Sometimes it blows my mind just how lucky I have become. As I write this, my second blog since launching Carlin Creative ‘Time to Shine’ Events and Communications a few weeks ago, I am watching the late summer sun descend behind Brandon Mountain on Dingle’s North Shore, County Kerry in Ireland.
The sky and tide are engaged in a crimson, unspeakably beautiful slow dance as the sun sinks low into the west. There is beauty all about; mountains to the left of me, ocean to the right. Here I am stuck in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way and loving every minute of it!
Can you imagine waking up every day and getting paid to do what you love and doing business where, when and how you love doing it?
Imagine the freedom, the independence, the autonomy to decide that today, I am going to operate Carlin Creative www.carlincreative.co.uk from an, albeit temporary Head Quarters, Sandy Bay Two Caravan Park on the Maharees Peninsula?
I’ve been coming to this spectacular, sometimes unforgiving place since early childhood. Never in my own wild Atlantic dreams did I ever imagine, I would be running my own business and from a place I can be so boringly passionate about. I love it!
It wasn’t so long ago, we would have to queue up at a telephone box in the nearby village of Castlegregory to make any sort of contact with the world outside the Kingdom of Kerry.
Today, enabled by technology, (thank you Three.ie, Mobile Wi-Fi) I am able to travel, to work and earn on-the-go, on-demand and from wherever I choose to. Freedom!
So let’s be honest! Where would you rather work? Chained to a desk in a corporate company, with little heart and less soul; where you are treated as a number, subject to the shifting sands of efficiency plans and redundancy measures and where the focus is always on the bottom line.
Or instead, would you like to take an entrepreneurial leap, to create a business around a niche that you are passionate about, to be part of a small but dynamic team of creative people who care deeply about what they do and on occasion run it from a beach near Dingle.
What that means, is we all have a choice!
Letting go of a 20-year career in British Broadcasting wasn’t easy. I loved my time working in marketing, communications and event management for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC and was proud of my association with some of the best known media brands in the world.
Broadcasting by its very nature has no shortage of talent, ambition, ideas, genres, programmes, subjects or crises. It is in a constant state of evolution bringing with it multiple opportunities to work with highly talented people and on some great content.
It was a bold move to quit a high paying job to venture out and see what the world had to offer. The first thing I realised was that job hunting as we know it has changed forever. It’s a jungle out there in a depressed market where only the fittest survive and where head hunters and recruitment agencies circle.
I was particularly impressed by two Belfast based companies, the first, 4c Executive Search led by principal search consultant, Gary Irvine. At 4c I met Emma Kieran who set me up with an interim Director of Communications role with Cancer Fund for Children.
I am also grateful to Karl Webb, Senior Executive Search Consultant at MCS Group. Both Karl and Emma provided sound professional advice and guidance and were focused on serving the best interests of candidates as well as their clients. I liked that!
It took a while to let go of my normal corporate work ethos, of engrained ways of working and to break free of traditional expectations around finding and keeping a job. That old saying, as one door closes another one opens, is no longer strictly true!
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) once said: “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
It was time to take a long hard look at who I was, what I had to offer, to drill down into my unique skills, capabilities and talents and put them to good use in serving others. Naval gazing back through my early years, school and university days and through my career in broadcasting led me to a simple conclusion.
I have a very real and life-long passion for creativity, production and the process of transformation. In my last blog, I write: “I am the type of person, weirdly or not, who likes nothing better than to take an empty restaurant or a corporate venue and turn it into something remarkable. It’s less a mantra, more a way of life and it applies to almost everything I do.
“Whether it’s writing a press release, running an event or giving someone a gift, there is joy to be had from taking the standard and elevating it into something unique and the pleasure doubles when it is to someone else’s benefit. There’s nothing quite like seeing the smiles on faces only a truly special occasion can bring.”
Carlin Creative ‘Time to Shine’ Events and Communications has been born out of embracing that passion, of turning what I am doing and what I love to do into a business. It’s thrilling and scary at the same time, to create something really special, to ignite a brand, and infuse it with creativity and love.
What I want to build is a flourishing business; one where I can achieve a deeper sense of well-being, meaning and purpose. I believe, learning to flourish and helping others to do the same is one of the most powerful and worthwhile investments we can make.
Dr Maureen Gaffney, one of Ireland’s most accomplished psychologists and a respected and trusted commentator on everything from personal development to organisational, cultural and societal change, wrote:
“We all have a dream place, a high place we are journeying towards in our lives. The purpose and direction of travel for each of us, says Aristotle, is to achieve a unique form of excellence distinct to our individual nature. The highest stage of development possible. That is our high place, where we are at our best, where we can flourish.”
Finally, I find myself in a place where I feel vitally alive because I know and feel that I am now doing what I was put in this world to do. I no longer feel blocked or frustrated in my efforts, that my spirit is trapped or that I am being robbed of my place and purpose in life and I am doing it from one of the most beautiful places on this planet.
Time and tide waits for no man.
I’ve gone to catch the surf!