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What I’ve Learnt: Lucie Heseltine, PPC Lead, Extreme

Lucie - Extreme

Extreme is a digital marketing agency based in Harrogate.

Lucie Heseltine initially joined the agency as a PPC consultant in 2017, before rising through the ranks to become PPC lead in 2020.

Here, she shares all the lessons she has learnt across her life and career so far…

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

I start every day writing a ‘to do list’. It gives me a chance to focus my brain, check over my calendar and begin the day with a plan of action. I know I could probably do this using some kind of fancy digital tool, but I love the practice of putting pen to paper, and of course those lovely endorphins that ticking a task off can bring!

What’s been your luckiest break?

At the end of 2015, I was working remotely in a business development role for a technology company who sold digital pens. I was at a bit of a loss, with no clear plan for my career. All I knew was that it wasn’t going to be in digital pens!

On a whim, I applied for a job I saw on LinkedIn with Capita who ran a satellite office in Leeds for Google. Yes, THAT Google. Thankfully, after an interesting interview process, I was offered a job and was able to benefit from almost two years working there. I learned all about Google Ads and was able to carve out a new discipline for myself, finally finding that career path that I had been searching for since I graduated university.

What’s your best failure?

I’m tremendously good at over-thinking and over-planning. In my life, I have found this to be both a blessing and a curse; I’m rarely late to meetings, I always feel super ready for pitches after hours of going over my slides. In many ways, it helps me to stay organised and on top of my workload.

The downside? My brain is hardly ever in ‘off’ mode! There’s a constant fizz of activity going on in there that can sometimes lead to stress and anxiety. It can sometimes make switching off at the end of the working day a struggle.

Thankfully, Extreme is the kind of workplace that actively discourages working all of the hours God sends; our director, Mark would have a stern word to say if he ever thought I was losing sleep over something work related!

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

This will sound a bit cheesy – I already hate myself for writing it! But it is the investment I have started to put into my physical fitness!

Last year my husband and I, after much discussion, took the plunge and got a Peloton bike. It wasn’t cheap and necessitated a good deal of ‘justification maths’ from both of us, but it was genuinely one of the best things we have ever purchased.

You’ve already heard about my over-thinking and propensity for anxiety? Well exercising for half an hour at the end of the working day really does help that. It’s time for me to sweat out the day and start the evening afresh, meaning I inevitably relax more, sleep better and wake up ready to face the day anew!

No one is more annoyed than me, a self confessed couch potato, that exercise really works to improve your mood, but it’s true folks!

Which podcast or book would you recommend others to read and why?

I don’t tend to read many industry specific books, as reading is something I do for pleasure – not that I don’t find marketing pleasurable… I just like a little separation of church and state when it comes to my hobbies!

However, one book that helped my mental health immeasurably was ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig. It’s a thoughtful meditation on the ways in which living in the 21st century, at the height of technology, can sometimes negatively impact our mental health.

I had recently been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder at the time I read this and it felt like Matt had peeled open my brain and looked inside! I particularly related to the analogy of feeling as though one’s brain has too many windows open and our own personal desktop being far too messy.

As Matt astutely observes, ‘we might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.’

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Stop and smell the roses! 21-year-old Lucie was in her final year of university in Sheffield, studying International Relations and Politics. She was so studious, trying so very hard and taking life so very seriously.

When I am (embarrassingly) reminded by Facebook of pithy status updates from that year, they are all about wishing university was over. Wishing I could get this exam out of the way or this piece of coursework.

I would love to go back and tell myself to enjoy it more. To relax a little; life is never going to be this simple again. Bills, work, life in general is going to see to that. Go on, go out tonight – the coursework can wait til tomorrow.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My dad. He has always been my biggest cheerleader, but more than that, he is still the person I go to if I need to ask advice on a work situation.

Before he retired, he had a long and varied career, much of which was spent managing people. I actually worked at the same company as him when I first left university and saw, first hand, the respect he commanded as a manager and how much he cared about his job and his team.

That’s something I really want to emulate. I value his advice so much; from proof-reading my CV to advising me on various steps in my career.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I was a contestant on ‘The Chase’. To be honest, the less said about it the better. I put in a pretty poor performance. It’s definitely easier when you’re watching from your sofa!

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

Around 8 months before the pandemic began, my husband and I made the decision to move from Leeds to Hull.

Extreme, being the incredibly supportive and forward thinking workplace they are, allowed me to start hybrid working, doing 3 days a week from home and travelling into Harrogate two days a week.

The pandemic, of course, forced almost all workplaces to offer something similar, but I am proud to work for an agency who were ahead of the curve. I have long been an advocate of hybrid and flexible working.

We all work in different ways, I actually get waaay more done at home than I do in the office, but it’s nice to have office days to catch up with the rest of the team and solidify those working relationships.

What does success look like to you?

Balance. I adore my job, but I also think work-life balance is so incredibly important. As is that old adage; ‘you should work to live, not live to work’. Success for me is having a career that I enjoy and that puts food on the table, but also having the time and space to enjoy time with my family and friends.

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