WHY YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE OTHER PEOPLES OPINIONS PERSONALLY
An authentic insight into Sarah Williamson’s story
Sarah Williamson is a 27 year old Journalist and law student from Melbourne, Australia. She has been working at the Nine Network for almost four years as a Producer for A Current Affair. Sarah has a degree in Arts/Legal studies, majoring in political science and is almost about to complete her law degree. International politics and human rights are things that Sarah has been passionate about from a young age. Growing up in a family that deeply embedded in law enforcement and NGO’s, she was always conscious of how the world worked outside of her realm of comfort. Sarah has a huge thirst for discovering the unknown. This is why she likes to go off the beaten track, with a camera in her hand and become immersed in the cultures of places less travelled. Now, in three weeks time she will be starting her new role as Senior Producer for i24 news, based in Tel Aviv. This is a dream job as Sarah gets to work on news that she is passionate about and work in a region she has wanted to live in all her life.
1. Humble Beginnings
Q: How did you get started and what or who inspired and empowered you to?
Being obsessed with documentaries and watching international news channels every singe day, it was pretty clear to me that working in world news and current affairs was something I needed to do for a living. I love to learn. So I would spend my time as a solo traveller making mini documentaries or taking photos of people, places and cultures that were so different to my own. I would come home and be so surprised at how little people really new about the world when I would tell them the things I did and saw. That made me want to tell my stories to a wider audience and at a out the age of 21 I decided that being a lawyer (which I am studying to become) would never be as fulfilling or rewarding as being a war correspondent.
Then at 23 when I was in Kenya, where my father is based, I was caught up in the Westgate Mall siege, which claimed the lives of 67 people and wounded hundreds. Being caught up in the four day siege and living to tell the tale was something that changed my life forever. I was traumatised by what had happened and felt it was so necessary to tell my story so that other Australians could be more aware of the type of terror and adversity that happens all over the world but is seldom acknowledged. After doing a sit down interview with Tracy Grimshaw for A Current Affair, I knew that if there was ever an opportunity to be involved in an industry that I was so passionate about it was right there, on that program. So for so long after that, I worked for free, proving myself in the industry until they took a chance on me and offered me a job. It was by far the greatest opportunity I have ever received and I will be forever grateful for my time at A Current Affair.
Something that I think is really important to note is that although my greatest opportunity stemmed from the most horrific event, I would give anything to take it all back. If I could bring back the lives of those 67 people and still be working in a clothes shop today, I would. No career, no lifestyle, no amount of money is ever worth more than a human life.
Q: What unique and creative strategies if any did you use when you were first getting started?
There was nothing creative about my beginning in the industry, I saw an opportunity and I took it. Obviously never studying journalism or working in television before, I was behind the eight ball when I first started my work experience. I asked so many questions, I took notes on everything and I made sure that I understood everything that was being taught to me before I moved on.
Q: What mindset distinguished you from others who were doing the same thing? How did you develop it?
I think the difference in my mindset from others who were striving to get in to the media, is that I wasn’t taught what I knew of the industry in school. I lived it. I went out and taught it to myself. Instead of doing a journalism degree I was travelling with an SLR, conducting interviews in Indonesian orphanages or small towns in Africa.
3. What is your definition of success?
To me, success is about ambition and drive. It doesn’t matter what your job is or how much money you earn, if you are putting forward your best effort, in whatever position you’re in, then you are successful. Be passionate about whatever it is that you do. Be proud of who you are, where you have come from and where you want to end up, wherever that may be.
Q: What do you think is the main reason why some people face failure when going after their vision?
I don’t really think failure is something that people should ever be thinking about. If you fail to get to where you want to be it is probably because you’re just not ready for it yet. Start off small to begin with and over time, you will develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary to achieve your end goal. Learning from your mistakes is the exact reason as to why there is no such thing as failure. You can’t fail if you are learning because to learn is to better yourself.
5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across and would like to share with everyone?
Don’t take other peoples opinions of who you are, or what you do, personally. Everybody is going to have an opinion of you and what you do but very few will ever understand you of get to know you.
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