Letter to My Younger Self: Paul Saville, Wasserman Experience

Paul Saville, joint managing director at Wasserman Experience, reflects on how not becoming a doctor was one of the best things that could have happened to him.

Paul Saville advises his younger self to indulge in his passions and never stop exploring
Paul Saville advises his younger self to indulge in his passions and never stop exploring

Dear Paul

Okay, don’t panic! I know you spent most of your life wanting to be a doctor, but missing out on going to medical school by one A-level grade is honestly one of the best things that will happen to you. Don’t spend too long staring at the results slip, beating yourself up and contemplating re-sitting them: just accept that place at Leeds to study Pharmacology and Physiology and let fate do the rest. As I sit and write this in 2015, you’re still not a doctor, but that isn’t necessarily a sign of failure, as you’ll see.

When you get to uni, get stuck in headfirst, make as many good friends as you can and take the time to find your own work hard/play hard equilibrium. As you will see later in life, the line between the two can actually blur more than you might think - and that isn’t totally down to your experience running Leeds Tequila Society.

At uni, you’ll learn that you’re better out of the classroom than in it, with a talent for creating experiences (albeit drunken ones) that make people happy. As unlikely as it might seem now, this will be your career, so follow your heart. It won’t ever make you a millionaire, but you will see that experiences are powerful things and you (and the millions of people your work will touch) will get so much more out of them than just money.

As an only child, you know already how important family and friends are – always keep them close as they’ll be your most trusted advisors.  

Indulge your passions and never stop exploring. You might not want to live quite so close to the edge, but the fated snowboard crash you will have on a stag do in Slovakia will be worth the pain of three fractured ribs and a lacerated kidney. You will finally stop long enough (three weeks in bed) to realise that Claire is 'the one'.

From student nights to corporate parties, Leeds will offer you the necessary foundations upon which you will build your career, giving you the chance to have your creative visions and bring them to life with your practical organisation. That hard work, enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude will stand you in great stead and eventually lead you home to London. After a few more years in corporate events you will start (probably) your last ever job, with a fledgling agency that does experiential marketing – whatever that is. There you will meet your partners in crime Cris and Fred. The rest will be, well, history…

So what else can I tell you?

No matter what your job title says, make sure your hands are always dirty, as it will command respect and develop relationships. Lucky for you, perfection is definitely not a dirty word in business, so continue to strive for 100% in whatever you believe in and, as someone will tell you, you will only ever be as good as your last event.

It will be one hell of a ride, but it won’t be easy. Late nights and long hours are the norm in a business that moves fast and where expectations get higher and harder. Just make sure your Blackberry (you’ll learn soon enough what this is) is not your only best friend and always find time to laugh, love and let your hair down with colleagues, family and friends.

Stay low, keep moving and hold tight – It’s the ride of a lifetime!

More: Letter to My Younger Self: Sharon Richey, Because

Letter to My Younger Self: Lizzie Carver, MCM Creative

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