Pretty much a year ago, my family and I left the UK and headed home to bright and wonderful NZ. Bustling, cultural, cosmopolitan Wellington in fact. It’s been in equal parts fantastic and welcoming and a big fat leap into the unknown.

It's easy to feel like we should be further along, we haven't done this or that, but we have ticked a few important boxes.

  • Settling - children in schools and uni, happy with blossoming friendships and results.
  • Reconnecting – with friends and family back in NZ attending celebrations again
  • Reaching out -  joining community groups, sports teams and activities, staying connected with the UK and US teams
  • Exploring - places to live, the wilder outdoors of the Wellington region, the agency scene

You can't beat Wellington on a good day.

As I've written before, the one area I personally found difficult is the connection I had to my old role as ECD and Partner at Mr B & Friends. It was part of my make-up, I was part of the DNA of a place, and in turn it was part of me. After 14 years, when those emails, crits, board meetings and workshops stopped, I felt a bit unneeded, like when Woody and Buzz in Toy Story are left discarded. Awwww.

Although I get it - my family and I made the decision to leave Mr B & Friends for family and personal reasons. So I had to live with it, make it work, get through this. You've left NZ for the UK before, go again. Climb down from the perch. You’re senior enough, get on with it.

So, after much soul-searching and internal workshopping (is that a thing?) And going for many coffee-chats with agency owners and leaders, as well as my lovely wife and friends. I've landed on something that feels right for the next stage of my journey.

I've been working alongside some clever people over the last twelve months. Closer to the craft on every project, pulling together decks, a tonne of writing, learning new skills, developing ideas, sketching, diving into new software without the safety of a team. It's given me a taste of the start-up vibe again. The thrill of the unknown.

Not my usual book. Thanks Noah 🙂

All of this has given me confidence and renewed belief in the power of creativity and ideas. Funnily enough my son bought a book on Ikigai. The Japanese ethos, and secret to a long and happy life. I'm not deeply philosophical, and those that know me, know I'm able to roll with the punches pretty well. This really resonated with me - the removal and focus to get to what really matters.

So then I explored - what parts of being a creative do I enjoy the most (and I'm good at), and more importantly - what's the most valuable to clients. And apart from the brilliant people and relationships a creative career gives you - it came down to two things I love.
Creating stories and symbols.