In terms of the year, I would say the following had the biggest effect…
Friday 13th March 2020 was a wild moment for me. Our business was 2 years old and growing strong with a team of 16 talented people working together out of Camden Street. When we got wind of the global challenge coming closer to our island we talked around it like it would blow over in a couple of weeks. When we decided to close the studio and scatter our team across the city, we never thought for a moment that we wouldn’t all be in a room together for the rest of the year.
The impact was immediate, what was a rising momentum that would have delivered our strongest year yet just evaporated. With 2 years under our belts we knew this was a moment of reckoning or reinvention. Our clients were very thoughtful and checked in to ensure we were ok, something I will be forever thankful for. We moved incredibly quickly to making sure everyone was settled at home with whatever they needed to do their work and I stayed in the office to try hold things together as best as I could.
We thought we’d be back in a matter of weeks but that wasn’t to be. After 2 or 3 weeks it was apparent that this was going to last a lot longer than we ever anticipated and that realisation caused me to hit the wall. I was flummoxed. I didn’t know what to do and was unsure how I navigated my way through. I was stuck, paralysed by the unique challenge I found myself facing with my business partner. I shared my predicament with him and the next day I got a call from his business mentor, a call that reset my entire outlook and approach on how I considered this moment I found myself in.
He said “The biggest regret you will ever have is not taking this moment to consider where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. This is a once in a lifetime gift, embrace it as such.” While it didn’t immediately hit home how pointed and potent that advice was, within days I had turned up the energy and outputs started to flow for clients and self-initiated passion projects.
From the viral film THE PHOENIX, which even Michael Bublé reposted, a series of murals across the city, a collaboration with a techno artist in Germany, the HOME print series for Pieta House and Dublin Simon Community, marking the Black Lives Matter movement around the world, producing the first show in The Abbey with Lankum, connecting talent across the world to make an epic mini film RISING, keeping families entertained with the KALEIDOSCOPE HOME CLUB and lots more besides, we kept ourselves busy and generated interest and kept creating projects for people, passion and profit through the lockdowns and beyond. We also grew our small team which is my personal highlight of this tumultuous year.
Without that piece of generous advice I believe 2020 would have been so different. With 2021 in my sights, and hope on the horizon, I’m looking forward to fields full of fun, getting on planes to chase opportunity and creativity and simple moments shared with friends and family. Hopefully the world has reset in ways that stand to us for many years to come, underpinned by our understanding of our connectedness and interdependence on each and every one of us… I really hope this is the case, that would be the true gift of this wild, unique global challenge we find ourselves in.
Which living person do you most admire?
My good friend Oliver Jeffers. He’s proof that whatever you want to do in the world, you can do it.
What is your current state of mind?
Hopeful and cautiously ambitious.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Yes. Mind you, 2020 was the year I learned to say No too. I heard a really interesting comment earlier this year that stuck in my mind… “If you’re going to say Yes, understand what you’re saying No to”.
When and where were you happiest?
By the sea, it’s where I go to reset.
Where would you most like to live?
Connemara, by the coast.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their constructive, rather than destructive, criticism.
What is your most treasured possession?
Weirdly I’ve become a lot less attached to things since I almost died.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My family. They’re a constant source of motivation and positivity.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Determination to make things happen, no matter what stands in my way. If I don’t know how to do something, I still go for it and learn as I go. Age and experience has slowed me a little but that means I hopefully make less mistakes and don’t overstretch as much as I used to. I am obsessed with delivering outputs rather than conversations that rarely go anywhere.
What is your motto?
Dream it. Do it.