Game Changing Story – Amy, Digital Content Producer

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Hi everyone, I’m Amy, I’m a 38-year-old mum of one living in Manchester. I work at the BBC as a digital content producer, although previously I worked as a radio presenter for many years. I followed Game Changers on social media for a while, watching from afar, wondering if it was for me, before finding myself away on holiday in France feeling a bit lost, it popped up in my timeline and seemed like fate.

I always knew I wanted to work in creative industries and ‘fell’ into radio. I loved it for a good many years, but have worked on overnight radio shows, early breakfast radio shows, all sorts of hours, and – as you know –  when you become a mum, working anti-social hours is so much harder.

A few years ago after having my daughter I started looking at other options and was offered freelance work in the digital department of a national radio station, I then got a short-term contract at the BBC Homepage, which melted into becoming staff. Within the company this is seen as the holy grail and it also felt like a really big personal achievement. However, because I was freelance when I had my daughter, I was afraid of being forgotten and returned to work when she was 14 weeks old.

By the time I got my staff contract I was also planning my wedding, dealing with a hyper active two-year-old and a year on I felt burnt out. I found out I was pregnant again, and as shocked as I was, it made me try to start taking things easier and I negotiated a temporary four-day-week with my boss. Unfortunately I lost the pregnancy at 14 weeks, and I found myself at a low ebb. I’d told myself that I’d be on maternity leave by the time my daughter started school so I’d be able to do the school run, and I could spend that year really thinking about the future.

Instead I found myself grieving, worrying about how I’d work the school run around the odd hours of my work shifts, exhausted and very much lacking in confidence.

My husband also works away a lot, and just before he went to France for a month, we had a family holiday away. It was here that I saw Game changers pop up on my feed and I thought, ‘it’s fate, this is it, I have to go for it’.

I didn’t have a clear plan at the start. I like my job, love working where I work, and didn’t have an idea for another ‘business plan’. But I knew I needed a change in my life. My balance was totally out. Work had told me I had to come back fulltime, I knew I couldn’t work my childcare around it, I was panicking, anxious, still grieving, I felt like I was just ‘getting through’ every day. I’d also put weight on while pregnant and felt like I’d really lost who I was. I’d become a bit of a hermit too and really lost my mojo.

The first few weeks of Game Changers for me were revelatory.

In the first week there was a task that instantly pushed me out of my comfort zone, but after I’d done it I felt epic. I suddenly felt part of something, something special, I felt like I was getting out there meeting new interesting like-minded people, without having to actually leave the house! I felt like I was starting to push myself again, and remember what I was good at.

In the early weeks we learnt about our skills and strengths and I realised just how much confidence I’d lost – even talking about my skills, or talking about myself positively felt uncomfortable at first, but the more I dug into it, the more I looked and wrote down, the more I realised I do have a lot to offer. It heightened to me too, how little value I placed on my everyday achievements. It turned my negative state into a positive one, and instead of berating the weather for raining on me as I cycled to work, I congratulated myself for cycling in the rain. Simple steps became life-changing.

There were changes in my life quite quickly, with the tools Game Changers gave me, I approached my employer and asked for an extension on my four-day week which I kept. This was a HUGE weight off my shoulders in terms of life balance and childcare. In my values session ‘balance’ came top and I’m so pleased I’m a step closer to the balance I need.

In personal terms I also started looking after myself more. Encouraged by Game Changers to spend more time on self care, I tentatively started exercising and healthy eating again. By the end of the twelve weeks I’d lost a stone, which for me was heading towards the closure I needed after loosing my pregnancy. But a big thing also happened. I’ve never been a runner, but always tried. I mean like for YEARS I’ve gone out, done little runs and given up. But a couple of weeks into Game Changers I learnt about the five-second rule and somehow found myself signed up for a half-marathon.

The self-doubt instantly crept in with the “I’ll never have time to train, I’ll never get to the finish line”, but  I used lots of the tips from the course – power posing, telling myself ‘I’m excited’ when I start to feel nervous, visualising myself at the finish line – all tips you can apply to any area of your life – from job interviews to jogging. I couldn’t believe it when I started seeing results and decided to run for the baby loss charity Tommy’s.

It might not seem like a big deal, but to me was huge. I know without Game Changers I would never have embarked upon such a task. It helped me physically and emotionally, and the amazing women I met on the course were my cheer leaders every step of the way. With every run I felt stronger and a massive sense of achievement. My mind was focussed on the positive – on the finish line, no looking back to what could have been

In work terms, I also feel more confident. I asked for something and (eventually) got it, where before I would have just accepted my lot. I have also been more proactive in asking to shadow other departments and in my own work terms.

I’ve made more effort to get out and see people, to book ‘nice things, to be more organised with my time, and I really feel like I’m emerging from the Game changers experience a happier, more balanced person.

Another task during the course where I answered questions about how I like to while away time, how I’d like to be remembered, what I loved doing when I was younger reminded me how much I love to write – that I always did – but it got lost somewhere along the way. So I took my experience and I wrote about it, and I was published online, which was such a lovely and affirming thing to happen. The subject may have been a little bleak, but if it can help other mums – and dads – to deal with their grief, I’ll be a little happier.

So I’m not setting up a new business, I’m not changing the world, but I’ve changed MY world for the better. I feel like ‘me’ again. And I feel like I’ve met a bunch of amazing women who have my back. I ran the half marathon and raised over £1k for Tommy’s, I kept my four-day week at work, I had my blog published and am back writing again. The balance is definitely a little better.

Don’t be put off Game Changers if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do next, it’s a brilliant process and you never know what you’re going to get out of it, I certainly didn’t, but I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve achieved.

(If you want to hear more about the Game Changers programme or get a taster of what it’s all about from our FREE seven day mini course then head here).

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