Amy Chan is the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp
I recently read an incredibly interesting article that equated heartbreak with drug withdrawal. Yeshiva University neuroscientist, Lucy Brown, who studied through brain imaging the similarities between people who were addicted to drugs and people who were heartbroken said:
“it’s not surprising that the same areas of the brain that were active in the brains of cocaine addicts were active in people who were heartbroken.”
Which brings me to my latest female founder interviewee: Amy Chan, founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp and author of Breakup Bootcamp (out Dec. 1).
Amy has been deemed a scientific Carrie Bradshaw relationship expert for all her work as the Chief Heart Hacker of Renew Breakup Bootcamp. She is also the editor-in-chief of JustMyType.ca (now HeartHackers Club), an online magazine that focuses on the psychology behind love, lust and desire.
Snapshots from past editions of the Renew Breakup Bootcamp
Renew Breakup Bootcamp is a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart, where Amy has helped countless women heal their hearts. The idea came to Amy after going through a tough and painful breakup herself, and realizing that the breakup was just the shakeup she needed to redirect her life.
Originally from Vancouver, Amy was an incredibly successful marketing consultant before moving to New York to become an entrepreneur. In fact, her own breakup was the catalyst she needed to transform her life and move to the city that never sleeps.
We had the honor of connecting with Amy, and listening to the story of how she came into her own: from dreaming of being someone's plus one to taking the time to learn about herself, experiment with healing and eventually becoming a sought-after female founder, successful columnist and author (and if I may add: an expert doodler, check out her doodle account here).
Firstly, how did the idea for Renew first come about?
Several years ago I was dating someone who I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I thought life was perfect. I had the job, the status, and the boyfriend. I was training to be the perfect CEO’s girlfriend so that eventually I’d be the perfect CEO’s wife. Living the dream, at that time, was being someone’s plus one, getting married and eventually being a stay-at-home-mom. It’s the only dream I ever knew. But one day, that dream fell apart. The man I thought was going to be happily ever after cheated on me, and when the relationship fell apart, I fell apart. I had also lost my job a few months prior, and moved out of my apartment to live with him. I felt like my entire world came crashing down and found myself jobless, boyfriend-less and without a place to call my home. I stopped eating, I spiraled into depression, I had suicidal thoughts. After I hit rock bottom, I realized that I couldn’t continue the way I was. I picked myself back up, and tried to heal. I tried everything - therapy, reiki, meditation, yoga retreats, you name it, I tried it. Eventually the steps added up and I started to feel like the dark haze was being lifted. I immersed myself into learning everything I could about heartbreak. I researched, I wrote, I experimented on myself and sought the guidance of experts from the scientific to the metaphysical. I realized that during my heartbreak there was no one place where I could go to heal, and learn about myself and my patterns so that I wouldn’t repeat the same heartbreak all over again. Throughout my journey I was blogging about my experience. After receiving countless emails from people feeling hopeless in heartbreak, I learned that there’s so many people struggling, and that it’s a very scary place to be when you feel like you have no hope. I was fortunate to have a support system and to learn the tools to heal, but what about the people who didn’t have such support? I knew I had to be the one to create a safe space for people mourning heartbreak, and to leave different from how they came in. Alas, the idea for breakup bootcamp was born.
The idea to start the Renew Breakup Bootcamp came from Amy's own heartbreak.
What were some of the first steps you took to start Renew?
Back in Vancouver, my life goals had been to simply climb the corporate ladder, get married, and become a stay-at-home mom. But after reaching my professional goal of becoming a marketing executive, a messy breakup with my partner forced me to pivot my goals for the future. Goodbye, operation housewife. Determined to find another path, I took off to the city that never sleeps. When I moved to New York, I hoped no one would notice that I was an imposter in an entrepreneurial world. To meet new people, I joined communities such as Summit Series — an organization that hosts events for “young entrepreneurs, artists, and activists.” None of my new friends had a regular 9-to-5 lifestyle. They were all startup founders, entrepreneurs, and even the ones who did have jobs had side hustles on side hustles! I needed a business idea, so I took a look at what I loved doing. Despite my history of dabbling in different career paths and passion projects, there was one passion that persisted throughout: writing about relationships.
And what were some obstacles you had to overcome as a founder?
After I quit my full-time job, I worked 10 hours a week as a marketing consultant, and the rest of my time was focused on building my business. Anything that didn’t fall into the categories of creating cash flow or growing the business was a “no,” regardless of how bright and shiny the distraction was. I balanced consulting and working on my startup for a year, until I felt comfortable enough to quit consulting and completely focus on my business. To this day, when cash flow is low, it’s reassuring to know that if I had to, I could always fall back on my original skill set. I’ve learned that much of the entrepreneurial mindset is being able to ride the waves of uncertainty through times of scarcity.
Very excited to check out Amy's new book
Breakup Bootcamp out Dec. 1!
And lastly, what do you wake up looking forward to today?
I wake up looking forward to creating. To write, to draw, to learn more. To use what I learn and research and help other people with their relationships challenges.