Amber Browning-Coyle is a a producer, on-air host, and communications strategist, as well as the owner of production company, A Pebble In The Road, Inc.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m Amber. I’m a producer, on-air host, and communications strategist. My specialty is storytelling, specifically helping others tell their story and convert their story into sales.
I own the production company, A Pebble In The Road, Inc, produce short form marketing videos, coach individuals, companies, and nonprofits on confidence in communicating, and I’m also an on-air host for the largest shopping television network in the world.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Prior to the quarantine, my hours were long and sporadic. I would be at the studio all hours, sometimes I’d arrive at 4 am and sometimes at 11:30pm, and often be there the entire day in between.
I’d try to squeeze in trips to the gym and grab food on the go in between shows, but it would depend upon when I was scripted. I can’t tell you how many meals consisted of instant oatmeal at the studio or the drive-thru at Starbucks in the past 2 years. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work and can therefore take over quite quickly.
Now I wake up at 7am without an alarm and take some time in the morning for self-reflection. Recently I’ve gotten back into meditation using an app called HeadSpace. I then eat, answer a few emails, and complete my daily Peloton workout.
Following that it’s Zoom calls with clients, Skyping into the studio for national presentations, more emails, and/or shooting video virtually. Recently I completed shooting a mini-course on successfully pivoting called “Pivot, Step, Touch” and I’ve been working on that a lot as well. My schedule varies and some days I rarely leave my computer, but I really love it.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes for hosting I’m Skyping in to the studio and meetings with clients are now done via Zoom and video conferencing. After living in New York City for over a decade, I have always had an inner hustle and an embrace of change.
When the pandemic hit, I was able to fall back on my creativity, flexibility, and optimism. I’ve developed more of a solid routine now than I’ve had in years by working remotely, and will surely continue after the quarantine is over.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance is incredibly important and honestly I have to work every day to attempt to achieve the goal, but I’m closer now than I’ve been in a long time. In my opinion, time spent with family, friends, and working on self-care is necessary for a healthy and happy life.
I’m a reformed workaholic and proud to be. Arianna Huffington once told me, “If you constantly give and don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give. You’re helping others by helping yourself. ”
That always stuck with me and it was then that I decided to make a change. Admittedly, in the past few years I slipped back into a hectic schedule, so I’m so grateful for the reminder.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Absolutely. I made sleep a priority, aiming for 8 hours a night and started buying ready-made salads so vegetables will be included in at least one meal.
I recently moved and made a decision NOT to get local television channels or cable and it’s helped my productivity levels immensely.
A friend and I also began a daily meditation practice.
Another friend, my long-time buddy Matty Maggiacomo who is an amazing trainer for Peloton, issued a challenge of working out for ten minutes a day and agreed to hold me accountable. I accepted the challenge, got a great workout partner, and she and I now work out for a minimum of 20 minutes a day via Peloton. It’s made such a difference, both physically and mentally.
I’ve cut back on coffee and added water to every meal. I also drink water while on Zoom calls.
I try to get outside for a walk every day; I haven’t done that in years
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My favorite books are Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built A Company One Cup At A Time by Howard Schultz, Originals by Adam Grant, and everything by Malcolm Gladwell.
I listen to TED Talks Daily and Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, and I read The Conversation, Business Insider, Fast Company, and the NY Times on a daily basis as well.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My AirPods have really saved my life during this quarantine, as I can walk for miles and conduct work calls at the same time with the noise cancellation feature. HeadSpace, Peloton, Spotify, and WhatsApp are apps I use every day and I wear my Privé Revaux blue-light blocking glasses constantly because I’m always in front of my computer and phone.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would love to hear what Bryan Cranston has to say on the subject. When he played characters such as Walter White, LBJ, and most recently Howard Beale, he appears to leave it ALL on the screen/stage.
When I saw Network on Broadway with the knowledge that he committed to performing 8 shows a week while putting himself on vocal rest on his only day off, I found myself wondering how he had anything left for himself and his family when he got home.
I realize it’s a job, but the emotional and physical toll these roles took on him had to affect his work-life balance and I’d love to hear how he handled it.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work-life balance is imperative to long-term success, health, and happiness. It’s SO easy to just put our heads down and continue the grind, telling ourselves we will take a break eventually. Eventually never comes and years fly by.
Start small, ten minutes working out a day, a friends’ dinner or Zoom call once a week, or date night once a month. When we make our goals attainable, reaching them and their effects creates momentum to build upon them. It also makes for happier and healthier humans.
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