Journey Ahead founder Hannah Campbell is a spinner of plates. Through half of her working week she supports businesses through media consultancy, and the other half is spent coaching women, providing doula care and teaching hypnobirthing to expectant parents.
At the end of 2022, she decided to take the leap from Senior Director in an agency to working for herself and founding her own business, Journey Ahead.
With over a decade in the advertising world, she provides guidance and support on a variety of different aspects including communications strategy, media planning, customer lifecycle planning, commercial growth, people development, new business and content. Her work with expectant and new parents helps build their confidence, help them overcome mental barriers and support them as they evolve through big moments of transition.
Today she shares the lessons she has learnt so far.
What big lessons have you learnt over your career so far?
You’re not for everyone. I definitely spent a large portion of my twenties worrying about everyone liking me, and as a result probably hid or masked a lot of my uniqueness. As I’ve got older, I’ve realised I’m never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.
Done rather than perfect. When I look back, there’s been so much time and effort spent in the pursuit of perfection and now I feel much more comfortable with the concept of sometimes getting something done and doing your best is better than getting it perfect. We can stifle our creativity and pace when we don’t relax a little.
Authenticity is a key component in success. I’m lucky to have met some gorgeous people through my media career, many of which I am grateful to call my friends outside of work. Each one of them has their own unique career path because they’ve leant into what makes them unique and are authentic and genuine in the way they show up.
You’ve recently set up your own business? What helped you evolve through that process?
In the last two years, I have experienced devastating miscarriage, the joy of pregnancy and childbirth, and then several months of darkness whilst my newborn baby fought sepsis. All of these experiences have fundamentally changed my perspective on the world and have encouraged me to grab life by the goolies!
Realising how short and fragile life is forced me to go through an evolution process. I HAD to do something different. So, I essentially coached myself – sat down and worked through my values, really tuned in to what gave me joy and lit me up.
Hypnobirthing had always been a lightbulb moment for me, and so the more I learnt about my nervous system, the more I realised that I needed to live a life which made me feel safe, connected and valued.
Seeing the difference in the women I work with really is the driving force behind everything I do. Whether that be coaching them through big transitions like planning a family or returning to work, teaching couples as they prepare for birth, or holding space for new parents in those early days.
My favourite word at the moment is ‘Expansion’, and that’s really what I’m in the process of doing – expanding my mind to the possibilities but also expanding the experiences of other people. It’s so rewarding on a soul level.
What would you recommend to anyone feeling like they're in a similar boat?
Coaching! I know I am a bit biased, given I am a coach myself, but reaching out to both a personal trainer and a development coach has been fundamental to moving through the process. I have invested time, effort and money into myself to establish strong self-belief and a foundation to work from.
The other thing that has been incredibly useful is understanding what my ‘devotion’ is. What do I mean by this? I mean, what is the big, unyielding vision that I’m working towards? What drives me to get out of bed every day, even when there is no visible proof that what I am doing is working?
That really was the missing puzzle piece for me, and something that I had neglected to do for a long time. I had put my desires, needs and often feelings on hold to prioritise my children and lost myself in the process.
How did you make such a big change?
It sounds crazy, but I just did it. My gut told me exactly what I needed to do, and once I listened to it, I felt confident enough to give it a go. As my coach says, ‘it’s better to be disappointed than right’.
I handed my notice in, set up the business, worked on my offering and then just took the leap.
On paper it made absolutely no sense, leaving a well-paid job with no guarantee that I’d be able to pay my bills and support my family. The internal work I had done and a long period of deep reflection had just created a deep belief that things would just work out.
So far, each month things have done just that – worked out! Having a strong support network around me from supportive media people through to my husband and parents has given me the external motivation to keep going, too.
I very much am of the belief of ‘build it and they will come’, so each day I have made small steps towards my big vision and trust that they will compound into something bigger and better. So far it seems to be working!
What has kept you motivated during this period of change?
The idea that a better, more fulfilling life was on the other side of this process was all the motivation I needed. My children, husband and wider family deserve someone who is present and content (most of the time).
The way I was living my life wasn’t serving me anymore and so this big vision continues to keep me motivated. It’s not a ‘nice to have’ image of the way I want to live my life, it is something that makes my heart sing, and each day is one step closer to making that a reality.
If you’re also thinking about making the leap to make a big change in your life – go for it!
You’ll never look back.