Heading to a keynote speaker who is a magician and entrepreneur, I did not know what to expect – particularly at a library conference. However, Giang truly did open my mind!
As you know librarians love a story. Giang shared the personal tale of how his parents risked their lives to escape Vietnam to start a new life as refugees in Australia. They worked very hard to ensure the family got ahead. This resulted in Giang and his brother being left at the local public library while their parents worked long hours.
The library staff embraced the family with “love and kindness” and played card games with them. One day a library staff member showed 11-year old Giang a magic book. This book and the card games were clearly life influencing and would eventually lead to a unique career.
Years later, Giang decided to drop out of university to become a magician. The hardest thing was telling his parents because he felt he had been brought up to achieve academically. Surprisingly, Vinh’s parents were very supportive. They said they didn’t risk their lives to start a new life where he had to do something he didn’t want to do. They wanted him to be happy and have opportunities.
His father encouraged him and stated,
“jump as high as you can in life. As long as I am alive boy, I will forever be your net.”
A relieved Giang then cheekily asked his parents to help finance his proposed business using their investment property. Giang and his friends consequently started the Encyclopaedia of Magic, an online business.
Setting up this business was a risk and required a lot of hard work. Giang recognises the help and support he has received, particularly from family. Despite being very successful he endeavors to remain grounded and shared a Vietnamese saying,
“When you eat the fruit, always remember those who help you plant the tree.”
Illustrating some tricks Giang showed the audience that magic is the problem you can’t solve because of perspective. He highlighted the importance of looking at something from a different point of view, a different perspective. A filmed card trick shows one perspective, whereas a trick in real life shows another perspective.
According to Giang if we generally want to change what we are doing we need to consider completely different perspectives.
“Gather as many perspectives as you can. Perspective is power.”
“We don’t innovate by what others are doing in our industry.”
All of us in the GLAM sector can clearly learn a lot from each other. We should collaborate more – share successes, failures, ideas and findings. We should also look outside our industry for inspiration.
A passionate Giang clearly illustrated his belief that when you improve individually, you improve professionally. He believes,
“…you are the direct reflection of the top five people you spend time with.”
Giang pestered entrepreneur Matthew Michalewicz until he agreed to spend an hour with him. They are now best friends and Michalewicz is Vinh’s mentor. To reach full potential you have to feel good. If you feel you are lacking a skill or attribute bring someone into your top five. For example, you may need a public speaker.
According to Giang,
“…your beliefs dictate you actions.”
Clearly, it is important we are positive and know where we are heading as a profession. It is good to set some individual goals and put your hand up to participate in project work. Learning new skills and being adaptable is essential in today’s workplace.
Giang emphasised the importance of taking the first step in processes and surrounding yourself with positive people.
After hearing Giang speak, I think it is important that we all learn to believe in ourselves. It is fundamental that we GLAM professionals develop a stronger voice and illustrate our worth in society. We should take pride in stories such as those of Giang who was clearly empowered by library staff. We are highly skilled, noble workers who come to work every day for the common good of helping other citizens.
Try not to be overwhelmed by projects and opportunities. Gather different perspectives on the way and remember to take one step at a time! Be prepared to change perspectives and look at other opportunities around you.