Creating a career that you love
When Caitlyn messaged me to ask if I'd speak on the panel at her event this February, I was so touched to be asked. I was even more excited when I realised that the topic was about creating a career that you love - this couldn't be more up my street.
I had been to one of The Authentic Project events in June 2019 and had been so inspired by the panel she had. I immediately followed the Creative Rebels and have subsequently taken away a lot from their podcast since discovering them at her event. So, to be asked to follow in their shoes was such a big honour to me. I set about pondering how I'd got to where I am now and made lots of notes on my phone as things popped up in my head. It was actually a nice process to go through and give it some thought. I wanted to ensure that I didn't draw a blank when I was asked questions - you know, like when someone asks what sort of music you like and you just have no idea all of a sudden. I dreaded one of those! But it was a lot of fun being on the panel and Caitlyn is great at interviewing.
I was sat opposite a wonderful audience, who I really enjoyed chatting to after the panel had finished. Looking around the room while the other panelists spoke, it was really inspiring to watch their reactions, their faces light up as something resonated. But one audience member who stood out to me was Caitlyn's Mum. She constantly smiled and nodded and at the end of our talk, she stood up to make a beautifully supportive comment about her daughter. It struck me because I can truly say that I wouldn't have been sat on that chair had I not been so fortunate as to have one of those myself. For one of the major crossroads that led me down a more adventurous path was calling home from my desk at the Ministry of Defence to chat to my parents about the next role I was going to have. At this point, it was stay in the MoD or teach skiing in Colorado where I had a job & a visa. With no hesitation, they both said "Colorado". I am eternally grateful for that. Having their support truly gave me wings to fly and really helped while people thought I was bonkers for giving up such a good job.
The ski industry is quite a magical place because it is full of people who have made big sacrifices to be there. It isn't a place where you're likely to make your millions, so everyone is there out of passion for what they do. That is so infectious, and oftentimes you'll find a lot of multi-passionate people. Many of my friends in the ski industry have a creative side and it was really common to have a creative side-hustle, filming, photography, graphic design all went hand in hand with ski seasons. I dreamt of building a life where I could sustain both. If I got to a point where one winter a year was enough (I did 10 years of doubling up my winters in the Southern Hemisphere) I wanted to build something equally fulfilling that I could do in the summer. Freelance Graphic design was something I aspired to, and by teaching myself design, and a few other accidental ventures, I found my way to illustration. Once I'd stripped back the things I thought I should do, and did more of what came more naturally to me, I found where I am now.
It was truly a pleasure to be a part of the Authentic Project's last event and it was a lovely process for me to mull over the things that got me to here. What a joy to be in a room full of passionate motivated people and a perfect excuse to pop to London and wander around the city.
If you'd like to find out more, take a look at The Authentic Project