Single? This Midlife Muse says the odds for finding love are actually in your favor
Amanda Hanson is a clinical psychologist turned transformational life coach for women. Her brand Revolutionizing Midlife is about redefining and reclaiming what it means to be a woman 40+. She is a self-proclaimed paradigm shifter & her contagious approach is one of limitless possibilities. Where most see roadblocks she sees opportunities.
In this episode, (watch it on YouTube) Amanda shares why the odds are actually in our favor for love and money (!) and how a fight turned into a night to forget the day before her wedding in her 20s. You don’t want to miss this episode – it’s literally life-changing. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts.
Amanda: When I would type in midlife, I wouldn’t even finish the word midlife. And the Google search engine would complete it for me and say, midlife crisis. Everything I could find was crisis, crisis, crisis. And I thought, is it possible we can write a different narrative?
Debra: What is your idea of midlife?
Amanda: I know for me, when I was entering the midlife space, I’m going to be 50 But even, you know, nine years ago, and just as a very inquisitive person who lives very intentionally, I started to really pay attention and think about what kind of midlife woman did I want to be?
And so midlife, when I Google it, it’s technically anywhere, depending on where you read, it could be anywhere between 35 to 40 is the beginning to like 65 is the end, right? It just depends. But the fascinating thing is, when I would type in midlife, I wouldn’t even finish the word midlife. And the Google search engine would complete it for me and say, midlife crisis, everything I could find was crisis, crisis, crisis. And I thought, is it possible we can write a different narrative like a true coming to who we are as women, and for men as well? When I set out on this mission almost two years ago, I could have never imagined the 20 and 30 year old girls saying, can I please join this revolution? I was shocked.
Debra: Here’s the thing, crisis does not just apply to midlife and feeling like you’re not enough or you’re not far ahead in life. It’s not just exclusive to midlife, we feel like this as women that we’re aging, even when we’re in our 20s. I have clients who I talked to who are like, I feel so behind, I’m like, girl, you’re 25.
Amanda: I know I have women saying to me, who are turning 30, they feel like they’ve accomplished nothing in their life. And when I asked them, what do you mean, you’ve accomplished nothing? They’ve got this amazing career, or they’re on trajectory for something amazing as far as you know, where they’re headed in their career. And they say to me, I don’t have a partner, I don’t have children. I haven’t bought the home with the white picket fence. And I think if these are our markers for success for women, we have failed women.
I really also want to like, give this full permission to women. Absolutely, if you want to have a family, that’s wonderful. But I always tell them, I’m like, listen, it’s a lot of work. So while you’re in this phase of your life, enjoy what you’re doing, enjoy what you’re creating. And let’s not say that for women, if you don’t have these other things that you are less valuable, that you are less worthy. And girls are getting that message who are un-partnered in their early 30s, they’re really feeling they’re now considered disposable.
Debra: That just breaks my heart, because you can go from nowhere to now here, like you can meet someone today. But I also will tell you that I felt that way too. I just had bad relationship after bad relationship after bad relationship. And I realized, and I know you’re a clinical psychologist, so I can’t wait to hear what you have to say to this. But I realized at a certain point that I thought there were two types of men, the ones that were really bad for you, but they were exciting, and they kept your interest, but they were the bad boys. And the really nice kind ones that were boring. And when I believed that, I would ONLY find that. And when I stopped believing that, because I had to do a come to Jesus, I met my husband. So yeah, and I’d go from one to the other. Because after you get hurt by this one, you’d go to this one and then you’d be bored with that one and go to that one. But my husband is wonderful. Interesting, keeps your interest, a wonderful human. But I didn’t know that that existed because I lived in a very linear world.
I know you’re in a successful marriage and you’ve even talked about that you have redefined your marriage as well. What advice do you have to young women as they go out there and date?
Amanda: Two big things. One is I want you to keep, in perspective, the philosophy of abundance. If you think about the millions and millions of snowflakes that fall from the sky during a snowstorm and you look up you could never even capture what was coming and falling on you. When you’re walking on the beach, there are millions and millions of grains of sand. There are millions and millions of people to love. I mean, there are seven and a half, almost 8 billion people in this world. There are trillions and trillions of dollars. In this world, there’s so much overflow.
So, if you think with a perspective of abundance, you will see opportunity everywhere. If you walk into the world with scarcity, and think I’m never going to find him, he does not exist, there’s no way, you will find nothing, you will find scraps.
So, you put on your crown as the Queen and you enter the world, knowing that the King exists, there are so many Kings to choose from, when you have the view and the lens of I get to have a stable full of Kings, and then just decide which one I want to spend my life with.
But I will say also, I want women…and this is what I work on with a lot of my younger clients when they’re like, Okay, well, I have a list of who I want him to be. And I said, scratch that list, burn it, throw it in the fire. I don’t really care about who you think you want him to be. Because if you’re too focused on that you may miss the actual man for you.
What I want you to focus on is make a list of how you want to feel when you’re with this person. Do you want to feel adored? Do you want to feel like the only woman in the room? Do you want to feel like everything that you say, is so important and so valued? Do you want to feel just beautiful when you walk down the stairs? Do you want to feel cared for? Do you want to feel safe? All of these things? Do you want to feel turned on? Do you want to feel so desired? So I think it’s like more important that we focus on, how do we want to feel and use that as your litmus test? And when you’re dating, when you don’t feel that way early on? That is a sign that that is not your person.
Debra: Yeah, why do we hang in there? Let me fix that. Why did I hang in there?
Amanda: Potential of people, women believe in potential of people. So the problem is, we are often dating the potentiality of a person, that most likely is not going to happen. So I say to women stop dating his potential, date his reality. What’s right in front of you. That’s who he is.
Debra: You’re giving us facts. You’re dropping facts. There are 8 million people. But why does the brain go to, there’s no one out there? Why do we go to that small place?
Amanda: Because I think that we are trained to think about is the bear coming to how can I protect myself? How can I feel safe? Right? So I think there’s this piece of us that is always wanting to protect ourselves. So I think we believe that if we set our brains up to protect ourselves, we won’t ultimately get hurt, we won’t ultimately be let down.
But here’s the thing, when I think about how much we have evolved in this world, think about the fact our phones, the fact we can call someone in Hong Kong and see them in their face, and we can talk to them on the other side of the world is fascinating. The fact that we have electric cars that eventually we’re gonna have cars that you can take a nap while it’s driving you across the country if you want it to, right? We’ve advanced in so many ways, but as humans, there are not as many advancements happening. Because we don’t push ourselves enough.
You know, we look at the work of Joe Dispenza. We don’t train our brains, we don’t train ourselves, we get a little bit lazy. And we stay in that more Neanderthal mentality. We have the potential to rewire the brain and everything that we believe or think. And so if we enter the world of like, I know that my king exists, I know that the opportunities are endless. If you see the world with that lens, everything gets to be possible. But that lens has to start with you.
It is almost impossible, I believe, to feel scarcity within yourself, but then see abundance in the world. It starts with you, sister, every morning in the mirror. Mirror talk to yourself. When you feel abundant, when you feel overflowing, when you feel like the most incredible human in this entire world. You will go into the world, you will see birds the way you’ve never seen them before. You will hear children laughing next door in a way you’ve never heard it before, everything becomes abundance and beauty. And that will open up a whole new world for you in even in dating
Debra: People will might look at this, maybe they watch the video and they’ll be like well okay, that’s easy for you to say. You are two white women sitting you know midlife like in your houses that look pretty nice. And like I am trans person. I’m a woman of color. I am a person who maybe has a lot stacked against them. What do you say to someone who kind of gives you a pushback about just believe in yourself or just believe in the abundance of the world when the world is kind of a place?
Amanda: Yeah, and there’s two answers to that that come up for you. The world is really shitty. I’ve been an anti racism work. I have children of color. You know, I’ve been in anti racism work for years and I know the real already that lives within. I’m not saying that that reality doesn’t exist. But I’m also here to say, I have a trans child who is of color. He made a choice to see beauty and abundance everywhere. He’s created a life of beauty and abundance. He worked his ass off to get there. So it is possible. I have a black son who graduated college yesterday, all odds were stacked against him. And he saw opportunity and abundance, he starts his first like real job, we get to get him off payroll here. He’s there. It’s his first real job in two weeks.
It’s like, yes, those are the realities of anti trans and people not liking people of color. And particularly in this country, what’s happening, right, it lives, white supremacy reigns true. I call it out constantly. And I also want to say, we all have the opportunity to create a different kind of a narrative for ourselves.
And so I think, you know, I even see this with women, women will say to me, other white women will say to me, oh, but it’s easy for you to say, because of blah, blah, blah, I’m like, oh, wait a second. You can’t think that I got here on a scarcity mentality. Do you know how much work people see what this now they have no idea that what work, internal work, that nights, I was on the floor on my knees when I was in my own self development, trying to figure this all out.
So there is well over two decades of personal development work behind the screen that people haven’t seen. They see this piece now. And I tell women, and all people, the moment you “other” yourself, you are in a very dangerous territory, because now you are saying, well, must be nice for you, which you’re then saying, I can’t because of this. I can’t create this life. Because of this. The minute you say, Well, I’m “other” there’s no way that can happen for me, I promise you, it won’t happen for you. I assure you it won’t.
Debra: I talked to a friend recently. And I was saying don’t “other” yourself. And she had never heard this language before. And she was like, what does that mean to “other” for the people who don’t know? Can you explain that?
Amanda: Yes, one of my masterminds, we were talking about the energy of the womb, okay. This is for context and example. So the energy of the womb, pretty much the potential of the universe, right, lives inside of a woman’s womb. It has nothing to do with whether or not you have children, had children, whether or not you even have your uterus anymore. I’m talking about energetically. But what happens inevitably is women will be like, Oh, well, I don’t have kids? Oh, I’m not a mom. Oh, I had uterine cancer, I had to have my uterus or I had a hysterectomy. I don’t have a uterus. I’m like, okay, see what you’re doing right now. You’re already taking yourself out of this conversation, you’re already looking at the ways you don’t fit.
Or when women say the example of like, I feel like I haven’t been successful because I don’t have a husband or children, you “other” yourself, you’re saying that the only term for success is, your value, we say if you have someone standing next to you, that you’re somehow more worthy as a human, right. So we “other” ourselves, we take ourselves out of opportunity. And we look at like, oh, so here’s a circle of women, right? Or circle of humans, you’re taking yourself out of the circle saying, Oh, well, I don’t belong. As soon as we do that, we miss the opportunity for more expansion in our lives. And you’re really saying, not only do I not belong in the circle, I’ll never be able to get into it.
Debra: You got to ask for what you want. I do believe in the asking and if you don’t receive that’s just the universe, right? I got you, storing this away. Okay, your credits are here. I’m gonna get you eventually, just wait because I got something better for you right now. You grew up poor? And you know ,no joke, like you talked about this in one of your TikToks because of course I watch all of them. How, you were, literally very poor, food stamps. And you’ve created quite an incredible life for yourself that you are now helping other women, so you’re really creating an incredible life for other people as women in their 20s What are the couple of tips you would give maybe in love, in life, in work?
Amanda: I think what would have saved me a lot of grief and probably another decade of struggle if you will was to stop listening to the outside, let’s say consumeristic world. I spent way too many years trying to find my worth and approval in the very toxic beauty culture and what.
So while I was getting my doctorate I’m on this you know, track I mean, I’m getting I got my my PhD for goodness sakes. And still somehow the size of my waist seemed to be more important than the fact I had a doctorate, right? Like I still have to remind myself now which sounds so silly that I’m a doctor, I have girlfriends always say put the doctor in front of it, you earned it. But somehow, like the other pieces seem to get more focused. and I really wish I had not spent as much time and emotional energy and physical energy.
I wish I could get back the years that I worried myself sick that I didn’t look a certain way or I was too this or not enough of that, right. And I always had too much focus in that place. And I think my gosh, what would I have been capable of if I had taken my eyes off of the external world for approval, and gave the approval to myself firs. Which I do now, and which I work with women on now. But gosh, I wish I could have got there in my 20s. And it’s hella hard when you are in your 20s Oh, my gosh, I have women telling me now in their 20s, even two of my kids who are still in college in their 20s say to me, Mom, do you know girls get Botox in college? Now? I’m like, What are you talking about? And they say it’s because they’re there. They went to the med spa. And they were told it’s preventative, and I say to them, preventative of what? They’re like, Oh, I don’t know, I guess preventative of aging. I’m like, nothing prevents aging. We’re all aging. Are you kidding me? Like how did we get to this place where aging is so vilified.
Debra: It’s a dirty word. You can’t look tired.
Amanda: You can, as a woman, you’re not supposed to look tired. You’re never supposed to look like you’ve lived more than 25 years, you’re supposed to like be frozen in time. And you’re always supposed to have a smile. Regardless of how bad your cramps are. Regardless of what you’re going through emotionally, you’re always supposed to smile. So never looked tired. Never look a day over 25 and always be happy and pleasant for the world.
Debra: I still struggle with this, I have a ring light on if I turn the ring light off, you’re gonna see the wrinkles under my eyes.
Amanda: I don’t even have a ring light on I don’t put, I don’t do my filter on Zoom. I just don’t put filters because I don’t even want to. I don’t even want to go down that rabbit hole. You know, I did 365 days of live on Facebook last year. And I said the two things I promised you. I said the two things I promise you I will show up every single day. And the second thing I promise you is I will never be filtered. Not in my look and not in my words. Because I think women are craving leadership of women who are standing solid and the reality of what it looks like to be an almost 50 year old woman. And I feel like I do a disservice to my daughter and all the women in the world when I continue to pretend it looks different than it does because then somehow just like in my marriage, if I pretended that this 26 year marriage has been all roses, and my kids ever get married someday and have a problem in their marriage, they’re gonna think something’s wrong because Well, Mom and Dad, we let our kids know, they ask us, we were just talking to our daughter at brunch yesterday, how hard it was.
I had filed for divorce 12 years ago, the struggles we’ve had because I don’t want them to believe some fake facade, I want them to understand the reality. Same for aging, I want them to learn. For me aging, I decided, you know, when I turned 40 I am going to do aging as a spiritual journey, not as a physical journey. So as soon as I made right with that, everything got to be much easier. And now it’s so far gone for me in regards to like, I don’t I forget that piece. Like I forget that not all women, when people walk up to me like oh my god, you’re so brave. I can’t believe it. You’re not doing Botox or coloring your hair.
Amanda: My girlfriend’s son died in a car accident last year. And I say, you know what’s brave, is women who’ve lost a child and decide to still get up every single day and brush their teeth and move about the world, or surviving breast cancer multiple times. That’s brave. If we’ve decided that means not coloring my hair, I get it every single day on my TikToks, on my Instagram, you are so brave. Like we need to define the definition of brave. But this idea I now understand when I walk into rooms, it’s like you’re a walking revolution, because I’m really saying F-U to the patriarchy.
Debra: I love that, with my dyed hair.
Amanda: To each her own.
Debra: I’d like to walk in that path. I’m trying to walk in that path. But I think also that I would like to admit that I’m struggling with it. Because I think that if other people struggle with it, then okay, well guess what? When I tell my clients, listen, I messed up that live shot the other day, too. It is like, whew, I’m not alone. So I think we all share, the more women share their journey, the more we all don’t have to feel like we’re alone. Because people do feel like that. I know. I felt like that.
Amanda: It’s so true, right? Even when people are like oh my gosh, you’ve been married 26 years. I’m like, Yeah, and I think maybe half of them have been really happy. Like it’s been hard, right? So I want you to think, you see the number, 26 years. That doesn’t mean it’s been 26 years of ease and joy and love and passion. Oh no, no, no, not at all.
Debra: I could talk to you all day. Do you have some tips. Don’t wait until you’re ready for things. You’re never ready. We’re never ready. I’m not ready for this podcast, right?
Amanda: And that’s such a beautiful permission, I think, for all girls, for all women, for all humans, right, is if we get fixated in this world when I have it all figured out when it’s perfect when I’ve done all the research, when I know. And like, there is a point at which and I felt that way, last July when I started my podcast, I thought, oh my gosh, I don’t have all the things. I mean, there were days where I had before I figured it all out. I had my microphone propped up on like a roll of paper towels. It was just hilarious. I mean, all of it was hilarious. And I gave myself massive permission to just show up anyways, show up and do it messy, show up with heart. And to me, when you show up with heart, that piece is felt even like this silly TikTok thing.
My kids were like, Mom, you’ve got to go on TikTok. I’m like you guys. I’m not going to TikTok, people do dances on there. They’re like, No, Mom, you gotta try it. So I didn’t really even know exactly what I was doing. I’m like, You know what, I’m just gonna show up. I’m turning the camera on. I’m gonna be 100% authentic. And let’s just see what happens.
Well, gosh, what happened was the world was like, Thank you. Thank you, because we really needed an authentic female voice. And that’s what the feedback has been is like, and so yes, show up before you’re ready, because we’re never ready. I was not ready to become a doctor. I was not ready to become a mom. I was not ready for this podcast. I was. You’re just not ready. But you say yes. And you just do the best you can.
And the best we have usually is pretty f*cking awesome. Yes, yes. And I think what’s happening is we’re really craving real humans, we are craving people like I love that you tell the women you work with, you know, the the girls who are like being mentored by you, hey, I messed up that thing last week, just give so much permission for them to realize that they don’t have to beat themselves up when they make, when they mess up, when they do something.
I look back on the years of even parenting and there are things I think, Gosh, I wish I would have handled that differently. I wish I would have stayed longer in the room that night, you know, and talk them through that hard moment. And but I was so tired because I was raising so many of them, right? It’s like, gosh, yes, there are so many ways I look back and think I could have done that better. But I’m not going to stay beating myself up in the moments where I didn’t do better.
Debra: Yeah, nobody wins when you beat yourself up. I mean, that’s sometimes we think we have to, but nobody ever shamed themselves into feeling better.
Amanda: Never. Also, don’t you think that we’re our own worst critics? We’re the ones who are focusing on the things that other people like, Oh, I didn’t even notice that. Oh, I didn’t even know that you flubbed on that. I would have never known you weren’t prepared for this podcast. Right.
Debra: Right. Right. Right. And then the other things, physical things like no one’s looking at you going, Oh, wow. But look at that one eyelash going. Like no one’s doing that. But we are, because we are. I don’t know what we are. That monster brain going?
Amanda: Well, yes, we can think that. You know, that whole consumeristic world, this like, multibillion dollar machine. And because I’m such a rebel heart, women are like, Oh my God, I want to like get so liberated and free from this toxic beauty culture. How do I do it? And I tell them, that first thing you have to do is you have to get a little pissed off. If you want to get a little bit angry. Because as you and I know, angry women change the world in all the big ways. Like all the greatest things that have ever happened. It’s usually been like angry women who were like, I’m starting a revolution. I’m doing a thing. I’m claiming a thing. I’m fighting for our rights.
We’re getting the right to vote to have our own checking accounts, to buy land, whatever works. Nope. Right? Right now we’re fighting for our right to our own bodies for our own uteruses. Right? So I say to women, like you gotta get a little bit angry. And for me, it was that anger. And then I started to play a game, where and I still, I’m, I’m so far out of it now. But occasionally, I’ll point it out to my daughter. But it’s this game of like, Oh, I see what you’re doing to me. This speaking to the toxic beauty culture, I see what’s happening here. You’re trying to like telling me that I won’t be worthy unless my lips are this size. You’re trying to tell me that I don’t matter unless I’ve got like the things right so that IT’S A TRAP so that we open our wallets. We spend the money. Oh, think about if women draw the money that we put into the beauty culture. If we took that money and invested it in ourselves in other ways, the businesses we could start, what kinds of cars we could drive, the kinds of empires we could build.
Debra: I can’t admit how much I spent.
Amanda: Well, it got really crazy, then when I stopped and people were like Oh, my God was it hard? And like it is the freest thing I’ve ever done. I have no appointments. I don’t have to be anywhere to get things done. Now if I want to, like go for a walk on the beach or I want I don’t have a million maintenance appointments. I can’t even believe how many years and like hours I wasted doing what and for what and for who?
Debra: Well, that’s the thing. It costs a lot to get older. So everyone in your 20s like let’s just, just know this, when you look at the celebrities, they’re spending a lot of money to look that good. It’s not like they’re aging well, there’s no aging. Well, that’s another whole thing. It costs a lot to get the Botox and the Coolsculpt and get your hair done and, and get the facial treatments and all. There’s a lot being spent in this world, a ton. And I don’t know that men are spending that.
Amanda: Oh, absolutely not. That was that was really another thing that drove me to be so pissed off, you know, all those years ago. It’s like, Wait a second. This is so fascinating. My husband’s six years older than me. He hasn’t even blinked about aging, getting the gray beard and the gray hair like it hasn’t even crossed his mind.
And yet, it’s like this existential crisis for women. I’m like, this is not okay. There is such a double standard. The older men get, there was even a New York Times article during COVID, where they were surveying random people on the streets of New York City, who were clearly in a grow out cycle, let’s just say, so they could tell that this was somebody who was coloring their hair before. And so they were asking people if they, they were asking women how they felt and women were saying things like, Oh, I’ve been told I look 10 years older, or oh my gosh, I gotta get to the CVS and go buy some box dye. I can’t even imagine I’m ever going to, I could never date like this. This is a nightmare.
Women were freaking out. So the article reports all the different phrases women were saying. They asked some men who were walking around and they said, well, I’ve been told I look like Shakespeare. I’ve been told I look like a college professor. I feel so distinguished. I’ve never felt so sexy. The double standard of aging is so fascinating. It is everywhere because the men are considered to be more revered. And women are considered to be like old crumbs.
Debra: That is frustrating, not frustrating, infuriating.
Debra: How do we tell these young women that they have actually everything to live for? And that they can change the world? How do we, how do we empower them?
Amanda: We empower them by getting them a little bit insulted by the message that they’re only worthy if they look a certain way. And I also think like, take that money sister and invest it in yourself, build a business, build an empire for change, be a change agent, like don’t get distracted like you are being lied to. It is a lie, you are perpetuating a multibillion dollar machine, when you start to open your eyes to that, it changes the way you move in the world, you realize like am I actually going to allow that to dictate my worth? Or am I going to fuel from within and to fuel from within you have to, in the world that we live in, you have to have a morning practice, you have to speak to yourself in the mirror every morning.
I promise if there was research on this, it would show that after 90 days of mirror talk, your brain would actually change the way you think, function, move in the world, our nervous systems ourselves, like we get to recode them with the way we speak to ourselves. If I speak to myself, like there’s even been studies of water, right, like two jars of water you they speak speak negatively to one of them. And under the microscope, they were these like really ugly, jagged shapes in the water underneath a microscope. This was like a I believe a Japanese, a Japanese scientist. It wasn’t one of Joe Dispenza his documentaries. And then the other one is they would speak so beautifully and kind loving words to the water, looked at it under microscope. And it was the most gorgeous, beautiful formation, we have 80% water inside of us.
So for us to think when we speak negatively, it doesn’t affect the way we look and show up in the world. It does. It affects the way you carry yourself, your posture, your eye contact, your feelings of worth and every place in space that you take up. And so I am steadfast that I will pour into myself. Before I even turn on my phone, before I have a conversation before I enter the world. Because I get to decide who I am and how I feel. Or I can leave myself wide open, walk into the world and let the world tell me how I should feel.
Debra: You get to create yourself. I tell everybody who will listen that. You’re so right. I think about growing up and the things that my mom had said to me. And I remember those words. But here’s the thing is I don’t have children. I have dogs, as you might be able to tell by the sheer nature of his dog shirt right here. Hold on. Hold on. Let me get this dude. This is the guy that the shirt is for.
Amanda: Hi, baby. Oh my gosh, you’re so adorable,
Debra: The way I speak to these guys. Good job. You’re doing great. Even when they pee outside. I’m like you did a good job. That was awesome. I’m so proud of you. Like I am so nice to these dogs. I feel like the words really mean something. And I try to also catch myself when there’s a bad like, there’s a bad feeling like oh I screwed that up or Oh Debra, did I try to catch myself go wait a second. Is that true? Is that real? Is that nice? And if it’s not, no, you don’t have to do something revolutionary to change the world. You don’t have to go in have a cure for cancer. You just got to be nice to your damn self. Yes, that is revolutionary.
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Sh*t I Wish I Knew In My Twenties is a podcast dedicated to helping 20-somethings thrive in their twenties, not just survive.
Host Debra Alfarone knows how hard being in your twenties can be. As a high-school dropout turned-network-TV-correspondent, she learned most of life’s lessons the hard way. She overcame the odds and now covers the White House for CBS News nationally. She’s also a confidence coach for young women in the TV news industry.