Surrounded by friends and family last New Year’s Eve, I could have never imagined how big of an adventure 2012 would be. And how a short e-book I penned quickly over the holiday season would impact the next year of my life. ‘How To Do What You Love For A Living Without Selling Your Soul,’ was a short e-book written as a bit of an experiment after joining a new film and advertising agency. On face value it was a book about never settling for what the world wants and using what you are good at to shape the world around you. It sold a dozen copies and got a couple a nice reviews, (I was never the best writer in the world.) But the work’s impact really lies in how consolidating my ideas helped shape the next year of my life, something I can only appreciate now.
12 busy months later I’ve been lucky enough to have built teams who’ve produced two of the most influential viral film campaigns of the year; inspiring others to use their skills, talents and interests to start to change the world around them in a positive way.
The first film campaign, Homecoming, aimed to increase positive news coverage of the equal marriage debate and attract positive attention towards the Home Office’s Consultation on the issue. Together with the Coalition For Equal Marriage, the film topped YouTube’s ‘most watched’ list with 700,000 views in it’s first week online, inspired a secondary campaign endorsed with interviews with the likes of Theresa May, Nick Clegg, Richard Branson and Stephen Fry, and led to an invitation to Number 10 to meet Prime Minister David Cameron. The Home Office results showed an overall majority in favour and the film also won digital and film awards alongside brands such as O2, Microsoft and Tesco.
The second campaign film, Invisible Parents, set out to tackle inconsistencies in parenting laws across Europe. 2 months after launch the film has seen over 250,000 views on YouTube and has been aired as an advertisement throughout television channels in Europe and America. The project was also partnered with Human rights organisations including All Out, Nelfa, ILGA-Europe, BAAF and MEP Michael Cashman.
Media planning, shoot prepping, partnership negotiating, radio and television interviews, award ceremonies; this year taught me the importance of promotion, but it also taught me how incredibly important it is to enjoy every step of the way, because as attractive as the results sound when you’re working hard, they are never as awesome as you imagine when everything is finished. I think we’re all guilty sometimes of working with blinkers on, never stopping to appreciate the important steps in any project.
I’ve also continued to meet some incredible people this year, many contributed to the book. I’ve learnt through new friendships that you will never achieve happiness by doing everything yourself. It’s important to build a team of people that are better at things than you, and realising where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This includes relaxing, which I’m terrible at.
Overall this year taught me that success and happiness is nothing but a mindset. Your work is just the product of that mindset, along with the work’s results and if you’re goal is never to settle for anything less than happiness, you will achieve great things and start to change the world around you.
Use your passions and skills to propel yourself and the world around you to where they both need to be. Because where you are now – like right now – is not a fraction of the person you can be tomorrow. And where the world is, right now, is not a fraction of how awesome it can be tomorrow – with your help. Do not underestimate how much you can change using what you enjoy, and what you are naturally therefore good at. Whatever it may be.
Everyone enjoys something. Don’t waste that passion.
Thank you to everyone who’s made this a year of lessons to remember. Happy New Year x