town? And is there something, can you just tell us a little bit about it and maybe if people wanna know more tell us where they can know more and we can put that in the show notes too.

[00:31:36] Amanda Silver: Yeah. Yeah. So I wanna maybe I didn't speak with as much details. So the DEI committee is it's this it's through the school district. It's not a community committee. . But there is a community group that formed separate from the dei com committee that I did not create it. It was formed by other.

Individuals in the town called Inclusive Upper [00:32:00] Valley, which was formed because there was a lot of, initially was formed because there was a lot of pressure being put on the school system, the high school the middle school, and the elementary school to to explain. What the diversity, equity, inclusion work was that they were doing.

And not in a supportive way. It was a cha. It was in a very challenging way, and it became very clear that it was really important to have the folks who really cared about DEI work in the schools start to step. As a community to organize and make sure that we were both letting our school administrators, our teachers, know that we loved what they were doing and felt like it was really important so that the loud opposing voices it didn't [00:33:00] seem like they were the only ones operating.

The truth is the school, the community itself. Is very supportive of DEI work overall, but there's a very loud faction of folks that are, that don't want it and are concerned about how it might pull away from the budget and, Lots of different concerns. So this inclusive Upper Valley group that I'm a part of has been working at both a very local level in the town to, to do behind the, to do community organizing, to support the efforts on the school board and make sure that, and also, okay, so picking up from where you

[00:33:43] Aminata Sol: were leaving off, Amanda it sounds so you guys created this inside school district grouping to help advance and support the school when it was making moves in the direction of diversity, equity, inclusion.

[00:33:58] Amanda Silver: Yes. And one of the [00:34:00] things that they did when it, when the school district decided to form a diversity, equity and inclusion committee to develop a policy for the school district, this group, inclusive Upper Valley, was ready to.

Get people. People were ready to step up and step onto this committee. Oh, great. So it was like outside. Super organized. Super organized, and sending out emails if you care about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please consider joining this committee and a whole slate of people signed up to participate in the committee.

There are also people on the committee cuz it was an open invitation to anyone in this school district. And so there are also people who are on the committee to mostly oppose the work that's happening. But the majority of people that are on the committee are folks that really have heart [00:35:00] and center a commitment to equity and inclusion and wanna figure out how to make it.

Possible for the district to do it without fear of reprisal or opposition. Yeah, but to, and to do it in a way so it's school district committee that I'm on, but there is this wonderful community. Group called Inclusive Upper Valley that was formed that I'm a part of, that there's probably about 80 people that are part of it and it's act.

It's like when things heat up , we are at the ready to go out and vote, or go to a protest or a rally or sign up for positions on the school board and you to. Yeah. So stuff like that. So what's

[00:35:47] Aminata Sol: interesting to me is that we've been talking about doing less, doing differently, and one of the things that you said that got us back to talking about this committee is through your periods of silence, getting [00:36:00] clear that you needed to focus and let some things go to say goodbye to some things.

. And and I wonder how, if. If we're exhausted, yeah. If giving ourselves permission to be quiet, to discern where we need to focus as opposed to announcing our exhaustion as our proof, that we are really good activists. You know what I mean? Yeah. I wonder. That's another piece to me about doing differently.

Yes. Is your exhaustion is not proof that you are good. Yes. Or like you don't have to be exhausted

[00:36:35] Amanda Silver: to be good. Yes, totally. I a hundred percent. I feel like in the non-profit sector also, whether you're in the non-profit sector also with leaders, it's like one of the things I'm always offering is that you are not, Good for your mission of your organization if you're not taking care of yourself.

Like that [00:37:00] your personal sustain sustainability and your wellbeing is actually critical to your ability to carry out the mission and the work that you're doing. And it's, but similar to what you're saying there's such. Our culture, and I think this is really it's both, it's, I think it's both white supremacy culture that more and more is better, right?

That doing more is the best. That's what success is. And it's also from a social change and social justice perspective, like there's so much to do. How can I not do. Everything. Like I have to do it all because who else will do it? And there's a bit of a martyrdom. Complex that like feeds through the systems and and we don't even realize that we get value from that, but that that oh, I'm so exhausted, right?

Or, oh, I'm just, I'm so busy. I never have time for all these things. And I think the first. [00:38:00] When I'm working with leaders, the first thing that I'm doing with them is helping them take a step back to do the mindset shift. That actually more good can come for you and your life and the change that you're aiming to make in the world when you are taking care of yourself, which also means.

Saying no to things, right? Like you can be so much more effective if you are clear on what you're saying no to. So you can really fully say yes to the things that you know are gonna make the biggest difference. So we talk about, I talk about that a lot. I think it takes some

[00:38:46] Aminata Sol: bravery.

[00:38:47] Amanda Silver: It does. I think it does too, to

[00:38:51] Aminata Sol: face your own disapproval or disapproval of other people.

To face your own feelings of guilt that

[00:38:57] Amanda Silver: rise. I, yes, I think it does. [00:39:00] One of the exercises that I like to do for myself and I also have invited others to do as well, is to really lay out, cuz we're so driven by these, no, these cultural notions of success or what value. That we don't realize that's like in the back, that's like the tape that we're operating from when we make our decisions.

And so to separate that out, and I don't know if you had this experience, man, I think your your journey to stop everything, which is so courageous and so brave. But one of the things I like to do for myself is, When I pause to actually write down what my definition of success is, what does success look like for me if I am slowing down and.

and to work through [00:40:00] that yes, it may bring up feelings of guilt. It may bring up feelings of, but to just get it out on paper. Cuz a lot of times people just don't even get it out and then they don't ultimately make the hard choices. The no, the clearing things out. But I think you get it out.

Define what success looks like, feels like in your body. What does a day look like for you? If you're operating from your definition of success, see what it all is, paint the picture, make it really vivid. And then see what's surfacing, right? Cause if what's surfacing is the guilt. And I.

I'm not a stranger to this myself. Like I also, what came out of my periods of silence is that I wanted to work less. But when I want, what? The success for me meant that when I was showing up for my work, I was present in a way that I felt like I couldn't be when I was [00:41:00] working longer hours. And, but then when I wrote that down, I was like, can I really do this?

Yeah. Is it okay? Is it okay for me

[00:41:09] Aminata Sol: to do this?

[00:41:10] Amanda Silver: Yes. And. A hundred percent surfaced and I did talk, I talked to colleagues in the field. I talked to a coach, a business coach. I talked through it. So that I could get to a place where I was like, yes, it is okay. It's actually okay. And it means that I'm doing my work differently in a way that both nurtures me and not depletes me and also supports my the people that I'm working with in a more full holistic.

[00:41:43] Aminata Sol: Yes, I hear you. I, what I'm hearing in this is about sovereign. And one of our other guests, Isha Vela, is very big about personal sovereignty and really owning our lives. This is the one we have, this is the one we have and we [00:42:00] wanna, be very conscious of what it is, what we're doing with it.

And it's so easy to feel like I have to yes. To forget where we have power. Yes. Even when we don't have institutional power or state power or economic power, we still have the power to step back and imagine.

[00:42:23] Amanda Silver: Always. Yeah. But sometimes we need support

[00:42:26] Aminata Sol: doing that. So I'm gonna close this interview, which has been so juicy by asking you, Amanda, if people wanna get support from you, if they wanna follow you

[00:42:35] Amanda Silver: more, how do they reach out to.

Yeah, sure. If you're looking for a higher level of support I run the Women's Leadership Incubator, which is starting in January. And you can find the application for that. You can go to amanda silver.com and you'll find a link for that. So that's a, that's a. Cohort [00:43:00] program designed to build the community that you need to take these bold moves, even when the bold, especially when the bold move is actually doing less, and I have to say in the last cohort, two of the people.

Realized through the work that they were doing and hearing each other's work, two of the people realized that their jobs were no longer the right fit for them anymore, and they searched out other places where they could make a difference that were more resonant with the way they wanted to actually live their lives.

So I, yeah, I think it does take a community. And if if you're interested in resources, tips, and tools, you can find me on Instagram and LinkedIn at Amanda Silver. Amanda Silver Consulting on Instagram, and Amanda Silver one on LinkedIn. Awesome. Thank

[00:43:53] Aminata Sol: you. Yeah. See you next

[00:43:55] Amanda Silver: time. Great. Thank you so much.

I love the conversation and I'm [00:44:00] very honored to be here talking about these topic.


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