Can My Story Inspire Your Team To Embrace Change?

I'm a career reinvention expert. I love it. It's not something I read about in a book. I earned my SMARTS by being an army sniper, a globe trotting TV cameraman, a magician, an online entrepreneur, a speaker/author ... and I'm not finished yet. Whether I am talking about video or life-long-learning I am always talking about growth through change. I help people 'see' the opportunity that comes with change. My story - delivered through masterful storytelling - can help set the tone for change within your organisation.

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My Story in Under 50 seconds


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Change is Inevitable but Growth is Intentional

I did really well at school if you don’t count learning.

I did so poorly I had to repeat my final year at high school and I was doing worse in my repeat year so I became a chronic truant and self educated myself at the state library.

I knew what I wanted to do. I studied photo journalism by myself. Months and months of poring over photo books and I learned to read between the lines which is where you find the true secrets and realised I needed to have a camera in my hand at all times and I needed to be where the action was which wasn’t in my home town of Brisbane (apart from anti government protests where I got my first taste of the ringside view of life.)


My ticket to the world was on a bus shelter

An army recruiting poster stared at me as I waited for the bus. I went in and asked if I could be a photographer in the Army. They said certainly sir, sign here. To my naive surprise that’s when the yelling started. It didn’t stop. They put me in the infantry. I’d been duped.

I looked for a job in the army where I could get some peace and quiet away from all the yelling and I found one. I became a sniper. My job description read … ‘must have a personality which allows him to kill calmly and deliberately’ and honestly, my heart wasn’t in it. This was in peacetime, post-Vietnam war, about 1980. I sort of knew this was not going to be my calling.

There I was, lying in wait, looking through crosshairs but still dreaming of photojournalism which is simply telling a story with pictures. I realised that looking through my telescopic sight was like looking through a camera. I started a process of making imaginary movies.

Essentially I self-educated myself in filmmaking.

I went from being trained to shoot people with a rifle to shoot people with a camera.

In a much more socially acceptable move I joined ABC TV in 1983. This a government funded broadcaster that leaned towards factual storytelling. News and documentaries rather than entertainment. They said go document people’s stories. I’d finally made it. For over 2 decades they put a plane ticket in one hand, money in the other and kicked me out the door and said go tell people’s stories.



I travelled the world getting a ringside view of life

After 20 years I had met so many VIP’s - very inspiring people - who were out there making a difference to the lives of others. I wanted to do that too. I wrote about these unlikely teachers in my memoir The Second Best Job In The World  Harper Collins 2010.

Though I was doing little projects here and there, nothing gained traction. I started to think it was just me. I’m just not good enough to do the things all these other people seem to be able to do.

One day I had the simplest of realisations

I realised all these people making a difference were all in front of the camera. That’s where I needed to be but I was behind the camera.

The only way to be in front of the camera was to leave behind the camera. I couldn’t be in two places at once. So I left.

I cried. I mourned leaving 25 years of everything I had worked so hard for. It was the very fabric of who I was but that mourning was the best thing. It’s incredibly important to let go, for it’s only when you let go that life can begin afresh.

Time to teach philanthropy to children

In my mind, this is how I was going to make my difference in the lives of others.

I planned on going into primary schools to work with 10 year old kids. I would teach in simple terms that philanthropy is smarter than charity. I would teach a new generation that prevention was better than cure. I would teach a whole new generation a whole new mindset.

It was ambitious but I pre tested it. The government liked it, parents liked it, schools liked it. So I launched this program to deafening silence. Schools wouldn’t book me?? But you said, ‘you liked the program!’ We did, but we didn’t say we needed it. We need maths and science and literacy … got any of those?

I learnt my first marketing lesson: never open a restaurant unless you’ve got a starving crowd.

My TV career sailing off into the sunset

All I had was essentially a magic and juggling show with no audience. Through necessity I reinvented myself as a magician and family entertainer. I did about roughly 2,000 shows.

I created another program for schools where I taught kids simple magic tricks and embedded character lessons in the process. Videos were made of each trick and I posted them on YouTube. People liked them. 

People craved confidence

I elevated the story and presentation of magic above the technical side of how to do the tricks. Julian’s Magician School got traction.140,000 subscribers and 30 million views. I never expected that sort of interest and I never expected it would make a difference.

Oddly, a third of my audience was adults. I reached out to them and asked what is it you want? They wrote back 33,000 words saying they wanted the confidence to perform a show. Build Your Magic Show was born. An online training course for adults.

Something unexpected happened

I started receiving messages. ’Julian's magic tutorials saved my life. A few months ago I was on the brink of suicide’

Huh. Me? This is not what I set out to do. But it was, just not how I planned. I was making that difference in people’s lives that I had left my TV career for.



Ever heard the story of the mysterious broken pendant? Someone has one half of a  broken pendant and they search the world for the person with the other half and when the two halves mesh together .. KaZaam!  

That happened to me. An email popped into my inbox. The author said we should do business but you must know that you will find drugs and prison sentences are in my past. The more I listened, the more I learned that a person does not have to be defined by their past.

We formed a company to create the world’s first online training academy for children’s entertainers. It’s called Kids Entertainer Academy. We were able to assist people to make career moves from jobs they didn’t want to be in to following their passion. Some part time, others full time.

You gotta walk the walk

With so many people unhappy in their jobs around the world I wanted to take my message - that being unhappy at work is not a life sentence - to a broader audience. 

Just like I learned that I couldn’t be behind the camera and in front of it at the same time, I needed to make a choice again.  I sold my share in our company and went back to square one to rebuild myself as a speaker | author | educator on essential 21C career skills.


Can My Story Inspire Your Team?

"There are speakers who offer your fresh perspectives as subject matter experts. There are speakers who speak with the rousing fervour of evangelists. There are speakers who are so just so enjoyable to listen to as storytellers. Julian was all three in one compelling package" - Coen Tan

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