Interview with Amanda Newton

Interview with Amanda Newton - 3rd December 2018

The overwhelming feeling you get from talking to Amanda is her ability to see the positive in everything and I have no doubt that this is why she has achieved so much since her life changed following a serious accident in 2015. 

Mum of four and keen athlete Amanda Newton went out for a routine bike ride as part of her Ironman training on a sunny Summer day in 2015 but on her way down a notoriously steep hill in West Sussex her brakes failed and she crashed her bike breaking her back, 7 ribs, collarbone and puncturing her lung. Finding herself in a ditch, unable to move and barely able to breath, a cyclist heard her cries for help and instigated the rescue operation. This was the start of a new journey for Amanda.

Amanda is open and honest about the struggles she faced in the days, weeks and months after the accident. Coming home after 6 months at Stoke Mandeville was a major obstacle as she tried to retain some normality in her life.

Things Amanda took for granted suddenly became pivotal in her survival. One of the main areas Amanda focused on was communication.

"Communication was such a massive thing for me after my accident and literally a matter of life or death"

Amanda says it would have been easy to be angry and abrasive to those looking after her but she quickly learned that this had a ripple effect on the environment around her and that she actually achieved far more and was treated better when she was engaged in conversation with her carers and listened to them.  

A pivotal point in her regaining some normality was the intervention of the BBC DIY SOS programme. Amanda says the changes they made to her home including the installation a lift and an adaptable kitchen where she could cook for her family, meant she could achieve her main goal of being a mum again and focus on getter the rest of her life back on track.

I asked Amanda how she sets new goals for herself.

"To be honest everything I have done including skydiving, scuba diving and horseriding have either happened by chance or because I have stuck my neck out and put myself out there.  I know that opportunities are not going to happen if I sit at home expecting these opportunities to land in my lap”

“For some reasonsthe opportunities seem to be activities I have always been afraid of in the past.  My advice when faced with these opportunities is not to over analyse things and just do it. For example, when the opportunity to go scuba diving was presented it would have been easy to talk myself out of it but instead my impulsive side kicked in and I just went ahead and booked the flight meaning I couldn’t back out and risk letting other people down.”  

The success she has had when facing her fears just gives Amanda even more motivation to push the boundaries of what she can achieve.  As well as learning to fly with a scholarship from the red arrows and run as a local councillor, Amanda is hoping to complete in a dressage event at Hickstead in Summer 2020.  

"I find there is a big ripple effect of my positive experiences on others so for me to carry on seeking out new experiences can ultimately help those around me who are also experiencing a life changing situation."

Amanda might sound superhuman and in some respects she is but when I asked her how she deals with the days when she feels unsettled her advice is simple.

"We take our breathing for granted and many of us don’t think of this automatic mechanism from day to day but when I crashed my bike I was acutely aware of how much pain I was experiencing from this simple act due to a punctured lung.  Now when I feel unsettled I breath and I can do it without pain and a few deep breaths brings me back to the present moment and how grateful I am that I now breath easily without pain."

She also found that simple statements that she repeats out loud can help.  

"A big lesson I have learnt from flying is the control I have to have.  Once I am comfortable with the controls I tell my instructor ‘I have control’ and the feeling I have of flying an aircraft independently is amazing.  I take this into my every day life and when I feel unsettled I repeat the mantra ‘I have control’"

I asked Amanda what she had in store for the rest of 2019. I wasn’t surprised to hear her reel off a list of goals that most of us could hardly fathom in a lifetime let alone 12 months. They include continuing her flying project with the scholarship from the Red Arrows, training for a dressage competition in 2020, running as a councillor in the next local election and a new children’s book which hopefully will be published in the near future. I have no doubt that not only will she achieve all of these but excel at them.

Amanda’s best selling book 'The Sky is Not The Limit' is available from Amazon and you can find more about Amanda and her story at www.theskyisnotthelimit.co.uk or contact HPD at info@highperformancedevelopment.co.uk to discuss how she can inspire you and your teams.

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