A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s, Part 2…

Previously, I outlined the crossroads I found myself at, right around the summer of 2014/15: 

A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s:

Some people seeking direction go and travel to “find themselves”, but what they don’t understand is this: you can go anywhere you want, but if you don’t first change your inner-game, then you just end up in new surroundings with the same old problems. This is what happened my first year back in Brisbane- a continuation of the same problems and mindsets that existed before- and they needed to change.

But in this situation, it turned out the answer to my dilemma of “Where next?” already existed. It was all a matter of the timing. Because here’s 3 things I didn’t tell you about my life at the end of 2014:

a) I was studying part-time down on the Gold Coast, doing my MBA and commuting once a week for class

b) I’d heard about this driver/ rider app called Uber- new to Australia, it gave you the ability to earn money picking up passengers, driving your own car and working whenever you wanted to. I’d joined as a driver in September and made money driving people all around Brisbane. It was the perfect side-gig

c) I’d started attending a business networking group that met in the city, having been recommended by a colleague of mine-  a LinkedIn specialist named Julie

So in February 2015 I’m down on the Gold Coast for 3 days, at an online marketing conference at the Grand Chancellor in Surfers Paradise. Also with me are the Director of my business networking group and a fellow member who specialises in corporate video. Throughout the conference we’re animated- passing notes between us in a mad surge of brainstorming, brimming with great ideas. Then on the second day, during a presentation, the Director leans over and tells me she’s decided to open a new group here on the Gold Coast and she wants me to come on board as assistant to the Group Ambassador.

In a split second it all lines up: I can fulfil that role, and coupled with my studies, it would then make perfect sense to move down here. I can continue driving Uber on the side and if I need to go to Brisbane for anything, it’s just 45 minutes up the road.

In an instant- there’s my answer! I talked more about this experience in my very first article here: To Infinity- And Beyond!

So nearly 5 years to the day since I moved to Brisbane, I packed my belongings into a rental truck, drove down the freeway and spent the first night in my new place. The smell of fresh paint still hung in the air as I crashed out on my bed, surrounded by cardboard boxes from the move.

I quickly adjusted to my new surroundings. It was nice to be somewhere with less traffic, and the beach so close I could ride there on my bike. I could walk to uni when I had class or exams, and our new business networking group was close by.  It was the welcome change I’d been waiting for.

Burleigh Heads 3

In many ways, it felt like a breakout year for me with a sense that I was on the verge of great things- meeting people and making new connections with plenty of potentially valuable business opportunities. I remember the day before I flew back to see my folks for the Christmas holidays, going for a swim down at Surfers Paradise and looking along the beach scape of high-rise apartments, feeling like I’d finished a successful year. I was really optimistic about the year ahead.

But then the year ahead actually happened…

From early on, 2016 turned into a hectic period for me. It was like a hike up the side of a mountain that rose high into the mist, with barely time to catch my breath. Here were just a few of the goings-on:

  • I ended up dropping out of uni because I didn’t have time to juggle the workload any longer.
  • Some key personnel had left our business networking group (including the Group Ambassador), and their absence made a notable difference. In their wake other people followed, we changed venues, attendances dwindled and by May, the Director called time on our Gold Coast group.
  • Coupled with now driving to Brisbane every Monday afternoon for business networking, driving Uber into the early hours for extra coin on the weekends and general duties, I was clocking up around 800k’s a week on average. The only full day off I really had was Sunday- provided I didn’t wake up too late, having sometimes come in from taking fares at 4am.

Yet despite this backdrop, there was a period of time through the winter/ spring that I still remember fondly, when I took part in the 10 Week ‘Fight Like A Pro‘ journey, culminating in not one, but two fight nights at Jupiters’ and The Marriott respectively. I learned about boxing- and some unforeseen lessons about life itself. You can read about the whole experience here- and I strongly recommend you do: Preparing To Fight Taught Me THESE 3 Unexpected Things:

Simone D Photography28012801

Those 10 weeks probably summed up 2016 better than anything else could…

Recently, I read back through my journal from that year, and realised that if I’d kept going as I had been, I was probably close to burning out. After a year that began so full of promise, the reasons I’d had for moving to the Gold Coast were no longer relevant, and there was no particular reason to return to Brisbane either. So I made the decision to pack it in and return to the Central Coast for the time being. My family were there, as were old friends, and it was probably just what I needed even if it was a reluctant move.

I finished the year going up to Byron Bay for a few days with a mate from school, and we climbed Mt Warning which (in the end) felt quite fitting considering the 12 months I’d just gone through: What Paul Kelly Teaches Us About Success

I took some time off, and eased into 2017 picking up the pieces. I held my first ever ‘Stories That Sell‘ workshop, where in just half a day I demonstrate how to write a regular blog just like this one, revealing the easy process I follow that enables you to deliver content like this- and do it consistently.

I attended new networking groups, met new contacts, began teaching myself Spanish, started karate training again (which I’d done in Brisbane and then fallen out of once I moved to the Gold Coast) and just worked away. The year came and went, in 2018 I returned to the gym mid-way through the year (should’ve gone back earlier!) and it was freshly inspiring to see my weight increase by 10kgs in the space of 6 months and build notably stronger muscle definition. I painted a picture and wrote a 60,000+ word story that was based on an old story I’d written but felt could do with a revamp.

This was all backdrop to business growth- new connections, referrals and discoveries through my own research and a brand new website to match- Take a look for yourself

Rolling into 2019 and as I write these words, I’ve expanded further and I’m now the Group Leader for a new business networking group close-by. I spent a few weeks temping for a company in Sydney, and it reminded me of our need for real connection with each other in this tech-saturated age: Where’s our community at in 2019? (A brief observation)…

It also gave me a renewed appreciation for my regular workload- I couldn’t believe the amount of times in this temp job where I was sitting there, left with nothing to do. Waiting on somebody else to approve something before we could send it out, co-workers on the design team going about their business discussing matters I had nothing to do with- and I was left there with hours still to go before the day finished. It was a wake-up call, that’s for sure!

Still, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself just yet. I keep working away, always looking for improvement whether it’s delivering more value for clients or bringing more value into my life. Looking back over these past 10 years, its’ funny to look at where I’ve ended up. I never thought I’d be here!


L: New Years’ Day 2010 R: October 2019, Receiving my nomination as a finalist in the 2019 Business xCellence Awards from bX Founder, Matt Alderton

If I had to sum up the biggest lesson I’ve learned since 2010, it would be the one I included in a link from the first part of this article:

Figure out what you really want in life- then decide to do whatever it takes to get there.

That doesn’t mean compromising your convictions or your standards. It simply means to keep on doing. And be careful about using the words ‘never’ when it comes to your future. Because it could notably limit your destiny:

I never thought I’d take up boxing or step into the ring.

I never thought I’d go back and work full-time, even as a temp.

And back in March 2010, I never thought I’d return to the Central Coast.

But here I am- for now. You might have an idea of how you’re going to reach your goal, and if that how doesn’t go to plan you might worry. But as I like to say:

There’s more than one road to the Holy Grail.

You just need to be alert, keep your mind on that end goal and be prepared to make small changes along the way to re-adjust your path.

In the words of W. Clement Stone: Little hinges swing big doors.

Merry Christmas, and see you soon in 2020!


A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s:

In reality, a decade is simply a period of ten years that could fall between any two points in time you choose. But as it stands, we’re closing the book on a particular period of human history to be forever known as “the 2010’s”. Maybe it’s too early for us to agree what this decade will be especially remembered for (if you ask me, I’d say the increasing influence of internet culture on a political and societal level), but rather than focusing on this, I’m instead going to reflect on a personal level…

See, I clearly remember the beginning of 2010, where I was at, my mindset and what I hoped for the future. I worked permanent part-time in retail liquor, having returned home to the Central Coast at the end of 2008 after 4 years away, doing my bachelors’ degree at QCA in Brisbane. But after about 3 or 4 months back, I felt restless. When you’ve been away for a period of time like that, people inevitably move on and things aren’t as they were.

Truth is, you can’t go home a second time…

Meanwhile, I had plenty of colleagues and friends in Brisbane who I still kept in regular contact with, so I began applying for full-time positions up there in retail liquor. With 3+ years’ experience, it was work I knew well, something that’d take care of financial matters while I continued working towards my desired career in film and TV. Then I landed an interview and, using the opportunity to catch up with some friends, I flew up to Brisbane to meet with a company rep at the Royal Exchange Hotel over in Toowong. The interview went well- so well that later that evening while catching up with a friend and his girlfriend (now wife) for dinner and drinks in town, I got a call offering me the full-time position, starting in a fortnight.

So one sunny morning in March of 2010, my Ford Telstar fully loaded, I merged onto the M1, popped the Empire Of The Sun CD into the car stereo and the opening track began to play, called ‘Standing On The Shore’. Nearly 10 years on, I still remember this moment so clearly with the freeway, the horizon and a new era all out there somewhere in front of me…

“The future’s in my hands, hold it in my palms”…

So I arrived in ‘Vegas. Found a place on the south side. Started work at my new store. Reconnected with old acquaintances and met new ones. In my downtime I didn’t want for social invitations, I was out so often that my two housemates (18 and 19 y/o girls at uni) commented that “We must seem like losers with no life!”

On the surface level if you saw me, you’d have thought I was happy and thought Oh to be young again! But that wasn’t the case. I go into more detail about the slow descent I found myself on- and how I managed to pull myself out- here: The Night It All Lit Up To Me…

TLDR; on NYE at the age of 25 I made a decision that whatever it took, I was going to turn my life around from the rut I found myself in, because I’d had enough.


2011 arrived and while things didn’t change overnight, the 12 months that followed  ended up being a period of my life I remember fondly. I resigned from my job (one Christmas season in retail was enough for me!), found another job as a driver/ storeman working with a bunch of guys who were good fun, and the hours were stable. I moved from the southern suburbs to a great place in the inner-city with an old friend. With a new friend, we organised a trip to the UK to watch Liverpool play, a bucket-list item I’d had for some time. I was out on the town with mates most weekends, getting amongst it and just enjoying the fact that- for the first time in a long time- I felt genuinely positive about myself and about my future. Even now, I hear songs from back then and I fondly recall those days. It was also around this time when more than one person suggested I should get into copywriting as a side-gig, and (with no idea what that entailed) I looked into what working as a copywriter involved- and I was sold.

The rest is history…

While 2012 turned out to be the step-up I’d hoped for, not everything went as expected, as so often happens. But there came valuable lessons I needed in order to adapt to my pending life as a business-owner. Arguably the biggest turnaround came when I took the time out to listen to the 10-part Tony Robbins series Time Of Your Life, and (despite my initial skepticism) it completely changed a number of things:

  • How I viewed time
  • My appreciation of life for the here and now
  • How I organised outcomes and understood the why underpinning those outcomes
  • How I monitored progress on a personal and professional level, and
  • How effective I was at achieving my desired outcomes.

Looking back now, it was absolutely necessary that I made these changes to my habits, because they were the catalyst for what came next: Why A Powerful Planner Is Your Roadmap To Reward:

TLDR; Listening to Time Of Your Life and following up on the exercises revolutionised how I managed time, organised my goals and measured my ongoing success in achieving those goals. Whatever you think of Tony, if you want to become more efficient at managing your time, setting goals and achieving your goals, I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

My Post-30

The year finished with me completing the NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) course (Link Here), getting Scribe registered as a business and printing my first run of business cards. I remember how impressed the NEIS course curator was that I already had cards to share before we’d even finished the course! I had people keen to talk/ work with me in the new year and by the time I’d signed off, I’d completed my first paying client job.

I couldn’t wait for what was just around the corner!

2013 was my first full year in this new life as a business owner. Year dot. What can I say? I discovered a lot! The next 18 months were really about growth, networking and learning, as you’d expect. I realised that carrying out my trade- the actual writing of copy- was only a small part of the job. It also dawned on me that beyond just writing copy or managing a business, doing this was teaching me stuff about life that I’d never comprehended before. Or maybe it was just part of getting older, with my 20’s nearing an end?

It wasn’t just my perspective on a lot of things that changed, but my life circumstances as well. Many of the reasons I’d returned to Brisbane in 2010 were no longer relevant for me. In some ways, my life and my future outlook had been completely different back then. Looking to the future, was this the best place for me to be? Considering the nature of what I did, I could work/ live virtually anywhere. I had no strings tying me in this place anymore.

So if I could go anywhere- where should I go?

Through the second half of 2014, this question increasingly weighed on my mind. By the Christmas break, I knew that one of my big aims for the coming year was to figure out the best place for me to be at this point in my life- and go wherever that was.

In the meantime I did the best I could, waiting for the answer to become apparent…

Find out what happens next- Part 2 coming soon!