BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
It’s all about taking consistent actions over time. If you mix patience with productivity—and not stress in the details—you can accomplish what you want. Amy Johnson
Whether you have a great idea and long to launch it, a career you want to re-ignite or a house you need to reorganize, Northwestern University graduate Amy Johnson takes on your challenge from the inside out. As graceful as she is resourceful, Amy plots a road map that you want to follow.
I describe myself as a personal producer, efficiency expert or holistic project manager and my work with clients is a collaborative process. If I am working on your house we talk infrastructure, not clutter. We bring together your collections—be it memorabilia, holiday decorations, books, your travel needs—into a unified system.
A Hollywood studio executive for 25 years, Amy lives in Los Angeles but works with clients all over the country via skype or phone. A communications major at Northwestern, Amy launched her first business “Be a Guest at Your Own Parties” where classmates including roommate Suzette Bulley and other Chicagoans helped with events all across the city. She started an Improv group here soon after graduation.
Creative thinking is a process, like the movies. You go from script to screen. Actress, supermodel and humanitarian Amber Valletta has been a client of mine for several years and we have worked together to match her personal values with her work. She first asked me to create an office space in her home. Because of her love of fashion and her social responsibility we developed Master & Muse, a clothing line which bridged the gap between what’s trending and what’s mindful. We are now developing a 2.0 version of her career as well as producing a short film.
Amber and Amy at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in Denmark last year.
Amy’s work with a mother of four daughters should inspire us all to look at our closets.
All of my client’s daughters were dancers and she was determined to find the right place to donate leotards and other items to others who might need them. We found Dance it Forward Brentwood and she felt great to have other young dancers use these expensive items.
I decided it was time to get started myself.
What do we need for our road map?
What you need first is clarity. You have to be clear about who you are, how much time you can commit, what state the project is in now. Realize that if there is not an immediate time line, you can make progress even if you just work on it for ten minutes a day. Set a timer.
What comes next?
Start consolidating your ideas. Just as I recommend looking around your house and bringing together like things from holiday decorations to wrapping paper, you should do the same thing with ideas as well. If you are writing a book or starting a business put your ideas on paper in some form.
Speaking of clarity, one hears about clarity cleanses today. What are those about?
For me, it is an opportunity to dive deeper. When I work with a client I take a customized approach. When I learn what the client wants to do, I holistically pull from our conversations where you want to go. We talk about being more efficient and positive and doing what is the easiest to do.
What are the potential roadblocks on our map?
There is that looming perfectionist in most of us that is afraid of being judged. Everyone has her own individual strengths. I work with people to find their strengths and then create new strengths. One busy mom said she wanted to feel more Zen. We took some time in finding out why she wasn’t able to accomplish this.
We realized what she needed was counter clarity—we took everything off of her counter and created a system for storage.
There is also the fear of failing and the fear of being exposed. It is all in the language of how we talk to ourselves. Whether it has to do with their work, their home or a new idea, I try to help people get over their vulnerability.
Amy loves providing organizational support for families, including her own. She is the mother of Ella, 15, and Astrid, 12.
They may roll their eyes a bit when we talk about getting organized but they really like to clean up. When the girls were very little and we had an active dog, I remember coming home from work and telling the girls that our house was such a disaster. Then I had a realization—our house wasn’t getting enough love. We three then had a shift of energy. We made a list of how we might love our house more, whether it was picking up toys, unloading the dishwasher—loving it as we love our bodies and gardens. We still talk about ways to love our house.
Amy begins her day with yoga and 10-15 minutes of meditation.
I make a practice of writing in my gratitude journal what is great about that day. It helps me find a balance, and it’s all about being present in the moment. It wasn’t always easy, particularly during my divorce. By writing what you are grateful for in a way that you really mean it is an opportunity to grow.
What should a person do when they are feeling particularly frazzled and can’t take another step on that roadmap?
Be gentle with yourself and ask for help. I love to quote Helen Hayes, who married a Chicagoan: the expert in anything was once a beginner.
To find out more about Amy or to receive a free introductory consultation contact firstname.lastname@example.org. She can be found as well on Linkedin.