What makes us embrace a new challenge and take a chance? 

So many times we come to a crossroads and hesitate. We start doubting ourselves, underestimating our skills, talent, ideas, and we tend to tack on the excuses: “too little time,” “too busy,” “not good enough.” Why? Because it's hard to take the first step and put ourselves out there, for other people to judge. True, it can be daunting. But often it’s at that precise moment that we most need to silence the negativity and step forward

We know what you’re thinking: “Sure...as if it was that easy.' Let’s face it, it’s not! But acknowledging our fears is the first step to regaining our power. Take a moment and think about it: how many times have you bravely committed to something, even when not totally certain of what you were doing? A thousand times throughout your life, more? When you really think about it you realize that fear isn't there to paralyse us. It’s there to act as a catalyst,  spurring us into action.

To better understand what overcoming fears and taking on a challenge looks like firsthand, we caught up with STL first edition finalists teams Icebreakers, Togather and Kawia’s Adventure. Read on to better understand what shaped their journey to saying “yes,” from first submission all the way through to the finish line.

What resonated with you about the STL challenge?

What resonated with me the most with the STL challenge was that we didn't need to have a fully formed project, rather just an idea of it and take it from there. As well as the inclusion part, as it encouraged people from all over the world to join. - Tabi Karaba

For me the driving factor of why I really wanted to go for it was the opportunity to work on something of my own with friends and colleagues and have the chance to reach people through the THU and Sony Platforms. I think it felt like it had a purpose more so than my client projects or my solo ones. - Shelley Graf

What were some of the things that nearly kept you from applying or giving up part way through? What got you over those hurdles?

Actually it took a pretty long time for me to just click the submit button, by a lot of time I mean I had set everything up then closed the tab and began overthinking things for about two weeks? For one thing I was terrified of actually sending anything. I recorded a video pitch in my favourite fluffy sweater because I was essentially having a blast talking to myself, quarantine will do that to you, my project deck was at least in my eyes too laid back? There were dad jokes in there... and terrible puns, why would I show industry professionals that? What if I'm blacklisted or worse what if they don't like it?! I don't know, I was pretty anxious so all my fears kept snow-balling into bigger and bigger fears to the point that even I knew I was being ridiculous, so after an email reminder from the team, I thought what's the worst that could happen? I logged in, hit submit. - Lydia Mugure

I hesitated as to whether my idea was “digital” enough. Strange how you can obsess over big words like ‘digital entertainment’ in a challenge brief and let that grow in your mind so much larger than it needs to be and almost stop you from sharing your ideas with the world. I’m happy I didn’t let that get in the way. - Dilruba Tayfun

What would you say to people who think this kind of challenge isn't for them or who are on the fence about applying?

Realistically, can you spare the time somehow? Then go for it. there is nothing to lose and only to gain. Quite a lot in fact. I mean it's a chance, right? if you can take it you should. Apart from that, ask yourself why the challenge shouldn't be for you. For me it's about growing and learning. Project management, independence, communication, and making something because you want to and you can. if any of those sound enticing I think it'd be for you. - Shelley Graf

To those who are on the fence, I have but one thing to say: ‘Why are you holding yourself back from following your dreams? This is an amazing opportunity where you meet and learn from amazing people, and I’m not talking about just the mentors. The THU staff that acts as guides for the finalists and even your own teammates. You will learn so much from them AND get to act on these amazing ideas you have, so why are you hesitating? Grab your dream and just run. Only a fool thinks of defeat before actually trying.’ - Stephan Rumping

Why did you think STL was the best avenue to develop your idea?

STL was the best avenue for us to develop our idea because not only were we getting assistance with time management and setting goals, but we also were getting industry professionals who were specifically suited for each part of the creative process to guide us. The reception we got with the THU team was just beyond amazing. We found a family with them because of how nurturing and kind they were. To top it off, was getting the financial assistance within the STL timeframe that ensured we could just focus on our project, and that definitely made a huge difference. I don't know if Kawia would have developed as much and as fast as it did if it were not through the STL. - Tabi Karaba

 It was entirely foreign to me. I thrive when I’m uncomfortable and Sony Talent League seemed exactly the kind of environment where in a different climate I might see my ideas come to fruition. I stepped into the league with no idea what the exact format or outcome of my efforts would be like, I have gotten much closer to its core through the league. - Dilruba Tayfun

 There you have it, a rolodex of experiences to draw from the next time you wonder if it's worth taking the plunge. Jumping into a new challenge can be difficult, but the rewards of the journey often outweigh the struggles. Plus, you can always reach out anytime to our support team whenever you feel hesitation closing in.