Amy Frost, MBA, MA in Spiritual PsychologyCoach, Life Manager, Triage Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Trainer

Coach, Life Manager, Triage Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Trainer

Building Bricks of My Life:
The Amy Frost Story

I have always been an overachiever that is part of being a Nielsen especially the oldest Nielsen girl. Being the oldest of five sisters, I was the one who assumed the role of taking care of them. My life was always about taking care of someone else. I was honored to care for my sisters and it started a pattern I lived for many years. At 18, I started working full time for the Air Force while attending school at night . I never had a spare minute, as I was always taking care of my sisters, my close friends and now my co-workers. I was always the model student and worker.

At 23, I got married to the love of my life. Everything was perfect. We had the huge house on the corner lot, two cars, great jobs and all the right stuff. I kept working and going to school and on top of it I took care of my husband’s every need. I cooked, cleaned, prepared meals for nights I was in school, gardened, canned, I had his family over to perfect family events I NEVER showed any signs of wear. Always smiling and taking on more. Every three months without fail I would have bronchitis so badly I would be in bed for days. I would continue to do my homework and keep my life perfect no matter how ill I became. Everyone wanted to be me.

A friend bought me the book “Pulling Your Own Strings” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Who knew I had strings or that I could pull them? I was fascinated by this concept. I started looking at my life and realized I had been raised to create the perfect façade of a perfect life. In fact, the “Life” picture frame was rusty, but had been hidden by my painting over everything to look perfect. I started to question my life. As I did, my husband began to complain and point out that I was “Happy”. He also pointed out that nothing needed to change. He was a smart guy so I settled back into my life.

Months later “out of the blue” I felt I was going CRAZY. I couldn’t stand being so busy being so perfect and went on strike. My husband couldn’t deal with me questioning our life and he started to slam me up against walls. Luckily Judy, my baby sister, was there the day he attacked me in public. With her as a witness, I could no longer live the lie of a fake perfect life. I was really living a life sentence. After seven months of couple counseling and no resolution, I started my journey alone to discover who I was. It’s been a long road and I can say today, many years later, I don’t pull my own strings because I am string free and fully connected to me.

My second husband Tom was an Army Officer, who was killed in Desert Storm. In my first marriage, I was the one who always gave in and molded my life around my husband. Because of this, I was determined to not do this in my second marriage. I was STRONG and kept him at a distance. I now regret that. I never realized Tom could be gone one day. After losing him, I felt that I never fully stepped into complete friendship and relationship with him and regret not having a better marriage with him.

After I turned 41, I unexpectedly met my third husband Ross, also an Army Officer. This relationship was a surprise, because I had given up on marriage. After truly stepping into relationship and an eight year long distance committed courtship, we were married in 2005 and have built a marriage based upon mutual respect, fun, and purpose. It is almost like the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story. My marriages have been “Too Hot”, “Too Cold” and now “Just Right”.

In 2006, I took another leap of faith and moved to Las Vegas. I was devastated to leave my life and career that I had created in California and it has taken me several years to find my footing and to REALIZE coming to Las Vegas was all part of THE PLAN.

My Career Path

My father, a Lt Colonel in the Air Force, instilled in me the belief that a career working for the military was the ultimate security. So, while working at a civilian job, I worked hard for a year and arranged to attend an interview for a part-time military civil service job. After completing the interview, I was elated to receive word that I had landed the position. There was just one catch: I would have to start the very next day, without giving my current employer proper notice. I regretfully declined the position, explaining that I didn’t feel it would be right to leave my current employer in the lurch without giving two weeks notice. It was hard to give up my dream but I knew it was what I needed to do. Two days later I was called for a full-time job which I got. It had all been an integrity test, and thank God I passed with flying colors.

I enjoyed a fulfilling civil service career with the military, serving in a variety of roles over the course of twenty-one years. I pushed myself to the limit going to night school for 7 l/2 years to earn my bachelors’ degree in business, followed by 3 more years of night school to earn my MBA.

Throughout my life, I realized I was connected to God’s master plan. I also knew that I had to paddle my own canoe and not simply wait for a fortuitous gust of wind. I set my professional goals on a five-year, upper-level internship program. I researched everything I could about the program to fully understand what they were looking for in a perfect intern candidate. I conducted numerous practice interviews, role-played situations with my friends, and even interviewed people who had similar jobs. All of my efforts paid off when during the interview, I “hit the ball out of the park,” by being selected for the job, despite the national competition of over 300 highly qualified candidates.

After earning my certification as a master level contracting specialist, I decided that I needed more of a challenge in my life. So I volunteered to become a Total Quality Management trainer and facilitator for my organization. As part of the training, I learned to be a great facilitator, which I had many opportunities to practice as part of my job. I also recognized an opportunity to be of greater service to my fellow employees by volunteering to write a column in the Ballistic Missile Organization newsletter called “The Missileer”. Although I have never considered myself a writer, I have always been compelled to answer a deep calling to provide information for others. Over the last few years, I have written many articles, programs and books as a result of discovering a need and working to fill it.

As my career evolved, I still felt as though something was missing and found myself drawn toward earning another Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology. The opportunity to accomplish this deep desire came when our Air Force base was being shut down. During these very challenging times, I was offered promotions to other bases or even an early retirement severance package. I knew I was at a cross roads. I asked God for a clear sign…. I needed a “burning bush” kind of sign. So I summoned the courage to ask the Government to pay for the second year of my masters program. I knew my degree was not considered a traditional field and it clearly signaled my plan to leave my “safe” Government job and begin working for my father’s business. It did not take long for me to get my signal. To my complete delight and SHOCK, the Air Force approved my education request! Since that day, I have never looked back.

I left the Air Force in 1995 to begin my own career. I began working as a facilitator, encouraging individuals to bring Spirit into every aspect of their lives. I had left my safe and financially secure Civil Service career to a much more rewarding new career doing several types of work with multiple income streams. I applied to and was accepted into a program to become a Marriage and Family Certified Counselor. I thought I had it all figured out. As I started down that path toward my goal, I was immediately faced with a firm KNOWing that I was to work with groups and not have an office where I met with people as a counselor. I realized that I was not happy at the thought of being a certified counselor. So I listened and was guided to apply as a professor at the University of Phoenix. It was a challenge to get this position, and I did it. So I worked full time as an instructor of leadership, career development and critical thinking for five years. I fine tuned my skills as a facilitator and learned new skills associated with my new course curriculum.

During this transition, I found myself called to work in the cancer field. Cancer and its devastating effect on loved ones had always been part of my life. I had lost my Grandma Emily to cancer when I was 19. She was given two weeks to live when they found “it” and she struggled with treatment for six months before dying. I vowed that no patient, family member or caregiver should ever suffer like what I observed my Grandma endure during her treatments. I began working at City of Hope Hospital in Pasadena, California, where I did workshops for cancer patients, their families and the exhausted caregivers. I was asked to speak at conferences and conduct workshops all over the country. I was honored to work with the end of life and bereavement program at City of Hope.

Early in December 2005, all of my experience was called into service when my best friend Carmen learned that she had cancer. After she called me with the news, I tried to remain calm as I heard the fear in her voice. I asked her if she is BREATHING, journaling, and visioning. She responded with, “NO, I am screaming and crying.” I tried to calm her by telling her “It’s OK to fully experience all of your emotions and be authentic in your experience. I also explained the importance of not trying to hide from what she must face. I asked her to take 24 hours to fully vent and then we would create a detailed action plan to work through this. Throughout the ordeal, I gently reassured Carmen that I would remain here for her and that she can always be real with me, as we focus on our path forward.

Carmen had been to many of my workshops which included “
Living your Dreams” and “Thriving during Life Transitions”. She helped me work with cancer patients. Now we were faced with putting these principles into ACTION. Together we walked her challenging path of cancer treatments over a three year period. She was so strong as her cancer would go into remission only to return in greater strength. Ultimately in 2008, Carmen would finish her mission and released her struggle with cancer.

Another dear friend of mine was my soul sister Dee Russell whose true calling was introducing people to creativity and healing. Over many years, we had worked with many hospitals and organizations focusing on self care, creativity and healing. In August 2000, Dee and I were given the green light to run grants through the City of Hope to do our work. This was a dream come true. I was clearly on my path doing what I had been called to do. A few weeks later Dee found out that she had a life threatening illness. Our work together transformed into using our gifts to supporting her in living creativity and healing. I was with her on her journey until she died in May 2005.

Since 1996, I have been called to work with organizations of all kinds during times of extreme struggle through Employee Assistance Programs. Many of these projects are challenges that I wouldn’t send in my worst enemy in to do. I like to remind myself, “They need angels in Hell not in Heaven”. I found myself being the Queen of Triage at Work. I created and implemented effective programs for people and groups that were in crisis and needed help immediately.

At times, I believe I am the Forrest Gump of career counseling. I believe strongly in developing your career hand-in-hand with discovering your mission, talents and passion. Most people just go from job to job and never truly consider career development. My sister Judy is part owner and creator of the Career Institute which is the largest youth at risk program in the state of California. They built a program based upon their skills as career engineers and their desire to help people. I was honored to be a career mentor for the Institute, working daily with individuals or groups of youth at risk for several years. I was also the President of the board of the nonprofit Success Institute which enabled the Career Institute to reach more youth.

After my work with the Career Institute and Success Institute, I worked with career experts in the company Parachute. We created and ran five-day workshops that helped people who had been laid off to heal and do career development. I was honored to work with Dick Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute” and was the producer of Dick’s radio show called “Job Talk”. I didn’t even know what a producer was and then I was one! We created this program to help people who had been laid off. The most ironic part of this stage of my life was, I was ultimately laid off from this position when the company folded. Clearly, I needed to have the experience of being laid off NOT just talk about it!

I have always had a heart for volunteering and supporting nonprofits. Courtney Pepper and I met in 1998 when I was helping create workshops and programs for the Nonprofit Resource Center in Southern California. I knew in my heart, we were destined to make a difference together. Since July 2008, I have worked hand in glove with Courtney to start and run the Nonprofit Sector Foundation. We help people who help people. I work creating and prototyping models here in Las Vegas that we take out nationally. Everything I have done in my life and career has prepared me for this work. Being in Las Vegas is where I needed to be to learn how to truly be a wife and to do my work of purpose at a new level.

What I have Learned

My mission has always been to inspire, motivate and coach people to thrive in their work and lives. My life experiences are like a piece of tapestry. If I look at the “wrong” side all my experiences seem unrelated like a bunch of strings. On the “correct” side of the tapestry the strings are all woven together to make a beautiful picture. I have always been focused on helping others and now I feel the need to be on my train, do my work and use my gifts and talents to do my mission.

By learning to walk in faith on an uncertain path, as opposed to always taking the safe path, I have learned to trust the Divine Plan. I can now look at the CHAOS around us as Clarity Holding an Open Space not as something to be fixed. I believe we are all born with a clean white board and we write our life and beliefs as we go. Some beliefs hold us back from our dreams. We forget that we have the erasers and hold the magic markers of our own white board. We can rewrite worn out beliefs to ones that better serve our current dreams. I want to tell people: “Live your passion and never give it up. Exercise your faith muscle; keep building it up for those dark times when you need faith. Most importantly, be grateful every step of the way, and HAVE FUN on the journey!”

Final Thoughts

As with most lives, I have had painful moments wedged within the successes. My father, a mentor of courage and joy, died at the age of forty-nine. I survived three serious car accidents; my husband was killed in the Desert Storm, and I lost two best friends to long term illness standing side-by-side with them their on their multi-year health journeys. I have had projects that didn’t happen like I thought they should and relationships that didn’t pan out MY way. I have had amazing success, cried, mourned the passing of loves, received the professional help I needed, laughed with pure joy, did grief recovery work, and have gracefully, ungracefully, and gradually moved on. Life is full of pain and losses that co-exist with the joyful moments. I dreamed, worked hard, kept the faith, lost the faith, received support, re-evaluated my dreams, and courageously took the baby steps toward my goals. I believe that life is as simple and as complicated as this.