Where time restrictions and values intersect is a massive thing for me. There’s are a few ways of looking at time. Most common is not being bothered doing any extra stuff on top of what you are doing already. You are working your day job, you come home tired and that’s it, there’s no room for a side hustle. One the flip side many entrepreneur’s claim the comment ‘I don’t have time’ as complete garbage. And that you just aren’t managing your time and delegating effectively. Both viewpoints I don’t entirely agree with because when I’m working in line with my values and priorities things get a bit stuck. My priority one – Health, if I’m not healthy I’m no use to anyone. Priority two – Family, I wanna work towards being with my family more. And as a stay at home dad that doesn’t mean sitting my daughter in front of the tv for 8hrs while I get some serious work done. I want to be a present parent…. I don’t wanna become a slave to my dream job. I want my creative work to compliment my life not be my life.
One of the big things that seemed to surface when I was figuring out my why. Is that I love doing things differently to the mainstream. I’m really inspired by ‘indie’ artists in all fields that haven’t waited for that big breakthrough or deal to come to create their work they’ve just gone out and done it. Recorded a feature film on their phone, recorded an album in their kitchen basically created work with massive restrictions. Because I’ve noticed I get more creative when I have restrictions. It’s crazy, but I think if I was given an unlimited budget for a project it’d suck. So my plan for my first year at least or until I start earning a living from creating, is I’m going to do everything on my phone, my podcast, a book, a vlog and blog all on my iPhone.
I’m having to be out of the house today. My wife, she works nightshift, she’s at home trying to sleep. So I’m out with my daughter doing stuff, so she can sleep. We’re going to the library to get some books swapped over, kids books, so a good bit of research there. I’m driving around to the playground and doing all those kind of things, out and about, out of the house, which is great, it’s fun. It’s not really progressing things forward tho. So what am I actually doing? And what are the big road blocks which have been stopping me from getting anything done? I think the biggest issue is that I don’t really consider myself an illustrator or a writer but that’s what I love doing and the problem is, is that you play the comparison game. You look at people who are amazing illustrators, amazing writers and you think well I can’t do that. When it comes to music there are certain musicians that I love with singers that aren’t great singers. But what they do is, they bring their own unique style to it and they do it with passion and that is what comes through, not the technical brilliance of what they’re doing. I’m using that to try and get me out of this rut and actually get me drawing and writing every day because that’s the only way I’m gonna get better.
I guess what my ‘Why’ is, is I wanna help creators like me, and I wanna help me too, in the true definition of self-help I gotta get myself ‘Unstuck’, to get out there and start creating and telling stories and getting paid for it, yes paid for it, earn a living that’s my dream. Because ‘The gatekeepers’ the publishers, producers and studios no longer have the power. We can create whatever we want right now just with our phones. Which is really scary because the excuses don’t exist anymore. And that means only thing stopping me, is me.
This week I’m attempting to get clear on what it is that I’m actually trying to do and get started. I had a few days off the vlogging hamster wheel to ponder, and dangerously that’s when the voice of that lazy couch potato located somewhere in the dark recess of my brain is at its strongest. Offering continual excuses as to why I should give up. The kids book I’m actually starting today, progress is probably gonna be slow and it could be complete shit, but at least I will have done it, and in the case of a shit that’s a good thing.
Comments and community are incredible, especially when you have someone like Marilyn McNeal involved. She’s highlighted something to me that I’d subconsciously known but hadn’t acted on because it wasn’t obvious to me, because I was too close to this whole Fork In The Road project. Marilyn wrote ‘So far the story is about the value documenting your story.’ (All good so far) She then says ‘Each post is like a repeated ad for the real story that never comes’ – It’s so true, there’s no story because I feel like there is no story, so I need to address that. Then she says ‘Could you make a 2-3 minute video about something that matters to you and why. I feel like you still haven’t started to share your why.’ I’m totally gonna do that, in fact I’ll devote my week to getting clear, getting some clarity on what it is that I’m exactly trying to do here not just for you guys but for me too.
I want to document my journey, I want to create a story, a brand story. The only problem is that what I’m doing is not very interesting. The fact of the matter is, I’m not really doing any of my work at all. I’m not doing illustrating work at the moment because I’m putting a skylight in my daughters bedroom, and how does that relate? how does it? how can you incorporate that into documenting your journey? Well I’ve been listening to some podcasts and I’ve been thinking about that concept of Tim Ferriss’ where he talks about the four hour work week and he focuses on only doing what your great at, only doing what you love and giving the annoying jobs to somebody else. The thing is that if you’re doing what you love you’ll be better at it. If I gave this job to someone that was good at it, they might love it and we’d both get more done quickly. Even if we are working dollar for dollar – me working on what I like, them working on what they like, we’re both winning. It’s just a matter of finding that fine balance where I actually earn some money and can ask the question, am I better off earning some money so I can pay someone to do the stuff that I don’t want to do and outsource it? Do what you want, do what you love. So that’s an idea of how you can incorporate the story into a seemingly boring day doing menial tasks.
Essentially a good story is one that you can relate to, the ups and the downs. But that becomes a great story when you can project yourself into the protagonist shoes and be taken along for the journey. But no one wants to just see a hero that does great things, because that’s pretty boring, I wanna know how they did it, because then maybe I can do it to. So I’m thinking instead of a Neo in the documenting your journey story you need to be the Morpheus (the guide character), to get back to that matrix example. Because if your invested in the story you wanna get something out of it, you wanna be receiving value of some kind like instantaneously learning how to do Kung fu or self publish your own book. So it’s not just the story, it’s also about what value can I provide others by telling my story.
The great thing about documenting your journey – and I know I’m always banging on about documenting your journey – is that you are storytelling your brand, you’re creating your story in real time. And if you’re being authentic you will be drawing people into that story and not only like I was saying about making your ‘Why’ and your values and all those things well known. I think it’s also important that you put your struggles and difficulties out there front and centre because I don’t tend to believe people that project this perfect life like we mostly see on Instagram, there is no difficulty’s, there’s never a problem. I find that quite hard to believe but if you’re willing to share some of your difficulties, other people will have been having those as well and that way you become more relatable and your story will draw more people in.
You need to have your story come through in all the personal brand content you do. Much like your ‘Why’ and your values. And just to be clear, when I’m talking about creating and structuring your story I don’t mean making things up or adding explosions and orcs for spectacle. The storytelling approach is to make you quickly relatable by telling your true story and deciding what story structure helps get your message across as simply as possible. But the most important thing is as Fred Blumenberg would say is to ‘be authentic’… I’ll link to his awesome ‘Be Authentic Zone’ podcast below.. It’s totally ridiculous ‘Being authentic’ its something I seriously wasn’t doing on my travelling cinema business. I’d pretend to be some large successful business with a whole crew at my disposal. I’d respond to emails saying ‘we’ll get back to you’ or ‘we’d be delighted’, when it was just me!
All stories can be distilled back to a few common types. There’s the Hero’s journey, the quest, the reluctant hero to name a few. All of these common types of story structure you’ll find in movies and books and if you look at your personal brand story from a distance you might find yourself aligning with some of these. Then you can use that structure to build your synopsis – the blurb on the back of the book or the DVD (not that they really exist anymore). When people see your personal brand they need to know your story in an instant. Because when people see your personal brand these days, they really need to know your story in an instant Because they’re scrolling a million miles an hour and they don’t know who you are, they don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what the story is.
Storytelling your brand to build community
#ForkInTheRoad Vlog 165
The great thing about brand is that it’s a story, where as niche is a thing. You can niche down on a thing, and pinpoint your market and you can attract people who are gonna be interested in that thing. But with brand you don’t have to niche down, because as an individual your already pretty niched down. In fact older you get the more niched down you become, I recon. The only problem is the only person who cares about that niche is you. And the only way that you can attract your community is by making them care, and the only way that they are gonna care is by sharing your story, your goals and your mission. Because by telling your story you instantly become relatable. Still the majority of people still won’t care, but the world is still a very big place and you can contact most of its inhabitants in an instant. And those people who have connected and invested with your story in some way will care about what happens and will be interested. Even if they don’t buy what your selling they’ll still may support you by telling others and sharing your story.
So how do you know when you’re doing your personal brand right? I i don’t really know, but I do know one thing is that you obviously can’t keep everyone happy. And if everyone is liking everything that you do, all the posts that you do, then I think you obviously might be doing something wrong. I Finally made it on YouTube and I didn’t get monetisation. No I didn’t get 1000 subscribers, but what I did get is a double dislike on my videos. So I think your dislikes should be as equally celebrated as your likes on YouTube. Because somebody has taken the time to watch your videos and actually leave you a response. But what would be next level, rather than just a thumbs up or thumbs down is an actual comment whether your disliking what I’m talking about or liking and then we can discuss it and talk about it and take it further. Because you know, I don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about I’m just saying what I’m thinking about out loud.
Up until recently if you’d asked me what brand was I would’ve thought It’s all your logos and the style of your business and It kinda Is I suppose. But something that I heard recently, something quite interesting which was ‘brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’ and I thought that’s a really cool idea. Because it’s basically what do you deliver or provide for people. So I suppose, to do that you need to have your values pretty firmly in place and your ‘Why’ firmly in place when you’re putting yourself out there to the world. Because that will hopefully come through when people are talking about you behind your back and that will then become your brand.
So if your an artist, creator or lone entrepreneur of some kind I think the personal brand approach is the best way to go, over just niche. Unless you can do both and promote your niche product, service or whatever you are offering at the same time. But if time is a limiting factor, like it is for me I’d suggest building your personal brand and doing that by documenting your journey. It’s a more long term approach, it’s the slower road to niche I think – unless you happen to be famous. But the upside is that it’ll allow you to pivot to whatever you want over your career. You might lose some of your community during the pivots in your career, but you won’t lose everyone. Some people will be interested in what you do no matter what, these are your true fans as Kevin Kelly the creator of the 1000 true fans idea calls them. And i recon you’ve got more chance building true fans with a personal brand, because you are a living breathing person, you are not your product.
If I’m the mobile cinema guy, or I was the mobile cinema guy, I just couldn’t all of a sudden turn around and start making crocheted cat nappies for inner-city felines living in apartments and expect a market straight off the bat. But if I already built a community with my personal brand, there’s no reason why I couldn’t do both. Because you are the brand, your personality, your humour, your values, your attention to detail, your ‘why’ ooze through everything that you do. And if you are being you, if you’re being authentic, your niche is your personality plus you’re interests combined with your values and your ‘why’, everything combined… There’s no one else with that, that is you, you are specific, you are your niche.
Niche, nitch or whatever you wanna call it, should I have it over having a personal brand? or should I have both? I kinda had this dilemma kicking around in my head for a very long time before I even started to document my journey. I had all these ideas, or niches, in my head of the things that I could pivot towards but I wasn’t certain that I wanted to commit to any of them. And as all the social media professionals say, you gotta find your thing and niche down, because the riches are in the niches. The problem with Niches tho is you’re then trapped in your niche, like I was the mobile cinema guy with no room to break out.
I’m driving to work… I’m driving to work, that’s funny. Because, you know, it’s funny, you put yourself out there you do all this work as your documenting your journey and building your personal brand and stuff and by putting yourself out there a mate of mine who does video production work just said ‘do you want to come and do some editing for me’ and I went yeah totally. so here I am going in to do some work. And it doesn’t really change anything about where I’m going or what my goals are or any of that kind of thing. What it does do is it allows me to get super skilled at premiere pro, it allows me to get extra money in so I can actually put some cash toward the stuff that I’m trying to do as well so it gives me a bit more freedom and I might have the potential to do the work from home a bit as well which is awesome, so this is really exciting. You put yourself out there so people can see what you’re doing and you attract work rather than go out and search for it. so that’s really cool.
I want to talk about personal brand, I think it’s important for solopreneurs, creators, entrepreneurs, people working by themselves basically, artist, because that way people get to know your personality, your personality is your brand. They know what they’re getting, and people recognise your work by your personal brand because your fingerprints are all over […]
Yesterday I posted the Vlog with the thumbnail that said ‘no excuses’ and today I spent, pretty much, the whole day with my dad in the emergency department of the hospital. Now I think everything is okay, this is with my dad. And you know it’s funny, as soon as I put something like that out there in the world, something comes up and goes – yes there are excuses! There’s always gonna be excuses and very valid excuses why you can’t get things done. I think you just gotta accept that, and you know, because that’s life, that’s what life is. But I want to include this moving forward, the ‘don’t break the chain’ method. I want to have a little tally at the bottom of my description to see what things I’m succeeding at, and what things I’m not. And hopefully that will be a useful tool for me, to try and motivate me to ‘not break the chain’ and keep going with all the things that I want to be doing.
So it’s my first day of ‘don’t break the chain’, productivity method where you gotta get all your tasks in a row, keep on going, keep yourself going, keep yourself motivated and I must say It’s about 1 o’clock today so far and I think I’ve only done a couple of things, one of those things is including sleep. Then there’s the journaling and creative writing, and I try and, I like to try and get that done first thing in the morning before my daughter wakes up. Now the only issue is that she woke up before me today and It’s thrown the whole thing out. Exercise, haven’t done that yet. Vlogcast, I’m working on that now. Diet and fasting, I’ve lumped in together and so far I’ve succeeded on that goal. And seven minute drawing challenge. I’m onto that one, I’m on, I am, I’m gonna get on it straight after this. The good thing is about this challenge is it doesn’t listen to your excuses, an X is an X. You did it, or you didn’t do it.
So can I do the ‘don’t break the chain’ productivity good habit method without a physical calendar for everything I want to turn into a habit? I think the best solution is to incorporate it into something that you do already. Which for me is the daily vlog. Now I don’t mean I’m gonna list off what I’ve done and what I haven’t done every vlog, that would get a bit boring. But at the bottom of each description I can list where I’m at. For instance meditation, I can say I’m on 45 consecutive days and if I break the link something more severe happens, I go back to day one. Which is something I picked up from Michael Warth’s 7 min drawing challenge. I think this method is even more inspiration not to break the chain. No one wants to go back to day one. So starting tomorrow you’ll begin to see a little tally at the bottom of my description.
So the ‘Don’t Break The Chain’ method for creating good habits and being productive is pretty simple. You get a calendar, like a wall hanging calendar with puppies on, not a virtual one on your phone. And then start marking out big crosses on on every day you succeeded completing your task, probably in a thick red felt tip, for visual effect, because I think it’s a visual thing. You get a warm feeling inside when you see all those big red caterpillars lining up on your wall, pure, unbroken productivity. And the psychology is, the more days you do, the more you are likely to keep going. You basically guilt yourself into keeping on going because you want that calendar to be a solid page of red x’s and if it’s a physical calendar hanging on your wall, and if you miss a day. You’ll have to live with that for the rest of the month. But I’ve got a problem. What if I want to get lots of different things done every day. Do I have to do all of those things to get my X, or do have a wall with 10 calendars. I’m thinking of doing something else.
Why do I always brush my teeth at the same times everyday? Eat popcorn while watching movies – not that I do that anymore? Constantly check my phone? Use the same public toilet cubicle when i’m at the shops? Because I know it functions, usually, it’s clean and the door locks. Title We are all creatures of habit, it’s just a matter of making sure we are creating habits that are gonna take you closer to your goals not further away. And a tactic I already used to consistently get work done was the don’t break the chain method. I didn’t even realise this was what I was doing but with the almost daily vlog I was creating a habit, a good habit. Apparently it takes 18-264 days to create a new habit, with the average being 66 days. Jerry Sienfield, the comedian invented, called it the ‘don’t break the chain’ method, it’s no joke he really did.
What have I discovered to be the most useful daily tips and hacks for me? What ones are gonna move the needle and get me one step closer toward my goals? 7-8 hours sleep, pretty basic but it’s essential. Creative writing in the morning. Run or yoga everyday. My own little creation the – if this, then that or task sandwich work schedule. Fast twice a week. Using my screen time function as a Pomodoro task timer. Diet, for me it’s, no sugar, no grains, no dairy, and… caffeine, sadly it just doesn’t mix well with anxiety. Quickly writing my Goals, what I’m grateful for and my why when I wake up first thing. The Seven minute drawing challenge. Breathing time. These are the things I wanna make a part of my daily life. I know these things work for me. So why don’t I do them? I get distracted, I don’t have time, I forget about them. So Tomorrow I’m gonna figure out how to turn all of this into a daily habit.
After 150 vlogs and 20 podcasts I’ve uncovered a lot of tips, strategies, mindset tricks and hacks. And I’ve actually found some of them quiet useful, but how many am I using right now tho? One, maybe two a day when I think of them, but certainly not enough to help me as I try and create a successful career for myself. So how do I create good habits that stick? It’s pretty easy to create bad habits, maybe because they are usually the path of least resistance to get you to that quick fix. And as many people say you’ve gotta get out of your comfort zone to grow and if getting out of your comfort zone consists of doing good things then I suppose it’s time for me to get uncomfortable. It’s time for me to figure out how to make the good habits that I already know are going to help me towards my goals and find ways to make sure I’m doing them every day.
Tomorrow I’m going to be – Instead of just listening to podcasts watching and YouTube tutorials and getting all inspired and worked up about stuff about, you know, all the things I can do and how I can have a successful career. I’m gonna start implementing each of these strategies. I’m gonna give each strategy, hack, tactic, mindset thing, whatever it is, give it a whole week examine it deep dive into it. Then at the end of the year I’ll be compiling all that I found helpful on my path to having a successful career. Because hopefully I’ll be considered successful at the end of the year, you know maybe not, maybe it has to be two years. But either way I want to compile a book which becomes useful for creators like me. I wish someone created a book which compiled all of these ideas in the one kinda thing on someone who’s starting at the very beginning and follows them to the point of success.
So I want to piece together a useful book for creative people. That promotes, promoting yourself as an artist and how to do it. And by promoting yourself hopefully creating a successful career, where you can earn enough money to spend more time doing what you love. And piss-off those crappy time wasting day jobs that you have to do to pay the bills and just do what you are best at, and focus on that. I’ll be implementing hacks, strategies and anything I can find, I’ll be a human guinea pig, finding out what works and vlogging it, podcasting it, and adding it too this book, hopefully in a logical order. One vlog, one podcast, one paragraph, one minute and one day at a time.
So where’s my pivot? As SimpLee Beth on YouTube asks. The pivot has mainly been a mindset shift for me. I had created 143 vlogs and 20 podcasts while I was just finding my feet. I knew the kind of thing I wanted to be doing and just started doing that. Then the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months and in my most recent vlogs – I felt that I was just coasting down the desert highway after my tank ran out petrol a few hundred meters back. I was doing all this stuff, creating without direction or purpose. Then I thought about my ‘why’ that I discovered at vlog 50 which was ‘Empowering storytellers to think creatively about getting their story to world’. Then I thought if I can create a successful career doing something that I love, and document how I did it in a book, then maybe you’ll be able to do it to. Either that or I’ll be documenting my slow descent into madness, both of which will be publishable.
This vlog, podcast and blog is going to be my book, written and recorded out of order as life happens and then reassembled into something that’s hopefully useful for storytellers and creative people, who just never thought it was possible to earn a living from your passion. It’ll be a self published book, not just about my midlife crisis… maybe about my midlife crisis. But about my midlife career pivot experiment that I turned into a successful career. Catchy title, maybe a bit wordy. Now I just have to work on that successful career bit of that title, but I believe it’s achievable, at least some days I do. Some days I just feel stupid as I wonder why I never got a proper job, a more secure job. But then I realised many of the proper jobs are also becoming irrelevant and that there’s really no such thing as a secure job anymore.
If you are an artist, an entrepreneur, storyteller, or as Gary Vee would say ‘ a smurf collector’, you need to be documenting your journey now. Because your hobby, that thing you enjoy the most, and know ridiculous amounts of stuff about, could become how you earn a living. Which is great news for me as a storyteller, because I’ve come to realise the publishers, producers the gatekeepers for artists are now irrelevant, now the only excuse, the only thing stopping you, is you. So I’m determined not to let this great moment in time pass me by. So I’ve started to write a book, this book.
Mid last year I quit my dream job, because I realised my dream job wasn’t my dream job, I just thought it was… my dream job. but it turns out my travelling cinema business was a pivot away from the work I was truly passionate about, which was storytelling. And I only discovered that storytelling was my thing, my passion, that thing that excites me, because I had started. And by starting I mean ‘documenting my journey’. And I only started ‘documenting my journey’ because I was bullied into it by Gary Vee while listening to his podcasts while courier driving, trying to make ends meet because the travelling cinema business I had created, my dream job, wasn’t enough to pay the bills. Gary Vaynerchuks’ message was simple, there has never been a better time on earth to be getting paid doing what you love than now.
It’s time to pivot again, a pivot within a career pivot. Because now I finally think I know what I’m doing. That’s the thing with just starting without knowing the full picture. I would have never seen the full picture without starting. The key is starting, doing the things that you are passionate about and actually excite you, and just start doing them. And trust that the answer will come to you. It didn’t just come to me though, I recognised a pattern that I’d seen in my travelling cinema business – Road Movie Mobile Cinema. I was comfortable and lacking long term goals, big goals, I was just coasting. Being comfortable and not having any vision of my future I think is my biggest roadblock to succeeding, to having a successful career. And I don’t mean the Lamborghinis’ and infinity pools of Instagram kind of successful career. For me It’s about earning a living and supporting my family doing work that I love, spending time with loved ones and enjoying what I have now, not when I retire.
I know I look at my phone a lot, I’m a human being, and these things have been created like designer drugs for the masses. But it’s time to stop being a slave to the screen and turn your screen time into creative, productive, dream job time. So I’ve worked out using the screen time function on my phone that I average about 3hrs a day looking at my screen. If you’ve got a side hustle, creative work or anything that you dream of doing for a living but you say you have no time. Open up screen time on your iPhone and see just how much time you spend on your device. Due to budget restrictions and convenience I’ve decided my career pivot experiment is going to be created on just an old iPhone. To not only show you don’t need the latest and greatest stuff to create, but by doing everything on my iphone, I’ll be able to track how much time I’m spending on my creative work, shooting, editing, writing, illustrating and promoting on social media.
I’ve got no time in the day when in actual fact, what parts of the day? like washing dishes, you can be listening to podcasts, you can be watching YouTube videos learning up on stuff. There are all these ways of utilising your time better. So that’s what I want to be looking at, supercharging the time that I do have so I can be making the most of it and getting stuff done. By using the screen time I’ll be able to see how I’m going. It’ll be like the Pomodoro effect for scheduling your time, especially for me working with the ‘if this, then that’ schedule. For example if my daughter is asleep or if I’m going out for a run and I can do some videoing, I basically know what I can do at particular times of the day to open up the day a bit more. I think I’ve got about 3 hours that I can spend during the day and once the timer goes off on that thing then I stop. So say I’ve got 15 minutes to spend on Facebook I’m not going to wander around going from one kitten video to the next.
This week I want to be talking about your goals, you have made your goals, but how are you gonna achieve those goals? I’m gonna look at a slightly different method than usual because I found this screen time thing in my phone which allows me to down to the actual app know how much time I’ve spent looking at that particular app during the day, during the week, and then rather than having it as an app to just make you feel bad and guilty for how much time you spend looking at your phone. I thought maybe I can use this as a bit of a productivity app. So I’ve got a plan to use my phone as a tool to actually create time instead of sucking time. By doing all of my creative work on my phone and using the screen time app I’ve worked out pretty much how much time I get to spend on my creative things through the day. And by knowing how much time I get to spend on my creative things on average every day is a massive thing.
The biggest thing for my new years resolutions week is to have consistency, to build in consistency and to have a backup plan for when everything goes wrong. Because without backup you can’t have consistency and I think to have consistency I need to be doing something called batching which is getting a whole bunch of jobs done at once, similar jobs, get them all done at once and then you can start to get ahead in the process so when the system does go down you’ve actually got a contingency and you can still be putting your content out and everything that I’ve been looking at is telling me that I need to be doing stuff consistently at regular times otherwise you’re gonna lose your following so what I want to try and achieve is a regular daily upload, because up until now I’ve been the almost daily vlogger, certainly not the daily vlogger and the Almost weekly podcast. I wanna put a change to that, I wanna make it a regular thing that the vlog goes out no matter what, I wanna upload at a particular time of the day for the vlog and if you’re watching on YouTube I’d love to hear where you’re watching from, what town, where you are in the world and what time you watch because I’m having real issues posting different times of the day, sometimes I post and I’ll get no response, sometimes I post and I get a good response. So I’d love to know when you’re watching videos and also when you’re listening to your podcast. Where you are in the world and what time of day because it’d be really helpful if you could let me know that in the comments and then I can build in some consistency, get it up every day so you know at a certain time of day that’s when I’m gonna be posting, that’s my aim, that’s my goal, that’s my new years resolution.
The important thing as well that I realised is that to not only have backup for what you’re doing so you don’t miss a beat and you don’t miss that consistency with your vlogging or the content that you’re putting out but to also have worked in a little bit of breathing room in your content so that when the system does go down, when it does crash because it will crash, you’ve got a redundancy there so you can still be putting stuff out to give you coverage for a couple of days. Also as well as having some backup equipment would be nice, when I get a new phone, I’ll obviously try and keep this phone charged up, keep it on me, so that anything goes wrong I always have a backup.
Just about a week ago starting on the all humans struggle subject, ironically I was struggling with my phone then. Because I’m shooting on an iPhone 6 Plus it’s got 16 GB of storage and every day I’ve got to be going through deleting stuff and all that but I ended up building up a giant file called other and it’s just this kind of garbage file of little add-ons as apps update and things like that and it’s just so annoying I had to completely do a reset of my phone and take it back, wipe it, and start again. I lost about half of my other, but I’ve still got a massive other section. So I think next time I reset my phone I’ll have to just start from scratch. But that’s all part of the trials of doing this on a budget.
Everybody cracks on about consistency, and the thing about consistency is that it’s a muscle that you build up over time, speaking of New Year’s resolutions, it’s like going to the gym. You know you just can’t go to the gym one day and expect to be super fit, it’s one of those things that you gotta, you gotta go to every day and keep on working on it and it’s uncomfortable it’s not much fun for the majority of the population but consistency over time builds up strength, I think that’s the equation. I better write that one down. consistency over time equals strength and that’s what I want to be working at in the New Year
So here you are setting your 2019 goals and getting really ambitious and looking at really big things and going wow! That would be fantastic to achieve. But then reality kicks in after setting goals and you go ‘Oooo’ I don’t think I’ve got enough time to do that. magically I have found some time for you, or should I say Apple has found time for you because recently when I updated my phone, my iPhone that is, it has a function called screen time, I’m sure android has something similar but when I looked at that the first thing was, I was initially horrified by how much time I look at my screen. I’m a full-time stay at home dad, I’ve got an old house that I’m needing to maintain, a garden, things like that, but somehow I’m managing to spend 45 hours a week looking at my phone. Now I’m doing most of my work on my phone, with YouTube and creating my videos and illustrating on the phone. I find the screen time I’m looking at as being a really great tracker to see how much time I’m spending on what because I’ve got a basically a full work week, 45 hours I’ve got where I could actually be being productive on my phone instead of being mindless on my phone.
Look at the end of year, where you wanna be at the end of year and reverse engineer it, down to every day. I know that’s a lot of work and it’s gonna need a big piece of paper or a whiteboard but you’ll know what you need to work out to achieve that big goal. All I need to do is this little thing every day, or these few little things every day, and it might not seem so daunting then. Rather than sitting down at January one at your desk with a cracking hangover going – I’ll start this tomorrow – I think having a totally bitching headache on January first is pretty much gonna kill all your goals, unless your goal is that I’m never gonna drink again.
Happy 2019, I hope you had a good one and that your head doesn’t hurt too much, or should I really call it international goalsetting day? I think a surefire way of having all your goals fail is by setting them too big, making them too grand, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make them grand but maybe it’d be a good idea to start at small achievable bits and once you can consistently – cause I think consistency is the key – To consistently do small bits every day which are gonna take you towards your goals. Once you can meet them maybe then you can start building on them and getting towards a grander or more massive achievement.
Rather than getting depressed or getting bogged down or getting fixed on the struggles and living your struggles. I think it’s good to be able to try and embrace them and see what good can come out of them, see what those struggles can teach you and make you a better person in the long run and turn those struggles into superpowers. If I can focus on those strengths then I might be able to get a head a bit. I might be able to have a chance at my career pivot experiment,building a successful career doing something that I love, I certainly hope that I can. If you’re struggling with anything please hop over onto the all humans struggle Facebook group and share with everyone there, it’s a very supportive community. And of course if you’re struggling with any mental health issues – I’m not quite sure which services are available in your country – but really take people up on their services. I did and I find it really helps to talk these things out with people.
A big struggle of mine at the moment is creativity, and I’m not talking about your normal creative block struggle, I’m talking about I need cash for creativity. Because sure it’s nice – wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for doing what you love well I kind of think I have to at this stage. Because I’ve been working entry-level jobs all my life and doing my creative work on the side at the same time. Now if I took my creative stuff seriously and maybe started a YouTube channel Wayback when YouTube began that would’ve been great. I would’ve been taking my creative life seriously, but instead I just kind of wandered along dabbling a little bit here and there and never actually getting forward in it, I was just kind of entertaining myself like it was a hobby which would be ok if I was an accountant, a doctor or a dentist, anything like that and doing it as a sideline but I don’t really have many skills to do much else I’ve kind of trained up over the years to be completely unemployable, like next week is my birthday I’m 45, I think, and the thing is, I don’t have any savings, I don’t have a house paid off, I don’t have a retirement funds or anything like that, I have no future financial security at all. All because I’ve been half ass following my creative urges and not diving in fully on that or not diving in fully in what is considered to be a real career, a career with a title, one that you can improve and make more money over the years I haven’t really committed to either of those. So what I wanna do now is turn that around, turn all the creative stuff that I want to do, not that I actually know what I wanna do, except that it all kind of relates back to storytelling and turn that into an income which will keep me out of the checkouts and the courier vans and all those kinds of jobs and actually direct me positively in the future, building for my future and keeping me happy. Because I’m miserable working for someone else, and that’s kind of why I want to focus on earning money doing what I love, being creative. and I wanna document it all here on the vlogcast so I can follow my journey, you can follow my journey. If you’re frustrated and in the same boat as me, because I think in this day and age with social media technology that everything is so accessible. You don’t need the publishes any more, you don’t need the producers any more, you can go out there and make the money yourself. I just need to work out how to do that, and I’m gonna share it with you. Because I’ll hopefully make it work, but that’s gonna be a massive struggle for me.
My third struggle, major struggle, is with anxiety. Now I wouldn’t have classified myself as an anxious person because I’d do movie screenings in my business, my travelling cinema business, I’d do movie screenings to thousands of people without getting too worked up. But I think it’s a different kind of stress, because I have stresses in my everyday life like anybody else has financial stresses, career stresses, and other things going on in my family and stuff like that. But I didn’t think that all that stuff would add up to me being physically ill and you know a few years back I had severe gut pain, I have full body trembles which would be happening all day 24/7 and you accompany that with several panic or anxiety attacks which I had and it was pretty disturbing I thought something was seriously wrong and I never realised what a panic or anxiety attack was. To me it felt like I was having heart attack or a stroke and it put me in the emergency department of the hospital several times. I think when a doctor finally said to me that I’ve got anxiety that the diagnosis was fantastic because that meant that I can actually do something about it gave me something to aim for where as before I didn’t know what was going on so the strength I’ve gotten out of all this, apart from my body basically telling me to chill out man that’s easy enough to do it is that I needed to be more mindful in my life I needed to incorporate meditation in my life, which wasn’t as foreign to me after doing all the yoga that I did to help me through my back pain so through meditation and also the running that I’ve been doing I find it’s a really great way of helping me with my mental health and so through this I’ve become much fitter because most days I run or I try to run as well as do meditation so you know that’s a pretty good strength to come out of such a nasty situation.
My second big struggle that I’ve had, personal struggle, is with dementia and grief. I don’t suffer from dementia myself, although my mum did for the last five years of her life. And I’d argue that anyone who has had a loved one or family member that suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s are also struggling quite a lot as well because the grief process has already begun, because the person you once knew and loved is wasting away in front of you. Their memories are going, their memories of who they are are going, their memories of you are going and the personality is changing and it’s very tough to see this. And I think what it’s made me do, like any kind of strength which has come out of this terrible situation is the fact that I’m trying to be more present in my life now, loving family and friends more and being grateful for those around me, and not being so judging on other people like I used to be. Because I’d see grumpy people in supermarket or something like that, that I have no no idea of what their backstory is, things that are going on in their private life, and I think I would’ve been that grumpy person in the supermarket too because I had a lot on my mind. So I think any kind of thing to come out of this is to be more accepting of others and also being present and loving and making the most of the people that you’re with today. It’s also great to love your work, be involved in your work and be headdown in it going for it but you need to also be present in the in the world around you and with the people around you because that’s where all the life stuff happens.
Can a human being, me, hold up a 30 foot wooden boat all by myself? The answer is yes and no. Yes I held it for about three seconds and no, it dropped on the floor and broke. and the problem is is because I tried to save it as well I broke. So needless to say my first and one of my biggest struggles is back pain and I didn’t lift a 30 foot boat just because it was fun, because I was showing off, or anything like that. It was a workplace injury/accident where a boat I was working on fell off it’s stands and my natural reaction was to grab hold of it. Now every day I wish I didn’t grab hold of that boat, but I did and I have to deal with the consequences which was, two compressed discs in my spine, and following that workplace injury I had I was unable to walk for about three months and it felt like someone had taken a razor blade and chopped all of my muscles, ligaments, but they’d left the nerve endings in, all through my back and so I felt like a puppet with no strings I couldn’t walk at all and was 100% reliant on other people to help me through my every day and since then the time it would take for it to recover would get a little bit less and it would be how little bit further apart between the times that it would keep re-occurring. The strength I’ve discovered out of this back injury is yoga, and the more I do yoga and the more in tune I stay with my body I find the less chance there is of me going back to that state because that state is terrible one to be in.
Instagram provides a perfect, glossy photo, coffee table book version of your lives which I think is great, the only problem is it creates this thing where other people look at your lives and just go, their lives are so great why can’t I have that? They don’t seem to struggle at all. But you know if they poo, if they are living, they’re struggling because it’s one of those things that everyone does, even the Queen has a poo. The all human struggle movement has a potential to be something deeper and much richer. It’s where people can grow stronger through each other’s struggles and grow stronger yourself by sharing and helping one another. But before I dive into all my personal struggles I just wanted to say that I want to put a positive spin on them and come up with the strengths which I’ve gained out of each struggle that I’ve had. Because as they say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
If aliens are monitoring our Instagram feed from outer space somewhere, they would definitely be planning their invasion, apart from the fact that we are all doing weird duck bum smiles. From outsiders point of view our lives are fantastic – we are on the beaches, we are climbing mountains, we are sipping Pina coladas while racing down the freeway in our Maseratis and working on our laptops at the same time. what they fail to realise is that we have completely photoshopped our lives within an inch of their lives. We’ve taken all of the struggling out of it, we have just shown the highlights. That’s why I really want to focus this week on a movement, a Facebook group #AllHumansStruggle