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A Survivor’s Guide for Rising Stars | Louise King

by Lou King - June, 2016

To be honest, who doesn’t wish they had all the answers when first starting out in their career? Most of us, I’d guess. I was recently nominated for the Brand Republic Rising Star award; a watershed moment that’s given me a fresh perspective on my 10 short years in creative media.

Have there been some times when I’ve questioned if production was really for me – (hoovering the office, one of my many gratifying duties as a production assistant alongside being Director of only coffee making) – yes, there have. But would I have done anything differently on my journey so far? Probably not. Like with everything, you take the rough with the smooth, you smile, you kick ass and you cope with the daily fray with holidays, prayer, meditation and spas! Or at least that’s how I strike the balance.

So to help the next gen of Rising Stars along the way, here are my seven gems of wisdom which I hope might smooth your journey.

Don’t take NO for an answer (and there may be a lot of them!)

If you have a passion to learn, grow, develop, create and/or lead this will be a lot easier to accept and absorb: there will be plenty of nos and rejections on your journey (and in life generally!), even when you have the amazing job you’ve always wanted. Just accept the nos when they come because it’s by no means the end. Keep moving, applying and learning – it will be the making of you. Many successful entrepreneurs are made from the nos. Fact!

Career hierarchy is old news

One of my mentors taught me this. I can’t stress how much this has opened my eyes. Skills are hugely transferable. Just because you have been a producer for 2 years, doesn’t mean your next role has be a senior producer! If you’re offered an opportunity to become a Head of Digital, and you have only ever been a producer, think again before you regretfully quit the browser, chances are you have produced content for digital platforms right? Don’t put yourself or your career in a box; allow it to evolve naturally…

Your passion will drive your brand

You’ll realise along the way if you haven’t already – that you have a purpose; you have gifts and talents that are uniquely yours. Boom! Congratulations, this is your brand. Own it, develop and protect it – opportunities will come to you. Also remember that your brand reputation will always proceed you and it is indeed a small world.

Get yourself a mentor at some point

I say at some point, because this varies depending your needs at any given time. I have many friends who have found mentors at the start of their careers, others who are seeking them at company director level – both sets of friends have equal career success…

A career mentor (for me) should be someone who has similar achieved ambitions that a mentee desires; they should also work in the same industry/field and be at the top of their game. They’re often found through networking or recommendations from industry peers.

Networking

It’s like holidaying or travelling the world alone – at first you doubt whether you can do it, but you give it a go and begin the journey with trepidation. Networking is a little like this. Just remember, most of the time in these situations everyone is thinking the same thing – so what is there to lose? In our industry who you know goes a long way, and networking could lead to new opportunities, mentors and friends. Build up your black book of contacts and sign up to industry events.

The only person to compete with is you

Competing and comparison with colleagues is a joy-stealing mission. It’s a waste of your time (and time is money). Celebrate and acknowledge the achievements and skills of peers, employers and colleagues; in return they will celebrate yours too. Focus on being better than you were last year, do what you need to do or learn to get yourself to the next level.

Perfection is a myth so remember to take breaks

Make sure you have balance throughout your working week, because perfection is a myth. Have a holiday (at least 7 days) from being a star at least twice a year. You’ll return recharged, energized and ready to take on the world again.

Most of all – enjoy, smile! You’ll meet some great people on your journey, and you’ll get some great recognition while you’re at it.

If you’re a Rising Star looking for an industry mentor, contact louise.king@mediabounty.com