Should You Ever Give Up on Your Dream (To Work in TV)?

My sister watched her husband die this month. Such moments get you thinking about death and of course it’s precursor – LIFE.

Excuse the dark opening to this post but death is one of the most effective ways to make you stop and consider where your life is leading and what you want from it. Life is not a rehearsal!

The dark days of January are nearly over and you may be considering those New Year resolutions of yours – that may or may not depending on your willpower have already hit the buffers! I get many messages and requests for help. A common theme is “it’s so hard finding a media job; should I give up on my dream of working in television?”

Well I can’t answer that for you. Only you can decide what is really important to you and work out when you need to compromise and when to hold on to that dream. Generally I encourage people to follow their dream. As I say you only live once.


So let’s consider that thorny issue. Is there a time when you should sensibly give up on something you hold dear? If you are starving through lack of money to buy food then you need to take any old job you can to keep you alive. If you have a family relying on you for income you may need to make some compromises.  The good news is that creativity is something no-one can take away from you. You can take it with you anywhere and indulge it whatever your day job is.

My advice is and always has been to nurture your ideas, your creativity and not let it go, whatever your work situation is. One person wrote to me asking for advice. He was writing a screenplay whilst serving up petrol in a garage. Others despair because they are bored working in a bank or a shop despite being desperate to work in TV. Those that write, create, communicate and nurture their creativity whilst in the boring job have a far better chance of changing their path than those who don’t.

As I have urged so many times before, indulge your creativity and broadcast it. In the age of the Internet and a myriad digital media resources you don’t need anyone’s permission to make and broadcast films, websites, radio shows, blogs, anything!


There may well be times when you should consider putting a halt to a particular project that is going nowhere. The fabulous Seth Godin (one of my favourite ‘guru’s!) addresses just this in his book, The Dip, which I bought when considering whether I ought to be jacking in one of my many new projects. It’s a short book but basically helps to identify those moments in any new project where it starts to feel like it’s all “too hard”.

The thrill and excitement of a new job, new idea or new project keeps you going for a while and then the reality sets in. It seems far too many of us give up when they hit ‘the dip’ – that moment when the hard work outweighs the thrill of doing it. But this ‘dip’, it seems, can be a sign that you are about to make a break through. If you push on and get through you stand a chance of real success.

How do you know when it’s sensible to give up on a bad job and move on or stay strong and break through? Seems you have to be able to tell the difference between a cul-de-sac and a dip. If you are interested go read the book.


Another wonderful ‘guru’ the late great Steve Jobs, who inspired so many people with his creativity, and his approach to realising his dreams, delivered some very wise words in a speech to university students after being diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him.   I’ve used this quote before on this blog and it is well worth repeating:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart….

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary…

…. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”.

Steve Jobs, June 2005  


The dark days of January are nearly over, wet February beckons and beyond that the glimmer of light and hope that is the spring.  So how’s your life going? Are you happy with what you are doing and where you are going? Do you have a dream and intend to follow it or are you in danger of giving up on it? Is there a light at the end of your tunnel?

Don’t be disheartened by the difficult times. As those that know always say – it’s the mistakes you make, the difficulties you survive that make you stronger and way more interesting as a person (and as a potential employee). ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Clichés may be over-used but for a good reason:  ‘when one door closes, another opens” – your path may not take exactly the direction you had in mind but it may get you to the right destination anyway.

I did that New Year ‘reviewing what I really enjoy’ thing and guess what? Top of my list of favourite projects was this blog. And it’s you out there reading this that makes it my favourite project – the twitter followers, the blog subscribers, the lovely folk who I meet at media seminars and talks, your feedback, comments and emails. Love you all!

One of my New Year Resolutions was to not get so distracted by other projects and dedicate some quality time to this blog, writing quality articles in a regular fashion. Yup – I managed to get through January not doing any of that! But hey, I shall continue to dream…


Make the most of 2013; make the most of today; make the most of your life!



 “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” 


  • Carla says:

    Hi Shu – It’s great to see what so many people feel written down in words.

    Thanks for making yourself write this blog – I pushes me to write mine.

    Happy Thursday!

  • Sam says:

    Finding this today couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m not feeling great, and frankly am disparing on what my next move will be. This has made me realise that I shouldn’t give up so easily, and that my current mood is just a wake up call that I should be stronger and more determined in getting where I want to be. In the meantime I’ll find the positives in my “mundane job”, after all at least money is still coming in! Thank you!

    • Shu says:

      Thanks, Sam, and yes if you are in work you are doing well. Too many people are struggling to even get a job. That ‘mundane’ job is serving its purpose. All you have to do if use your time outside of work as effectively as you can to reach your creative goals! Good luck with it. Shu

  • Evans says:

    Thanks Shu, Just when I was thinking on hanging up my boots in regards to my ambitions of working on T.V and Radio. You come with yet the best piece of advice I could ever get!

    Thank you!!!

    • Shu says:

      Well I hope it helps. Just make sure you do whatever it takes to be happy and fulfilled, but also to earn the money you need to live. You don’t need a traditional TV or radio job to be creative, make films, or present them. Good luck! Shu

  • Shu!

    I was sitting at my computer on that freezing, wet, February day you described and staring glumly into my computer when I came across this post.

    Having just returned from a life-changing year living in Asia after quitting the corporate world (the technical, boring side of TV broadcast) I am now faced with the reality of London again. Property, pensions and money, money, money.

    Despite having aspirations of being a writer / presenter / producer It looks like I might have to take a job back in the side of the industry I like the least.

    However, you’re blog made me feel hopeful about the future and my creative output. At least I have my blog – which I’m as passionate about as you are by the sounds of things.

    Thank you for your wise words and the inspiration and hope to see you on the blog circuit soon!

    • Shu says:

      Thank you for that lovely comment, Sophie. Not only is it nice to know someone is reading but also good to know the words occasionally have an impact! Anyway, bloggers are fast taking over the new media world so keep blogging, keeping dreaming and above all keep those creative juices flowing!


  • SONNY says:

    Thanks Shu for the wise, motivation and encouraging words. I am realising that i am doing now is just a job. My Passion and Interest is lies with TV.
    “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”
    You know that saying “a happy person makes a productive and succesful environment”

  • Kerry Leese says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your brother in law. I hope that your sister and family are doing as well as possible.

    Albeit slightly late, I’m so glad that I read this post. After what has become a really drag of a winter, I was becoming a bit stuck in my dip after deciding to take the leap and concentrate fully on my ambitions. It’s not been going as I’d hoped but I always knew it was hard but I recently had a light bulb moment where I chose not to let it get to me. It’s all part of the journey and all that jazz.

    You genuinely do reach people, even if it’s just me (although I can see that it isn’t)! From having my own blog, I get so happy if someone leaves a positive comment or just by seeing that someone in a far flung place, who isn’t reading out of the obligation of friendship, has taken the time to read my post. Awesome feeling and I most definitely share your love of a good cliché!

    Happy Monday and have a great week!

    • Shu says:

      Thank you for that lovely comment, Kerry, and it’s great to get feedback. Glad you had the lightbulb moment – as they say (cliche alert!) it’s as much about the journey as the destination (or something along those lines!). Do what makes you happy and fulfilled and enjoy the journey. Good luck, Shu

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