Josh Taylor, a social entrepreneur, may only be 23 years old, but has ambitions far beyond his years. When Richard Branson gave him a special mission, Josh jumped into the deep end immediately, quite literally. Here is his story:
Josh Taylor created JoshingTalk back in 2011, a communicative platform to help document and fund Josh's ambitions around the world. His first major project was creating "space art" - sending paint-filled weather balloons up into the skies over 100,000 ft. After his project succeeded, Josh Taylor sought out his next target: Richard Branson. Take it away, Josh!
"It was April of last year and just after lunchtime. I still hadn’t pulled myself away from working on my JoshingTalk projects. Feeling a pang of hunger, I managed to get up and chuck a couple of sausages in the pan before yet again, the lure of work became irresistible and pulled me back to the computer. How often do you hear the words ‘work’ and ‘irresistible’ in the same sentence?
Thankfully I had chosen the path of an entrepreneur and most importantly, chosen to do what I love, regardless.
I had originally read a Richard Branson book that had inspired me; reading about his stories about taking on challenges and breaking world records, I had a thought. ‘Hang on a minute, let’s turn the tables!’ and wrote my own blog post asking Sir Richard to give me a challenge instead.
A few tweets later, I had one of those moments that pauses time and triggers a memory that lasts forever. Even though I had wanted it to happen, it’s fair to say that when a tweet from Sir Richard Branson popped into my notification feed I still uttered very naughty words in disbelief whilst double checking that it had actually happened in a very OCD-like fashion. I was astounded and just sat there in my seat!
And so the JoshingTalk Submersible project was born. And the sausages slowly burnt in the pan.
My first thoughts were on achieving another JoshingTalk project using the same underlining ethos of collaborating with businesses, bartering my way into getting what I need and creating an awareness around the notion that anyone can do this. Anyone. That means you.
I feel like over the past two years, I’ve achieved a hell of a lot more than I expected just through progressing with the project. I’ve had times where everything has gone very much to plan and then times where, especially in the last week or so, I’ve had to compose myself in times where actually panic would be the natural reaction for most people.
I feel like I've achieved incredible amounts from this project already, which I’m very grateful for; to have the submersible bring back footage of the bottom of the ocean would really be the icing on the cake.
I took on this project simply for the journey. I know it’s a bit cliché but it’s true. Through this project, I’ve made friends with people from all over the world; the type of friends that you could have a beer with and laugh about the serious stuff.
I’ve learnt more than I ever did at school through doing and nodding my head a lot when the team helping me build the submersible start talking about the technicalities of the project.
What often follows is my now habitual question of ‘So what does that mean in layman’s terms?’
It’s also important to be ambitious and to have a lot of fun. I’d even go as far as to say that dropping the submersible into the deepest trench in the Atlantic will give me the same buzz and adrenaline rush as getting a text from my next door neighbour saying that he’s found someone who wants to collaborate on the project! It’s as much the little things as it is the big ones.
Don’t let failure be the conclusion of the project. Push things to failure to find out the limits of your ambition. And then push them again. You’ll be surprised, limits aren’t fixed in place you know!
My JoshingTalk projects have grown over the last few years and are getting more and more ambitious all the time. Ideally, I’d love to travel around the world doing these projects and doing my public talks to crowds of all sizes, inspiring them to do the same.
Don’t let failure be the conclusion of the project. Push things to failure to find out the limits of your ambition.
I always say that if by doing my projects I can inspire one person, 100 people or however many to do what they love, to believe that they have the capabilities to change the world for good then I’ve done my job. II’ve got plenty more projects in the pipeline, ones that’ll make people laugh in disbelief but I always feel that that’s a good sign of an ambitious project and other projects that will help give the world a brighter future.
Ambitious projects need an ambitious team. What I need now is a sponsor or someone to collaborate with to make the vision even more of a reality. In the meantime, who wants to see what’s at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Atlantic Ocean?"