Becoming Self Made

September 24, 2014

Be Unapologetically Authentic

When I started this blog, I was heavily influenced by the location independent movement about 4 years ago. The whole ‘4 day work week’, ‘from cubical to freelancing’ really ticked boxes for me and I’ll tell you why.

When I left high school I went straight into a receptionist/data entry job at a customer service company, then on to office admin at a commercial estate management company, then I left South Africa at 20 years old in pursuit of my dream to be a professional dancer. Unfortunately, the kind of dancer I wanted to be meant going to full time dance school, something my mom and I couldn’t afford. So I went to Pineapple Studios in London and took a class and I was so left footed, despite years of dancing freelance, as well as hugely intimidated, that I threw myself into the club scene instead.

I worked boring office temp job after boring office temp job, wearing miserable navy suit jackets and plain cookie cutter office attire while living only for the weekend, I had no plan for my life, still naively thinking it would all just turn out in a way I would love, somehow.

Despite my repeated requests to work in media, recruitment agencies refused to put me there because I had “no previous experience working in media”. If I am doing reception or office admin, what difference does it make what industry I’m working in? Instead I worked in finance and communications, my final corporate job being the personal assistant to the financial directors and treasurer of a major telecommunications company. Not surprising, I eventually walked out. I could no longer fight the strong notion that I was not meant to be making copies for the bosses but telling someone to make copies for me. I knew, I was meant to be a boss.

Inspiring Girlboss Books

For the next ten years, I went in pursuit of my passion, I tried many things all over the world but nothing seemed to stick. I just always had this underlying feeling that I needed to be creative and inspire others, but I did nothing about this for a long time. You could say I went off on a tangent that lasted many years and often times I totally regretted it. I felt like I had wasted my life and I would cry “oh! I am 31/32/33 (etc) and I still haven’t found my passion, I’ve just done all of these things that have failed and exhausted me!”, I was such a victim to my own idea that I was a failure who had wasted her life.

Recently, with the help of an incredible coach, I am starting to see my old, unhelpful patterns and germinate an idea to bring that long held feeling of wanting to be creative and inspiring to life. I need to use my story I lived in those 10 years to do so, and, not just my story, but the story of other women who haven’t gone the mainstream route in life.

To fund this idea, I need more income than I currently muster together, so I decided to go back to working in offices. I figured with the skills I have accumulated (those of about six different vocations!) over the years of working online through this blog, I could do the same job essentially, but for someone else, in an office, as long as it was a creative environment.

The Dame custom mouse pad

So, I tried to go back to (casual clothed) corporate but having been out in the wild for so long, I realised that I need to go it alone, that for me, building a personal tribe that is unique to me and my message is what is important to me. I have to put my own personal stamp on things and simply cannot be confined within the boundaries of someone else’s ideas.

Attempting corporate again reminded me why I left all those years ago, that day at 24 I realised that 90% of my time and money went to someone else and so I asked myself, “when do I get to do what I want to do? Surely I wasn’t put on this earth to be a part in someone else’s machine? There is more to me, and there is more to life” and I walked out in search of what that ‘more’ is.

10 years later and I’m starting to get an idea. This is the beginning.

This is #selfmadedame.

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  • Maisie Smith September 26, 2014 at 12:25 am

    It will be fun to follow your journey. At 40, I am just now starting to figure it all out.

    • TheDameIntl September 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

      It’s definitely never a boring journey Maisie! Thanks for the comment and giving me hope 🙂

  • Kathryn September 26, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Love that you are sharing this journey of yours! Looking forward to reading more 🙂