Nov. 17, 2021

Finding Your Personal Power with Amber Hurdle

Finding Your Personal Power with Amber Hurdle

Join us for our 1st live guest interview , Amber “the Velvet Machete” Hurdle to dive into finding your personal power and how being outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens. From her days with Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Attractions to her award-winning talent optimization firm, we uncover the strategies and moments that gave Amber the voice to be a powerhouse businesswoman and helped her to create the Velvet Machete Brand Strategy. 

This engaging chat is a sneak peek into her upcoming Key-Note presentation at the VRMIntel Women’s Summit in New Orleans December 1 & 2. www.VacationRentalWomen.com 

To find out more about Amber Hurdle, check out:
VelvetMacheteLeadership.com
AmberHurdle.com

CONTACT ALEX & ANNIE
AlexandAnniePodcast.com
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Alex Husner - Linkedin
Annie Holcombe - Linkedin

Podcast Sponsored by Condo-World and Lexicon Travel

Transcript
Unknown:

Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. With more than 35 years combined industry experience. Alex user and any Holcomb have teamed up to connect the dots between inspiration and opportunity. Seeking to find the one story idea, strategy or decision that led to their guests big aha moment. Join them as they highlight the real stories behind the people and brands that have built vacation rentals into the $100 billion industry. It is today. And now it's time to get real and have some fun with your hosts, Alex and Annie

Alex:

Welcome to episode two of Alex and Annie. I'm Alex. And I'm Amy. And we are so excited to have a very special celebrity guest with us today. Amber hurdle who also happens to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming vacation on a Women's Summit. Welcome to the podcast Amber.

Unknown:

Thanks for having me, ladies. I'm super pumped to be here.

Alex:

So Amber is a renowned business coach, a professional speaker, author and podcast host. And in the short amount of time that Amy and I have gotten to know her she has also become our podcast heroes slash spirit woman. We'll probably get into the details on that later. But we've had a hurdle of a time. Amber is the CEO of amber hurdle consulting, which is a talent optimization firm that uses science and marketing principles. To strengthen brands from the inside out. She's worked with international celebrities, executives and fortune 100 companies connecting people strategies to business strategies. Amber's hospitality background goes back to her work with the Gaylord hotel in Nashville, where she created an internal public relations strategy to keep the spirits of the 3000 hotel employees high during the unprecedented National Flood. After leading the internal rebrand when Marriott acquired the iconic hotel and its attractions, Amber continued to run through enthusiasm for internal relations by launching her own consulting firm working with brands such as FedEx Ground Lowe's, hotels and stellan.as, a professional speaker predictive index Certified Partner, talent optimization certified consultant, author and host of the velvet machete podcast. Amber is most known for connecting personal employer and business brands via her proprietary velvet machete brand strategy.

Annie:

So your

Alex:

bio,

Annie:

Yeah, completely. And I we read over this so many times. And it's just there's so much that our whole podcast can be devoted to just your bio. It's really It's amazing. And it's impressive. And the one thing that keeps coming up with me is I just love the name velvet machete. And I've joked about it, it just made me think something very southern warms hard with cider, Kung Fu, which is your human you get in there and you mean business?

Unknown:

That's right. That's right. And I love how you interpreted that that's just perfect. Oh, perfect. And that's what I do. I mean, that's, that is just, we have such limited attention spans. First of all, we have a lot of competing priorities anymore. And and most people want to be liked. And so they will not give negative feedback to somebody. Or even constructive feedback, maybe sending the negative is just constructive feedback, because they don't want that person to think that they don't like them, or they don't want to get that negative energy back or whatever that looks like. But I'm I just tell my clients, I'm the person who's going to tell you that you have spinach in your teeth, not because I want to make you feel bad, but because of nobody else is going to tell you that and then you're going out into the world with spinach in your teeth. How's that gonna work out for you, like I care deeply about you. So we're gonna get the spinach out, and then we're going to make sure that everything else is rockin and that you elevate beyond you know where you are right now.

Annie:

Well, I appreciate that, because I've walked around with spinach in my mouth many times. So I do I do appreciate that. And I think one of the reasons that we were so excited to have you on the podcast is not only will you be a keynote speaker at the VR and Intel Women's Conference in New Orleans, December first and second, but you're someone that I think Alex and I both have looked to as as a sage of advice you've just been you tell it like it is but you tell it again, with that velvet side but you come in with that hard machete to just cut through all of it and, and give people the feedback that they need to be a better person. And so we were just excited to have you on here to talk about kind of what your you know what what was your aha moment that created all of this for you because it is a brand. It is who you are. It is what people look to you for it is again that velvet machete?

Unknown:

Yeah. Well,

Annie:

so

Unknown:

in terms of like how I created my company and how it's evolved. I had to think about when I left Gaylord hotels, which is one of the most magical places you could possibly work or at least during that season it was and I mean you Just in the past week and a half, I have had dinner or cocktails or something with Gaylord alums like that we're still that close. And, and so I thought, you know, there's really no other place that I can go and Nashville that will be this. So I guess I have to create it for myself. And so then I thought of all the things that I do, because it's always been communication and engagement, a lot of internal PR, a lot of branding, internal relations. So I've always done, like, you know, in the country music industry, I did, like fan relations, it could be member relations, that could be alumni relations, employee relations, like the internal public that are already bought in how do we magnify that so that it actually impacts the general public and the in the greater brand? So I'm thinking like, okay, of all the things that I do, I don't want to go back to event planning, because I did have a celebrity event planning company before. And not that I won't do events. But what's the focus, and I thought, you know, really working with senior leadership, so university president, Dean of the B School, Senior Vice President of the region of in hotels, and then also I would work with the management level, like director level and above, on, how am I showing up? How am I influencing my team? How am I engaging my team? Am I communicating an effective way is my personal brand on game and are my actions and responses helping us move the needle, like really significantly move the needle. And those were the moments that I felt were most valuable. So I, I went to coaching school, and I, the senior leaders knew, like my Senior Vice President knew that I gave like the longest note notice in corporate history, I think I gave a seven month notice. And I ended up staying eight months. And then they hired me as a consultant after that. So I was there for forever, but and in that time, I was working towards my ICF certification. So international coaching Federation. And in at my core, like I can do speaking, I can do training, I can do consulting, all of that stuff, I could put together plans I could do, I'm very involved with strategic planning a lot of the time. But in my core, I'm a coach. And so there's a difference. There's a lot of people, and I'm on a tangent, give me just one more second. There's a lot of people out there who call themselves coaches, and I'm like, That's not coaching. That's not coaching. Coaching requires actually asking provocative questions of the person that you're coaching, and helping them discover their own truth. Because nobody can tell you, nobody's coming to save you. Nobody can tell you what it is that you want for your own life, I can give you advice. And like with y'all, I'm like, Oh, if you do it this way, then though, obviously, I need to give of myself in my in my experience, but at the end of the day, if I tell you do it this way, and you in your soul want to do it that way, guess what, it's not going to work. So at the core coaching is what I do.

Alex:

That's awesome. I mean, we're so excited to see you in person and hear from you at the Women's Conference. And I think, you know, so much of what you're going to bring there is what needs to be heard within our industry. And I know, Amber, you're you're friends with Amy high note, and you've done some work with the women's conference last year that was done online, but you know, we're glad to have you there in person, I think is going to be great. And I just I think there's a lot of opportunity, I think as an industry, we're we're still kind of fragmented. And still, a lot of companies are not at that point where they have put as much of a human resource emphasis on what there should be, because of how the industry really has been brought up. You know, I mean, in a lot of ways, a lot of these companies do come from a mom and pop background that, you know, having leadership coaching and business coaching and stuff like that. It's just that just wasn't in the DNA. But as things have changed, you know, in with media and social media and all the resources we all have, we're constantly in front of things that are, you know, showing us better ways to do things and how do we improve and I know that's one way that Annie and I are part of why her and I get along so well and why we have so much in common is that we are like a we look at each other as like sponges, like I want to learn everything I want to know everything I want to learn about my personality, who I am, what type I am and all those different things because I feel like it just helps me figure out how I can best show up as my best self at work and with the people that rely on me and that you know I care about but I just I guess my question for you would be in relation to the conference that's coming up. What what is the thing that you're looking forward to the most and what do you think you can bring the most to our industry with this event?

Unknown:

Okay. First of all, I'm so super pumped about this event. I've been looking forward to it. And you mentioned that Amy Hi note and I are friends but we became friends. Through this experience, like I've become friends with all my clients, because that's just a lever, and that's what happens. But she and I met last year, or I guess it was before last year, I don't remember it was a while ago anyways. And through working through our shared passion of women in business and empowering women, just we, we connected. And I mean, when we get on the phone, it's hours, like hours, I love this woman, she's so powerful. And that is really what I think I can bring to the table for this group. In a talk about confidence, my, my book, which everybody at this event will get a copy of my book, it's the bombshell business woman how to become a bold, brave female entrepreneur. But if you're not the business owner, you'll still get tons, like, it's still applicable to you. I just wrote it in a voice for business owner. And, and so I talk about confidence, and I say, self branding, but I deliver confidence. But it's actually like, even a little bit deeper than that. And I think that where the women in this audience are, they really need what I'm going to present to them. And that is the concept of personal power, you can be confident in this area, you can be confident in that area, you can be confident today, but not tomorrow. Confidence, in my opinion, is is critical, but also fleeting. When you're grounded, like a mighty oak in your personal power, because you understand who you are, because you understand your value, because you have no qualms telling people what your value is because you have boundaries because you don't let Gertrude talking your ear all the time and believe her BS, that is personal power. So now what happens when somebody comes at me, and they tell me Oh, you're not good enough, or you're too much or whatever? I'm like, you know, Jay Z, get that dirt off my shoulder? Because I'm standing in my power, different than confidence.

Alex:

Right? Right. Absolutely. And I think at the end of the day, you know, everybody has, whether you're a man or woman, like you have to be your own height person, you know, your hike your own hike, woman, whatever it is, because, and that's, that's a challenging concept, because it's like, you know, right now we all look to social media and outward, you know, appreciation of the things that we're doing. And at the end of the day, you really, you have to build that inner core of having your your own back, really, you know, and, and I think a lot of that comes from, or ties to a lot of the work that you do, and I've listened to several of your podcast episodes and read a little bit of the book so far, but personal branding, and you know what that means and finding our own voice? Can you talk a little bit about what personal branding means to you? And I would say with the lens of, from somebody who thinks that personal branding might be too much for them, or that it may come across as self promoting. How do you describe personal branding?

Unknown:

Yeah, and we're going to completely unpack this, I'm going to give like the abbreviated version today. Stay tuned for that for the conference for the full for the full Monty and also the full monty of how do I develop my own personal power? Personal Branding? Like I think a lot of people think of personal branding, they're like, oh, I have something to promote. So I have to have a personal brand to promote it. That's not it. People think, oh, an Instagram model or an influencer needs a personal brand item. That's not it. A purse, someone who's focused on their personal brand is a self promoter, their self, you know, focus, whatever. That's not it either. I love Jeff Bezos, I'm not going to use the definition that I'll use at the conference. I'm going to use Jeff Bezos personal branding definition. And he simply said years ago personal brand, your personal brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. So if I'm a leader in an organization, I'm not the owner, I'm not the I'm not in sales. I'm not the person out in the community or in the industry as the face of the brand. Why do I need a personal brand? Because what are your employees saying about you? When you're not in the room? What is your employer saying about you when you're not in the room? What are your vendors saying about you and you're not in the room? What are your customers saying about you and you're not in the room? If how you perceive yourself and how you identify yourself is different than how people are receiving you there is a gap and that is a problem. Okay? So what we want is for you to have a brand where whatever people are saying about you is true to who you are. And so we get confused in this sometimes because we're like Oh, I'm just a private person. Okay, fine, be a private person. But when we're talking about a professional personal brand because you can have one if you're a stay at home mom or stay at home dad when we're talking about a professional personal brand is what value do I bring to somebody else so you have to own your own value first. You can't otherwise you're just like you know codependent and a martyr and then that won't work and so it's coming from a well that is that will empty eventually. But if you're very granted on this is what I offer to the world. This is the gift of me to the world. and then how that manifests in service to somebody else. Once we make that connection of in service to somebody else, that's when we start to feel purposeful, like what what we do and who we are has meaning because now we're attaching energetically to another human being. And when we do that professionally, and we have the ability to actually earn a living, and also solve problems for other people in exchange for money, which is my definition of business. Now, now we're like spending the majority of our life, or the majority of our waking hours, we spend more time at work with our work family than we do our own family. And we're doing it in a way that's edifying to us and edifying to others. That's how you get through the grind. That's how you get through COVID. That's how you get through a tough day. And that's also how when you're in your Wellspring, and you're winning, that's what makes it even sweeter.

Annie:

So what would you say, um, I think COVID. For me, personally, COVID was a, it was an aha moment for me on a personal bate, like professional personal. I, I felt, in order for me to save myself, save my sanity save my soul in the business, I had to get out there. And I had to find a voice. And I forced myself to kind of get out in front of people and have conversations and where I might never have commented or shared my experience about things and what my opinions were based on my experience, I did it and it was very uncomfortable. But it was probably the most rewarding thing I did. So we're in a really weird age now where so many people are working from home and maybe not interacting with people as often as they would before COVID. And that might be the new normal for a lot of a lot of companies. So what would you say to somebody who is, you know, maybe a few years out of college? Who's looking to find that voice and that build their brand? And what are the things that you think are important for someone to focus on? Whether it be male or female just in general?

Unknown:

Yeah. Well, so part of your brand is your story. So I encourage people to follow your breadcrumbs. Go back, you know, how were you recognized as a kid in your family? Were you the peacemaker? Were you the Bossy one? Like, what? What was that? What was it in elementary school? How did your peers perceive you? What were you in Junior High in your little cliques in high school and college, your first job? What are the commonalities throughout all those things where other people found value in you? And so if, if you're new to the game, new to your profession, think about those things? Because they're like, Oh, well, I haven't had that many jobs, or I just had an internship, well, that's fine. Who you are, is who you are, doesn't have to be in a work environment. So now that you understand what what is that common thread of, you know, I really connect to people or people look to me to keep things organized, or whatever that is, then you start looking for ways to show that in your career, start highlighting it. So personal branding isn't going to meeting and be like, Hi, my name is Amber. And here's here's my elevator pitch, not how it goes, is more like I show up. And I know that I'm, you know, there's, I can do a lot of things, but it's just kind of go back when I still working for somebody else. I communicate and I gauge, that's what I do. So I would show up at meetings, and I would make sure that everybody was heard, I would make sure that key stakeholders had had some way to express themselves, even if they're the more quiet people, I might prep them before. Like, if there's somebody who is more introspective, they need time to think through their ideas, they're not going to audibly talk out their ideas with another human being. The day before the meeting, I would call and be like, Hey, I just want to give you a heads up tomorrow, in XYZ meeting, we're going to be talking about this, and your department is so critical to the success. So I just want to run down a few things with you, so that you're prepared to offer your opinion because it's critical. Is that Is that okay? Do you have time for that? Yes. Okay, great. All right, I'm gonna also send you an email with some more follow up so that you have time to like review it, when you actually have time to sit in it and breathe. Because I was able to do things like that. And then I magically was able to get people to participate at a higher level than if I was not in the meeting, I turned in the meeting, girl, everybody wanted me and every single meeting that was part of my brand, see what I mean? Like I didn't show up and be like, Hey guys, I can a run an efficient meeting, be I can make sure everybody has a voice see, I can make sure that everybody's gonna get the things done that we committed to in this room because I'm going to hold them accountable in between. I didn't say any of that I just did. Consistently

Alex:

that's that's such a incredible point. And I know of being the person on the other end of that, who's had somebody that you know, back when I either wasn't as comfortable speaking in meetings, or if I'm going to a meeting still that, you know, I am the underdog there and I don't know everybody quite as well. Like I've have a couple people in my mind that do that for me that they'll call me and be like just what you said that there's something important I want to make sure you get to say that and it does when you have that time to prepare and it just it helps you be on point for when that moment comes up the next day. And honestly, that's I think that's why you are such a true mentor as well as a leader to people in your life, I can only imagine because that that's a groundbreaking kind of thing to have that confidence when somebody gets you ready for that, because I know in my own personal journey, I now am very comfortable speaking in meetings, and I didn't used to be like that. And it comes from somebody, you know, believing in you and somebody giving you that hope that okay, your voice is important. Your light is important what you bring to the table. You know, if you haven't, if you have a seat at the table, you need to be using it and read all the way up there. There's a reason that you're there. So you're, if you're there, and you're not speaking, really, you're actually doing an injustice to whatever organization or reason that you are there because you're there to contribute. So but that's a hard thing. For a lot of people it doesn't take sometimes it takes somebody giving them that little boost to get them to that point of comfortable.

Unknown:

Yeah, and I was never an executive, I was constantly with the executives because I supported them. And, you know, I was basically P internal PR for the we'll just talk about Opryland for a 2881 room resort plus the convention center plus all of our attractions like the Wildhorse Saloon and the journal, Jackson showboat and the Gaylord springs, Golf Links. I mean, we had all these other things that were going on. And so I was very like lockstep with most of the senior leadership and helping them you know, from a from a PR perspective, and the voice of the voice of the company and the voice back up of the employees and bubbling that back up. And so there were times where other people who also might not have been senior leaders would be in a meeting that I was in, in the executive boardroom. And I would have to pull them aside afterwards and be like you were invited to the table. Pull all the way that up, like to that table. Yeah, use your voice. You were asked to be here. Why were you quiet mouse? Let's let's talk about like, what are your top points gonna be ruin that room? Do you need to have decisions from Who do you need to influence in that room? Who do you need to influence before you get in that room, so that you have somebody who's appeared to them backing you up so that other people are, you're borrowing their authority by doing that. And I want to point out to pull it full circle back to Annie talking about the transformation she had through COVID. I mean, my aha moment was like, Oh, I'm a coach, that I'm a coach. And I love branding, like, that's who I am. So let's do that for a living. You had an aha moment last year of like to survive, I'm going to need to step up and really start engaging in a different way. Because it's different than being in a room where I'm comfortable. Maybe I'm comfortable at a conference. And there's like two or three people totally comfortable there. But this whole I get online and make a comment on something for everybody to see crazy. But the the webinar series that Amy and I designed last year, had to do with Thought Leadership. And like stepping into it as a female in this industry who desperately needs your voice, and an Annie, you leaned way into that. And so I was watching you doing that, and you connect with me on LinkedIn multiple times. And, and I knew who you were, simply because you put yourself out there. And I just thought like, this woman is so kind, she's savvy, she's well connected. She obviously knows her stuff, like all the things that I absolutely respect another professional. So I was delighted to get to know you. And then you're like, hey, guess what we're doing this podcast, and I was just so thrilled that you were leaning that far in. And then Alex came into my orbit. And so I didn't really know her. I knew Annie and so I'm like, I'm looking at it. Just Alex picture. I'm like, Oh, she sassy like me, like, people will get along. Okay. And then you know, and then I would, you know, see more things I'm like, and she's She obviously likes fashion. So do I so we could be friends. And you know, just observing who you two are online. What I say is when you have a strong personal brand, you attract the right people and opportunities to you. So Annie, your whole presence is light. I mean, it is complete light. Everyone is attracted to that. And then Alex and I get to know you and the same thing. Like I'm drawn to both of you. So yeah, like, I absolutely want to see you guys be successful in your thought leadership and in your podcast, because your personal brands are something that vibe with me. And the thing to remember is, if it doesn't, it's not for you. So moving, like don't get butthurt Okay, that's just not for you.

Alex:

And I think I mean, LinkedIn has been for me personally, and I know for me, too, has become such an incredible way of connecting with people in a better way that you know, social media has a lot of negative connotations. I spend the majority of my social media time on LinkedIn because one, I mean, it's really easy to connect with people that you don't necessarily know and in different industries, but you're connecting to the dots between different you know, strategies and things that are interesting, but then Our industry vacation rentals short term rentals is such a small close knit group. Gosh, you know, it's like I felt like we just got back from vacation rental managers International Conference in San Antonio a few weeks ago. And I remember a few years ago when I would go to that, and I would know, the vendors that we work with, and a couple other people. But that was pretty much it. And I feel like when I went to this one, and Annie to I mean, we just we knew everybody, and it's that, honestly, that's not, nobody's been going to the conferences last year and a half. So most of that is just through LinkedIn, and being present and being part of conversations. And, you know, I think when it comes down to people being apprehensive or nervous about speaking in a meeting, it's the same thing on LinkedIn, that there's a lot of people that I know that they'll message me privately, and they don't feel comfortable posting something, or sharing something, because of how they're going to be perceived. But it's like, you know, you've got it, once you you have to kind of just bridge that gap and just start doing it because the more you start doing it putting yourself out there, the more comfortable you become. And then it leads it leads to great conversations. And Annie I think that's part of you know, you and I connected at a at a conference a few years ago, but we have built our relationship beyond working together on some projects. Also through seeing what each other posts on LinkedIn and what we talk about and what we're passionate about. And I think the way that you carry yourself you know on that channel and just in life in general, you're very inquisitive like you you ask a lot of great questions and you don't you don't tell somebody their their answer if they write back something that you don't agree with you you don't chastise them you know, I mean and that's that comes you know, full circle to being that good mentor for other people in the industry and somebody that you look up to is you know, you are a positive force there's a lot of things that we have to talk about that in the industry and and others that aren't necessarily always going to be positive but they are hot button topics that need to be debated and it all comes down to Yeah, but how do you bring them up in a in a way that's not offensive to anybody and you don't make anybody feel ostracized for sharing their thoughts on it. And Anna you do that wonderfully? That's like blood sugar over here this week love Edie.

Annie:

On it, but I think it's it's kind of a part of what we wanted these conversations for our podcast to be was not only like, what, what, what made Amber be amber, like, what brought you to this moment, but the importance of mentorship and one of the things that Alex and I have uncovered is, and mutual friends in the industry. And we were looking at some things about like our compatibility. And so we did this, it's anagram and demonstrate right. anagram. And so like, we're looking at what what she is and what I am and how our are places within that, you know, within that circle are so complimentary to each other and that we are like deemed this power couple and we could take over the world. But one of the one of the things that we we talk about a lot is is the need for mentorship and that having mentors, both younger and older, is really, really important to put your professional but also your personal life. And I think just not having everybody be exactly your agent, exactly you were placed. At that moment. You need people on both sides of the conversation. So for you, you know, obviously you've had some great mentors along the way, you know, who would who stands out for you, and you may have multiple I know, I have several throughout my career.

Unknown:

So many, there's three who really just immediately come to mind. Well, I'll say I'll say four, but three that are, you know, really close to me. The first one and I wrote about her in my book is Peggy keel who owns sports Village, here where I live is an upscale very large fitness center. And I worked for her for like seven years. And she was the first person I think I was like 21 years old when she gave me the DISC assessment. And she was the first person and I might even get teary eyed just every time I talked about Peggy I swear. She was the first person to introduce me to self awareness. That's what I do for a living now like everything that she opened the door for and the things that she taught me about business like her her husband, who's no longer with us was my like business mentor taught me everything to know about business sales, connecting with people, all that sort of stuff. Peggy taught me to figure out myself and she's a super powerful woman Enneagram 887. So very similar personalities, and even like this week, I mean, I could just, you know, read you the text messages where you know, she's telling me that she loves me and I just, you know, that is such a special and important relationship to me because it's not she because she cares about me as a whole person and gives me advice about business. The other person that really comes to mind is Pete wion, who was the senior vice president for Gaylord Opryland and attractions then also the National in DC and He actually wrote the foreword to my book. That's that's his level of mentorship now is different. Yeah. I mean, I know we went to lunch, I call him feedings my meetings with Pete. Like, that's when I worked for him. And then we just kept calling it that we try to have coffee every quarter. So, but we went to lunch. And I was like, and I know this is weird, because my book is all about women. But I really want you to write the foreword to it. And he did. And it was brilliant. It was so meaningful to me, because he's the one who pushed me so far past my comfort zone, like, the way I describe it is he would push me over the edge of the cliff, and I would go full bore and then he would grab my hand and be like, you silly girl. What did you all the way off that cliff and helped me back up because he knew like, okay, that's her limit. And because that type of mentorship, like a lot of people didn't like that. There's there's some people were like, he's too hard. And I was like, frothing at the mouth, like push me harder, because that's my personality. He knew he could do it. So now I'm like, there's there's like, nothing I can't do because Pete's already pushed me past any limiting beliefs. I thought I could have WP bone here and it wasn't any hands, so many things, but multiple car lots and he's just beloved in our community. He really helped me coming up as well. And then the last person I can think of, is Sally Hogshead. She created the How to fascinate system, which I keep forgetting I need to send y'all that link do not when we when we end this podcast, I'm sending you two different links, because I also want to do some personality like connections with y'all

Alex:

that in the show notes too. So

Unknown:

that's all Yeah, yeah. And I'm I mean, you know, little side plug, I'm booking right now for doing how to fascinate sessions like workshops for for key one, and I'm like doing a pretty good deal for it. So anyways, um, she she created a personal branding assessment. It's not how does how do you psychologically see the world like Enneagram or Myers Briggs? It's how does the world see you at your best at your most influential, and as I've come up as a speaker, and I've had opportunities that I wasn't really sure how to do it or whatever, like, Sally just gets in there and tells me what to do. And you know, she is a House Speaker Hall of Famer. So I know and I want to be careful. And I've been told this by other people, like, be careful about who you talk about and what your life is like and your successes, because you live in a different world and have access to different people. You don't have to have a speaker Hall of Famer, as your mentor, like you can have a director in your company, you can have, you know, somebody that you go to church with, if that person sees you, like sees who you are, and wants to help grow that and solidify that and ground that in your personal power, that's a good mentor for you.

Alex:

That's a great way to look at it. And I love that you had a mix of both female and male mentors growing up, I think that is awesome. And, you know, Annie and I, in the first episode, we talked about most of our mentors were were men. And you know, I've had varying degrees of, you know, friends, slash mentors that have been women, but none that have been as close to me, I guess, or have have really kind of guided me in a longer time period. That were female. But that's, that's, I think it's great that you can show that and that's one thing that we want to be pushing more of in our industry that you know, it's you can look on both sides of it. But we do want to have more support from from women helping other women in this journey,

Unknown:

because we can be each other's worst enemies and worst nightmares. And there is this energy with some women have, I really had to grind and fight my way here. I'm not pulling you along and making it easy on you, or you might take something of mine. And that is such a scarcity mentality. Yeah. And one thing that I am just diehard about is if I elevate, I'm reaching down and I'm pulling everybody up with me like the end, and that if we look at it that way, y'all the pie is giant and limitless and feminine energy when we're talking about feminine feminine and masculine energy. We're not talking about man or woman we're talking about the energy inside all of us, we all have both the feminine energy is this limitless creative potential. It is the compass to where we're going, it's planning for what is next, the masculine energy is that screw it, just do it. It is it is the machete that's hacking through the forest to get there. But if you don't have both of those energies combined, and you just go out with all that masculine energy and you're just hacking through a forest, you're hacking up the entire forest and you don't even know if you're getting to your destination or not. Right if all you're doing is planning and being creative, but you're not actually doing or acting. You're never going to get there either. So we really need to have that young in that young and that feminine and the masculine energy, whether that is in women like I mean I tend a very feminine obviously like I never met you I didn't like give me champagne. I'm a happy girl, but obviously I like makeup, but I have a lot of masculine energy in me. So we have to balance it within ourselves, and we also have to balance it and who influences us. But ladies, you have naturally more likelihood of having this beautiful feminine energy. And so share that with each other. And don't feel like you have to step into this masculine energy more. So if that's not who you are, so own who you are, but then also recognize it and other people. And you know, we're all just trying to do the best we can. And I don't know, Alex, you know, I kind of, I do, I think, make friends easily with women, because I am so supportive of women. But I also know I turned them off for a variety of reasons, mainly because I'm confident. And so there are certain women and men too, but I see it more with women, because we are conditioned to be less secure. Because I am confident, it's, it reminds them because they're, it's you know, relationships are mirrors. So every time we're around somebody, we're holding up a mirror to them. And if they see my light and my confidence, and I'm holding up a mirror, what they see is their lack of confidence. They're like, who I don't like how I feel when I'm around Amber, I'm going to go. So Annie, I'm just challenging you. Like when you're, you know, expressing your ideas, and you're very confident and in how you interact with people. You might get that, but there's nothing wrong with you. That is their experience. They've got to keep it same with you, Alex.

Alex:

Yeah, no, no, that's such a good point. And, and we talked about this the other day, and I'll share a little bit of a side story here. So this is the third time that we've tried recording this episode, your time's a charm. Gosh, Amber's just such a rockstar to both of us. It has been the most comforting velvet machete we one of the stories we've told and the different iterations of this. Now, Amy and I met and we met at a conference that I went to that she knew a good amount is a small conference. It was she knew a good amount of people. I only knew I didn't know anybody. I didn't know anybody there. I knew of her. But I felt walking in there. Maybe I looked confident, but gosh, inside I was like, you know, I've got I really have to be being strong walking in that door. Because I know this is tough. Like it's it's hard walking everywhere. You don't know anybody and you don't know what they're gonna think about you or your business or what you know what your intentions of being there. And it's, you know, it's like going back to middle school or high school.

Annie:

What lunch table do I sit at? Exactly? Yeah,

Alex:

you might look confident, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you always feel that way. But when I met Annie, she was the first person that was just so genuinely kind and nice to me. And I thought, okay, I at least I've got one friend here. And I ended up making, you know, new everybody in the room by the end of the conference, and a lot of them have become very, very close friends of mine. But everybody has that uneasiness in certain situations, and that's okay. But finding people like a nanny in a room was just a game changer for me.

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. Well imagine I mean, I get up on stage, and I am instantly evaluated, like, instantly, oh, yeah, Judge, I'm interested in her I'm not I like her outfit. I don't

Alex:

know what it is, or to that, or whatever it is.

Unknown:

And so mentally, I just when I take the stage, one of the last things I tell myself, before I take the stages, there is one human being in this room who needs your message. And that's all that's all you have to care about. You just connect with that one person, their life will change. They will do something with this that will make their life better. And the 999 other people if they don't you have to be at peace with that, because you didn't come here for the for the 1000. You came here for the one, right?

Annie:

That's I imagine, as a speaker, that's probably a daunting thing to think like, you are going to be in front of all of these people, but you are just looking to connect with one and that one could change everything for them. Just your message resonating with them. Mm hmm. Hopefully I'll hit more than one. But if I hit one

Alex:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. on that. On that note, we are amber so excited to have you at the vacation rental Summit, vacation rental Women's Summit. And hopefully we'll see you at many more additional events in the future. As you mentioned to you are we're all getting a copy of your book as part of the registration which is awesome. And I think what you said there's one thing that you're doing where people can bring you something that they want to ask like a one on one session.

Unknown:

So I think I have four slots open on day one and two slots open on day two because I mean, I I went through the conference, I blocked off yalls thing that you're doing and then I have people

Alex:

in my community are gonna need you for that.

Unknown:

I know I'm gonna be making faces at you. But then I also have women who are in my coaching programs and They're presenting I'm I might have, like voluntold, one of them and like really shoved her in that direction. And I want to be in their audiences as well. So, you know, I want to show up in support. But then I'm also offering this laser coaching. So what what it is, is it's 20 minutes. And I mean, it's 20 minutes. That's all the time we have. And and I'll take you through my proprietary process, one problem, just one problem. So we can't boil the ocean, I only have 20 minutes. So What one thing do you want to walk out of this room with clarity on your next steps, and then I will take them through that process. And the signups I'm sure will come out pretty soon. But I mean, they're eight slots. So if you want this, you better get on it. And make sure that you that you register. So Amy will send it out, or VRM until we'll send it out. But the the actual booking will be through my site. Perfect. And I've got a breakout session too. So first we we talked about one particular breakout, but then I think the person who was doing branding isn't able to go and so I'm going to do a breakout session on branding, like not so personal branding will be my keynote and then actual branding. Like it could be a personal brand for your business or but mainly a business brand. Yeah,

Alex:

that's great. That's good.

Annie:

So um, we wanted to kind of wrap things up and wanted to, again, your first guest, and we wanted to have some fun questions to pepper you with. And we did give you a sneak peek as to what those would be. So I'm going to ask you the two questions that I really want to know about you and what inspires you. And then what is your brush with fame that you could share with us?

Unknown:

Okay, so what inspires me is my family, mostly my children, you know, every I say that everything that I have become really stemmed from my reality as a teen mom and having to figure it out having to do things because like, I had this other human to keep alive. And then my son came along. And y'all I mean, I just I spent so much time thinking about, like, my daughter's a six figure entrepreneur now. And my son is in, you know, the business school in college. And I literally spent hours working with them on things, and I joke with them, I'm like, I'm the Chris Kardashian of our family.

Alex:

Mommy must be.

Unknown:

I just love my kids. And like, my greatest accomplishment is like them, like what they're gonna do into the world is my greatest gift in the world. And then I'll do my thing while I'm here as well. And then I have five siblings, and my parents have been married since the Stone age's. And they're really important to me as well. So that's, that's what inspires me is how do we create a life for us where we all get to serve each other in the world? That's, that's definitely there's nothing in business that matters more than my family. That's even though I get really in business sometimes. And they might question what the priority is, and then I have to refocus but, and then my brush with fame. Well, y'all a I grew up in Orange County, California, my dad worked in the entertainment industry, my mom, you know, I mean, like, we've just my mom's a chef, and she used to work for Universal Studios. So lots of celebrity around I had a celebrity event planning company. I worked to Jessica Simpson, Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, and I'm not name dropping to be like, ooh, Amber, blah, blah, blah. I'm name dropping only because like I have, I have these people that I've worked with, but my the one that the one celebrity that I have hanging in my office, after all the ones John Rich, I mean, I could go on. And all the ones that I've worked with, is BB King.

Alex:

Oh, sure. Oh, my gosh, this was on

Unknown:

his tour bus on his 80th birthday, and his 80th Birthday concert. And I'm friends with one company was like the company that builds the buses. And then the other company is the company that actually that handles like the leasing and the tours and all that kind of stuff. So a lot of great concert tickets will say that, BB. First of all, I'm a big jazz and blues fan. I was raised on that my dad's a drummer, and but what I really love about him is he was known rip as the hardest working man in the entertainment industry. That man, even 80 years old, had like 90 shows, you know, I mean, at 80 years old before that he was constantly like he would drive from Memphis to Nashville and just keep going and performing. And we're talking about an African American man, who for the longest time in his career wasn't even allowed to walk through the front door of the venues he played at. So when you think about the struggles that he went through, and that he's still this, I mean, who is ever who is ever going to be more known than BB King and blues ever like in the history of ever. It just isn't going to happen. He's the goat So when I look at him and I look at his grind, and I look at his grit, and I look at his joy, and how he treated me and y'all When he kissed my hand like I am not starstruck, I'm not at all. I couldn't care less that that is I stopped Martina McBride at the CMA Awards after party that I plan to check her ID. I was like, I'm sorry. And I was at the VIP, I had somebody else doing it, but I just happened to be there. And I was helping at the VIP setup. So the next year, I made sure that she had like a back entrance and something special. But anyways, I don't care. So the celebrity, what I care about is what this man did and who he became, despite everything, and he inspires me. So he's right up on the wall where I can see it every single day to remind myself that I want to be like this man. Wow,

Alex:

grad compatible, right answers to both questions. Yeah, no

Annie:

kidding. So I think you had a question that you wanted to ask.

Alex:

Yeah. So what would you say is the most costly mistake that you've ever made?

Unknown:

It's one that I make. Not frequently, but repeatedly. And that is not listening to my inner voice, not listening to my highest self, not trusting my gut. Anytime that the world says Zig, and I don't zag when my heart says zag. I usually waste money. waste time, I'm not happy with the end result. And time is money. Yeah. And you know, when I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I have a lot that I want to do on this planet before I exit. And, and if there is one lesson that I just you know, it's Joyce Meyer says, like, we're going around the mountain again, like, That's me. I'm like, here we are going around this mountain again. My gut instinct, right. And I'm hoping that I think we relax into that the older we get, because we start giving fewer flips about things. And then that's what I would encourage other people to do too, is whatever that inner voices it's, you know, it's like bubbling right here. Usually, you can even like physically feel it when you're having a conversation with something they want you to do this and you're like, anxious about it. That is your inner voice being like, this is a no go. Yeah. Putting on the perhaps to listen to that. Yeah.

Annie:

I think, um, Allison, I got into Mel Robbins recently just talking about her. And she has that principle, the 54325 second rule, yeah. And like that, that was so powerful to me that like your brain has just that limited amount of time to just make that decision. And either you do it or you don't, but you don't sit there

Alex:

and either you do or you don't. Or in case of what Amber saying like you recognize if my brain is putting on the brakes right now it I need to pay attention to that. Right? Not that I'm just Yeah, I don't want to do something because I'm trying to put it off. It's because Hold on, let me let me check myself first and make sure you know, I'm really listening, because that is crucial. But yeah, that's a great answer. Amber,

Unknown:

I love and so I work with full cycle marketing, and Franklin, Tennessee, in the background, and Kyle, the owner, the way that he puts it to me because he knows that about me like he knows I have to be all in or it won't work. He asked Is this a hell? Hell yeah. Or hell no. Mm hmm. And if it's if it's black or white, and I'm very black or white, I wish I could live in the gray Oh, but I just cannot. So it's just not gonna happen. And so when I think of it that way of I'm either all in on this, or I'm all out on it. And those are my choices. That's pretty clear. And I can make choices faster.

Alex:

Yeah, that's perfect.

Annie:

That's a good point. Well, I think I think we've come to an end, we could talk to you all day, for sure. Yeah, we could.

Alex:

It's Sunday, we could just really spend the whole rest of the day hanging out.

Unknown:

I'm gonna go pick up but I have a VIP branding retreat client coming in, I've got to go pick up at the airport, and we'll be working on her personal brand and how she presents herself to the world. And what does that look like? And what are her stories and, you know, how are we? How are we going to make sure that she makes choices in her business that align with that like this so much fun. The next three days, we're doing a photo shoot with my photographer and going to dinner. There'll be bourbon involved.

Alex:

Well enjoy that time with your client. And I know all of us are so excited to see you in New Orleans in a couple of weeks. If anybody has still not booked for the conference, the website is vacation rental. Is it vacation rental women calm?

Unknown:

I think that's right.

Annie:

I think she's around a Women's Summit, isn't it? Or maybe I'm wrong, but we'll put it in the notes. Make sure that we have that link. Yeah, make sure they're

Unknown:

there. I think it's important to I think it's very important for for people to it is vacation rental women calm,

Alex:

okay, because you're a woman. Yep.

Unknown:

So this isn't. This isn't a conference that's just about I mean, you're going to learn all kinds of stuff. And I mean, just first of all 100% Female presenters. Can I just say like, insane as a female presenter, we we often will say, like, it's a manual. It's a man panel. Fine, right. One fee. To put on this panel, I mean, it's just it's crazy. And there are a lot of summits that are all men are this all men and a token female. This is all women like my brain.

Alex:

Not but it's not just all like men are allowed,

Unknown:

for sure. But the presenters are all

Alex:

right. Yeah, the speakers are all women. But I think it is interesting to note that it is open to men and actually we're our Indianized breakout, we've got a new startup OTA got to go that we're gonna have a couple of their guys on stage with us. Yeah, yeah. It's your

Unknown:

the moderators? I guess the moderator. Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So you're gonna have like this fierce female energy, but also, um, you know, you're going to learn all kinds of things you're going to learn about, like, you know, revenue management, and guest experience and all that kind of stuff. But the way that Amy and Rebecca and all the volunteers and everybody has framed this is really to cocoon you post not that we're out of COVID, but posts that the massive intensity of COVID, the vacation rental, did not get a break through any of that there was no staying at home and watching the tiger show that wasn't happening. And you guys are grinding. And fortunately, I was consulting and coaching some in there to grinding with you. And so this is just supposed to be like fun. It's supposed to be we're gonna learn, but we're gonna have fun. And we're going to relax and allow and just take a second to invest in ourselves, and rest for ourselves so that when we tackle 2022, we're doing it full bore. So I know it's not my conference to sell, but I just can't wait. I think it's gonna be amazing.

Alex:

I mean, how great of a thing is it that you're the keynote? And you are that pumped up about it? I mean, I don't think you go on everybody's podcast and say you really get every event that you have. And maybe do I feel a little bit differently. I think you're extremely passionate. And that's going to show in everything that you do with this event and with all of us. So thank you so much for your time today. Amber, how you. If anybody wants to find you, what is the easiest way for them to connect with you?

Unknown:

Yeah, so go to Amber hurdle.com. That's where you'll find everything, including show notes. We're we're toying with the fact of changing it back to bombshell business podcasts, we don't know. So that could happen. So to find my podcast, go to Amber hurdle.com, forward slash podcast with an S, no matter what we call it, it'll be there. And then all of my social media as of this last week is now all the same. So whether you're going to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever is the amber hurdle. And as you all know, very engaged on even if I don't post a lot, I do interact a lot on on on social media.

Annie:

Thank you for doing that. It's been wonderful learning from you.

Alex:

Somehow we learned from the amber hurdle playbook without even knowing yet, but our podcast is essentially the same thing. So you can go to Alex and Annie podcast calm. And that links to all of our social media and contact forms. And all of our social media handles our Alex in any podcast. So we learned to streamline it pretty quickly, because we started saying, oh my gosh, there's so many places you have to be. But we'd love to connect with everybody. And we look forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans. And if we're not going to see in New Orleans, then thank you for listening, and we will continue to be pumping out some great episodes with amazing guests. Amber, you have set the bar extremely high for future interview guests. So we just we appreciate you so much. And thank you for not only being on the show, but for becoming a friend of ours and being part of this journey with us.

Unknown:

I love it. I'm so proud of you guys. And I'm very privileged and honored to be your very first guest that was very kind of y'all.

Alex:

The nicest most accommodating guest in the world. We appreciate you. Alright, well thank you everybody. Thank you for tuning in and we will talk to you next time. i Bye

Amber Erickson-Hurdle Profile Photo

Amber Erickson-Hurdle

CEO- Amber Hurdle Consulting

Amber Hurdle is the CEO of Amber Hurdle Consulting, a multi-award-winning talent optimization firm that pioneers using both science and marketing principles to strengthen brands from the inside out. She personally understands what it takes to accelerate success as a former teen mom who evolved into a powerhouse business woman, having worked with international celebrities, executives and Fortune 100 companies alike, connecting people strategies to business strategies. Described as a, “talented and creative executive that helped create a compelling internal public relations strategy to keep the spirits of 3000 Gaylord Opryland Hotel employees high after the unprecedented Nashville flood,” Amber quickly developed a far reaching campaign that served as the rallying point to achieve Opryland’s new and urgent business objectives. After leading the internal rebrand when Marriott acquired the iconic hotel and its attractions, Amber continued her enthusiasm for internal relations by launching her own consulting firm, serving large brands such as FedEx Ground, Loews Hotels, and Stella & Dot, as well as small to medium-sized businesses who want to play big. She was recognized in 2019 among the “Top 40 Under 40” by the Nashville Business Journal, as well as by the The Nashville Area Chamber’s Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELA) as the winner in the Business Services category. She holds a b.s. in Public Relations and Advertising and dual minors in Marketing and Organizational Communication. As a professional speaker, Predictive Index Certified Partner, talent optimization certified consultant, author, and podcast host, Amber “the Velvet Machete” Hurdle creates content-rich experiences that energize leaders to boldly live their organization’s culture, attract top talent, and next-level their employee engagement.

Just for fun: When Amber is not helping individuals and employers share their unique value, she is “momming so hard,” embracing her inner gym rat in the weight room, and entertaining her family and friends. While she is known for being a super extra dog mom and hot wing snob, Amber Hurdle is most known for connecting personal, employer and business brands via her proprietary Velvet Machete® Brand Strategy.