The alarm clock would go off, very early, every single morning. I’d wake up, check my phone for any emails or messages that had come in and then it’d be shower-shave-dress, breakfast and reluctantly jump in my car.
I felt trapped in my car. The drive to work was the first part of my daily grind. Why did I feel trapped? I’d done all the right things. I had been a police officer for 26 years and worked in all manner of jobs within policing. I had gone to university, had two degrees in education, worked in IT both privately and for government in education. I had done all the right things and now here I was stuck on this treadmill going nowhere, seemingly inspiring nobody; especially not myself and just feeling like I was trapped in this world that I had created. The sinking feeling in my stomach as I pulled into the carpark at work each day, left me wondering why. Why was I still lost? I’ve done all the things I was supposed to do.
My mind though was always restless. I was constantly thinking of new things to do. New things to help me find myself. Find my ‘calling’. But the sinking feeling wouldn’t go away. It was ever-present. I just wanted freedom. I just wanted to do work that I was inspired by. I just wanted to work and inspire others too.
So there I was, stuck in traffic again. I would always try and use my ‘drive time’ to think. I had an idea. Maybe I could use my educational skills to be a consultant on education and because I had been an actor and director in theatre for more than 12 years maybe I could throw in some creativity to the mix. It was a good idea, I thought. But I needed an audience. I sent an email to a friend of mine asking if he could help me out with getting an audience at a business group he chaired. As I was selling him my ‘wares’ he indicated that he was frustrated one of the things missing our region, was a commercial “Performance Artist”.
This was my lightbulb moment. For over 30 years in policing, government and education, I was the performance artist. I was the one that would play characters, emcee events, perform at graduations, be the voice over guy. I had been acting and directing in local theatre for 14 years as well. Plain as the nose on my face but I had never seen it.
I knew it was potentially going to be a business that commenced with a ‘slow burn’, I knew it was something I was passionate about and I knew I could hopefully inspire people through my work. There was no real professional performance artist/presenter/emcee in our region. Why not me? I knew all these great performers/emcees who are constantly being booked. I knew I could be just like them. I thought to myself. I can do this.
Inevitably though, I had all of these thoughts swirling in my head. Am I going to fail? Am I gonna look like a goose in front of my friends and family, who up to this point only saw me as a success? And these were real fears? I’d stay up at night not wanting to go to bed because I knew what work lay ahead of me. I wanted to get it all done while at the same time I was stricken with fear about what I was leaping into. Was I losing my marbles? No. I needed to convince myself I was going to give it one hell of a red hot go. I wanted to be doing this as soon as possible and I didn’t want to be working for a boss anymore.
The next morning, I woke up and told myself, I’m going to do this. I’m going to sit down and learn what it takes to have a great website. I’m going to learn how to create great social media. Learn what it takes to hone my skills as an MC. Publish great content that can sell my skills as an artist, an entertainer. Every single day, I wrote out a list of what I needed to do. I’d probably get shot down. I would struggle. I would no doubt come up against another wall that would knock me down, but I told myself to keep getting back up. Keep taking one small step forward every chance I could get and I could see myself turning my friend’s idea into a reality. It has been a slow process but it came and I was able to launch my brand in March 2018. At that point, there was no turning back.
There is no turning back.