Everything happens for a reason. Whether good, bad or seemingly meaningless, it’s all part of the plan. The universe works in mysterious ways. We definitely have choices as to how we steer this course, but ultimately, if you can become more open to it, your path will grow in leaps and bounds.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Rebecca Bloomer.
Amy Bloomer started organizing as soon as she could walk, sorting her toy chest by size, color and function. Her innate organizational acumen led to success in academics and extracurriculars, all the way up to a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a successful Wall Street career.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, a daughter of a public school band teacher and choir director. When I was 7, my dad took a sabbatical from teaching to follow his childhood dream and get his pilot’s license. I spent much of my childhood as his “co-pilot” enjoying life from a 15,000 foot view. This gave me perspective in ways I truly couldn’t realize until I was a young adult. The best part was it gave me a new lens to view life… if things were bad on the ground, struggling with the social pressures of middle school for example, a trip into the sky with Dad would make me forget all about it. After a short instrument and safety check, we would be steadily taxiing down the runway and ready for take off. Within a few minutes, everything on the ground below was the size of pin-heads and equally diminished in importance. I could be anything I wanted; no judgement, no boundaries, no bullies. Within the safety of my father’s presence and the cockpit of a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche airplane, I could be anything I envisioned. At that altitude I was in a state of perpetual balance and bliss. The goal is to help my client achieve that mindset within their own living space, everyday.
People get so stuck down at lower altitudes it prevents them from seeing the potential at the next level. It’s my job to help take them higher, up and away to space of new vision and expression, without criticism or limits. I try to give them the freedom to strap into my metaphorical aircraft and gain a novel perspective, a recalibrated lens and begin the gift of letting their space BLOOM.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness,” Amelia Bloomer once said.
I’d add it’s not just the costume of women that impacts her life, but also her environment. Everyone should live in a space that is intentionally organized, one that suits their wants and needs and also enhances their mental and physical health.
Every day, I’m able to move about freely and comfortably as I work in my clients’ space.
Without Amelia Bloomer to pave the way, I wouldn’t have had this daily opportunity to put on my pants one leg at a time.
How would your best friend describe you?
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I graduated with a Masters Degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University in 2000. At that time the economy was booming, so I had five job offers in corporate human resources and change management consulting. I accepted a position as a Human Resources Analyst at an investment bank on Wall Street and was off to the races. My time spent working on Wall Street was some of the most difficult, yet insightful, experiences I’ve ever known. Then on 9/11, my fast paced Manhattan life seemingly changed in a moment when I witnessed not one, but two planes, crash into the twin towers with my own eyes. But I’ve found sometimes most of the greatest rewards in life can come out of the most stressful/challenging times. Around that time, I obtained a position in the Executive Development Program working directly for the CEO, a well-known Wall Street tycoon and billionaire. This was an incredible experience, but despite enjoying the view from the executive floor, I chose to go back (down a few floors) to Human Resources. My former mentor, the global head of HR, told me I was going to do something he had never seen before, which was to start out my career at the pinnacle (working directly with the CEO) and then work my way back down. Yet for me, this was par for the course — I never took the common path. In fact, I ended up veering from this path completely when I fell in love and moved out west.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
At age 39, I had the courage to start working as a professional residential organizer. The most challenging part of switching from one career to another was going from the stability of a career with a salary and benefits to an entrepreneur starting from ground zero. That said, my passion for helping people and organizing was overflowing while I crafted my business. I make my work transformational, not transactional. It’s not about making a junk drawer look like a Pinterest post, it’s about revolutionizing space and empowering clients to live their best life. Hence my business, Let Your Space Bloom, LLC, came to fruition.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
Because my husband is a traveling salesman, I knew I needed a career which would give me the flexibility to navigate my own schedule and be home in time to get my kiddos off the bus.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I leveraged the confidence I had built during other successes in my life. This helped to build the foundation for the courage to start my own business.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are going swimmingly! I’ve never been more happy in my career.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The branding of my business is largely tied to the work of Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a revolutionary women’s rights activist, who also happened to popularize the term “bloomers”. Her work has been a great source of inspiration in my own endeavors personally and professionally since the day I married a descendant of her nephew. Amelia became truly famous when she wore a reformed style of dress that gave women more flexibility, mobility, and freedom than the constricting costumes of the day. I’d add it’s not just the costume of women that impacts her life, but also her environment.
Everyone should live in a space that is intentionally organized, one that suits their wants and needs and also enhances their mental and physical health. Every day, I’m able to move about freely and comfortably as I work in my clients’ space. Creating a branding story that people can relate to is incredibly important, especially with a business that is so intimately involved in people’s lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
One of the most interesting stories relates back to the business’ inspiration. In addition to Amelia Bloomer’s work with women’s rights, she also edited and produced the first women’s newspaper The Lily, promoting events and discussing issues important to women of the time.
Through my Instagram account, I was shocked to discover that the Washington Post brought back The Lily News in 2017. Amelia’s legacy had come full circle. I immediately sent an email to our family to let them know this historic news. I connected with the editors and they ended up doing a focus piece on my business and my message.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Building a business isn’t a straight trajectory. It’s a journey with many ups and downs. Perseverance is essential to success.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I tapped into my network and reached out to many of my contacts for support and resources.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
I knew a lot about corporate America, but very little about small businesses. I checked out books from our local library and tried to flood my brain with every resource I could find. But as my journey into entrepreneurship unfolded, I discovered that the greatest knowledge came from trial and error, as opposed to anything I read from a book.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Everything happens for a reason. Whether good, bad or seemingly meaningless, it’s all part of the plan. The universe works in mysterious ways. We definitely have choices as to how we steer this course, but ultimately, if you can become more open to it, your path will grow in leaps and bounds.
- Failures are stepping stones to success. What doesn’t kill you, ultimately makes you stronger.
- You are surrounded by more love and support than you realize.
- Knowledge is a super power. If you don’t use your local library, you are doing yourself a disservice.
- There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present” (borrowed from Kung Fu Panda)
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
In the words of my late Grandpa Stew, “Money is like manure, it’s no good unless you move it around.” I would like to inspire a movement of generosity — in space, resources and human relations.
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
I am honored and privileged to carry on the legacy of Amelia Bloomer in my work, but more importantly, in my daughter (Zoë Lillian Bloomer) as she blooms into the woman she was intended to be.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!