I’ve been doing a really helpful exercise for 2 months now that I call Month-End Journaling (I learned this from my man Christian Chasmer). It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be. At the end of the month, I look through my notes, journal, calendar, etc., and I spend a few hours recapping the month. It allows me the space to process everything, analyzing what happened, what I learned, what I want to change, where my priorities are, what’s happening in the upcoming month, etc.. 

It’s been quite helpful for my own mental clarity, and I want to start sharing part of those monthly updates on this blog consistently in case any of my readers are interested in following along my journey and learning with me. So here we go:

There’s this thing. It’s not just a thing, it’s a whole lot of things. It’s a place, too. A place inside me that’s real, but doesn’t seem to exist yet. It cannot be contained in a word, or a sentence, or even in a book. It’s a vision for my future. It’s a feeling, a conglomeration of ideas, situations, achievements, collected with my senses and mingled together into a particular sensation. 

This sensation exists within all of us. It’s that transcendent vision you have for your life. It’s you at your very best, and the rest of the universe that surrounds that version of yourself. Maybe it’s even similar to the concept of God.

It’s a guiding light and something to strive for. It reveals itself in fits and starts, always fleeting in nature.

The month of July (and my entire summer so far) can be characterized by a series of encounters with this thing.

The difficult part about one of these encounters is that it directly highlights the space between you and your dreams. In essence, this gap is where you fall short by your own standards, so that’s never a joyful thing to encounter. And this gap is un-closeable. But I promise this is not as depressing as it sounds!

As you move forward in your life, and as you update your reality, your vision simultaneously updates too. This gap remains ever-present, as both end-points–your reality and your vision–shift and evolve across time. The attempt to traverse this gap is actually part of what gives you purpose in life. What purpose is there other than to strive towards the best imaginable version of yourself?

These are the kinds of things I thought about a lot this month. I thought that there is a healthy rhythm of re-touching and updating this vision periodically in between bouts of head-down work.

And I thought that it must be healthy to encounter this vision. For me, it happens when I run into something humbling, or a source of great inspiration tangential to my current vision. That brings me to El Capitan, one of the most impressive granite cliffs in the world. All 3000 feet of it is located in Yosemite Valley, where I visited this month.

This trip fell in the middle of a bit of a crazy summer. I’m traveling for at least 2 weeks every month from May – September. It hasn’t thrown me off as much as I expected, since it makes my time at home more valuable and forces me to be more focused with the time I do have.

More than anything, all this travel has helped me re-evaluate my priorities. Most of my energy normally goes towards paid client work which leaves me to neglect those artistic, creative projects that have always been the crux of what drew me to video in the first place.

As a result, I’ve spent time systematizing business processes that could be more efficient, giving me the chance to carve out time to work on passion projects, writing, reaching out to new people I want to work with, and working on my personal brand. Some wins this month:

  • Pitched a major passion project to a client I would love to work with.
  • Rebuilt my website which is mostly complete.
  • Clarified my business relationship with Vive Media (the previous uncertainty of which was causing me a good amount of stress).
  • Hiking around Yosemite Valley and experiencing the massive, impressive views for the first time.

On the negative side, this shift in priorities happens at the expense of slow or stagnant revenue growth. If you look at the numbers it would appear my business is taking a step backwards. And in some ways, it is, because I’m pausing to straighten out my aim, which means I’m missing out on opportunities and sales in the meantime. But it’s all by choice, and I believe short intentional dips like this make for a more sustainable and fulfilling business in the long term.

As I look to the upcoming month, I have a feeling it will fly by. It starts with a full week of filming client projects next week, and one bigger client project to wrap up. After that I head to Ecuador to help my colleague, Matt, film a passion project of his. We’ll be riding dirtbikes through the countryside from location to location, and I’m sure it will be quite the adventure. We get back from Ecuador at the end of the month, then it’s on to September.

Internally, it’s important I keep my focus on nailing down the filming and editing on the current client projects I have over the next week and a half. After that, it’s off to Ecuador, and I’m planning to be totally present, take in the atmosphere, and get as much awesome footage as possible. If there’s any downtime (which there often is while timelapses are running), I’d like to use it to write, which is something I’ve been really wanting to do more of.

I’ll check back in next month. Thanks for reading.