All posts by Acb

Baby steps

One of the things that Live Your Legend emphasises is talking ‘baby steps’ towards your goal. I suppose this is for two reasons. 1. You have to walk before you can run and 2. A small step is not as daunting or as difficult as a big one.

I must admit, although I have been following LYL’s advice, I have doubted much of its effectiveness. But, then again, I doubt… in general. I am a doubter. So I have learnt to play along until I can have any evidence one way or another.

So, after almost a year after I started reading the LYL website, I think that I can say that some of their methodology is paying off.

Meetups
LYL suggests joining Meetups that align with your interest. I joined quite a few, and although they are diverting, I doubted their benefit. Last week I went to a very local Meetup, one that I had tried to go to before, but the first time didn’t see the group at the pub they were supposed to meet.

This time, at the same pub, I met the group and after an hour, I was deadly bored. I was about to slip away, but on the way back from the toilet, I saw a sign to a different Meetup upstairs. It turns out to be the Meetup I had intended to go to all along. There were a lot more people, they were interesting, the Meetup was fun. And I think I might have made some useful connections for work.

But what are the chances of two separate Meetups at the same pub, on the same night?

Meditation
It had been suggested to me, for years, that I try meditation. But I doubted it. So finally, at the suggestion of LYL, I bit the bullet. Even after doing it now for almost a year, I still doubt. And yet, I have also seen the benefit. It has helped with stress and anger. And if I am feeling either of those, meditation helps to dispel them.

Knowing thyself
I would say this is the central premise of LYL, although they don’t word it like this. If you know who you are, then you will know what you want to do. I still doubt that I have found the second, but nonetheless I am following the LYL program of choosing a direction and sticking with it. This has given me focus and I am enjoying it. Consequently, I am throwing myself into all things animation. I was doing this as part of my job before, but now this has become my focus.

There are a few other examples of small things that I have done, like reforming my LinkedIn page or being a bit more organised in my personal life. Generally, I think these baby steps are starting to help.

But I still doubt it.

Thank you notes, conversation points and accountability

As part of the Connect with Anyone course that I am currently doing, there are exercises that I have to complete.

Much of what I am learning about on this course is stuff that I already know. But there is a difference between stuff I already know, and stuff that I actually put into action.

Thank you notes

One example of this is the idea of a thank you note. Often when I have had a good meeting with someone, I will email them a thank you note. But it will probably be little more than just a thank you.

The exercise I had about thank you notes was to follow a set template, where the thank you note was more explicit and detailed. I suppose, previously I had always been worried about sounding insincere, despite knowing that people in client services do this sort of thing all the time.

So I chose my victim… sorry, recipient and sent her a thank you about a meeting we recently had. It was detailed and it was sincere. Part of the exercise was a suggestion to meet again. I made this suggestion and she wholeheartedly agreed. The thank you note worked very well.

Like I said, I think I knew all of this, but I was worried about seeming insincere. Having this exercise was like giving me permission to be open and explicit.

Conversation Points

Another exercise was about started conversations with complete strangers. Surprisingly, I don’t have any problem with this (or very little problem), and the point in the exercise were points that I already abided by. Specifically, the three second rule. Once you’ve decided to talk to someone, do it within 3 seconds, otherwise you’ll overthink it.

One of the useful points from this exercise was about subjects to talk about. I, unfortunately, often fall back onto the old standard of “what do you do?”. But as this exercise points out, maybe someone’s job is not the thing they want to talk about. It may be the least interesting, to them, thing to talk about. So this exercise gives a mnemonic of things to talk about: FISH – family and friends, interests, strengths and health & fitness.

I tried this with another new connection I had made. I asked him about his interests. And I got back an effusive response, included some interests that intersected with mine. From there we went on to have a lengthy and broad-ranging conversation. It really did work.

Accountability

As part of the Connect with Anyone course we have a weekly Skype call. At the end of the call this week, I was asked how the group could help me. I had achieved everything I wanted to from the last exercise, so I didn’t know how to answer this. But shortly after the call, it came to me. The group is already helping, because they are keeping my accountable. I am actively doing all the exercises, otherwise I have to report back to them why I can’t. This is something that Live Your Legend says that I need, an accountability buddy. For the next 8 weeks, I have one.

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling is a Swedish health statistician, whose company, Gapminder, invented a new way to visualise health statistics.

Like all good visualisation, it simplified the understanding of the information presented and the visualisation can be applied to other data. So much so that you can now use his graphing tools through Google graphs.

I came across Rosling on TED talks and he has done several of these. They are all very interesting to watch, and challenge many preconceptions through the visualisation of data.

He has also made two TV specials with the BBC. Here is a clip from one of them. What I like about his is that it combines his Gapminder graphs, his analysis of the data, his enthusiasm for presenting this data and combining of all of these through clever motion graphics and video editing. This is information visualisation at its finest, using all the possible tools to present 120,000 points of data in an engaging, understandable way.

Kurzgesagt

Kurzgesagt is a German based YouTube channel which does really amazing animations, both in the visuals and the information they convey.

I’d really like to be able to work on videos like these. Here is an example of what they do.

Cinema4D

I have been doing motion graphics (computer animation) for many years. I did units in both my undergraduate and post graduate degrees. I have worked with the applications Director, Flash, Maya and most recently After Effects. Most of my showreel from my last post was mostly created in After Effects.

Recently however I have started learning Cinema4D. It’s early days yet, and it’s obviously a very powerful program, but it’s a bit similar to Maya.

Apart from tutorials the first thing I created in Cinema4D was a couple of ideas I had for the logo of the online channel South West London TV. This was just me have a bit of fun.