When a baby is born, it is often described as perfect. This is not because the baby meets some empirical standard of perfection, but simply because the baby is. Somewhere along the way, however, expectations shift; we seem to lose our intrinsic value, focusing less on what makes us valuable and more on the ways in which we fail to measure up. This month’s Lotus Lady wants us to change the way we think about that. It is never too late, she believes, to know our worth.
Amanda Moriuchi is many things: a CEO, a wife, a mom, and a stepmom. She is a daughter, a friend, a leader, a multi-tasker, and when she has a rare moment to herself, a reader and gardener. Some days, she says, she might be absolutely killing it in one of those roles, even many of those roles, while in another, she might be falling short. Her goal is to make sure that her sense of self-worth does not depend on any one of those individual successes or failures but instead arises from something much deeper and more permanent.
Amanda grew up in Montana, where from an early age, she was accustomed to two working parents—her dad worked in sales in the oil and gas industry while her mom turned her paralegal training into a thriving legal services business. In the early 80’s, Montana did not necessarily offer much of an infrastructure for an ambitious, working mother, but somehow, Amanda’s mom did it anyway, setting a powerful example of what could be accomplished with the right mix of organization, hard work, and positive attitude.
Amanda’s mom taught her the importance of doing a thing right the first time. She also taught her that there was enough strength inside of her to do whatever needed to be done. Those lessons, along with the generosity of spirit Amanda always admired in both her parents, became the foundation of her adult life.
The family relocated to Denver, where Amanda completed high school and college and went on to start her career in sales. At first, she threw her whole heart and soul into her job. Her role was to sell a dream; all she had to do was help the client see her vision. It was personality-driven work, and Amanda excelled at channeling her enthusiasm into a sale.
When she transitioned into the tech world, however, she quickly found that she needed a different toolbox. The executives she was pitching to didn’t care about charm; they wanted business-specific product information and deliverables. She had to reorient herself—fast.
Amanda recalls a particularly negative interaction she had early on with a powerful client. Her team was supporting his mission-critical application, and they had messed up. It was Amanda’s unpleasant responsibility to call to let him know.
“I’m so sorry,” she began.
Cringing at her desk, Amanda listened as the man slammed his phone down again and again in fury.
“In this business,” he yelled, “you don’t get to say, ‘I’m sorry!’ You just get fired!”
Amanda, still in her mid-twenties and accustomed to taking professional wins and losses to heart, was devastated. Her sense of worth took a nosedive. Her day was ruined. So was the day after that.
As she had done so often throughout her life, Amanda called on the lessons she had learned from her mom. When her mom was sad or tired or overwhelmed, she always found a way to get back up and moving, and that is what Amanda decided to do, too. Her customers didn’t want emotion, she realized. They simply wanted to know how her product could help them reach their goals. She knew she needed to learn to deal with professional setbacks without allowing her spirit to be crushed. Amanda enrolled in a course in sales training, which taught her (among other skills) to separate emotion from business. She also learned that external validation would never leave her with a full cup. If she was going to succeed in business and in life, she was needed to draw her sense of worth from a place that did not depend on the whims of her clients or any other external source.
Amanda was glad to have developed such an awareness when her world, along with everyone else’s, was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. As CEO of an international company, she had to learn to lead her team and her business remotely. As the wife of a first responder, she had to manage the onslaught of stressors and emotions brought on by her husband’s job. As a mom, she had to navigate online schooling and the impossible high-wire act of meeting the needs of a toddler while attempting to focus on back-to-back video calls. Nothing went perfectly all of the time, but it did get done, and that was what mattered.
Life in the COVID era made it clear to Amanda that there isn’t all that much she can control. Tech glitches, supply chain shortages, toddler meltdowns—all of those things are going to happen. What Amanda can control is making sure she responds in a way that is in line with the person she wants to be: A person whose worth comes from a place that cannot be touched by outside forces, for it comes from within.
It is never too late to know your worth.