“Is this normal?” How asking this simple question changed my life for the better.
Returning to work after the birth of her daughter, Rubbi Bhogal-Wood quickly began climbing the ranks at an out-of- home media owner in Manchester.
After just a few years Rubbi was promoted to Head of Airport Sales. A job she loved which saw her travelling across the UK several times a week and managing her team remotely.
However, when Rubbi began to lose her hair and suffer from nosebleeds, it took her a while to realise what was behind it.
“I was so busy I couldn’t see the signs that I was close to burn out.” said Rubbi.
“I was constantly on a train down to London or in meetings across the country, I wasn’t seeing my daughter or my husband. Of all people, it was my hairdresser who noticed my hair had started to fall out before I did and coupled with the almost daily nose-bleeds I was having, I began to question my lifestyle.
“I wondered whether what was happening was a normal reaction to a very senior job.”
Rubbi decided to open up to some of those she trusted – including Kate Harris, Regional Director for NABS in Manchester, and her mentor, who she had been seeing for over a year.
“I asked her ‘Is this normal, does everyone go through this?.’ Talking to Kate was like having a mirror held up to me. You don’t see it coming; stress manifests itself in all manner of ways.” Rubbi said.
“Kate could see something wasn’t right in my life and something had to give. I had to focus on my wellbeing, mine was so poor it was impacting on every single part of my life.”
Kate worked on an action plan to get Rubbi’s wellbeing back on track.
“Having Kate to speak with was a god-send.” said Rubbi. “She really helped me make sense of what I was experiencing and was the impartial sounding board I needed.”
Rubbi decided to leave her job in out-of-home and was keen to realise her dream of starting her own business.
Kate encouraged her to upskill and told her about NABS’ grants.
Rubbi applied and was awarded funding to study the Google Squared Online digital marketing course.
“I’d always loved digital marketing having worked at Microsoft for a period of my career.” said Rubbi.
“I realised I needed to expand on my digital skills in order to develop my business. NABS gave me some great upskilling advice and I am so grateful for the funding. I learned a lot during on the course, met some great contacts and it bolstered my digital confidence.”
In October 2017 Wild and Form Digital was born. Rubbi helps SMEs across the UK to grow by empowering them with the skills and confidence to get more out of social media. She hosts group and 1:1 workshops and has worked with over 50 companies, ranging from financial services and legal firms to wedding and beauty businesses.
Rubbi now works flexibly from her home in Saddleworth; which fits around her family life.
“I can do things such as drop my daughter off at her after school clubs, read a book to her at bed-time or head to a fitness class without worrying about any judgment from my boss.” Said Rubbi.
“I work around my priorities and give 100% to my clients. Doing those other things gives my mind the space to flex and generate ideas that I can apply to my clients and my own business.
“Don’t get me wrong, the grass isn’t always greener running your own company. However, I’m more aware and in control of the importance of balancing health with wealth.”
Whatever your dream, when things start to get too much, Rubbi suggests finding somebody to talk to.
“Find someone you trust and ask them if what you’re experiencing is normal and acceptable” said Rubbi.
“There’s this fear about opening up, that it may impact your career and how it progresses. That shouldn’t be the case. I hadn’t realised I was suffering from stress-related alopecia and thought the nosebleeds weren’t connected to work.
“Without your wellbeing you’re nothing, whether it’s your physical or mental health. Find that one person you can trust implicitly who will be honest with you and make sure you seek support.”
NABS offers career coaching, masterclasses and upskilling grants in the North West, for more information visit the website.