Can you please explain your story and how you have gotten to where you are today?
I have a business called Shine from Within, where I teach teen and tweens life skills, self-worth and wellness subjects so they can truly shine from within! I’ll have a book out with Hay House in August this year by the same name and run an online course for adults who’d like to get programs happening for youth in their community too. How I got here…I’ll try to keep it short! Ha!
I feel like everything in my life lead me to this point. But the biggest aha moment for me was being diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer at the age of 24.
I had never thought about natural health before, never considered how I was treating my body and didn’t know anything about stress, emotional wellness, etc so this was a big moment for me. It was such a shock because I felt well. I started googling as soon as the doctor told me, and made some big changes. I went vegan, started meditating, did a juice fast and coffee enemas on a retreat in Thailand, ditched all the toxins I could find in my home, and really started healing my body. Oh and we rescued a puppy! What’s more healing than puppy love?!
I then spent 2 years treating the cancer naturally. Trying to go down the natural path meant I really had to stand in my power and stand up for myself to the doctors about what I felt was right for me at the time. The natural treatments I was undertaking were reducing the tumours, but then I also ended up needing to have chemotherapy and radiation when a new lump started pressing against my spinal cord.
During the 6 months of chemo I was rushed to emergency many times, lost all my hair, couldn’t really walk or anything for a long time, but eventually I got my strength back! It has now been six years since I was told I was cancer free!
Then my partner, Davey, and myself spent the next year living in a shipping container off the grid, completely immersed in nature, to build ourselves back up again. And when I did get my strength back, I started thinking about how I could use this experience to help others.
How and where did the idea for Shine From Within come from and how did you begin that journey?
That came I guess after going through all that. I wanted to help others. I did a personal development course straight out of high school and got so much out of it. I loved it so much that I trained up with them to be a teacher too. So throughout Uni, I taught deportment and personal development courses to teens during school holidays and in schools as a side-job. But when I looked back after the cancer experience, I realised that there was so much that that course didn’t teach, such as self worth, personal strengths, understanding that we have different personality types, recognising our own values, how to nourish our bodies, etc. This was all stuff I learnt going through cancer and I wanted to share that with young people.
Why did you decide to focus on teens and only girls?
Working with teens felt familiar for me, as I had taught teens already. But I also really wanted to help them then, rather than waiting until we have a whole bunch of issues as adults! I just couldn’t help but think, “What if I knew about all of this stuff as a teen? What if I had realised I had more of a choice to live a life that really suited my personality, my strengths, etc etc as a teen rather than just going along with trying to please everyone else in my life? What if I knew that if I eat more veggies and fruit I’ll actually feel happier and more vibrant?!”
Only girls…that’s an interesting question… I’m doing quite a bit of research at the moment on gender and so I hope to make a few changes to the business and the website going forward so that it’s more inclusive for whoever wants to learn these skills. Initially though, I felt comfortable teaching girls because I identify as a girl myself, and I felt like a man would be a more suitable role model for boys. I really felt like I could hold that space for sisterhood. I’m really starting to challenge these ideas though at the moment, and have had more gender fluid students doing my courses, which has been great to see.
What is the biggest lesson for teen girls these days?
That’s a big one! To tune into their own heart. To really start to build that relationship with themselves, to learn what their intuition/gut is telling them. There are so many things that we can look at like their values, strengths, etc but if we look at it simply, tuning in to what feels right for them, to choose what feels right for them, that’s where the magic is. They will then choose better friendships, nourish their bodies with healthy foods, etc. I believe it starts by cutting out all the noise and making sure they know they have the power to choose. I come back to that many times in the book – you always have a choice.
But I also think, for the parents who may be reading this, that we can hold firm boundaries with them especially around social media. They are growing up with social media so we need to help them create boundaries around it and hold them to it. And as adults who care about them, we need to be aware of what is happening in that world so we can support them properly.
For a teen girl struggling with anxiety and low confidence what is the best advice and way to help them through that season?
Ask for help! It is important for them to feel safe to ask for help. That could be a parent, teacher, mentor, friend, family member or a profession or organisation such as Headspace or Kid’s Helpline. There are some great apps as well like the Simple Minds App, which provides a range of free meditations and audios for different age groups. Reach Out is another website that has some great information.
In that moment, when a teen is feeling anxious or upset, it can be really hard to even think about how to get passed it. The more tools and skills we can provide young people in a preventative way, before they feel those feelings, the better equipped they’ll be if those feelings arise down the track. It’s when we’re feeling great that we want to put together a list of things to help us feel great too, so we can draw on it in those moments of need. Because when we feel upset, anxious or a lack of confidence of course we want to feel better, but we may not know how to achieve that in that moment. It’s hard to think of what to do. So you need a list of things you can do that you can draw on.
In the book, Shine From Within; a teen girl’s guide to life, I take students through a whole lot of tools they can implement and suggested exercises for when stress takes over!
What is the best way a parent can help their daughter if they are struggling?
I think the best way is to firstly talk to them, let them know you’re there for them and that you love them no matter what. And then getting other adults around them to help support them too. Sometimes the advice or support (or even just an ear) needs to come from someone else. The more supportive adults in a young person’s life, the better!
I would also recommend that a parent keeps learning too. There is so much information out there these days, wonderful books and even mini courses you can do online to have a better understanding of what to look out for in your child and signs that they may need professional help.
One book I highly recommend is ‘The Grown Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans’ by Josh Shipp. It’s a fun read with lots of practical advice for different ages and issues that may come up.
From a holistic point of view, if you feel your child is struggling, consider everything; from their sleep, water intake, food, friendships, etc. And don’t be afraid to get professional help. Some parents I talk to can feel a sense of shame about reaching out but honestly, finding an adolescent psychologist or counsellor before they really need it, could save your child years of drama or even trauma if you miss something or wait too long. For example, eating disorders, which affect girls and boys from such a young age these days (often before they reach 14) take, on average, 7 years to recover from. If you have even an inkling that your child might be struggling, do something about it now.
Why do you feel young women need mentoring and how are they growing from being mentored?
I feel that young women need mentoring because it is wonderful for them to have other role models around them. The other thing is that most other adults see them in one way, they don’t often see them as a whole person and mentoring can provide a space for them to be heard and seen as that whole person. It is a wonderful way for them to talk about what is going on in their life without judgment. A mum is always going to see the young woman as her daughter and will give feedback based on the incredible love she feels for her child. A teacher will always see the young woman as their student. A coach will see them as a part of the team. Adults rarely see a young person as a ‘whole’ person.
A mentor, on the other hand, doesn’t know them in any other capacity and are trained to listen without judgement and reflect back to them what they’re seeing, hearing and understanding. Which can be super powerful. As to how they grow from being mentored… they are all different but it is awesome to see them see more of themselves through the mentoring process. And it can really help them step into their power.
The most important advice you have gotten along you journey?
To remember that everything happens for a reason and life is playing out exactly as it is meant to.
What or who has been your biggest inspiration?
Supreme Master Ching Hai. She is a spiritual teacher.
You’re currently writing a book, (huge congratulation on that!) can you tell me about the book and when it will be released?
The book is called Shine From Within; a teens guide to life. It is in three parts; Shine on the inside, Shine on the outside and Shine in the world and it really bring together all of my course content and everything I have learnt working with young people into one awesome resource! My hope is that it will reach as many young people as possible and support them to truly shine. It will be in bookstores around Australia on August 20 and you can pre-order it here.
And finally what is one piece of wisdom you want to leave for this earth?
I think to just go gently; be gentle with yourself, others, animals and with the earth.
I hope you got some amazing goodness out of this interview. Amanda is a true inspiration and someone I have always looked up to. I am so excited to see her journey continue and see where it takes her.
Amanda’s books is currently out for pre order so go ORDER it here. Give it away as a gift to a young girl or read it yourself.
You can find her websites at: