I have the pleasure of knowing some amazing people. People who have done extraordinary things with their ‘ordinary’ lives.
They have inspired me to think beyond the ‘normal’ as to what’s possible for my life – and I hope that by getting them to tell their stories here, they might just inspire a few others of you too.
Esther Wyatt – Paddle Board Instructor
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a Personal Trainer, Paddle Board Instructor and run a small health & fitness business (Jurassic SUP Fitness) on the Jurassic Coastline in the South West of England.
Having worked in high-end events delivery for nearly 20 years, and been fortunate to work for some incredible agencies and travel the world, I can honestly say I hit burn out in my late 30’s. I was tired all the time, my health took a turn for the worst and I realized life was passing me by.
I work up one night with an epiphany. I had never enjoyed living in the hectic bubble of London life (even though I was born and raised there – I believe I am a country girl at heart) I am a complete water baby and have always kept myself very physically fit. I trained people and taught paddle boarding as a side hobby but never thought I could make a career out of it.
Fortunately I have the event background so knew I could always freelance, and I still do in the winter months when things are quieter, but finally I had the courage to step out on my own. I put my flat in London on the market, found a house in a little village called Charmouth on the South West coast where there are no gyms, just the sea, cliff tops and stunning scenery.
I have been living here nearly a year now and the business is flourishing. The paddle boarding instruction and safari exploration along the coastline is very seasonal so I do take the odd freelance project in winter to help ends meet, but this allows a bit of travel and reminds me how much I love coming back to my new home.
I have never felt happier and I finally have a work life balance which I have always craved.
I got an amazing little Jack Russell called Daisy (again this would never have been an option in my London lifestyle) and I have made some fabulous new friends. Living in a village has a real community spirit and there are some fascinating characters within a short stroll (my next door neighbor is Chris Moore who recently worked with David Attenborough on a documentary – David Attenborough and the Sea Dragon – after finding a new species of Ichthyosaur: an extinct dinosaur fossil).
I am learning new facts and skills daily and I am excited about what the future holds.
How do you know Nicki?
Nicki and I met at the last big agency I worked for full-time (Imagination, based in London). She was my line manager whilst working on the Ford of Europe account and was a hugely popular member of staff – even now a lot of us are spread around the globe after making big life changes, we always come back to her for advice and encouragement.
I remember sitting at lunch in Wahaca, telling Nicki of my plans and she was so encouraging and supportive – it was people like Nicki that made me believe I could make this dream a reality.
No matter what people think you “should” be doing, or what is the safe and sensible option, follow your own dreams!!
Tell us a little about the life that you have created – and what you most love about it?
I’m outside the majority of the day.
I’m teaching and meeting new people daily.
I have to overcome hurdles, teaching students with learning or physical difficulties, inspiring people to get more active.
I live 5 minute walk from the sea and in the most beautiful countryside.
I might work 7 days a week during school holidays but I manage my own time and not once have I felt “I just don’t want to get out of bed and go to work”
What are the defining moments in having created this life you love?
Defining moments for me are when I see someone achieve something they never thought possible. The look on someone’s face, the sense of pride swelling. I have been working with a lady who has suffered a terrible past, and her self-confidence has improved dramatically. I have a student with learning difficulties so I often have to find alternative ways of communicating and inspiring, or the client with the hip replacement that never thought they would regain their balance enough to get on a paddle board (she is about to buy one having mastered it!).
I can honestly say that I feel what I am doing is making a difference to some.
Who are your key supporters along this journey – and what have they given you?
Friends, family and Daisy.
There was apprehension, particularly from my parents, when I told them what I was planning, but I will always credit my brother for talking them round and I feel I have their backing 100%.
I don’t have a family or children so it has always been my responsibility to go and see friends but they have made an effort – some even with 4 kids in tow to come and visit and it means everything to me.
How do you now ‘pay-it-forwards’? What support and inspiration do you provide to others to enable them to create a life they love?
I try to inspire a fit, active lifestyle that does not necessarily mean the use of gyms.
I encourage the use of the environment in its natural form to create a healthy balanced lifestyle that works for the individual
What’s your current favourite book recommendation?
I just read Shantaram and found it very inspirational – how someone can completely turn their life around.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
You can achieve anything you set your mind to.
There is always a reason not to do something, so focus on the positives. Yes there may be risk involved. Minimise those risks, talk it though with your nearest and dearest and you will find a solution for most things with a bit of perseverance.
What’s next for you on your journey?
I’m going to enjoy my first full summer doing what I love.
For the first time, I’m not worrying about what lies ahead, I just want to enjoy each day as it comes.
I worked my arse off for two years to get here, managing a full-time job, house moves, setting up the company, building websites, marketing etc.
Its time to take some time out from stress and love the life I have created for myself.
And if you want to hear what people think about what Esther now does – take a read of some of her awesome reviews on Tripadvisor... and then go book yourself a lesson.