Interviewing amazing women about their experiences is more than just inspiring. Actually, I read somewhere, I can’t recall where, that inspiration is rather temporary and unless we take action right after being inspired it is a fleeing and ineffective way to create change.
My purpose with this blog is not just to inspire, but also to give concrete ideas, tips, and lessons on how to make changes in our lives so that we can be stronger during turbulent times and be there for our friends in their times of need.
I met Amy at a fashion show. My fashion show. Her husband Woody and her team were there beautifying all the models. Shows are very fast-paced; tons of models, little time. Amy was fast, on-the-ball, organized. I met her as we discussed the lipstick color of the model who would be wearing my artistic garment for DCOTA (The Design Center of the Americas), and Woody and I began talking and quickly connected. His sincerity was almost tangible as he shared with me about his wife’s story and described how amazing she is and what she had gone through. Remember, Amy was a model and that is how they met. Without hesitation, I asked Woody if he could formally introduce me to Amy and if I could interview her, so he took me to her at the end of the show and she agreed to be interviewed.
A few weeks later, we met at their salon in Palm Beach, where Amy ‘runs the show.’
Amy told me her story and was smiling and upbeat. Towards the end I saw deep emotion, as though she was reliving it right then and there. But throughout the entire interview, I felt a true sense of appreciation for all the gifts in her life. A ‘no-complaint’ attitude. Amy is strong, and she emanated that strength. I learned many things from Amy, but the following are the top three I want to share with you.
Lessons I Learned from Amy:
- Keeping things in perspective.
Visualizing people in worse situations and focusing on the positives of your own can give you continued strength to fight. Amy knew that she had hit rock bottom, but instead of focusing on that, she chose to focus on the fact that from there it could only get better, and that brought her comfort and hope. When you focus on the getting better, it gets better. Amy also chose to focus on the fact that she had so much to live for. Her children needed her and so did her husband, and internalizing this gave her the energy to fight for her recovery.
- Not fighting alone is liking having an army fighting with you.
The worst days were the ones where she was alone. Those were the times she cried, felt bad for herself, and buried herself in self-pity. But Amy had a great support system, and the presence of the loved ones who surrounded her gave her strength. She chose to not break down in front of her young daughters who needed her, and so the mere fact she had to control it by force created the strength.
Sometimes it’s hard to take time from our routines to be supportive of our friends, but finding the time to just be present, make company, and help with the mundane like car pools and food for the family could be the exact things that helps the one struggling to go from complete depression and devastation to a position of strength and ability to fight. We must remember that and be present for our loved ones.
- We are often tested in the exact things we believe define us, just to show us that we are much more than what we thought we were.
Amy was a model. She wore stilettoes everywhere, and her outer beauty was something of great importance. But Amy discovered that her outer beauty was only a small part of who she really is. Amy’s strength and inner beauty are a shining light that inspires all those who surround her, and she is raising her daughters to be kind to those with disabilities because they lived with it from an early age. The sneakers she must wear with the braces that hold her feet are a constant reminder to her and to all those who she meets that there is so much more to her and to life in general. Giving up on things that were once so important to her was not easy and is still not easy. But no one promised life would be easy. She knows now the power that she possesses as a mother, a woman, an entrepreneur, and a friend.
As a fashion designer, I would choose Amy to walk my line down the cat-walk any day with her braces and sneakers over any high heels. I actually asked Amy to give me the honor, and I hope she says yes at the next opportunity. Amy embodies Kintsugi. Her gold-filled cracks are valuable, empowering, and shine brighter than anything else.
Amy Michleb owns a salon in Palm Beach with her husband Woody.
Woody Michleb Beauty Salon 400 Hibiscus Avenue Palm Beach 33480
Together, they have developed a line of luxury hair care products called Style the Runway, available at their salon, many shops and boutiques, and Saks Fifth Avenue. They are the hair designers for major fashion shows internationally. You can find photos and videos of their work onInstagram @woodyandamy and @styletherunway