Instead of new year’s resolutions, this year how about writing a letter to yourself, date marked one year in the future. You know better than anyone what success looks like to you in every area of your life, from career and finances, to health and personal growth, family and friends, romance and Home, travel, adventure and fun.
If you’ve enjoyed a wonderfully successful 2022 what will you have manifested or achieved? And, critically, what obstacles will you have had to overcome? In what ways have you had to grow, in order for the outcomes you have listed to have been possible?
Over the last 12 months, I have been working with 51 outstanding producers, directors, creatives and managers from the world of TV, media, and entertainment in the UK. All from black, asian and non-white backgrounds, they are the future leaders who will help shape and redefine leadership in the TV industry and act as a proactive catalyst for positive change. The programme is called Breakthrough Leaders, and it was always understood by the TV Collective’s founder, Simone Pennant and Nicky Gray, HR director at Fremantle Media, who sponsored the initiative, that each leader’s breakthrough would be different.
So, 12 months ago, we asked each of these talented and accomplished individuals to imagine it was January 2022 and they were writing a letter to themselves, listing clearly all of the accomplishments that had made them feel like they’d had a successful year.
We asked each leader to write to themselves about the new feeling they embodied, one year in the future.
What feeling do you want to embody 12 months from today?
Here are some anonymized examples of the feelings they hoped to embody:
“Excited, energised and proud.”
“Balanced, fierce and unstoppable!”
“Energised, motivated and empowered”
“Brave and out of my comfort zone”
“Fulfilled, like an actual superwoman boss!”
“ Inspired , hopeful and buzzing with creativity.”
“In control and creatively fulfilled.”
“Full of excitement for every day.”
“Confident, self-assured and enterprising.”
“Grateful, happy, proud, limitless”
What measurable results have you manifested by the end of this year?
Next, we asked each leader to imagine looking back at the success they’d had. What milestones, achievements and events would make you feel, a year from now, that you’d enjoyed real, staggering success? The key thing is for you to be a little terrified by the ambition of your list. If you’re thinking, ‘Oh, that’ll be easy,’ you haven’t been ambitious enough. At the other extreme, if you’re thinking ‘Help! I’m never going to achieve any of that,’ then the goals you have set are not right for you either.
Here are some anonymized examples, of some specific measurable results, included in the Breakthrough leaders letters from their future self.
“I have spoken on a panel about the present and future of high-end self-shot documentaries at the Edinburgh TV Festival in September 2021.”
“I have gained my first Producer credit as on a Feature length documentary by November 2021”
“I officially launched my new company by the end of May 2021.”
“Since June I have worked consistently within a ccompany where I now feel like I belong with people who are actively making things I want to be part of.”
“I have had meaningful dialogue with 5 Commissioners and 5 Execs at Indies I respect by summer”
“ I was Selected to direct a short doc for Netflix in April”
“My company earned £600,000 by September.”
“I am working as a commissioning editor by June”
“ I have made enouih money from my work to support myself and my family.”
“ I’ve commissioned my first ground breaking series”
“ I have won an award in digital innovation.”
“I directed my first documentary for a global platform”
“I rewrote of my first novel by June and in November Disney re making it into a feature film.”
What self-limiting beliefs have you had to conquer?
Before setting ot on any journey, it’s incredibly useful to identify potential obstacles on the road ahead. Mostly what’s holding each of us back from extraordinary achievements is that too familiar voice in our head, ‘the saboteur.” While all of us need to overcome different conditioning, here are some of the self-limiting thoughts and behaviours which some Breakthrough leaders identified. Perhaps some are familiar to you.
“I have had to overcome a lot of self-doubt”
“ I have had to confront my fear of speaking out in meetings out of fear of being incoherent or giving the wrong answer.”
“ I have had to overcome my fear of pitching my own ideas only to be told that the idea is bad or wrong.”
“ I have had to confront my issues with time management and a belief that there are ‘simply not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do.”
“I have had to face full-on my fear of failure – originating in being bullied in childhood which fostered a sense that I did not belong, did not deserve to succeed and had to please others rather than myself.”
“I have overcome my fear of asking for help from those around me out of fear this will be seen as a weakness”
“ I have had to learn techniques to handle my nerves in group interview sessions.”
“I Have shed my imposter syndrome, enabling me to have newfound confidence in an array of situations.”
“l have dispensed with feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment that I do not deserve it.”
“I have learned to manage my time to focus on what’s really important to me.”
“I have had to become more ruthless and less of a pleaser”
“I have learnt to be resilient and also be my biggest cheerleader.”
“I have I stopped being so hard on myself.”
“I had to give up and banish the idea that I have to do everything on my own.”
So do these letters work?
It’s one year since the 51 Breakthrough Leaders wrote their letters, and doubtless many of the outstanding things they achieved would have happened regardless of whether or not they had written powerful letters from their future self. But there is something important that switches when we dare to dream our future and declare it. Here are just a few of the Breakthroughs ithey have manifested in 2021:
David Davis, an executive producer on the BBC and HBO backed drama, Industry, is launching 5 Acts Productions backed by ITV Studios.
Dershe Samaria and Patrice Etienne co- founders of Nuwave Pictures were announced as one of ten indies to officially partner with Channel 4 and The TV Collective on the Indie accelerator.
Bernard P Achampong founder of Unedited, had its first TV commission this year with the drama, Skin Deep.
Nutan Velji was appointed as senior creative executive at YouTube Originals.
Emile Nawagamuwa was appointed as UKTV’s commissioning exec for factual & factual entertainment slates of W, Yesterday, Dave and Gold.
Nawfal Faizullah was promoted to a Commissioning Executive post at BBC Drama.
Waqas Ali has recently been promoted to UK Lead for Production HR at Netflix.
Beya KABELU Won his first Netflix commission
Cicelia Deane started as Editorial and Commissioning Executive for BET UK
I hope that, if nothing else, I passed on 3 distinctions which have become super clear for all 51 leaders in this past year:
1. The voice in your head that says “You’ll fail” “You’ll look foolish” Is NOT YOU. It’s part of you. But your saboteur is NOT You.
2. Your intentional self is VERY powerful – making plans, setting goals, letting other people know where you want to go is hugely important
3. Asking for help, for guidance, for support, for advice may be hard, but it does work. Human beings loved to be asked for support ad guidance.
Look at every area of your life
With the Breakthrough leaders, we only looked together at one aspect of their life: career and finances. However why not write a letter from your future self to address each of the five principal areas of your life. You can set out how you want to feel a year from now, what goals would make you feel successful, and what is holding you back in the areas of:
- Career and Finances,
- Health and Personal Growth,
- Family and Friends,
- Romance and Home,
- Travel, Adventure and Fun
If you or someone you know in the UK deserves to be nominated as a Brekththrough leader in 2022, you may find details here: https://thetvcollective.org/breakthroughleaders/2022-nomination-form/