Meet Amanda Blake
The idea of training the body to develop leadership capacity may seem a bit unusual. I thought so too, at first. The world had rewarded me for my sharp thinking skills with a degree from Stanford University and a respectable career running the business education program at software giant Intuit. Taking such a non-standard approach to leadership development seemed risky, to say the least. So how did I get there?
When I was a kid, my father had a business card that said “World Saver.” I wanted one just like it when I grew up. Instead I spent most of my early career wanting to make a difference but frustrated by how hard it was to do business in a better way. I tried just about every form of support out there, from career assessments to workshops to coaches. I studied and worked with the luminaries and leaders in the sustainability movement long before sustainability became fashionable. I searched for years for my way to “save” (or at least serve) the world, all the while trying earnestly but unsuccessfully to think my way into more satisfaction, fulfillment, and effectiveness.
Then I came across an approach that was far more useful in helping me realize my goals than anything else I had tried. It gave me the fuel to take risks on behalf of what I care about and to persevere in the face of obstacles. I learned new skills for working with myself and others, and I discovered a way to marry my history as an internationally competitive athlete, yoga enthusiast, and mountaineering guide with the life of my mind. I loved it so much that I became a Master Somatic Coach so I could share what I had learned with others.
Now, I work with people in seminars and in private consultation to help them embody a more compelling presence, align their actions with their deeply felt cares, handle high-pressure situations with more equanimity, and develop more satisfying and effective relationships with others. I get to help people tap the best in themselves so they can make a bigger difference in the world – so they, too, can become the World Savers they long to be. I can’t think of a more richly rewarding way to spend my time.
There is a beautiful fable about the creation of the world that dates back to the 16th century. The story begins as a powerful divine light is poured into sacred vessels. But the vessels aren’t strong enough to hold the light, and suddenly, they shatter. Sparks of light scatter throughout the universe and alight in every living being. It is now our privilege and our responsibility to ignite those sparks of light in ourselves and in others, so that we might heal the shattered fragments of our world.
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Fun Stuff I’ve Done: visited gorillas in the Rwandan rainforest; spent the night in a Spanish castle; kayaked in Ailik Bay, Alaska; edited a book on improvising your way through business and life; witnessed lions mating in the wild; agreed to be buried under 4 feet of snow during avalanche safety training (OK, that wasn’t that fun); befriended local Turks across the language barrier and nearly set their neighborhood on fire while trying to locate some distant relatives who didn’t know of my existence
Stuff I Love: hot chocolate (or chocolate at any temperature, really), telemark skiing, backpacking, mountains, sculpture and textile arts, reading, deep and enduring friendships, dancing, philosophical conversation, singing and playing guitar
Still Yet To Do: design and build a cabin by a stream in the woods, travel to Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Antarctica, Thailand, Vietnam, and all of South America
Worst Job Ever: handing out coupons at a department store (that day marked the beginning and the end of my career in “sales”)
Favorite Accomplishments: becoming certified as a Master Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute and joining their teaching and consulting team, competing internationally on the US Synchronized Swimming team, cooking up an exotic New Year’s feast with my closest friends every year for the last 20+ years
Favorite Aspirations: publishing Your Body Is Your Brain, a book on the science that underlies somatic leadership development
Favorite Teachers: they always ask the rock stars “who are your influences?” These are mine.
Proudest Moment: listening to my nephew read me a bedtime story
My Guiding Philosophy: science + mysticism
My Motto: what would love do?