Georgia College and State University – Bachelor’s Degree, Mass Communications, Concentration in Advertising
Amanda Knight is a striver. After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2012 – while holding down three jobs and an executive position with her sorority – she jumped right into the world of event coordination, achieving her goal of being her own boss in record time. In 2014, two short years after graduating, Amanda realized that while she may be living what she thought was a dream, she was doing so with a cost; she was striving herself right into the ground.
Born from her own burnout, The Cultivated Heart is a personal development workbook and journal meant to bring attention, perspective and, ultimately, change and fulfilment to the lives of its users. Ultimately, Amanda wants to pay her own life learnings forward.
“I want women to experience the life that I now have,” says Amanda, “a life full of joy and peace, free from constant striving.”
Living in my story will always be more fulfilling than living in someone else’s.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. How did you go from college graduate to becoming your own boss at The Cultivated Heart?
It has definitely been a journey. In 2012, I found myself in the top 10 percent of my graduating class. I had a 3.8 GPA and graduated Magna Cum Laude all while holding a position on my sorority executive board and juggling three jobs. In 2013, I found myself working full time as an event coordinator at a wedding venue, a job most girls would have died to have, but yet I was negative and unhappy all the time. In 2014, I reached the goal I had always wanted of becoming my own boss through my business, The Creative Porcupine, and steadily drove myself to burnout.
I found myself traveling idly toward fruitless ambition and I did not want the same for others who were like me and wanted the absolute best for their lives. This life that we’re given is short. I believe that the time we are given is precious and therefore must be utilized to yield a fulfilling life – not one based solely on merit or money. I want women to experience the life that I now have, a life full of joy and peace, free from constant striving.
What is the mission of The Cultivated Heart?
The Cultivated Heart is a personal development tool that helps a woman sow a fulfilling life by cultivating her heart. It’s a workbook/journal that asks specific questions that are meant to dig into certain aspects pertaining to the heart.
What does a day in your life entail? How do you organize your day?
I wake up around 7:30 a.m. and have my quiet time where I read my devotional and write in The Cultivated Heart while I drink my coffee. I then take about an hour to exercise before coming home and moving to my computer. Once I am at my computer, the day really varies.
I organize my day by having three main things I desire to accomplish. I then break those main items into smaller tasks.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I know I was born to do this with every fiber of my being, from my work ethic to my experiences. My desire to live a fulfilling life and help others do the same is engrained in me. It's the core of who I am.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
I actually sleep really well at night. It's one of my favorite things to do. After hitting burnout I realized sleep was a non-negotiable.
As an entrepreneur, is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Yes, it is definitely something I have to be very intentional about since I enjoy what I do so much, but also because I think about my business all the time. The no-fail tactic that I use to create balance is to take nights and weekends off. Unless something is truly urgent, it can wait until the next day or Monday!
What are some of the rules you live by?
That's a great question. My friend and I like to call those "guidelines." I live by the rule that it’s important to create simplicity in my life. Simplicity gives me margin and whitespace to have clarity and time to love others in my life. I also believe in boundaries and ensuring that the decisions I am making are ones that will allow for freedom. I live by the rule that I should never be too busy to stop and have a conversation with my 90-year-old neighbor Grace if the occasion arises. Also, that living in my story will always be more fulfilling than living in someone else’s.
How do you define ‘living in your story?’
It means you quit the comparison game. You define your own definition of happiness and success. You make choices every single day to become a better person and friend. You embrace the fact that life is messy and imperfect, allowing you to always see the smallest positive in each day. You learn from your mistakes and make hard and uncomfortable decisions to love people who you may not want to love.
What’s next for The Cultivated Heart?
Right now I am focused on taking care of those who are working to sow a fulfilling life by utilizing The Cultivated Heart workbook. I also am working on a program that will soon accompany the workbook.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
It's all a journey; there is no destination, so enjoy the ride.