Many of us try to contain certain parts of ourselves to become likable to others. We try to compartmentalize each of our identities, thinking they can never coexist with the rest. Our guest in this episode learned how doing this is costing her more than she thought it would. So she began unleashing all of who she is, connecting to her authentic self, and reaping the freedoms and success in her business and life. Alicia Dunams interviews Amber Swenor, the founder and brand strategist of Soul Seed Strategy, about her book, Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business, and her book writing process. Sharing the lessons within, Amber highlights the importance of being who you are and how this will attract the right people who can help you achieve your goals. If you are a heart-centered, rebel spirit and visionary leader, then you might not want to miss out on this conversation!
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Unleashed With Amber Swenor
I’m excited for our next guest, Wall Street Journal bestseller Amber Swenor. She’s the author of Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business. She’s also the Founder and Brand Strategist of Soul Seed Strategy, a marketing firm that partners with small to medium size businesses as their outsource marketing departments. I want to jump in because I know that you are calling all visionary entrepreneurs and rebel-spirited change makers to be able to harness the power of authenticity to create change in the world.
Amber, it’s great to have you.
Thank you. It’s exciting to be here.
As you know, I help people write books, and this show is all about talking about not only the book but the book writing process. Why did you, Amber, decide to write this book, Unleashed?
There are a few reasons. One of them is living into my personal purpose truly as someone that has always guided others as a transformational guide. I’ve leaned into that work a lot in the last few years and also in my journey, being what I consider rebel spirited, sometimes looking around and feeling like I didn’t see others represented that were like me. I came to understand that I’m a sensitive overachiever, empathic but also driven. That led to some interesting learning lessons in life and the business journey.
I started my business more on the marketing side but it’s evolved to work around that transformational leadership development with business owners because what we started to see is whenever things weren’t working in the business or the marketing, it often had to do with something going on within that person. The more I leaned into that work, and I started seeing it validated in the things I was teaching and how it would work and transform business owners’ lives. I wanted to write the thing that I wish I would’ve had a number of years ago when I was walking the journey to understand the blocks that I was having in my business journey.
Tell us a little bit about you and your book because of the subtitle, A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide To Radical Authenticity in Life and Business. Tell us about you. You are unleashed, and you have an unconventional background. Tell us about it.
I grew up with this big vision of seeing a world beyond what I grew up with. I grew up in the Midwest and Wisconsin, a classic hardworking Midwest family. I became the first generation in my family to graduate high school. There’s a lot of that. It was a part of my journey when you grow up in an environment of lack or where there’s always struggle.When you are authentically who you are in any place, you will finally stop putting on different versions of yourselves in different places. Click To Tweet
I kept going on my journey. I started my professional career working in advertising. I also, for many years, had a rock metal band in which I was the front person. My whole journey in life is I look to understand the lessons and the learning. For me, life and career are not separate. Everything I was learning in one place was impacting the other place.
When I started my business, I had this fear that I needed to keep my musician life separate from who I was as a professional or business owner. I had this limiting belief that people wouldn’t take me seriously if they knew that I am who I authentically am as a rocker. I love expression, being emotional on stage, connecting with the music, and moving my body. It made me feel like a split person. It energetically drained me.
Eventually, I looked at what this is costing me to try to fit these split identities in all these different places. I fit in all kinds of buckets if you want to put things in buckets. I come from a farming background. I was in athletics. I was an academic. I’m the metalhead. I’m a businesswoman. I wrote the book and guided a lot of what I walked in my journey.
Coming to a place of alignment and being unleashed is when you are authentically who you are in any place. I finally stopped putting on different versions of me in different places. The beautiful lesson has been that when I’m all of me, no matter what space I’m in, I attract the right aligned vibe of people, whether I’m a musician, walking at the park or helping my clients. That’s a bit about who I am.
You talk about that in your intro to your book about having this expression and being that type of kid who rocked out essentially, and your clothing, expression, and who you are now. I would love to dig into your book a little bit and share some of the lessons that you share with your readers. Who’s the target of this book? Who would grow and discover by reading this book?
Anyone who identifies as a bit heart-centered but also rebel spirited. You might be sensitive and empathic but also highly driven and an achiever. That’s a unique combination that a lot of people are. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel understood because you have both that heart-centered emotional side but you also have goals and want to be out there on stage, leading your business or speaking. I define them as heart-centered, revel-spirited, visionary leaders.
What is something that they’ll learn in this book? What is a lesson that you want to share with our readers at home?
They will learn how to recognize where they may be, gaslighting their own desires and authenticity.
Give an example.
When I started my business, I had initial success. I landed my first two clients in the first month. I started to gaslight myself and think, “Who the heck do you think you are that you could be successful on your own? If you are a good woman, you should be collaborating with others.” It means I should have a business partner.
All of a sudden, I had these stories that I had an ego or it made me a b**** if I could be this bold woman leader making money on my own. It led me to go into a misaligned business partnership because the decision was driven by lack and my own fears instead of owning that I had everything I needed to be successful as a business owner. That was a huge lesson on that voice of imposter and gaslighting my own self. That’s a big one.
What else does someone learn by reading your book?
Boundaries are great. In the book, I call it toxic generosity. Sometimes, we think we are being generous and say, “I don’t want to feel bad or look bad if I come off that committee, I stop being in those friendships or I don’t have time or space for all these people.” You think you are being generous but it’s become toxic. It’s not good for anyone. I teach about helping people recognize the places where you are having some resentment for these things you are showing up for and realizing you have all the power and the choice to put a healthy boundary around that, and it doesn’t make you a bad person.
Another one is if you are called on a path to do something in the world. If you are a visionary and are starting to identify with that, that means that you are likely going to be the first one doing a thing right your way. You will meet others and communities highly recommended. Look for mentors, friends, and community but being a visionary means you have a unique vision. You must go that way. You must trust enough. This is why I think the journey to understanding ourselves at a deeper level is the best investment that you can make because you will learn how to trust your decision-making a little bit more and keep stepping in. No one is coming to give you the 5 to 10 steps on how to do a thing.The journey to understanding ourselves at a deeper level is the best investment you can make. Click To Tweet
Teaching autonomy, boundary creating, and being authentic. Where can people buy your book, Amazon.com?
We are going to jump into the speed round. This is where you answer the first thing that comes to your mind. Amber, what is your legacy?
What is your favorite book other than Unleashed?
Who’s that by?
Gay Hendricks, and it’s all about the zone of genius and the sealing on limiting beliefs. I love the concept of the zone of genius.
Who’s your favorite author?
I don’t have a particular favorite author.
What’s the first thing that came to mind when I said, “Favorite author?”
I thought of an important mentor in my life, which is Darla LeDoux. She wrote 2 books, and 1 of them is called Shift The Field. It’s how to support your clients in their transformation journey. For me, the connection I made is who I know in real life as a thought leader who’s educating. It’s not just the book but the whole package around live events, reading their blogs, and watching their videos.
Why I ask that deeper question is because sometimes, I don’t know, and something did come to mind but we judged it. Did you initially judge it like, “I can’t say that because it’s a little rumor?”
I thought about saying that. This is my favorite person in general who happened to write a book. I knew her before she wrote the book. It’s interesting.Every time we edit ourselves, we pull back. Click To Tweet
I love how our brains work. What are you reading next, Amber? What’s on your bookshelf?
I have about eight books that are partially read. Rocket Fuel, the visionary over here, is leaning into getting that support from my integrator and going back to a few Gary Zukav books. I stand on the spectrum from spiritual to strategy.
What are you writing next? Do you have another book under your sleeves?
I do. Maybe it’s being started as we speak. It’s going to be an amazing follow-up to Unleashed.
I’m excited about this. If you need any support, I would love to help you. I have a program called Bestseller in a Weekend. Anytime someone had a title that was trademarkable, they could create a series or programs, I said, “Never share it.” I have a client who’s launching her book, and about 30 days before her book is out, we are just seeding it because you cannot copyright the title of the book, and you want to keep that.
Thank you for bringing that up. I do have a series now of my live events, retreats, and things that are all around the concept of this book. That’s fun and exciting. I’m booking a lot more talks. I’m a public speaker booking out months ahead. It’s from the content of the book, and the book is written for anyone, even if they are not in business. The cool thing is I’m being booked for a lot of corporate talks, which shows, and I hope anyone else out there who is an aspiring author, how your message can make an impact and ripple effect, even maybe with audiences where you didn’t know how much it could extend.
The corporations have pockets for speaking. That’s great that that’s resonating for them because you have Wall Street Journal bestseller. Now you are going into more booking. I’m fanning the flames with your greatness. I want you to continue doing that. That’s fantastic. I’m thrilled for you. What else do you want to share with the readers at home, a lesson from your book, something that you would leave any readers with, whether you are speaking from the stage, on a podcast or on TV? What’s that one lesson that would resonate with our readers?
Every time we edit ourselves, we pull back. You notice that moment of, “Was it a self-judgment?” We are selling our own selves and our own souls short. The only thing you have to lose is losing out on your own freedom, joy, and authenticity when you don’t live into being unleashed. When you look at it that way, it becomes a great choice to live into your unleashed, which is living into your authenticity, free of those outside chains of expectation. Those fears and the conditioning is being more of your true self. It is a journey worth taking.
I love how it unwrapped as we even see, “Should I answer the first thing that came to my mind or am I going to second guess it? Especially in the last couple of years, I have been second-guessing myself in many ways about, “Should I do this? Should I do that? Should I put my modeling photos on my business Instagram?” It’s this whole second-guessing.
To be fully open and fully ourselves is a powerful way of being. You support us with being unleashed. I want to thank you for that. Where can people find out more about you? Where can corporations and other organizations hire you as a speaker? Where can they find the book? Where can people hire your marketing firm? Please tell us.
Soul-Seed.com and I have a few businesses but it’s fun. I think of it like Richard Branson with Virgin. I’ve got Soul Seed. I’ve got a few companies within it but the easiest place is the website. It will direct you to all those things you shared, whether it’s connecting for a consult, speaking or coming to one of our events.
What’s one thing you’re feeling now, Amber? What’s alive in you?
The creation, creating for the future. Something I’m excited about is a container of work. It’s not starting for a few months but it involves taking a group of visionaries on a number of retreats around the world. Even though it doesn’t start for a few months, it’s present in the energy I’m holding, and it feels exciting to trust yourself to create in that way.
I’m feeling the energy and the excitement. Amber, I want to thank you so much for being here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love how we were starting to create that next book. It’s such a fun thing to be in real-time here with you now.
You take care, and thank you, everyone, for reading this blog of the Authoring Life. See you next time.
- Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business
- Soul Seed Strategy
- Barnes & Noble – Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business
- Amazon – Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business
- The Big Leap
- Shift The Field
- Rocket Fuel
- Bestseller in a Weekend
About Amber Swenor
Amber Swenor is the author of Unleashed: A Been-There, Rocked-That Guide to Radical Authenticity in Life and Business; and the Founder and Brand Strategist of Soul Seed Strategy, a marketing firm that partners with small-medium businesses as their outsourced marketing departments. After working in marketing and sales for years, she started an award-winning brand strategy and marketing firm in 2015 as a solopreneur and grew the business to a team of nine and $1M+ revenue, in less than three years.
As a musician, it was important for her to grow a business that would work for her lifestyle and today, she helps badass entrepreneurs to create the same! As a first generation high-school and college graduate, Amber has had her share of money stories, limiting beliefs and bad decisions, all of which inform and empower how she holds the space for leaders to walk their transformation journey. And oh, that voice that pops up that makes you question your big bold ideas? That never totally goes away, but overtime, your empowered voice will become stronger! It’s her mission to help heart-centered leaders rise up into their authority and claim the vision that they have for themself and for the communities they impact!