Interview with Amena Kay Thornton
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My 20-year life and the business partnership ended and I was lost for direction. I did not know whom to trust, since overnight I lost half the family I grew to love as my own. “Divorce is like that.” That is what my ex-mother-in-law said to me when she finally talked to me months after I separated from my husband. I wasn’t allowed to go to a family baby shower that was on that side of the family or could bring my kids to a family reunion. It really devastated me. And I don’t agree that divorce is like that. People are like that. People get to decide the rules not society. Finding out that I was living very toxic environment I started cutting off a lot of friendships and family members that were not supporting me the way I needed support. I needed encouragement, not pity or their options of what I should or shouldn’t with my life. It’s not like I was an alcoholic or drug attic. I couldn’t go back to my marriage because there is so much hate and abuse. I just didn’t feel safe anymore. I place where you’re supposed to feel comforted and loved became a place of being scared and lonely. During that time, I started listening to my favorite motivational speaker’s speeches for that encouragement I desperately needed as a newly single parent, broke, broken, and lost. That was Zig Ziglar. During that time I listen to a lot of motivational speakers, I still do and I am one now. I became one because I needed to be reminded of the positivity of a positive mindset. There’s just too much negativity out there that can draw you in really quickly if you don’t have boundaries or self-love, as it did to me for a few years. Self-talk isn’t much help either a lot of that can also be negative when hanging out with people that always talk negatively, this even boils over to the music you listen to and the influences on your social media.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
I would love it, too! There are just so many! I’ll keep it to the first one. A few months after I separated for the second time in a year, I discovered the world of MLMs. Yes, that’s multi-level marketing! No this is not going to be a pitch about how you should be in an MLM, lol. I think they’re great and all but there is a lot of limitations. I met a lot of great people being involved in one, it started off as a travel company in 2019 called LIV. It was an offshoot of ViSalus I found out later, that merged into Pruvit. It just so happened that the guy that signed me into it knew the head people and I got to meet all the top salespeople which really helped me understand some basic online community building that I still use today with Zoom and LIVEs. It was the first time I got to experience a unique type of business conference which was more like a giant three-day party with late-night meetings and epic events, motivational talks, the latest research in mind and body health, with food and live music from famous musicians. The first one I went to was in Kentucky and it was in a beautiful theater in Louisville. I walked on fire there. The second one was the night of the closing of the hard rock hotel and casino in Vegas. At that one, I was gifted cards and dice from the actual hotel that was never even put out. I also got to staff feet away from Andy Grammer, he is a pretty cool musician with some very positive music. Since then I’ve been to a couple of other big events like these. My mission is to be invited to speak on their stage to give back to all the people that help me through a difficult time, using my voice to amplify their audience and motivate them to become whatever they want to be like I learned during that time.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To all fellow motivational speakers and coaches, as well as entrepreneurs and business people, even parents and singles: you have to reframe your mind. Remember burnout only happens when you’re doing things that are outside what you normally do, or you don’t like doing. You have to learn to delegate these tasks. Or if it’s something you truly want to learn, don’t rush so much the time will come we all know what you need to know. Enjoy the journey. We only have one journey in this life and that journey is happiness. If you’re happy then you are journey will be a great one. But if you’re burnt out and depressed you’ll feel lost and confused. Take some time to get out of your environment and really question your direction. It’s all within you. All the answers you seek. All the knowing. Do what your heart tells you not what your brain thinks your limits are!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are so many people that helped me along the way. I would do some real dish justice if I couldn’t name every single one here. At the end of the day, it was my choice to listen and take action so first I have to be grateful for myself in the act of keep getting up and going at it every day even when I don’t feel like it. The next three people that I have to mention have to be my kids. Without them, I would’ve been totally lost. They were much stronger than me when I was going through the worst time in my life. They were always supportive and cheerful and continued to show their love for me every day even though some of those first months were really hard to even function. I thank God for every single day that I am graced to be in their parent. The next people have to be my parents. We don’t always have a good relationship but they were there when I needed on the most. And I truly love and care about them. After that it to be all the motivational speakers and coaches out there for just being them and putting their message of hope and encouragement out in audio, video, books, programs, courses without those I would’ve been so lost.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I don’t think anyone can speak up on how they impact others. I do my best every day. And I have some amazing people that I’ve helped reach out to me and thank me and video and in messages. I am grateful for their feedback and it encourages me to get two more people. My greatest gift is my energy and a lot of people have commented on how they love my energy and how I show up, so may I be gifted with more opportunities that I can continue motivating and impacting others to live their ultimate life.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote of all time during this difficult time was “one day or day one” I had a bracelet made with it so every day I had to stare at it. “Was today going to be my one day or day one.” I was scared to show up on social media to motivate others and coach others. I was scared to speak about what I was going through and what I’ve been through. I was scared that my message didn’t matter and that the past 20 years of my life were nothing that mattered since I’ve lost everything I built. I surely build an empire with the wrong person, and I realized it was time for me to become the leader that I needed to be. You can’t lead yourself or other people if you don’t start leading by day one.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can type in Amena.Kay.Thornton in Instagram, Facebook, or Tiktok to find me, I also have a YouTube channel and podcast: go to www.amena.co for all the links.