Lights, Cameras, Action – 2017

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Lights, Cameras, Action - 2017 is here!
As I type this, 2017 has started and we are looking ahead to a year with promise, challenges, and unknowns! I hope you have enjoyed some pleasant time with family and friends over the Christmas/New Year period. My hope is that you are excited about the year ahead and eager to get started!

A break from full-time teaching…
Towards the end of 2012, with the full support of my wife, I made the decision to take a break from full-time teaching in order to see whether we could make ‘a go’ of (my previous hobby) Artisan Media. The plan was to find a part-time teaching position that would allow me to operate Artisan Media part-time.

As my income is our only paid income, I was not prepared to risk that security in an attempt to operate Artisan Media full-time – not knowing whether it could generate enough for our family. Having a part-time income from part-time teaching seemed like a wise and perfectly natural option.

Primary to Secondary
Leaving the Primary education sector, I accepted a part-time teaching position in the Secondary education sector. I had not taught Secondary students before and was eager for the challenges it afforded. The position was 0.4FTE (Full Time Equivalent). This meant, I was paid 0.4 of a full-time salary and, in theory, had a 0.4 workload.

However, due to the nature of the Secondary School timetabling, I was teaching every day (albeit for bits of each day). This, of course, prevented me from actually testing the water and seeing whether Artisan Media was a viable income earner.

The first three years offered the same challenge – timetabling vs time for Artisan Media. To a point, I felt I was unable to do either as well as I wanted.

Thankfully, 2016 school timetabling allowed me two full days, each week, away from my teaching position. This allowed me to be more available for mid-week filming projects (not to mention mid-week opportunities to edit) as well as offered me opportunities to do relief teaching back in the Primary education sector. The relief teaching was always part of the plan – and turned out to be something I particularly enjoyed.

“When you stop learning, you die!”
Valuable lessons await us if we are alert and open to them. I reckon I have learned a few over the past four years. Some lessons have been industry-specific. Others have been business-specific. Some have been personality and character-specific. The point is, there is always something new to learn.

“When you stop learning, you die!”
B. B. King (1989) – image 2009

One quote that has stuck with me over the years comes from legendary Blues guitarist B. B. King. While being interviewed by Simon Barnett during U2‘s LoveTown Tour to New Zealand in 1989, B. B. said, “You are always learning. When you stop learning, you die!” B. B. King had a point. While you may not die physically, something inside us dies if we are closed to opportunities to learn something new. The moment we think we know it all restricts our progress and defines our limit.

One lesson from these past four years is something I have often heard people talk about but not really experienced myself – until now. Sometimes, it is better to earn less money and enjoy life and its journey – than, simply, to earn more money (by working more hours and expelling more energy).

Yep – our family income has been down compared to full-time teaching but my satisfaction with life has been exponentially greater. This has caused us to live in a way that requires us to ask “What is important? What is necessary?” Higher Income versus More Time With Our Family – weighing things up, I reckon I have won out!

It is important to consider the difference between ‘what is urgent’ and ‘what is important.’ At times, we seem to undertake that which is urgent but not necessarily important. Some things are often considered important yet, when all things are weighed up, are not. With the challenges/limitations of my school timetabling, some things (unfortunately) were undone, unfinished, or not even attempted (this was a difficult thing to experience).

So – 2017 is here!
What is ahead for Artisan Media for 2017? Exciting, yet nervous, times await. I have resigned from my Secondary position and am looking for a 1-day teaching role in the Primary education sector (which will keep some regular income coming in). The rest of the time will be devoted to operating Artisan Media – sourcing work and undertaking work. When times are quiet, I am looking forward to being available as a relief teacher.

Do we yet know how 2017 will unfold? Nope! Will we make enough money to pay all our bills and household needs? I’m hoping so! Will there be challenges? I expect so!

Family, friends, and faith are pivotal
Family is a given – right? In this day and age, it is fair to say that family is no longer ‘a given’… Sadly, too many people struggle along with the weight of a poor functioning family. My family is by no means the perfect family. However, I know I have the support of those who very people I call ‘my family.’ We have family, both immediate and extended, who cheer us on. Family who have our backs when we need them to. Child-minding (that goes both ways!) when needed. Timely distractions from the hustle-bustle of life and business.

Somehow, there is a huge weight lifted knowing I have the unwavering support from my wife, Rachel. Regardless of circumstances, we are in this together – through thick, thin, mirky, and clear!

Friends are crucial to life – for enjoyment, balance, and perspective. Friendship is vital to keep us full of life, challenged, and entertained. Friends speak into our lives in an honest, caring way. Friends offer a perspective we miss on our own. We are blessed by incredible friends who look out for us.

Faith. This is something that many people miss out on. Faith in knowing that things will turn out as they are meant to. Faith that Someone is watching over us. Faith that tomorrow is a new day. Faith that we can not do everything on our own and that we do not have to. Faith that provisions will come through, sometimes when we least expect it or from places/people we least expect.

Our faith in God provides us with a perspective we would otherwise miss. Faith in knowing we have been given skills, knowledge, passions, and giftings – and faith to step out and action them.

Lights, Cameras, Action
To quote a famous, common phrase – Lights, Cameras, Action. With little holding us back, the time has come to get started. 2016 is no more. 2017 is here – in fact, January 2017 is almost halfway through! Let’s all try something new. Take a few risks. Laugh more. Listen more. Love more. Make this year a positive one to remember.

Artwork for U2’s Lovetown tour of New Zealand in 1989