We all have goals in life, or we should have. Never lose sight of those goals. Your goal might be to be president of your country, or maybe not. Whatever that goal is, work towards it. Find yourself a mentor. Hold their jacket, bring them a cup of coffee or water. It doesn’t matter what, but stay close by. My picture shows Barack Obama holding former US president Bill Clinton’s jacket in 2005. He later became president himself. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is about his administration. The point here is that he reached his goal to be president of the United States of America.
When I was a teenager I used to go with my father, a preacher, to where he would preach. Whether it was a local church or a major conference, I would find my way behind the sound operator. I would watch over the sound engineer’s shoulder. When there was a gap I would ask questions. Why did you do this, what does that do, what is this….and so on. I was fortunate that in most cases the engineer would oblige me with answers. Years later my father would work for an organisation, Christ For All Nations. We lived on the grounds where the office and other facilities were. I decided to ask for a job in the sound department. I started with cleaning cables, fixing broken ones, and later even built some amplifiers with the guidance of a man called Roger West. A while after that we were doing a stadium event, and Roger looked at me and said “You want to be a sound guy? Mix!” I was crazy scared, but I never looked back. Around the same time, I met a man called George Hattingh, who would become my mentor and teacher, years later. Many of the principles that he taught me, I still use to this day. Twenty years after my “starting point”, I would do sound for a crowd of around 250 000.
If your goal is like mine to be a sound engineer, hang out with people that do that. Be willing to clean or roll up cables. Ask questions, and don’t give up. Not everybody will support your dream, and some will even criticise you when you get there, yet remember that no one can stop your dreams but you.