We caught up with former Ireland and Halifax star Luke Ambler on life after league.
Ambler made his first team debut for Salford Red Devils in 2008 and made the switch to Leeds Rhinos, where he played 10 games before being released.
The back-rower joined hometown club Halifax and went on to play 141 games for the club in a six-season stint. He played for Ireland 16 times but hung up his boots aged just 28.
Ambler had his own business, Alpha Training Ltd, while playing rugby and decided to retire from playing to follow his career in helping people with mental health issues.
In the second chat of a two-part feature, we look into his work beyond Andy’s Man Club…
Why did you decide to cut your rugby league career short?
“I retired last year. It was obviously World Cup year and I wanted to play for Ireland at the World Cup, but I have been involved with personal development for a while and public speaking. Helping people is something that I am really passionate about, so I just decided to push it that little bit harder.
“With the work I was doing with Andy’s Man Club, I just felt like I had to do what made me happy, so I decided to call it a day on rugby and concentrate on making people happy.”
When you retired, did you know straight away what job you were going to do?
“What a lot of people won’t know is that I had a business for five years alongside playing rugby at Alpha Training Ltd, working on well-being and personal development and motivational talks.
“My business started to gain some momentum, so I already knew that I had something there, so I did give up all guaranteed income but now I work in prisons every week and it is completely different than what I was used to.”
What do you do for a living now then?
“I have recently brought out a Bee You Journal which is a book that aims to improve the mental well-being and health of the user.
“I do public speaking a well. I have worked with some huge companies and I do workshops in schools and prisons up and down the country.
“I do a lot of work with prisons and I work with really violent offenders. I work with prolific self-harmers who cut off their fingers and body parts off, so I work with them and help make them think a little bit differently.”
You have recently released the ‘Bee You Journal’, it looks like it is proving to be popular…
“I have just put 500 into a prison and another order has just come in for 300 from another prison so the popularity for them at the minute is pretty crazy. It is really nice to see rugby league people like Paul Highton, Ryan Fieldhouse and Lee Jewitt get one as well because they are really interested in personal development and mental well-being.
“They do work. It helped me and my own lifestyle and there is nothing better than getting your thoughts down and setting your day up right.”
A lot of people might look at the Bee You Journal and say ‘how can it work? It is just a book’, what would your reaction be to that?
“The interesting thing about the journal is that there is one side which is the positive side and the other which is for negative thoughts.
“A lot of journals don’t actually have places where you can offload everything like what you are feeling, any dark thoughts or bad situations. You can offload that in the Bee You Journal and it lets you write down how it can be improved. In life, it is not about what happens to you but how you react to it and that is what I am trying to show people.
“Everyone goes through tough times but it is important on how you can move on from that and the journal is a good place to write everything down what you are feeling.”
What is the future for yourself then?
“A lot of people wouldn’t like to live how I live but I’ve been an entrepreneur since being a kid. I’m writing a book about my story for those people who have only saw snapshots online, so I am hoping to raise a bit more awareness about my mental health as well.
“I just want everything I’m involved with to keep growing. I just want to keep learning so I can give more to others because my message gets further if I do that, whether that be with the Bee You Journal or Andy’s Man Club.”
Bee You Journals are priced at just £10 and can be bought at lukeambler.co.uk.
Check out the first part of this feature right here, where Luke talks in-depth about Andy’s Man Club and why he set it up.