It is 5:02 am as I’m attempting to pen down my morning notes. A new habit I’m trying to cultivate as part of my before-dawn morning routine. I’m not going to lie – it’s not easy.
Both acts of waking up at 5am and articulating one’s thoughts while the brain is still booting-up can be a challenge. Luckily, I have help. Mother earth has ensured that her people won’t go into this life without caffeine. Where would we be without coffee? As I sit in my study contemplating the topic for this month’s opinion piece and the launch of our blog, I can’t help but think of the journey that lead me here, the very moment, the exact point in time that forced me to become the present version of myself. Like Darwin’s Origin of Species’ controversial unveiling of mankind’s source code, so one also has to take the time to… stop. Pause. Look back. Evaluate one’s life in order to understand and acknowledge when the moments happened that caused change, growth and the evolution of the self. Like any good tragedy, this story, not ends, but starts by killing off the hero.
Kill the ego.
I remember the exact moment in time and place when a younger, more ego-driven version of myself, took what felt like the toughest decision he ever made – the decision to commit ‘career suicide’ and unplug from ‘the matrix’. It was the summer of 2013, 12 July to be exact, in the city of London. I quit my high-paying job at the height of my career at one of London’s top digital media marketing firms. After spending eight years sculpting a career in a foreign land through blood, sweat and tears, adapting to high-pressure first-world environments, navigating complex cross-cultural nuances, language barriers, boardroom antics, and dare I say it, year-round bad weather. All while balancing one’s own naïve, egotistical ambitions with the harsh realities of life. But there was only one truth to live. One choice to end all choices. It was time to pull the plug.
Pull the plug.
“But why?!” shouted my ego. I was conflicted. After all, it took me so long to get to this point. It all started with humble beginnings, working as a contract-builder with a Bachelor of Commerce degree under the belt and a crumpled-up CV in my overalls’ back pocket, to doing data entry at a charity, to finally landing a proper job as a graduate trainee advertising executive (fresh off the boat). Fast forward eight years and I finally achieved my ‘career peak’ years later as Director of Clients Service at one of the UK’s top WPP Group agencies. Why would anyone tap out at this point? I can ask you the same question; why did Neo follow the white rabbit? Why do androids dream of electric sheep? Why do southern right whales come back to the exact same spot, at the exact same time every year, along the South African south coast to breed and calve?
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
In the wise words of Charles Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”. All good things must come to an end – if you want to grow, that is. The reality was that I was in fact not ‘tapping out’ but signing up for my real purpose.
Just like Neo from the Matrix, the androids from Blade Runner and the majestic southern right whale, I was following my instinct.
Trust your instinct.
Many would argue that giving up a life in the United Kingdom and moving back to one’s native South Africa after building a life and a career in one of the greatest cities in the world, might be counter-intuitive. And they would be right.
But life isn’t always about making the supposedly ‘logical decision’ in the moment of truth. One has to trust one’s gut, one’s instinct. My instinct, simply put, flicked the override switch in my brain. Right there and then the seed was planted. An uncontrollable desire to create was ignited. My plan was simple:
Create something from nothing!
In hindsight, I realise that I’ve always been a creative thinker and the need to create something from nothing has always been a core driving force within my spirit. The move back to South Africa allowed me to do two things; reconnect with my culture, family and friends, and use that energy to become a creator of value, a builder of industry, a contributor to life.
Nothing in life worth having comes easy…
As a result, I’ve been extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to build several businesses over the past five years alongside good friends and colleagues in the digital media world, the creative industry, the film and videography sector; as well as the food and beverage retail environment.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “nothing in life worth having comes easy”. My interpretation of wise old uncle Theo’s words is slightly different, in that anything worth pursuing will sometimes feel that it’s too hard to achieve and that it’s not worth it. But stick to your guns. Respect the process, because all change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
Change is messy.
As the old adage goes, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. Especially when the going gets rough, one can’t imagine there’s going to be some light at the end of the tunnel. But every storm has its peaceful eye and after every set of stormy waves, there’s a moment of calm. It’s just a matter of timing, understanding the motion of the ocean, the weather patterns, the bigger picture, the process. Trust it. Navigate it. Respect it.
Respect the process.
My company Limbik Media – a specialist digital performance marketing agency – has propelled me into a true state of focus. But focus is a fickle companion and moments of clarity regarding the journey ahead are sometimes more fleeting than not. The key, however, is to make sure you follow the steps:
1. Accept that worthwhile pursuits are hard
2. Kill your ego
3. Pull the plug on mediocrity
4. Trust your instinct
5. Create something of value
6. Accept that change is messy
7. Respect the process
8. Allow yourself to truly focus
My journey so far at the helm of Limbik Media has been a special and truly humbling experience, as it has helped me to focus, to simplify, to recalibrate, to reimagine and to reconnect.
If you’d like to connect, please feel free to get in touch via our website.
Limbik Media is a specialist digital performance marketing agency based in the Cape Winelands. Clients span across multiple industry sectors, including finance, fintech, hospitality, property, retail and travel. Geographically, Limbik Media services clients in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, as well as across 12 Sub-Saharan African markets and the UK. Limbik Media’s mantra is to decomplexify marketing in the digital era, by offering sophisticated simplicity.
Read more about Limbik Media’s service offering and product suite on our website: www.limbikmedia.com