AmyK Hutchens is the Founder of AmyK Inc., a firm specializing in leadership, innovation and sales Think Tanks. She is an award-winning international speaker and bestselling author, a catalyst for igniting brilliance in leaders.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

  1. Most of it is noise.
  2. Almost everyone is having a conversation with themselves.
  3. My light is unique to me. Shine it bright.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Some of the worst recommendations have been my own. Over thinking, poor thinking and the occasional not thinking have all created moments of lousy self-advice.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I learned, in an extraordinarily painful way (like how many of the best lessons in life are served up) that I cannot want happiness for someone else more than they want it for themselves. Like any darker period, irrespective of individual details, we typically experience Kubler-Ross’ famous stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In one of the darkest periods of my life I leaned into each of these phases instead of resisting them. I spent an extraordinary amount of time journaling and processing my thoughts and feelings through each phase and didn’t rush nor apologize for the phase I was in on any given day. Owning each phase in and of itself was how I got through it and how I got out of it even healthier and happier.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

There are so many things that create a confluence for success for me – from being a part of a powerful mastermind group to the daily task of list-making and staying organized to the importance of diet and exercise for energy. BUT…I think the biggest contributor of all is that I read. Voraciously. I crave new ideas, new perspectives, new insights.

What is your morning routine?

I live life on the road so it varies constantly, but the most common routine is:

Wake up between 4:00am and 4:45am, hit snooze twice (the opposite of what most people recommend but I like this time to start thinking), drink a large glass of water to start hydrating my brain – followed by a large mug of coffee, check the headlines and news notifications, head straight to the gym for 90 minutes of exercise or head straight to the shower if I have an opening keynote address. I answer any and all emails that my colleagues need responses to so they can do what they need to do and then I focus. My most creative time is morning so after the gym or a keynote speech I’ll fix myself breakfast (huge fan of avocado toast with eggs or oatmeal with nuts & fresh berries) and tackle the “hardest” most creatively intense projects first, followed by administrivia.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Prioritizing a healthy diet with exercise. I used to fit in exercise when I could, and complain that airport food was atrocious but that I was “stuck with it.” No more. I place exercise on the calendar with the equal weight of a client meeting or speaking event. I pack healthy snacks in my carry-on,  map directions to nearby all-natural grocery stores in the cities I’m visiting, and/or dine at restaurants that serve up delicious, healthy entrees.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

  1. Making lists for my lists.
  2. Tuning out the noise and chunking sections of my day to truly focus on a project.
  3. When home…getting up early. I can do so much between 4am-9am!
  4. 20 minute power nap.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

First, I give in to the creative lull. Many times it’s my body’s and/or brain’s request for a break – a refueling. I used to resist these cycles and demand that I get focused and disciplined again. Now I acknowledge and accept them as a necessary precursor to productivity. Then, when I feel like the bucket is almost full and I’m itching for a new project, a new adventure, I kick my butt in gear with a highly inspirational read. Jen Sincero, Brene Brown, Martha Beck, Tal-Ben Shahar are brilliant butt kickers.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

So many! One of the biggest game changers for me in the last few years was The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. It reframed my perspective on living and goal setting. Instead of asking, What do I want? I now ask, How do I want to feel and what do I need to do to feel the way I wanna feel? This fresh way of thinking ignited a new brand campaign for my company, an Amazon bestselling book, and a whole lotta happiness.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”

-Anais Nin

“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”

-Mark Twain

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be

to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

-T. S. Eliot

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

-Soren Kierkegaard