I’ve heard of yoga retreats, surfing retreats, artists retreats, music retreats, and many more but I had never heard of a coding retreat until I came across The Institute of Code, a Bali based, 10 day, all Inclusive retreat where you can learn the language of the internet! In two weeks time I will be heading over to Bali to be immersed in learning how to build my own website from scratch! This website will be the start of my business which I have been working on for the past few months. I often ask myself, “How in the world did I get to this point where I am determined to be my own boss?” It was never something I aspired to be or ever imagined myself doing but now I couldn’t think of doing anything else!
When I was at school and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my parents thought I was stuck on the letter ‘A’. I wanted to be an Actress, then an Astronaut, then an Air hostess, then an Architect, and then an Archeologist. It never crossed my mind that I could be a #BossLady, I never even got to the letter ‘B’! Realistically, I’ve never really known what I wanted to do. I would see my friends slotting nicely into career paths whereas nothing ever satisfied me, nothing ever gave me drive, and I thought I was just not a career minded person, when in actual fact, I just hadn’t found something I was truly passionate about!
As you read this blog about the journey I have taken to finding my passion, you may think I have been ‘lucky’ in the experiences I have had. But I can assure you that not one single thing that I have ever accomplished has ever been handed to me on a silver platter. Every job I’ve ever had, every place I have ever been, every extraordinary thing I have ever done began with me taking that first step, putting in that application, sending that email, taking that leap of faith and then jumping on any opportunity that presented itself along the way.
‘What do you do?’
I hate it when people ask me what I do for a living. What a bizarre question when you think about it! As though living is not enough, you have to do something for it, to earn it, to define yourself.
Why is work always the first thing people want to know about you?! It’s never been out of embarrassment that I hated the question, but because I don’t like being defined by one thing, I never really felt connected to my work and there is so much more to me than the job title I had. Maybe I needed a career status attached to my forehead stating ‘It’s complicated” or “still figuring it out?” Even now I don’t really know how to define what I am doing! The whole concept of being a ‘Girl Boss’ is new to me. For a while I would tell people that I was a Professional-Career-Changer which really is the best way to describe my history.
I never set out to work in lots of Industries, it just happened as I tried to figure out what I enjoyed and refused to settle for something I didn’t feel passionate about.
In my late teens I worked in retail and hospitality while I finished High School, did some travelling and then went to University. I worked at Bunnings Warehouse, Coles, Blockbuster Video, and the bar at a golf club. I quickly discovered that my creative mind was not well suited to mindless repetitive tasks and also that my lack of patience did not make me the best at customer service!
I had only gone to University because that was the ‘done’ thing. I’d worked hard in High School to achieve good grades and have access to University and felt I had to go. I changed degrees twice in the first year and then changed Universities before I settled on a Bachelor of Arts doing subjects I found interesting; History, Theatre Studies, Media & Communications. When I finished my degree 3.5 years later, I STILL had no idea what to do so I filled time by studying more and completing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education. I hated my final teaching practicum and I knew that teaching was not where my passion lay, at least not at the age of 22. I just was not ready for the responsibility and all I wanted to do was travel.
At this time the Mining Industry in Perth was booming and was a way to earn money fast by doing a Fly-In Fly-Out job. I started applying to be a cleaner or kitchen hand with mine site catering companies. A Human Resources Manager from one company contacted me to say I was too qualified to be applying for a cleaner position, but how would I like to be a Trainee Safety Advisor? Knowing nothing about being a Safety Advisor but eager to make money I said ‘yes!‘ I then spent the next year of my life learning a very important lesson – No amount of money is worth sacrificing your happiness. After working a 2 week on, 1 week off roster for several months I got to breaking point and the company allowed me to work from Perth on training packages while I figured out my next move.
Browsing through the newspaper one day, I spotted an advertisement for Cabin Crew jobs with Emirates and spontaneously applied. Two months later I was boarding a flight and moving to Dubai. I wrote a separate blog post titled ‘The Time I … Was a Flight Attendant For Emirates Airlines” if you want more information about that experience. After 18 months of travelling the world and more illnesses and jet lag than I care to recall, I decided it was time to return home and get a ‘real job’, time to grow up, get a mortgage and settle down because that is what society told me I was meant to do.
I returned to Perth and started looking for work. I knew I didn’t want a high pressure job but I also wanted something with room to grow. I ended up settling on a Training Administrator Position and stayed in this job for 2 years. Mentally, it was not very challenging but I had a great boss and I got comfortable in my boring routine. I hated working 9-5 in an office five days a week and I wasn’t saving any money because I would use all my annual leave at once to take a month long vacation and spent all my savings. When I was away travelling I would feel so alive and I knew that there was more to life than working 11 months of the year for the enjoyment of 1 month a year.
The sliding doors decision
After working two years as a Training Administrator and making two prior unsuccessful applications, I was finally offered a promotion to be a Regional Training and Development Coordinator based in Broome. At the exact same time, an application that I had made earlier in the year to be a contestant on the Bachelor Australia was also successful and I had a very difficult, life altering, decision to make. Many sleepless nights later I turned down the job promotion and began my journey with the Bachelor that set my life on its current trajectory. The decision came down to what vision I had for my future. Did I want to continue in an office job climbing the corporate ladder and earning more money? or did I want a once in a lifetime experience that could open doors I didn’t even know existed?
When I was sent home from the show after only 3 weeks, I went travelling for 3 months (2 months in Bali and 1 month in India) to clear my head and regroup. I met many interesting and inspiring people in Bali who had something I wanted – freedom. The freedom to manage their own time, travel to new places, meet new people and work at something that saw their hard work properly rewarded. These people had a love for life that I only ever felt when I travelled but they felt it all the time because they were loving what they were doing. This was a community of digital nomads and entrepreneurs and I had finally found my people! I immediately purchased a domain name and started my blog in WordPress. It was almost a year later that I actually published my first blog post.
Through my experience on The Bachelor and the relationship I had afterwards, I was lucky enough to gain a large Instagram following that allowed me to collaborate with a variety of brands (some paid) and reach out to other Influencers for some passion projects. I also started to receive feedback from those following me that I was in some way helping them, inspiring them and that sharing my experiences and life lessons was important. Without even realising it, I had started to establish a brand of my own.
I am extremely excited about the direction my life is taking me. What was once never something I thought I would ever be capable of doing, now seems to be within my grasp; having my own business and being my own boss. I have been on this path for around 6 months but it is only now starting to feel very real with the undertaking of a business course to write my business plan and my acceptance into the Institute of Code where I will develop my own website and relaunch http://www.TheTiffanyTimes.com.
It is ambitious, it is scary as hell but I have never felt so driven in my life to achieve something and I am learning the skills that will allow me to do this for myself! I believe that knowledge is power and it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can always learn new skills. This year alone I have learnt how to create a blog, how to use a DSLR Camera, how to edit photos in Lightroom, how to use a go pro, how to create a video, how to network and how to use social media for business. I have made a hell of a lot of mistakes along the way, I have had plenty of rejection, I still have so much to learn but I believe in what I am doing and I cannot wait to share it all with you when I return from Bali!