Six months ago, I quit my dream job at Australia’s largest online fashion retailer, THE ICONIC, to live a little differently, travel more, explore the freelance world and essentially just do things my way. I had worked at this amazing company in various roles for 4.5 years and when people ask me why I left (since I truly loved my job), I tell them it’s because of how much I had seen the business grow since its startup days – this brand started as an idea, and it became something. So, it was my time to start my own ideas and become something for myself. To be honest, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, whether I’ll succeed or fail, but I can tell you that I deserve the opportunity to at least try my damn hardest, which is what I’ve been doing for the past six months.
And do you know what things people have said to me to keep me going? Here are a few of the most memorable lines, phrases and opinions that I’ve received over the years.
“You know, you’re pretty funny. When I first saw you, I thought you’d be boring, but now that I’m talking to you, you’re great!”
“I think you’re great at what you do, but you’re just not there yet.”
“Do you go to the English school here?”
(This was hilarious because I was a senior copywriter at that time)
“That’s a good idea. I never thought it would come from someone like you.”
"Wow. I never pictured you to be someone who's achieved this much!"
I bet you weren’t expecting those to be the phrases that have motivated me the most. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel some kind of hurt when I first heard the above, most of them weren't intentional. Over time, you’ll realise that the people who support you will always be there, and the people who give their unwanted opinions about you will always be there too. What you make of it is up to you. I could have continued to feel angry and hurt about these types of things (and we all get them), but the day I left to live differently was the day that I stopped caring about all that shit. The truth is, if they don't believe me, that's OK - as long as I believe in myself and as long as I keep on going.
In Feb 2017, I gave my Social Media 102 (not 101) talk to 77 enthusiastic attendees at Bali's co-working space Dojo. This wouldn't have happened if I believed in all those negative opinions.
The only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself.
The person you need to make sure is happy and satisfied is YOU.
While it’s nice to get compliments and positive feedback, it’s also good to get some negative stuff thrown at you to remind yourself about your own values and how you’re treating others, as well as to remind yourself to not care about what they say. By doing that, you’re already a better person than them. Look, I'm also not going to lie that it does feel great when you do achieve something and think back to these people. I'm allowed to have my "told you so" moment in private.
Yes, I'm motivated because I don't care about the irrelevant shit. I only focus on my goals, my actions and the people who support me. I've come this far by doing so.
The very last thought I want to leave you with is that if I’ve continued to work and collaborate remotely with my clients, or at least have my clients enjoy exploring alternative ways to work with me, then I’m living my dream right now. So if I can do it, it means YOU have every right to TRY your best at pursuing whatever your heart desires.
Go get ‘em, tiger.
Karen P'ng is a Freelance Consultant specialising in Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing and Content Strategy. She helps brands and startups build the strategy and foundations for efficient growth in their business, via onsite and remote collaborations. With Sydney as her home base, Karen travels every 2-3 months to give social media talks, consultations and work with any international clients who require onsite collaborations.