Letter to My Younger Self - Paul Stanway, XYZ

Paul Stanway, co-founder and creative director at agency XYZ, takes a look back at his 18-year old self and consider what advice he would have given if he could.

At 18-years old Stanway was in the process of deciding whether to quit a job that was leading nowhere
At 18-years old Stanway was in the process of deciding whether to quit a job that was leading nowhere

Dear Paul,

If this is reaching you when you’re 18 then my guess is you’re in the middle of trying to figure out whether your/our plan of quitting your (frankly terrible) job and going back to college is going to lead anywhere. Unsurprisingly, it does but it’s not necessarily where you think.

Believe it or not, that dream of going to the US actually comes off. Remember how and why it happened, it’s important and you’ll need to use it as inspiration at various points along the way. In fact, getting that scholarship and what happens during it is going to be one of the character-defining things in your life that shapes your work ethic going forward. Well done.

Having said that, you’re going to be taking the scenic route to where you end up writing yourself a letter from the future. You’re going to question yourself continually, second-guess decisions and on occasion get royally stitched up. It’s hard to believe now, but this process is actually of benefit to you in the long run. It’ll reinforce that work ethic, expand your knowledge and horizons, and give you a decent supply of war stories.

If you can, worry less about pleasing those around you as it doesn’t mean a whole lot unless it makes you happy too. You’ll not realise it until much later, and listen carefully to this, you have everything you’re going to need already inside of you. I promise I haven’t been reading self-help books, but when you come to realise this it’s going to help you/me/us every day.

Right now you’ve not even figured out what it is you want to do as a career, if anything you’re ticking off a succession of things you come to realise you don’t want to do long-term. Relax, it’s called youth and in most cases people make a full recovery. A route will emerge. You can’t force it, but you do have to pay attention or you’ll miss it.

It can’t always be safe and comfortable, so you’re going to have to take a few risks and convince yourself to go out on a limb every now and again. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but if you only play it safe you’re not going to get anywhere worth travelling to – none more so that a decision to start a brand new agency in the midst of a global recession. 

Other than that, all I can say is try to relax and enjoy the ride a little more – it’s part of the fun. Just keep moving forward and you’ll be amazed at what life has in store for you – I can’t say any more without ruining the surprises…

Keep on keeping on.


Comment below to let us know what you think.

For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.

Follow @Georgi_Gyton

Have your say

Only registered users may comment. Sign in now or register for free.

Follow us

Latest Event Jobs

Venue Search

close this