Stop Waiting for a Lucky Break

Emily Woodhouse Adventure Careers, Business and Marketing, Comment and Opinion, Practical Advice

This year has been particularly busy for me and I feel like it’s time we had a little catch up. Some pretty epic things have been in motion recently that I’m excited to share. The really big one is: ladies and gents, I’ve got a new job.

Wait? You have a 9-5?

I try to be really open about this, but in case you’re new or have missed it, I am not paid to adventure (yet). Nor is Intrepid Magazine my full time job. It’s my brainchild and passion project that I do out of hours and on weekends. Nor am I paid to be in Mountain Rescue (none of us are). Nope. Up until 5th June 2019 I’ve been working in the marketing department of a financial services company. I talk a bit more about finding the balance between all this in: The Hazards of Regular Adventure.

So yes, I’m moving out of financial services… into the adventure travel industry. Now, I never told you much about my previous company because, eh – how many of you care about financial services? But I’m pretty excited about everything to do with this new move. I want to share that with you.

For a long while now, I’ve felt like I’m being pulled in opposite directions. Or, perhaps more accurately, walking in two separate directions. On one side I’ve got all things adventure: the magazine, this blog and to some extent Mountain Rescue, my Mountain Leader Award, my involvement with the AAC, Dartmoor National Park… and a healthy appetite for going on adventures!

And then there was this job. At the time I started the job, about 2 years ago, it felt like no one would ever pay me to so all these things I loved. But now here I am, starting out on a new and adventurous job.

How did you get an adventure job?

I love interviewing people and asking them about how they got to where they are. I just love those kinds of stories. Now I have the pleasure of sharing my story with you. So here it goes: “Emily, how did you get a job relating to adventure?”

Well, first things first, I did not go looking for it. Yep, really. Until January this year I had never even heard of the company. Then on the train back from an AAC meeting in Birmingham this January, I came across a company called Much Better Adventures. I’m not 100% sure how I came across them, but I know the page I landed on was about content creation. Basically it said: make a 60 second video for us and get a free trip. Hell yeah, I thought and clicked the apply button.

Now, it turns out that the page I applied through was an old one. The didn’t offer that any more but they were still looking for freelance writers. Actually – there’s a step I missed off in here. I didn’t hear back after a couple of weeks, so I messaged them on Twitter, politely asking when I might hear back. Then I got an email from their head of content saying I’d come in through the back door and that they’d taken the page down now. Awww….

Little Steps in the Right Direction

But, they were always interested in taking on more freelancers and she’d looked me up and seen the magazine (and everything else about me online!). Would I be interested? I’d actually quit all my freelance work for 2019 to focus on the magazine, but I thought it was at least worth having the conversation. We arranged a call.

“I don’t just call anyone,” said Jo.

“Oh! You don’t?” I said, somewhat naively.

She wanted to tell me about a job post that they had opening soon and it would be really good if I could apply to it. That is not a sentence anyone’s ever said to me before, but I thought I’d be stupid not to apply. I did some more research into the company and they looked really cool. So, I applied. The rest is history.

Don’t Wait to Get Lucky

If I’ve learnt anything from this experience it’s that you shouldn’t sit around waiting for luck to strike your life like a bolt of lightning.

They say luck is where opportunity is meets preparation. Do not expect divine intervention in a sudden extreme life change. In fact, have you heard that joke about this?

There’s a guy drowning and a lifeboat arrives to save him, but the guy says, “Don’t worry, God will save me.” So the lifeboat goes away. Next a helicopter arrives and the paramedic is lowered down to the drowning man. But the man again says, “Don’t worry, God will save me.”

The man drowns. In heaven, the man says to God, “Why didn’t you save me?”

God says, “I sent you a lifeboat and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

Welcome to Reality

Although this is a joke, there is an underlying message here. Luck probably won’t look miraculous when it comes. It will look mundane , like a boat or a helicopter… Not like being lifted out of the ocean in a golden beam of light.

To link this back to what I’m saying… I don’t think you should just sit there, drowning whilst you wait for a lucky chance. Try to save yourself! Swim towards the shore if you can. Do things to help your situation and get you closer to where you want to be.

This is essentially the same idea as the “purposeful wandering” analogy I talk about in: Double Down On Happiness.

Don’t just stand still waiting for success to happen. Do something! One thing I’m fairly certain of is that I would have never got the job if I didn’t have the magazine or Travelling Lines. I did a Maths degree and I worked in financial services. That is not a normal background for a writer. But I build up a portfolio of writing on the side. I taught myself about marketing and SEO and web development for fun. I blogged, freelanced, guest posted and edited my way into a place where I could step from one world to the other.

Are you trying to make a career change or start in a new direction? Share it in the comments below for some support 🙂