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10 years on, time to reflect on a life and career changing decision

By Visual Culture Advice and Resources, Blog No Comments on 10 years on, time to reflect on a life and career changing decision

It seems like a coincidence that this time 10 years ago I was packing my bags off on the adventure of a lifetime. I was leaving my Melbourne life and a comfortable full time production job to head to London to live and work. One of the first stops to London was a journey through Nepal and India, a chance to experience the adventure of a lifetime and enjoy the people, places and culture.

Why is it a coincidence? Well I’ve packed my bags again and boarded a flight to India and Pakistan to film a new project for one of our clients, 7 Eleven.

What makes this trip even more special is that I joined the 7 Eleven chairman Michael Smith and his wife Robyn as they visited the stores of 7 Eleven franchisees around Australia and then met their extended families in Pakistan and India. It was fascinating  to hear their background stories, experience their culture and discover why these franchisees made the big decision to leave the life they had known to move to a new country. To some extent I can relate to their decisions of making the huge move to set up a life in a new country. Although my move was only intended to be temporary, these franchisees have made their move to Australia more permanent investing in their own franchise – each with a unique and engaging story.

The perfect time to reflect

So a decade on, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how much has changed in my life, all for the better, all from making that big decision.

It was a decision built on professional development with an opportunity to take the next steps in my career and also a decision based largely on personal circumstances at the time. I’d just turned 30 and it was a chance to get out of my comfort zone, to see if I had what it took to become successful at going it alone in the production world after having a full time role and wage for so long. It’s not that I was unhappy in my job, far from it, I loved my job and the people I worked with. I’d given it my all for so many years but it was time to try something new.

But in making that decision, I also visualised a broader picture of where I wanted to be in the future. I didn’t necessarily write down a list that definitively said “I must do this by the time I’m 40”, but I did know that I wanted to someday be my own boss, run my own production company, have a company that operated efficiently if I wanted to take time out, I wanted to live comfortably earning from my skillset and I wanted to work on creative projects directly for various clients.

So as I embark on this 7 Eleven project, I can say without a doubt I’ve checked all of those boxes and plenty more that I’d never considered. This project alone ticks all those boxes – it combines a chance for me to get creative, it allows me to showcase our production company, it combines my love of travel, it allows me to share intimate family stories to a wide audience, the business has operated seamlessly without me for 10+ days thanks to our Production Manager Amanda and it’s almost an afterthought that the business is being paid for this experience.

10 years ago if someone were to describe the personal and professional life I would have today, I would have been skeptical about how it would have all come together but also excited at the chance to take on the challenge.

So have you ever faced a decision that could ultimately change the course of your career or personal life? Perhaps when the big question was posed, you needed to assess and consider which way to go. Here are a few of my insights that led to me not only making my decision but maintaining a commitment to that decision.

Visualise your goals

Visualise where you want this decision to lead you in 10 years, 5 years or 1 year – maybe even next month.

I’ve seen a lot of articles recently that support the idea that if you visualise where you want to get to, it can make your path much clearer in helping to navigate your way through. And I’m sure you have seen the illustrations of the path to success not necessarily being a straight line up, but lot’s of ups and downs, backwards and forwards, even squiggly lines leading no where. Looking at the end goal will always help those micro-decisions easier and hopefully the road a bit smoother. For me, a lot has happened from a personal perspective over the past 10 years which has helped produce a clearer vision – I do what I do to support my family while still doing something that I love.

visualise your goals

It takes a team

Don’t for a second think you can do it on your own.

You need a support network to help achieve your goals. For me, I’ve been well supported by the production team, colleagues, clients and most importantly my family as I worked hard to achieve the dream. That dream just wouldn’t have been possible without my family. I have also worked thoroughly with two mentors over the past few years, Simon Banks who operated the production company Tallboy Media where I freelanced with in London, (who is now MD at Tracc Films) and Leigh Powell from Your Time Matters here in Melbourne, who has offered invaluable business advice as I looked for the best way to grow and transition Visual Culture. So identify the support network you need to make your decision a reality.

Break the big dream down into smaller goals

I have a personal motto of ‘give it three months’ – if something isn’t working within three months after you make a decision, then try something different. That could be a new marketing initiative or new work processes. Every week we have a production meeting that covers all client projects, but also Visual Culture specific projects aimed at the big picture. And I’m a list person – every day I’ll make a new list of things to do. Breaking the big dream down into bite-sized chunks will help you achieve your dream faster.

What happens when you achieve your goal?

Achieving your goal is the easy part, maintaining that level is the difficult part. Each year I set a benchmarks of what I want Visual Culture to achieve and for the most part, those goals are reached. But there have been difficult decisions and mistakes along the way. Looking forward, my goal for the next 10 years is to maintain this level and continue to provide a good life for my family and colleagues and build on the Visual Culture, well, culture.

Soon I’ll be posting some further blogs about my recent experience in Pakistan and India, so many stories to tell and learnings I took out of the trip. But as I mentioned earlier, this trip has provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years and how this project has been the culmination of that life I had visualised becoming a reality. And I’ve already visualised what life will be like next 10 years from now.

Because we all live in a Visual Culture….

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