It’s 2010 and you are so excited to start your community radio journey at Student Youth Network (SYN) in Melbourne. How does a funhouse like this even exist? Is there even anyone in charge around here? You actually want to do community television at RMITV more than anything, but you’re scared of going after the thing you want most, so you’ve decided to build up your confidence first by doing radio. This is not a bad thing, but one day you will learn it’s the things that scare you the most which you must do first. It will save you a lot of time and give you courage to achieve anything you dream of faster than you ever thought possible.
Let’s be honest, you’re a pretty anxious, highly strung kid. You’re also pretty naïve and self absorbed. So I need you to listen really closely to what I’m about to say. What I’m about to tell you will make the next 5-10 years so much easier and happier. Both for you and the people around you. There are some big, really important things you should pay attention to right now as you’re starting your journey at SYN, RMITV and Channel 31.
1. Prioritise relationships. Everyone you see around you will run the industry one day.
You are surrounded by future executives, future head writers, future broadcasters. Because you’re not really a late night person and because you’re so focused on yourself, you will often pass up opportunities to get to know these people better and to help them. Instead, you should focus just as much on making friends as you do on becoming a great writer/producer. You will learn more by sharing your journey openly with others and allowing people to see your vulnerabilities.
2. It’s not all about you – while you’re busy making yourself great, help make others great
Being great yourself is only half the equation to being successful in radio or TV. The other half is helping others be great. You will never forget those who were kind to you in the beginning. It’s never too early in your career to spend some of your time helping to lift others up too. You will learn more by teaching others what you know, even when you know next to nothing. Ask yourself, “How can I give back what I am receiving?” Then do that.
3. Try everything
You have a really clear vision for wanting to work in television, but you will learn more about yourself and meet more interesting people if you try everything. Be more open to looking stupid and failing at things. Try everything. Especially if it’s paid.
4. You might not end up with a career in radio or TV, but this is 100% the place you need to be right now
It’s okay if all of this comes to nothing. It won’t come to that, but let’s say it does. Would you be okay with that? It’s okay. You’re still worthy of love even if you don’t get to write jokes for a living, even if your next opinion article doesn’t get published in The Age. Keep going after what you want with the tenacity you go after most things you want. But it’s important to be present where you are right now. Again, it goes back to getting to know the people around you better. To ground you. Be here now.
5. Ask for more help
You get a certain amount of pride when you figure things out on your own, but you’re slowing your growth and it comes across as insecure. No one wants to be friends with someone who is closed off and insecure. Allowing people to help you will make others feel good and make your life easier at the same time. When you ask people for help, ask without any expectation that they should help you. Be grateful when they agree to help, but try not to care if they don’t want to. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask someone else and be grateful when you get a yes!
6. Make a show about personal finance.
Radio or TV, doesn’t matter. It will help you understand how the world works and you’re incredibly naïve about that. So start now. You really know nothing about money, in fact you’re a little afraid of it. It’s no wonder you have none. It’s the things that scare you the most which you must do first. As you learn about money and personal finance you can share that knowledge with others. There are a massive number of young people like you who are entering the workforce knowing next to nothing about money. You can help these people as you help yourself. Everyone will be richer for it. And it’s okay to want to make money. You can still do what you love and have a heart and want to make money. In fact, you definitely should. 2 minute noodles are great, but they’re not as great as compound interest.
What would you tell your younger self about your community radio/TV days?