I forgot to write anything about me in the first post (blog lesson number 1, failed), so here I am.
I am Jo. A 40 year old Mum to a bloody incredible 9 year old boy (I am biased). We live in Bristol with my other half; a full on, focused, mountain bike racing guy who also happens to be the best step dad Ro could wish for. We all drive each other bonkers sometimes, but we make an awesome team who allow and encourage each other to do the things we love.
Things I love.
I LOVE being outdoors, always have and hopefully always will. I love adventures; running, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, scuba diving and wild swimming. This takes me to some bloody inspiring places and makes me feel relaxed and alive all in one go.
Simpler things also keep me content; lots of them revolve around seeing the joy in kids or adults when they try something new, help a friend or achieve something they didn’t think they could. To me, this is the real magic of life.
Corporate land was my career for many years and I became a Director of Learning and Development for a big multi national towards the end.
I loved: The responsibility, coaching people, supporting people, travelling and the cash (it was bloody good).
I didn’t love: The morals of some of the people I worked for and the feeling of not really making a difference in the wider world.
So, 6 years ago, I left my husband, quit my job and did my teacher training for a year.
Actually it turns out it’s not that simple at times. Having to make the choice to leave someone and separate a family because you are emotionally and physically scared is hard and stupidly easy (all at the same time).
The choice was the right one though. My son and I could relax and unexpected doors opened up to me right from the moment I made the change.
Teacher training was one of the most INCREDIBLE years of my life. I met selfless people trying to support the next generation to be everything they could be. These people were insanely committed and the children were devilishly funny. My particular fav was the child who always asked to go to the toilet with the phrase, ‘Miss, Miss I need a piss’. A clever, rhyming request.
I taught reception, or rather they taught me, for a few years and then, alongside other factors, my wonderful, shy and humble dad got poorly – Alzheimer’s and blindness. What a combo – can’t remember things and can’t see anything to remind him.
I realised I needed something different to give me flexibility and to spend as much time with my son as possible. So I made some tweaks to life.
I started to work with an awesome company called Lighting up Learning (check them out, they are doing life changing work with schools) 2 days a week to help design curriculums for specialist provision schools (typically children with a primary diagnosis of Autism). Curriculums based on feeding children’s curiosity and helping them discover and learn together – just how it should be.
I also started as Head of People 2 days per week for a social enterprise called This Mum Runs. Helping women get back into exercise after having children, to support their mental and physical health.
I am also lucky enough to coach leaders in organisations and people wanting to get the most of out of life as a ‘side hussle’
These roles ticked all my boxes and meant that I was doing something that mattered and gave me loads of time with my boys.
Since making all of these changes, I have discovered so many things about myself. Never more so than on my AWL program that I started in 2019……more about that next time.