Two Fears

tons-of-fears

This is a practice that I do every once in a while. I got the idea from Tim Ferris. It’s the process of dissecting your fear. The idea is that by “tearing” apart your fears and getting down to the bottom of it, it can help you overcome it.

These are going to be hard for me to explain. I’m not even sure what the fear is. Hopefully, this will help me find out. And perhaps you, my reader can help me identify them.

The following fears or feelings, I have consistently felt for the past few years.

The Fear of Not Doing a Good Job

Nearly every time before a big video job, I get lots of anxiety. This is especially true when it comes to weddings. Here are some of the questions that go through my mind:

  • What if I miss a shot?
  • What if I don’t get the right sequence of shots?
  • What if I don’t get there in time?
  • What if I miss an important moment.
  • What if I don’t get an angle or don’t know how.

My mind knows that “what if” questions are pointless, but I’m still anxious for some reason.

In fact: I know it nearly always turns out to be OK and about an hour into the shoot, I’m generally having a good time.

But the problem is that the anxiety itself can prohibit me from thinking clearly, especially at the beginning of the shoot.

The Anxiety of Improving My Work

This is a weird one for me. In my attempt to improve myself in my work or even life, I’ll do research.

At times while doing this research, I get anxious. I think it’s because I wonder if I’ll be able to actually implement those improvements to become as good as the person I’m learning from. Or I find it difficult to cross the gap in my mind between learning and actually applying.

I get this same anxiety when I watch someone who does better work than I do.

Again, my brain knows that the end result is to not look at what others do and compare — but rather focus on improving myself.

Perhaps it boils down to a feeling of no confidence or the feeling that I’m not good enough.

I’m not quite sure.

So…what’s the solution?

  • Getting in a better frame of mind?
  • Being better prepared?
  • Physically Practice my craft more?
  • Meditation or Priming (Tony Robbins methods)

Anyways…just some thoughts for the day.

 

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Keto Approved Chocolate Avocado Bread

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This is a recipe that was inspired from one of those Facebook posts. I figured that I could make a low card (keto) version of it.

The first try was pretty much a failure.

But the second try, I came up with what’s pictured above…and it worked out REALLY well and tasted pretty good too.

My next version will include Lily’s Chocolate chocolate on top, but I wanted to make sure this came out well before I spend $5 on a chocolate bar.

This recipe is inspired from this blog, but modified to fit my Keto lifestyle.

The Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Avocado (I used one Avocado.)
  • 1/4 cup Cacao powder, raw
  • 2 Eggs (I used room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Coconut cream (The best way is to stick in a fridge and wait for the fat to come to the top. I was a little impatient and used the freezer. Still got some good fat.)
  • 3 tbsp Honey, raw – 1/2 cup of Xylitol & 1/8 cup of Erythritol. (Because it’s Keto, I used Xylitol and some Erythritol. This is where I had my challenge. It’s difficult to cover up the bitterness of the avocado, so I used more of this sugar that I would normally like and I used 1/2 a banana. This helped take off the edge of that bitterness and came out really good)
  • 2 cups Almond flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/3 cup Chocolate chips (for this version, I didn’t add this)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1/2 Ripe Banana (It’s worth the minimal added carbs and affects the whole loaf minimally)
  • 1/2 cup Pecans

The Process

In a food processor, mix everything together except for the dry ingredients. In my case, I didn’t stick the sugar part in with the wet ingredients.

You should get a nice smooth green batter of sorts. You’ll then gently mix this in with the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Taste as you go. Make sure it has the desired sweetness you want.

Stick in oven at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.

Kaizen. Doing Small Things.

Kaizen is the philosophy that you can make great strides in your life by just taking small, intentional, but consistent steps.

I first read about this on a blog that I came across, and shortly after bought the book.

I’ve already started applying it and it has been pretty good so far.

The idea is that you set your goals SO LOW, that you can’t fail. And often you find yourself going over. Here are a few examples of what I’ve done.

  • Read 5 verses from the Bible every day. – 5 verses don’t seem that long, but I’ve been using the “Momentum App” and since January, I’ve hardly missed a day.
  • Read every night before bed. Again, I’ve done very well with this and have enjoyed it.

The best use of this might be to start exercising. Maybe you find it very difficult to do so. But, what if you decided to run in place for 60 seconds.

Do you think you could do that?

Most people can. Start there, and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to work your way up.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and get it yourself, though. It’s called, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

“Common People” Can Still be Heroes

I love listening to audio books — especially stories of heroes, kingdoms, and wars.

Recently, I’ve been listening to “Theft of Swords.” (I highly recommend the Audible Version) In a nutshell, it’s a story of a kingdom being taken over by a religious faction trying to bring many kingdoms together in order to form an Empire.

Two of the characters, notorious thieves,  save the prince of this kingdom and end up foiling the religious faction’s plot.

Nobleman or Commoner

There will always be the “Nobleman” and “Commoner”

As with many stories of the time, the “nobleman” and “commoner” have a distinct separation.

It made me realize that even though things are much different now, there are still distinctions between rich and poor and the powerful and powerless.

And there always will be.

Your Situation Is not Equal To Opportunity

What I noticed about this story and other’s I’ve read or listened to is that the hero nearly always starts out as a “commoner.”

They bring skills, knowledge or simply grit to the situation. These are characteristics that any person can make part of them — regardless of their “station” in life.

One of the thieves happens to be a great swordsman and one of the noblemen finds that a bit surprising because he’s NOT a nobleman. 

At the end of the day, he brought something very valuable to other people and was instrumental in saving a kingdom.

What do you have that can bring value to others without money or power?

Is being a “Nobleman” …Noble?

In today’s language, we would ask is being rich or powerful really the goal?

Does it matter?

The lesson I take from this story is that whether or not you’re rich or powerful by today’s standards, you can still be valuable in your own right to the people and the world around you.

Chasing after the invisible and elusiveness of being rich and powerful will merely land you a place of lack.

The Rich and Powerful are only as happy as what’s inside.

The challenge: Seek to improve yourself — especially your character. Being the hero to those around you is a worthy goal.

 

Keto Carrot Cake Muffin

I never really thought I’d be putting recipes on this blog, but whenever I make a dessert that is Keto friendly and taste pretty good, I like to share. In terms of Keto friendly desserts, this is one of the best I’ve made so far!

So here we go. 

This is an adapted recipe from ruled.me and his vanilla cupcake recipe. I used his recipe as an idea and added as I felt I should.

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They are a little too brown for “cupcakes” but still sweet enough. So…muffins they are!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (note, I may try 300 degrees next time so it cooks more evenly and not brown on top.)

Here’s the stuff:

  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise (I used avocado mayo) – sounds weird, but works great.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Mix these well first. Best done with an electric mixer. 

Add…

  • Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of Xylitol (or Erythritol) I personally like the taste of Xylitol better.
  • 2 cups of Almond Flour
  • 1/8 cup of Coconut flour
  • 2 tbs of half and half
  • 1 tsp of xantham
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbs of Kerry Gold Butter (room temp is best, if not microwave it)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

Mix all this well.

Add..

  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrot (or as desired)
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (or as desired)

The mixture should be somewhat thick and not runny.

Fill a muffin pan pretty well to top. The rise, but not a whole lot. Stick in the oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clear.

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A Word on Rainy Days

It’s actually raining outside right now. Hold on…I’ll take a picture.

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Got to love Starbucks and Photostream. 🙂

Anyways…I really like rainy days. It’s cool and it feels like it’s washing the world of problems and dirt.

I’m in the process of reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. On one of his recent podcasts, he’s interviewing this guy, Derrick I think is his name.

He talks about this idea of how we talked about “rainy days.” Especially around our children.

Most people talk about rain or snow being “bad weather” and identify even their life problems in relation to storms.

How many songs have you heard that use storms or clouds as a negative thing?

His challenge (to me) was to start viewing some of these seemingly “bad events” as not actually bad and changing our language around them.

Instead of saying “Shoot, there is bad weather coming,” we can say “Wow, was beautiful weather.”

This challenges me to think of other things in my life that I have historically viewed as having bad qualities that aren’t really bad.

  • Weather
  • Rich and Poor
  • Handicap

Watch your Language

The idea here is, what language do we speak to ourselves and our children?  Is it really true…or is it just what we’ve been taught or told all our lives?

 

 

No Response is the Best Choice

Working with people can be tough.

They’re people after all…and human.

A Business Opportunity

I recently had to deal with someone that I was going to do business with. We had everything worked out, had verbally agreed (even had a contract filled out for a gig) and at the last minute he pulled out.

We had even work close enough to where I did some work for him and learned some of their business practices and work flow.

I was impressed. He had a great formula for scaling in a business that is difficult to scale in.

Well, last minute he found another person to partner with that made more financial sense for him with less risk.

He backed out of his agreement.

The one thing he worried about was that I would take his ideas and style and use them in my own work. It was a valid worry I’ll admit.

After all, I had learned quite a bit and was able to “up my game” in my profession because of him. I’m actually quite grateful.

It’s a bit confusing for me. After all, if someone teaches you how to do something better, why wouldn’t you apply it to your profession.

A few months later, I get a text accusing me of “stealing” and “copying” his style. While I know personally that the last thing I want is for my business to be a carbon copy of another one, it seems like he was being unreasonable.

If someone showed you a tool that let you do your work in half the time and much better, and then later fired you…does that mean you shouldn’t use that tool?

To be clear, I know that being in the “artistic” field this can be a touchy subject. It wasn’t even the “signature style” as much as the methodology and structure that I was impressed with.

The takeaway for the moment?

No answer is sometimes the best answer.

I understand his frustration and I hope that he’ll see in a few months that my goal is not to just copy his signature style. It wouldn’t make me unique.

But, I think I’ve decided that no answer is the best thing right now. This is a hard thing to do. It’s so easy to “react” instead of “acting” on our emotions. Most people who are upset feel they are threatened or have stressful things going on in their lives.

Note: One thing I did do is write a big response and email draft to him explaining my perspective and how I felt about it. I did this in the Notes section of my iPhone. This lets me get all my frustration out without actually emailing him. I’m currently letting it sit there for a few days. And if I still think I should send it, I may. But right now, I think I’ll end up deleting it. 

I hate it when things like this happen. I’ve been blessed enough to not have to deal with many situations like this in life.

Anyways, if you’re reading this and somebody has not kept their word with you or failed you in some way…

…don’t be angry.

Yes, it hurts sometimes (especially when they are friends), but your life is bigger than one deal, one competitor or what people think of you.

Low-Carb Keto Iron Cast Skillet Brownie

This is a little bit of a different post than I normally do. But I wanted to share something  I made last night that turned out pretty good.

I follow a Ketogenic Diet, which is basically a low-carb, high-fat diet. At the time of this writing, it sounds a bit crazy, but I imagine when my kids DO read this it might not sound so crazy. I’ve lost about 40 lbs on this regiment.

I recently got an Iron cast Skillet for Christmas. AND LOVE IT.

I use it ALL THE TIME. Seriously, I rarely use any other thing to cook with anymore.

So, here is the recipe.

Note: I’m not a recipe writer, so I’m sure I’m breaking a million “recipe article” rules. This is also adapted to a degree from the site Ruled.me.

Keto Skillet Brownies

Ingredients and Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I first melted 3-4 tbs of Kerry Gold Butter with about 1 tbs of coconut oil just enough to soften it. You don’t want to overheat it. Mix this.

Mix in 1/2 cup of almond flour. Stir well.

Now mix in three eggs, 4 tbs of Xylitol (or sugar-free sweetener of choice), dash cinnamon (to taste), 2 tbs of cocoa powder,  1.5 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of vanilla extra. Stir well.

You should now have a nice consistent brownie-like mixture.

Add walnuts. As many as desired. I like to mix some in the batter and then top more once it’s in the skillet.

Spread a thin layer of coconut oil on the skillet. Pour in mixture. Spread out.

Put in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Check with toothpick. If it comes out clean, your good.

If not, just do another 5 minutes and so on until complete.

The Shallowness of Social Media

I hate being that person that says Social Media is bad and it’s a waste of time. People like Gary Vaynerchuck would disagree with this sediment. Because you know it’s a tool – and a useful one at that and it connects you to people.

It’s the future…blah blah blah.

I don’t really have a problem with social media actually. It’s really more that I see it as shallow.

Not morally shallow, simply productively shallow. 

Here’s what I mean.

I’ve been reading this book by Cal Newport who wrote a book called “Deep Work.” 

It’s based on this idea that there is “Deep Work” and there is “Shallow Work.”

Examples of Shallow Work:

  • Checking Facebook
  • Twitter…
  • Snapchat…
  • Responding to emails (even important ones)
  • Meetings
  • Even business trips

Examples of Deep Work:

  • Editing a client’s video (I’m a videographer)
  • Writing an article
  • Writing a book
  • Coding a Website

Deep Work is anything that is at the very core of what your job or task IS and requires you to take an extended amount of focused time to complete it.

Some of the greatest accomplishments of great men and women in history have only been completed because they blocked out distractions and set their mind to focus and deep work.

My Take Away

I checked my facebook and email today a combined time of maybe 10 times.

Let’s just say it was a fail day. 

When I could have been writing a blog, working on a client’s project or building my business — I was instead checking those stupid notifications in order to let my dopamine receptors fire away at the satisfaction of it.

Here’s the challenge.

Try to limit checking your email or social media to 3 times each day.

In fact: Schedule those times in.

You’ll find (at least I did) that you’re more at peace and have more control of your time. Be in control of your life. Don’t let your life control you.

Another challenge:

Think about other things that might be shallow in your life. Get creative and see how to limit or eliminate them. Here are some ideas:

  • Email
  • Meetings
  • Travel
  • Netflix

Anything that distracts you from doing REAL and VALUABLE work.

Cal explains it better than me in his book. Just a friendly note: reading his book is almost like “Deep Work” by itself. He’s a professor, so he writes like one. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Checklists?

Today, I want to talk about checklists — specifically about a book I just finished entitled “The Checklist Manifesto.”

Why a Checklist?

Most of the time, when you hear about checklists, it sounds very boring. But the author of this book argues that complex problems and situations can be handled successfully by simply having a checklist. 

He tells a lot of stories from the aviation, medical and construction industries on how checklists have had great success in minimizing lots of problems and getting things done correctly and on time.

In fact: It makes me feel a WHOLE LOT better that pilots have these checklists to refer to in an emergency.

How to Apply it

Here are a few things that are important when making a checklist.

  • They should be simple.
  • Only include the items that are vital to the process.
  • They should have no more than 7-9 items. If there are more, break it down into phases.

Since I currently own a wedding video company, I decided that an equipment checklist might be beneficial.

Here is an example of what I came up with: 

checklist-manifesto

The idea is that even though we may be an “expert” at something — because we’re human we may forget one or two items, which in turn could have big effects on our outcome.

This checklist is especially important at the end of an event for me. I have actually forgotten one of my recorders before.

My challenge? 

If you have any regular, complex process in your life, give the checklist a chance. Of course, the author Atul Gawande who wrote The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right  explains this a whole lot better!