Visual Shownotes™ for CSW 159: Turning Envy Into Inspiration with Amber Rae

CSW 159: Turning Envy Into Inspiration with Amber RaeAmber Rae said she “literally had goosebumps about twenty times” over the course of our conversation.

“Something was moving through me, so I feel really grateful,” she said. “Thank you for your reflections, they meant so much.”

I was glad to hear it, because I started things off with Amber by confessing that the email pitching her to be on the podcast triggered ALL OF MY ENVY MONSTERS!

After all, here she is, young, beautiful, with an enormous platform (I’m talking 36,900 Instagram followers, as of this writing)

So we started by diving right in and discussing envy.

• “Envy is inspiration in disguise.”

• Envy illuminates untapped potential within us. It shows us an opportunity to grow.

• My realization that in the moment of intense, burning envy, the best thing to do is to reach out.

• How do we celebrate the people we envy, rather than making it a reflection of our own worth?

• Teachers who hold back out of fear vs. teachers who share everything, knowing their students will sell

• When someone steals your work: Was the point to get the credit? Or was the point to get the work out there?

• The importance (and difficulty) of taking the ego out of it.

• “We all have a different flavor and it resonates different with everyone.”

• “I think the next Oprah is a hundred thousand women with a microphone.”

What helps when the envy monsters are going nuts is asking, “Where am I right now?” and thinking about the real people I’m connecting with, whose lives I’m changing. This has the effect of sending my gremlins tip-toeing off to get pedicures all by themselves. (And ironically enough, my image of sending gremlins off to get pedicures made Amber envious — she said she wished she’d thought of that visual herself. 😉 )

It all comes down to gratitude, and, as always, my Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

Why Amber Wanted to Write Choose Wonder of Worry

She could feel the energy of the book in her body, pulsating in the pelvis region. It had always been a dream, since she was a young girl.

For many years Amber had been what Julia Cameron calls a “shadow artist,” helping other creatives turn their dreams into reality.

(Then at age 25 she had a mentor tell her that her story doesn’t matter, and she believed him.)

Amber’s Crazy 48-Hour Move

Amber started a blog to process her feelings, after quitting her job and moving from San Francisco to New York in 48 hours. Within three months of moving to New York, she launched an initiative called Late-Night Co-working, which spread to 20 cities, and was getting tons of press.

She landed a job with Seth Godin, and all this visibility attracted a lot of interest, and people who wanted to learn from her, even though at the time she was only 25.

She decided to try taking on clients, which she called the Passion Experiment.

Her first client landed a 15% raise, then started her own consulting company and got her first client at the end of four weeks.

She started helping people design their work around the lives they wanted to live, and this became her full-time thing… until she self-sabotaged, went off the rails for three months and then finally came back.


Amber saw so much success with her consulting, but went so deep into Worry, that as soon as an opportunity arose to work at a stable start-up, she jumped at it. She couldn’t handle the success — it was what Gay Hendricks refers to in his book, The Big Leap (affiliate link, or click here for a non-affiliate link) as “upper-limiting.”

Worked at the start-up for three months, gained 30 pounds, broke out in hives and rashes, started sleeping with the boss (bad idea), and had panic attacks that made her think she was dying.

The panic attack was a wake-up call.

The Pendulum Swing

She took a trip to Barcelona for a week, re-centered, decided to quit and go “all-in” on the Passion Experiment/working with individuals, and started an accelerator program. This led to a realization that her writing is what led her to all of the things she loves.

She also started The World We Want, a global movement dedicated to bringing self-reflection and expression to the masses.

And basically focused on mixed media art, lettering, and just being an artist 24/7.

Toxic vs. Useful Worry

“We don’t get rid of Worry, we get rid of old clothes and leftovers.”

About 80% of our time and attention is spent on regret about the past, or anxiety about the future, or toxic worry.

Useful worry is:

  • If you’re swiping right on Tinder, and the guy says “Hey baby, come over right now.”
  • If you’re hiking, and you’re close to the edge of a cliff.
  • If you meet someone on a first date, and he says, “I’m not interested in commitment.”

Useful worry is trying to keep you safe!

When you notice yourself caught in a worry loop, ask yourself:

  1. Is this useful?
  2. Is there any productive action I can take right now?

If not, then it’s just a spinning, fearful mind.

As Amber said:

“The difference between a sh*tty writer and a really great writer is that the really great writer finished a lot of sh*tty essays.” 

Or as I like to say:

We need the crap. It’s the crap that fertilizes the good stuff!

Three steps:

  1. Name it to tame it. Identify whatever it is, and put a name to whatever that overwhelming feeling is in that moment. “Worry is saying, ‘You’re not good enough, you’re feeling like a perfectionist right now, and as a result of that, I’m feeling tight in my shoulders, and my heart is speeding up.'” This allows us to create distance and be in the present moment.
  2. Talk to it. “Hey, perfectionism. Hey, Grace. What is it that you want me to know right now?” Listen for what she has to say, and respond.
  3. Make a request. “Hey, right now, I need space to make something bad, so I can later make it good.”

Amber’s Story

Amber lost her dad when she was young, first because he left the family, and later because he was killed in a DUI car accident. As a result, she kept looking to fill the hole left by her abandoning father.

It took her years to realize that her self-sabotaging patterns were never really about him, but about her. She needed to learn that she will never leave her.

You can read more about Amber’s story, and her beautiful philosophy, in her new book, Choose Wonder Over Worry, coming out on May 15!

Anyone who purchases the book from now through May 18 is eligible for special early order bonuses.

About Amber

Called a “Millennial Motivator” by Fortune and “The Brené Brown of Wonder” by Mind Body Green, Amber Rae is an author, artist, and speaker whose work invites you to live your truth, befriend your emotions, and express your gifts.

Her writing blends raw, personal storytelling with actionable aha! moments and has reached more than 5 million people in 195 countries. Her public art has spread to more than 20 countries, and she’s spoken to and collaborated with brands like Kate Spade, Apple, Amazon, and Unilever.

Amber has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Fast Company, BBC, ABC World News, Tim Ferriss’s blog, and more.

Previously, Amber helped launch six best-selling books as Chief Evangelist of Seth Godin’s publishing experiment and started an “accelerator for your life” called The Bold Academy.

She lives in Brooklyn and around the world with her fiancé, Farhad.

Something Cool

From Amber:

The Desire Map Planner (that’s an affiliate link — here’s a non-affiliate link) — this is the planner that makes Amber envious, because she wishes she’d created it! It’s helped her so much with what matters most.

NOTE: If you’d like to try out this planner, I happen to have a spare weekly 2018 copy that I never used. I’ll be happy to send it to the first person who contacts me, for the cost of shipping only! Just send email me here, and include “Desire Map Planner” in the subject line. First come, first served. 🙂

Olivine Perfumes — nontoxic, branded perfumes that are good for you. Amber’s favorite scent is “She Belongs there.”

From Melissa:

The Ethical Move — a movement to end consumerism, started by Alice Karolina Smith (who will be a guest on the podcast in coming weeks!), because how we sell matters.


Listeners Wanted!

Has the Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I love sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way — big or small — I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon


Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Creative Sandbox Way™ on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

Get the Inside Scoop!

Join our mailing list to receive entertaining tips & updates via email no more than once a week, and we'll send you our Team Assessment Tool to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your team in under 10 minutes. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!