I went to see The Greatest Showman in the cinema last week and it made me think about how people become influential.
Now, you can be on the right side of this and the terribly wrong, I’m sure you can silently name drop a few influential beings who embody both yin and yang.
But surely, there is some sort of real life formula for success (*coughs*) I mean, being influential that you make someone think or do something.
Okay, let’s have a little conversation on the toilet with ourselves …
- To be influential, do you need to be good looking?
- Do you think it helps to have money?
- Maybe it’s just down to luck?
- Or could it be what you know?
- Does it boil down to the idea? YES! The idea of what you would like to be influential. That seems legit. Let’s role with…
Sticking with the idea, I think it would make sense to grow that idea as its all about the foundation you have, right?
Hmm, well what about the tools? Yes! Tools! You can’t be influential if you don’t have a platform to show others your talent, yes? Absolutely!
Lets think, what do I have?
Well, I have an idea, a computer, free internet, people all over the world to help me navigate the basics of online platforms such as; WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
What am I missing?
Money! Well, I can work for that.
Now what? Get started.
Its always those two words that people fear more than anything, more than failing itself. Its odd really, when you think how much we have at our fingertips, how much free help we have to get started and kickstart our dreams.
Its funny that, funny that every dream we’ve had comes from a real person.
I want to be an astronaut.
I want to be a makeup artist on Broadway.
I want to sing on Broadway.
I want to be a travel writer for Vogue.
There’s real people doing these jobs, living these ‘dream’ lives and all because they got started, they began.
I’m in my third and final year of studying a BA in Professional Writing and Media, and I ask people what they want to be when they’ve got their degrees, and they say,
I’ll probably just work in a supermarket.
Oh my God, what? I’m just trying to get through this year.
Which is said because, you must of applied to uni with a job in mind, you must of had a dream when you were a kid and then developed that into a some sort of title you’ve googled or maybe theres just a firm or an area you want to go into?
I admit, it’s hard deciding, there’s so many job titles and I’m searching online thinking, there’s so many!
I actually found my perfect role online the other night, well I think it’s perfect. I love travelling, meeting new people, and the company seems to understand me but the job is in New York ha! A little welsh lamb off to America, and I’ve never been! All the places I’ve travelled to and I’ve never been to America, how silly is that!?
I’m still going to apply for that job, I want to live in many countries.
I don’t get it how someone can just decide they want to live in one place forever, when they’ve never travelled or spent time anywhere else. It’s like finding the one, it takes time and if you’re really lucky, extremely lucky, you’ll be fortunate enough to find them waiting for you.
I just have this phrase in my head whenever doubt pays a visit, and its,
A life without love, is no life at all.
- Leonardo Da Vinci
I think this extends to people, places, careers…anything that makes you feel alive.
I remember that day when I was lying on the floor in upper Bangor, Wales. My drink was spiked the night before and I’d just collapsed, smashing my head on the floor. When I opened my eyes, my friend Emily said, “she’s alive!”.
Everyone thought I was dead, my heart had stopped but someone or something brought me back. I can’t tell you how much I feared life after that, for week, even months I’d suffer with anxiety. Its not that I wanted to die, i’ve never wanted to live more in my life but theres something strange about those two words, even one really, and that is to begin.
Sorry! I little heavy for January I know!
So one day after a run up to the lake near my old house, I thought and thought about what I wanted and at the time, that was to travel. I wanted to meet new people (as I come from a small town), and try new cultures and generally go on an adventure. So I did.
Then after I came back, I applied for an administration course in college, and at some point during the year we were supposed to undergo work experience for the marketing department.
Just by happy chance, I met a freelance reporter for my local newspaper who was writing a piece in the collage and who also worked part time in the marketing department.
He let me interview a few people for the article, and let me draft up a section of the piece, which he later sent in with my CV.
Fast forward a few weeks and I’d written a front page story in the Newspaper. I’ve got it laminated in my room somewhere, I’ll make sure to include a picture.
Along side college, I was working at Monsoon and I’d saved up all my money from working to go to London for a few weeks to complete work experience at GoThinkBig owned by Bauer Media, think 02, Men’s Health Magazine, Empire.
It was hard work! I was up at 5am everyday and travelled in an hour from where I was staying to be there for half 8 every morning.
On the last day of my work experience, I was at Grazia, a magazine owned by Bauer Media. I’d introduced myself to Jess Vince, who was Web Editor for Grazia at the time, we ended up having lunch and she offered me to work freelance, which was amazing.
Even more so was meeting Adam Gold, who I was supposed to shadow but he couldn’t make it. How often is it that someone says they owe you? Not very!
Adam has been a mentor to me for the past 4 years and I am eternally grateful to him already.
Fast foward to the present and I’ve written for numerous magazines including, Essentially Pop, reviewing and meeting bands and artists.
So far, I’ve been developing my tools, my skills and perfecting them so that when I get my degree next year, I’ll have the knowledge and confidence to take my dreams but the balls and not let go, ha!
I wanted to share my experience with you, so you know it hasn’t been easy, nor would I want it to be. Nothing you ever want, really want, is easy, and it would never be worth while if it was.
I started off with a tool and that was my ambition to learn, I haven’t been paid for any of the work I’ve done or the articles I’ve written but there’s more value in those 500 or so words than all the money in the world, and that’s because it’s down to the art of being influential. These people I’ve worked with and met and will continue to meet are influencing me to keep going, keep achieving and wanting more out of my life, because they’re doing it.
Make sure you keep reading my ‘How To’ section for conversations with more influential people, who might inspire you to get started.
So, ask yourself this, have you started your life yet?
Happy New Year everyone!