When to call it quits and follow your dream
Words by Laticia Gibson, Founder of Blue Clay Creatives and Mind Body Business
Some people can’t understand my decision. Why leave a job with a major broadcaster and a career as an on-screen journalist? Why leave the glitz and glamour, the hair and makeup and gorgeous wardrobe selection? Why?
Simple. I had more to offer.
Leaving the world of journalism was actually an easy decision, which is ironic considering my fight to get into the industry. I had dreamed of being a journalist from when I was eight years old. I used to hold chat shows in the bathroom here interviewed my dolls.
It was never about being in the spotlight (although some who know me may laugh and disagree) it was about telling stories. I simply loved asking questions and finding out all I could!
The news industry is cutthroat, that’s no secret. So when I decided on this career path, I knew I needed to be tenacious. And tenacious I was.
I joined Channel Seven’s, Today Tonight reporting team when I was just 23. I was thrown into a real newsroom surrounded by seriously experienced journalists and literally told by my executive producer, ‘it’s sink or swim.’
I think I managed to get a few strokes in to keep my head above water but it wasn’t a learning curve – it was a fierce rollercoaster of learning.
In my time at the network I had a my fair share of memorable moments.
I led a number of investigations that resulted in legislative review, travelled to Italy where I interviewed some of the world’s leading fashion designers and helped a family save their home. The list of happy, fulfilling and rewarding times goes on. It was also littered with now hilarious tales. Like the time I had my toe broken by a rival network reporter on a ‘door stop’. This is industry jargon for the senseless act of one putting their foot in the way of a door to stop another slamming it in your face. Unfortunately in this instance, the door (and reporter) won and I hobbled away.
Then there were the not so happy moments – the ones that changed my life.
I was exposed to what I would classify as an A-grade bully and my confidence was destroyed within 12 months.
I would spend every night worried to go to sleep because I didn’t know what the next day would bring. There was one stage where I slept a total of 10 hours in one week. It tested relationships with family and friends and it broke up my relationship.
I felt like life was out of my control. The constant gnawing in my stomach, the heaviness on my soul and the health related issues that came from depression and sleep deprivation were just too much.
Then it got worse.
Two very dear friends of mine were tragically killed in separate incidents. My mortality became very real.
Not only was my work totally consuming me, my private life was spiralling into a very dark hole.
Then one day, I was sitting at my work desk and I had an epiphany. Something spiritual-like forced me to look up and around the room. Suddenly I was looking through different eyes.
I could see the maliciousness for what it was. The world wasn’t personally attacking me. Sure, the bully was having a fair crack but I realised even that wasn’t about me – it was their insecurities being deflected.
I drew a sharp breath and swallowed the bitterness. Without thinking, without speaking, I walked to the travel agent downstairs and booked a one-way ticket to London. I was the only person who could save me. I had to get out.
We’ve been taught that running away from problems is a bad thing. But perhaps we’ve been mislabelling the process? Getting on that plane was one the most liberating experiences; and one that I will always be proud of. I found an unknown strength.
I now have a very special mantra that I live by – run towards the things that scare me the most.
Making that choice to walk out released me.
After two years working for the BBC and other agencies, I realised that the volatility and ego of a newsroom just wasn’t for me anymore but telling stories? I could never give up that.
Unearthing, chasing and creating – that’s what I do best. Working in a newsroom means I know how to deal with ridiculous deadlines and ridiculous people – both in and out of the office! Cutting through all of that, I know I can mould something that is engaging and moves people.
You want resilience, passion and integrity? I’ve done the 24-hour shifts, held people as they cried over losing a child and chased the less innocent to the ends of the earth. I’ve had doors slammed in my face, spent day after days on stakeout and swanned around with the who’s who on the red carpet. At the end of it, it comes down to this – authenticity. I am happiest when I am sharing the stories of great, inspiring and healthy people.
I’ve been running my video production agency, Blue Clay Creatives for over four years now and whilst it has been really hard at times, I am in control. I made a choice to follow my passion and not have the health of my body and mind affected by the choice of staying in a job that was killing me. As a result, I also started Mind Body Business, which is an annual event dedicated to showing people how having a healthy mind and body is essential to running a successful business. It also arms people with the tools to follow their dreams.
With these businesses I am my authentic self. I am able to connect with individuals and businesses to uncover their unique story. Not a story that I have been told to find or create. I find the essence of what makes them exceptional.
The most touching part of this process is watching people as I help them unearth a part of themselves or their business they didn’t see before. Everyone is unique. We all have a story – sometimes it just hasn’t been discovered and told. That’s what I love.
It’s easy to settle into complacency and job security but isn’t life for living? Isn’t it for taking risks and diving in and truly TESTING yourself? Until I boarded that plane to London, I had no idea of what I was capable of. To be honest, with every test and challenge I am faced with I realise I still haven’t discovered what I am truly capable of. But that’s the beauty of choice. I choose to live my life to honour who I really am and what I am truly passionate about.
So my column is dedicated to this: choosing a better path for life and business.
I will interview some great entrepreneurs about their path and share with you why having a healthy body and mind is essential to running a healthy business.
My question for you today is: Are you being your authentic self in every aspect of your life?