Michelle Lim Writes Her Own Story With a Career Transition
Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Michelle Lim, who went from content acquisitions director in TV to blockchain purveyor for storytellers and creatives.
What were you before?
I was director of content acquisitions with Sony Pictures Entertainment for their TV channels in the Asia-Pacific region. And before that, director of programming and creative services with AMC Networks International for over nine years, where I was their first hire for the region.
What triggered your reinvention(s)?
I was made redundant last May after Sony sold off their TV business. This, coupled with the shutting down of AMC Networks Asia the year before, and having to let go of teams I helped build and develop, triggered a seismic reflection of where I wanted to be next and what I didn't want for myself anymore.
What did the first steps look like?
Quite literally, putting myself out there. Not unlike dating! Putting aside feelings of fear and rejection to go out and "beat the pavement."
What was one hard obstacle to overcome?
Doubting yourself and your value. Silencing that inner voice telling you that you and your ideas will be laughed out of the room.
What was easier than you thought?
Making connections and striking up conversations. There are so many people happy to connect, give time to share their experiences, expertise and help connect you to others.
What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?
You're not alone. During the darkest, loneliest moments, it can and will feel like that. I've learned since that time that people, now more than ever, are looking to connect, collaborate or just share their own journeys. Finding "your people" will take time and may come from the most random of instances. Keeping an open, positive perspective is crucial.
Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?
Speaking to a couple of close friends, I realized we were all at the same stage of our lives wondering, "What else is out there? What's next after this job? Is this it for me?" Sharing the journey with them has kept me on the straight and narrow. We check in with each other regularly and keep each other on track.
What has this fundamentally changed for you?
A renewed sense of purpose. Shades of the idealism once felt in my twenties, but imbued with the know-how to make it happen.
Do you think you could go back/do you want to?
Someone once told me that working for others will often mean that decisions regarding your future will be made without you. I don't want someone else deciding my future, without me in the room. This has been knocking about in my mind, especially given the recent consolidations among the big media brands.
Tell us your reinvention song.
I don't know if I can call it a reinvention song … but "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush got me through some pretty dark moments.
How would you define yourself now?
I'm working with a partner to bring blockchain technology and decentralized solutions to independent storytellers and content creators. There are too many ideas "left at the door" of content studios or left on a pile of story pitches. My hope is to shift some of that power focus away, and help more stories rise up and get made.
Reinventions is a questionnaire series with people who are making pivots in their lives. If you're going through a reinvention and would like to be interviewed for the series, please get in touch.