What is growth?
It is simple to think of growth in terms of numbers. A company usually feels as though it is growing when the digits increase. Financial advancement from the year before.
More customers. More productivity. If that was true, then we may look at 2020 in a very constrained and pessimistic way. How would we be able to grow during a pandemic where we are not able to do the work that our companies are set out to do?It is true that growth can be defined as ‘an increase in economic activity or value’.But it can also be defined as ‘the process of developing physically, mentally, or spiritually’.
That’s the opportunity we are faced with. By redefining what we mean by growth, 2020 starts to take on a very different outlook.
Let me describe how I am personally looking to grow in 2020.
To be a truly top class wedding videographer, I believe you need good energy levels. The wedding day can be a long and testing one. My philosophy is, and always will be, to film as much as I can on the wedding day in order to tell as complete a picture as possible. Everything from shots of the venue in order to set the scene, bridal prep, guests interacting, confetti, close ups of details, ceremony, first dance, speeches….. the list goes on. I treat each wedding day as a challenge. There’s only one chance to nail everything in camera as best as we possibly can. There’s no excuse to put your feet up during the wedding day. There will be plenty of time for that once the work is done.
So in order to keep my fitness levels high, I look after myself. Not just to be the best wedding videographer I can, but I really feel that it is crucial for anyone who wants to live a long and healthy life to respect their body. I’m not here to preach my views on healthy living. But for me, a huge part of my own personal growth involves fitness and well being. Probably in less of a traditional sense than most. I don’t go to the gym, I don’t record any progress or time any sessions. I just move. Little and often mostly with occasional sessions of hill sprinting and cycling in my home of The Forest of Dean. I get outside as much as I can. Gardening is a spiritual retreat as much as another excuse to move. And my loveable cocker spaniel keeps me as active as any fitness buddy. Also, being a human climbing frame for my two daughters keeps me strong!
Staying mentally strong during this time could well be the biggest challenge we face. The unknown aspect of not knowing when I will be filming my next wedding has definitely played strongly on my mind. Dealing with wedding postponements, and the uncertainty for those hoping to get married this year can be tough.
It is also crucial to be mentally strong on the wedding day itself. There is so much that needs to run smoothly from a filmmaking point of view. From the multiple camera angles and audio required to film a successful ceremony and speeches, to those key moments such as the confetti throwing and first dance that will only happen once. It is vital to stay calm, with a steely focus!
I have tried to develop a growth mindset over the last couple of years. This has corresponded with the beginning of Centrepiece Wedding Films and I feel it has had great benefits on a professional, and personal level. So what do I mean by a growth mindset? Well to put it simply, it means to look at every instance as an opportunity to develop. I use this in my everyday life, which in turn spreads into my professional life as well. There are no negative experiences. Just opportunities to learn, and develop.
I try to keep my mind strong, as much as keep my body strong. I meditate, and often focus on areas of gratitude with my family. Gardening is also a sanctuary.
I think spiritual experiences can take many forms. I really feel that during wedding days themselves I have as many of these spiritual experiences as anywhere else. Weddings are all about love of course, and what more of a spiritual enlightening is there than love? I feel truly honoured to be a part of such special days as those when people are expressing their feelings of love to one another.
To grow in this area I think can come from finding stillness. Finding the space to ask what it is that we hold dear.
What makes us who we are, and where we want to spend our time in order to further support the way we want our lives to be in the future.
Having this extra time for reflection has made me really consider the direction my life is taking. I feel fortunate that in fact I have been able to reaffirm that the developments I have made, have indeed been the right ones. Without this space for spiritual reflection, I feel it can be all too easy to get swept along with the tide of activity. After all, we are human beings not human doings. Having time to step back creates space to really consider what it is that we want. I have had chance to consider all aspects of life, and find gratitude in all things. Therefore I know that when the world restarts and a hive of activity is once again part of all of our lives, I will be happy and thankful that this life I have chosen is the right one for me.
Professional growth is something that I believe as a society we often place too much emphasis on. The amazing thing is that by concentrating on the elements of growth I have previously mentioned – physical, mental and spiritual – we see more of an effect on professional growth than focusing on this aspect alone.
However, this is an unprecedented opportunity for developing professional practices that will advance our work once we return to filming weddings.
Already I have looked at how I colour grade my films, and practicing new techniques to create even more of a cinematic look for our films going forward. It is also an opportunity to explore creative ways of filming which take us away from our usual techniques. Super wide angle, extreme macro… It’s all available around our home or local area and an opportunity to experiment.
Not to mention editing techniques that will be great to have fun with on future projects.
This time is certainly not easy. I have certainly struggled with not being the same level of busy that my mind and body are used to. However this could also be exactly the time for reflection and personal growth that I have needed. I cannot remember a time ever since my children were born that I have been able to spend as much time enjoying seeing them grow, play and learn.
It has been an amazing time to reflect on my life, and this is something I will strive to continue to do even after this pandemic is over.
Of course this is no holiday either. Bills must still be paid, and much uncertainty hangs over all 2020 weddings which creates its own stress and challenges.
But so many of us have so much to be thankful for. If we can concentrate our mind on this positive way of thinking, hopefully we can all grow through this moment, and come back stronger.