Published inYen, Issue 30, 2007. Copyright Sarah Ayoub 2007
Want to know how the most successful and creative people around Australia get inspired? Yen’s got the tips and tricks!
Kick off the New Year with the advice, tricks and anecdotes of some of Australia’s most successful and creative talent across the fashion, community and business sectors. We chat to young Aussies about what success means to them, their tips on staying focused on their dreams and the inspiration behind their achievements.
So whether you’re re-evaluating your direction or searching for a new outlook for achieving your goals, Yen’s got you covered by providing you with the advice you need to make 2008 the first step in your life’s bigger journey – no matter where and how you choose to take it.
Gill Milligan, 31, is the designer behind Milk and Honey.
“Young designers need to stay creative and true to what they do. I’m inspired by travelling. My husband’s creative and we feed off each other, but I have little kids and I also get inspired by their happiness.
Life is challenging and inspiring. Success is about moving forward – always having goals and not living only in the here and now. I’ve always had a clear direction about where I want to go and most of the time I’ve followed my gut instincts.
There’s an amazing world out there that we have at our finger tips. Keep an open mind and read books that you wouldn’t normally read and visit places you wouldn’t normally go. Getting inspired is just about seeing the beauty of other people’s lives- sometimes just sitting in a park can inspire you to do anything.”
Maya Jupiter, 28, Presenter and Producer of The Hip Hop Show on Triple J.
“My inspiration comes from family and from being able to love what I am doing and that’s music. Music is the common thing in all I do.
I work to be happy in life. Success is being happy with what you have achieved so far. I don’t think everyone ever stops dreaming or planning – there’s always the next goal once you’ve achieved things.
I think it’s important to have new years resolutions – outlining what you’d like to achieve that year and how you’ll work towards it. It’s all about little steps in a bigger picture to better yourself. Identity plays a huge role in our life. The biggest challenge is finding your place and who you are.
If you have strong enough determination, you will always find a way. There might be obstacles, but there’s always support. The best inspiration is to do what makes you happy. Think about what you love and what gives you satisfaction and look into how you can get into that world. Life is full of surprises – enjoy them.”
Sera Harris, 30, works for Mission Australia as a Service Manager for Creative Youth Initiative
“We have a lot of students that go on and do great things in their life. For others, this is the greatest thing they’re ever going to do in their life and some don’t quite make it. A way to stay motivated is seeing their efforts and how much resilience that they have. We have young people that have some kind of challenge that they have to deal with on a day to day level and I find it inspiring that they still come here and create the most amazing art, jewellery pieces or songs, and how they see the world in a different way through their photographs.
It’s very easy to stay inspired because they’re inspired. There’s an amazing product at the end of the day – you can see someone grow in so many different ways. The worst part of the job is when some people don’t make it. That highlights system errors in the world – the disadvantage that people have on a day to day level. You see so much potential and when that potential is not met it’s really sad.
I’m inspired by people’s stories. Everone has one. I live by a Latin saying – Memento Mori – which means ‘remember you will die’. It sounds dark, but it’s quite liberating because it’s like ‘this is your time here so make the most of it’.
Success is not always about having the answers, it’s about having energy and an openness to finding out stuff – it’s about feeling connected to the world and other people. A psychologist named Carl Rogers had this idea that people are like potatoes. You can put them in the darkest, dingiest and disgusting places – like under a sink- but they still sprout and try to find their way to life and light.
Finding a sanctuary somewhere is a key to getting inspired. It’s incredibly important to have that space for yourself. See the opportunities in life – even if you fail, there’s always an opportunity to learn and improve.”
Father Chris Riley is a Catholic Priest and the Founder and CEO of ‘Youth off the Streets’, a charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged and homeless young people.
“[I established Youth off the Streets] after reading a great deal about street kids in the newspapers. I soon became involved in their lives – they would call me when they were arrested, I would go along to court with them, visit them in hospital, teach them on the streets as several wanted to get their school certificates, and feed them every night.
The greatest motivation I have on a daily basis comes directly from the kids I work with and that is by way of their courage. They have been beaten, raped, gaoled, drug addicted, rejected emotionally, psychologically and physically – and yet they still try to make a good life for themselves and others.
The other motivating force for me is seeing how tragically some of these kids live. I had a good upbringing and was surprised to see that some people’s families did not only not care about them, but actually hurt them.
On the issues of homelessness, drug abuse and prostitution, I see it as my role to highlight the injustices involved with these issues in our community. They relate to the injustices where the few have much and a third of our youth lives in poverty.
The Cross has given me the strength to take up all fights. It helps me to survive my darkest moments, without losing faith. Jesus has obviously been my greatest role model. He was outspoken against injustice irrespective of the cost to him personally [and they] crucified Him. The incredible support I have received throughout Australia is indicative of how I am perceived.
I see it as my role to work at all levels of the community, with all faiths and creeds, and with all nationalities – not to convert people; but to respect and value who they are as human beings. My job is to uplift people from powerlessness and abuse to reflect back to them through my eyes the greatness [that] I see in each”.
David Shrimpton, 30, co-runs Speak n Spell Records.
“Starting any small business is always hard. Listening to music that I really like inspires me. Generally I put records on that reflect my mood and then very occasionally I find records that actually concept my mood, and that’s such a nice thing for me. I can be feeling a certain way, and a record can make you feel completely different just by putting it on and listening to it.
Life is a glass of beer three quarters full. Success is working really hard, and doing what you want to do and enjoying it. It’s about not relying on others but surrounding yourself with the right people.
If you want to stay inspired, keep reading Yen. Having a really good idea and the ability to apply yourself above and beyond what is normally entailed, means there are not many things that you couldn’t do.”
Mic Eaton, 25, Menswear designer.
“I choose not to listen to criticism, because I do what I love and I feel quite strongly about it. That’s what motivates me on a daily basis. If you’re not doing something for yourself, there’s no point in doing it.
Creatively, my inspiration comes from day to day life. It could be a song on the radio, a movie or even the news that triggers something in my head for a new idea or concept.
To get inspired, read and look back into history. Think about how you can evolve it by putting your own style or creativity into something that’s already happened. Keep your eyes open for anything that gives you a certain feeling.
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Take on every opportunity. Don’t waste a second of your life”.
Rochelle Regodon, 31, is an Asia-Pacific Campaigns Manager for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
“Everyday, I work with activists who go the extra distance for animals, sometimes putting their selves on the line. Animals can’t speak up for themselves, and the knowledge that I am making a difference in [their] lives and the changes I see because PETA is here keep me fighting. My work involves…a fair mix of optimism and pessimism – the worst part is that you can’t save them all.
Young people…have a fire to change the world. I hope every young person [uses] that fire. Be an individual. Mistakes…don’t really matter – you have time to pick new directions. Try to get a perspective on your life. A lot of young people think life is hard, but they don’t really know what else is out there. Above all, travel, learn, be happy and make a difference.”
Emily Reeves, 32, Programs Manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
“The hardest part of [my] work is being confronted by the cruelty we are trying to change, [but] I’m motivated knowing that people’s attitudes towards animals are changing for the better.
I am inspired by those people who believe so strongly in something that they never give up. My partner and dog help me to stay focussed by helping me to put things into perspective and see the funny side of life.
I think the key is to find the one thing that you are really passionate about. It helps to see everything as part of a big picture. Begin with a belief in yourself and…then think laterally about how you can create the life you want. Goals and priorities change…but it’s always important to…know where you’re headed so you can enjoy the journey [of] getting there.”
Sam Coombes, 29, Marketing Manager for MTV.
“The biggest motivation in what I do is the end result. I’m inspired by art, music and pop culture. I am always on the lookout for things that are new and interesting and that inspires me to keep on pushing and make whatever I am doing a little better.
The secret to success is perseverance. I’m always willing to do whatever it takes to make something happen and come up with alternative solutions to problems.
Life is about drama – no drama or emotion means there’s no life.
Travelling and putting yourself among new cultures and experiences is definitely inspirational. Keep your eyes open and always look for inspirational things in the everyday. Make a judgement on any opportunities that arise, and if they’re relevant to your end result, give them a go Try to remain passionate about what you do, and you will be successful.”
Kaftan queen Camilla Franks, 31, is the designer behind Camilla. Her Women of the World book showcases the achievements of women worldwide and raises funds for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
“I love to live everyday to the fullest because you only get one life. Obviously family and friends inspire me, but I get a lot of inspiration from travel, the theatre and the fabulous characters I played in the past.
Some days you find it really hard to stay motivated. When you’re at the lowest lows, you just remember the highest highs and that’s what keeps you going.
I thrive on adrenalin. But I also like having balance in my life and taking a little bit of time out for me. In 2008, I want to stop being much of a control-freak.
I think the fast-paced lifestyle of modern technology is a big challenge to this generation. Getting a hobby outside your normal circle, exercising and travelling can really get you inspired. Life is a big challenge, but you should take risks to maximise your opportunities. It’s also really important to nurture your contacts – you never know how much the next person you meet might be able to help you.”
Patrick Mau, 25, uses music to educate young people about the perils of drugs and violence.
“I am motivated by the reaction when we perform a song, everything that I’m interested in, and issues that I want to address. Other good music is also a strong influence – local indigenous hip-hop artists have a whole new approach and style.
There is a lack of opportunities and direction for young people in my community – no one to help you get what you want.
Life is a blessing – you have to live everyday to the fullest.
Find out what you are good at, how to achieve this goal, and then figure out your own path. Most importantly, love what you are doing and do it for yourself and no one else.
Believing in yourself when everyone else has doubted you is success to me. That and turning heads…when everyone loves you.”
Sophie Scott, NSW Green Home Coordinator for ACF.
“I’m inspired by my friends and family. I love seeing the changes that people make in their lives- you can change people’s opinions without knowing that you have.
I think it’s definitely important to have resolutions, not only in work but in personal aspects of life as well. Write down your goals on paper and keep on them. Find others doing what you want to do and talk to them about how they got there, their advice and their vision.
Young people are challenged by the amount of choice they have nowadays, as well as the impact of social groups and the media. It’s really important to develop a sense of self – don’t listen to what other people say. Do what you feel is right.
Life is a wonderful gift – you should ring the last minute out of every single day.