I’d never been one for the gym. I’d once belonged to one for a little while, but the wall-to-wall beautiful people and equipment I didn’t understand intimidated me, so eventually I stopped going.

All The Twats I Met Along The Way

All The Twats I Met Along The Way

Never did I think I’d turn into ‘that’ woman - the one that loves exercise and seeks out some form of fitness every day. What happened?

After my life caved in rather spectacularly in July 2018 (lost my job, my partner, my home and my family within a fortnight), I took myself away on a retreat in an attempt to put myself back together. I expected to work on fixing my mind. I didn’t expect that it would be the start of an amazing transformation of my body. We did some fitness every day and I discovered boxing.

I’ve always been skinny. Those are just my genetics. But I’d never been ‘fit’. Boxing changed all of that.

What I discovered about boxing was that it’s a sport for everyone. Unlike many sports where you need to have a particular physique, boxing has a category for everyone and so it’s accessible to pretty much everyone.

I also learnt that it’s a lot like dancing. I’d been learning Latin and Ballroom for several years, but the parallels with boxing had never occurred to me: the focus on posture, distribution of weight for balance, footwork technique and coordination with the arms. It was no wonder that it got me hooked. For all those reasons and again, just like dancing, I also found that it challenged my brain as much as my body. I liked that. In my stressful life it provided an escape - I couldn’t think of anything else but the boxing whilst I was doing it and that down time from my busy-brain was so beneficial.

What boxing did was give me confidence. You can learn the basics very quickly. You see progress straight away. I’ve long said that the key to confidence is competence and boxing delivered that feeling immediately. At a time when I’d felt like an abject failure in my life, suddenly I felt like I was making progress again.

I learnt that boxing isn’t about physical strength. It is about technique. Just like in life, having numerous smaller skills rather than a single heavy hammer was the way to succeed. The more I built those many skills, the stronger I felt and the more I believed in myself.

What boxing did too, was remind me that what you see as the end result is in fact the culmination not only of consistent hard work, but also of a variety of well-thought-through plans coming together. I could only box well if I ate right (when I get stressed I don’t fuel my body well), so I began to pay attention to my nutrition. To last the rounds and not tire, I needed to improve my cardiovascular fitness, so I took up running and learnt (with some effort) I could do that too. I needed my mind to be right to have the belief required to spar, so I started paying attention to my ‘self-talk’ and took up daily meditation.

From one chance encounter with boxing, my mind and body have transformed.

About Carolyn:

Despite 20 years spent building a successful corporate career working for some of the world’s largest employers, Carolyn Hobdey’s personal life has been a mess.

So she began to write about it.

Carolyn’s progressively more senior roles had earned her a seat at the boardroom table leading internationally recognisable brands where, whilst specialising in Human Resources (HR), she was required to be able to operate across all business disciplines.

She supported her practical experience with a post-graduate qualification in HR at Leeds Metropolitan University, where she won the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (West Yorkshire) Student Award. Later followed a Masters Degree in Lean Operations gained at Cardiff University where she was the first HR specialist in the 13 years of the course and became the winner of the inaugural Sir Julian Hodge Prize for Logistics, Operations & Manufacturing.

With an enviable knowledge of change management, Carolyn led a number of transformations of cultures and working practices in the organisations she worked within, building a reputation for her mortal compass, good humour and unflinching challenge of the unacceptable.

Alongside her professional and academic achievements, however, Carolyn was managing huge turbulence outside of work driven by a lifetime of low self-esteem. Poor health and perpetual heartbreak peppered her personal life whilst she tried to hide her shame.

In 2018, Carolyn’s life imploded.

She had to pick herself up and reassemble the disparate parts not only of her shattered life but, more challengingly, her identity.

Having carefully put back in place all the accepted tenets of ‘success’, Carolyn realised she no longer wanted the life she’d once had. It was the catalyst that led to her becoming the Founder and CEO of MayDey Limited. Taking everything she’d learnt about change professionally and personally, Carolyn built a business dedicated to helping those that want to make change in their lives.

Carolyn believes that the world is full of amazing, kind people. She also knows first-hand that there is a considerable number of twats. Her mission is to no longer stay silent. Instead, she intends to shine the light that she struggled to keep dimmed, despite the best efforts of some, and to help others do the same.