Stories bring us closer together. They’re key to everyday life; they help us to confirm our identities and help us to identify the similarities between ourselves and others.
This is where I tell my story so far; my passions, why I do what I do and how this all happened. So, without further ado, if I was to tell my story at the present moment in time, it would go a little something like this…
Part I: “West Philadelphia born and raised. On the playground is where I spent most of my days.”
Ok, ok, I wasn’t born and raised in West Philadelphia. But, as a 90’s kid I’ll quote the Fresh Prince wherever possible, and this seemed like an appropriate place to do so.
I actually grew up around 3,559 miles from Philadelphia in a small town in the East of England, called Bury St Edmunds. Bury’s not famous for cheese steaks, well known sports franchises or scenes from Rocky movies, but it’s still a pretty cool little town.
As I kid I did spent a lot of my days on the playground, or football pitch to be more precise. Alongside other childhood pastimes such as building forts and watching cartoons, sport played a big part in my life from an early age and helped shape who I am today.
My other early passion was animation, and I guess that’s where my love of storytelling and writing comes from. I was constantly inspired by the magic and wonder created by animated films and the stories they told.
Part II: Work before glory
We live in a world where anyone can make an impact regardless of their age or experience. Yet, in 2008, employers didn’t seem to see it that way. At 19, after finishing college and being made redundant from my part-time shop job, I was welcomed to the real world with a bang.
I spent days, weeks and months writing CV’s and apply for jobs. Jobs, that as time passed, got further and further away from where I wanted to be and where I thought my future lied. Until one day, a good friend and I realised that if you want make it, you got to make your own way.
We started a business, SportDriven – this gave us the chance to build something of our own, create our own opportunities, and importantly provided one of the steepest and most valuable learning curves of our lives.
We made mistakes, a lot of them. But looking back everything we did – right or wrong – provided a valuable lesson and helped shape the coming years of our lives. It also helped me to realise that success is about work before glory. Or as Michael Jordan would say; “It’s not about the shoes…”
Along this journey I started meeting new people, and building a network through social media and content creation. I wrote for a couple of blogs, got a bit of paid work here and there, but most notably, I started to understand the importance or reputation, influence and trust.
After deciding it was time to move on from SportDriven (and needing a bit of financial safety), I jumped into the digital agency world and took a role working in the realm of online games and fantasy sports. Again, this was a learning curve – I’d never had a ‘proper’ job before – and it felt rewarding. I was learning. It was safe. I was finally earning a paycheck every month.
Part III: “And that’s what ultimately led you here right now…”
Gradually, throughout my early-twenties, I’ve started to understand what’s important to me in life. It’s about living for your passions, spending time with people who inspire you, family and friends, chasing your dreams, and discovering the things that drive you.
In August 2013, I stepped out from traditional (9-5) employment and started to carve my own road. A journey I’ve been looking forward to and planning for years. It’s a jump I’d been scared of making, but one I hope to be very exciting and rewarding.
At times during my attempts to make the move to freelancing, I felt like it was never going to happen. I debated giving up, settling at my agency, and getting on with life – but I knew I’d never truly be happy with that. I have a desire to create, to do something meaningful and leave a legacy – and I never felt I would achieve any of this sticking to a 9-5 career.
So, here I am, attempting the make my own way. And it genuinely means a lot to me that you’re here reading about my story. Thank you.
Nine to five is how to survive, I ain’t trying to survive, I’m tryna live it to the limit and love it a lot. – Jay Z