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Episode 126 — Self-Investment
This is Allan McKay. Welcome to Episode 126! I thought I would make this a little bit of a rant. This is a chance to do a solo Episode, instead of an interviews.
I really love the idea of doing Bootcamps. The amount of work that goes into a Bootcamp doesn’t make it sustainable, however; but the amount of feedback I get — makes it worth it. So I’m excited about the next one!
[-52:58] Right now, I’m in the middle of front loading my year which I’ve talked about in the Best Year Yet Bootcamp: www.allanmckay.com/bestyearyet/. Each year I’ve done these Podcasts (and I can’t believe I’m saying “each year”), I try to end the year strong. 2017 was really fulfilling and overwhelming at the same time. There was a lot going on!
[-51:18] Registration for the Live Action Series 2018 has closed. This is a chance for me to get to know a new batch of students. Right now, I’m running the FXTD Mentorship (the next round of which will open in June) and the Live Action Series. It’s overwhelming. I’m trying to focus on just these two Courses. I find it fulfilling to see the growth that happens in my students. (I actually recently got an email from a VFX Lead at Scanline mentioning how many of the artists who have gone through my training have joined the studio.) I find it so fulfilling to watch your growth!
Invest in Yourself — and Start Learning!
[-49:18] It’s January 2018 right now. All of us have a lot of goals in the beginning of the year. It’s about making this commitment to yourself. I always think about it when someone goes into a new course: You sign up and you think that tomorrow — you’ll be a God. I’ve seen so many people who don’t have the patience to see it through. They want immediate results. There are people who get results — but it’s because they’re dedicated. For some people, it’s more of a psychological trigger: If they sign up for something — they’re buying the result. Perhaps, a good example is when you sign up at the gym and expect to have the six-pack abs.
[-47:39] The minute you sign up for the Course, you give yourself the permission to invest in yourself. This is where your Luke Skywalker begins and you will become a Jedi overtime; you will go through struggles — but you will also meet Yoda! The real work begins when you sign up. You pay for the opportunity to make a big change in yourself, to push yourself, and to surround yourself with other artists who are on their journey.
[-46:51] It’s about where you are in your journey. I really started to picture where people begin to struggle: Are you struggling? And what can I do to help you, push you, give you encouragement?
[-45:58] I did an Episode with Andrew Kramer (www.allanmckay.com/29/). We talked about all this training being out there. It’s overwhelming! But in addition, there is so much misinformation, it’s hard to know whom to trust. I’m addicted to learning, but I prefer to learn from someone who has gone down the professional path before. I don’t want to spend my valuable time learning things incorrectly. There is a lot of people putting damaging information out there. When you think about it in terms of the big picture, that’s quite scary. When I start learning something, I’m all in. I will read everything this person has written. I think it’s important to dive in.
[-43:06] All of these students are starting their journey. This is where the journey and the hard work begin. Change is always hard! If it weren’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it. You have to start to think about things that you are not doing. The hard path will have more struggle. If you’re an artist and you want to build a brand, the one thing that you’re not doing is videos, for example, or putting your face out there. You’re only happy to show your complete work. Showing incomplete work is something that people like seeing [can relate to]. It’s interesting but I love seeing somebody working away. By the way, social media is just an extension of people: They aren’t looking at you — they’re looking at themselves.
[-40:13] When you do want to do something big — like create work for the most amazing clients on the planet — it is possible! But if you want to do things that seem high up and even unattainable, you’re going to have to start doing things that scare you shitless, the things you know deep down that you’re not doing. There will be another person who comes up — and just like you — but they have done all the things you are not comfortable with. They were willing to look at their faults.
[-38:44] At the end of last year, I wanted to get over the hang-ups. However, I’ve got issues about last year that I can’t even think about right now: certain things that I have to get through this January, things I am not happy with. There are so many things happening this month, I am already freaking out from the overwhelm. I need to be in the trenches and focus only on what’s in front of me.
[-36:33] That’s important for all of us when we have these big goals. When we want to do so much, a year is going to overwhelm you. You have to take one step at a time, to make progress — until you’re able to look back and see how much you’ve accomplished. Starting a new course — is a lot of work. Starting a new business — is a lot of work. If you were to know all the pain that went into it, you might not even do it. But being in the trenches is the only way you can make headway. As you make that progress, you can look back — and see results and measure your success.
[-34:21] Change scares everyone. That’s why I talk about putting systems in place and doing all these things that get you moving forward. You have to understand that you will go through hell, but it will be worth it. Identify the things you aren’t willing to do and tackle them!
Don’t Talk About It — DO IT!
[-33:19] Have those goals in front of you and know: Yes, it’s going to suck. You have to go and do things that are uncomfortable that will test you. That’s how you get growth. In the beginning, it takes the commitment to do this. However, when you over-communicate your goals to other people, you set yourself up for giving up because now you have the accountability factor. Actually, no one cares and you’re the one putting pressure on yourself. If you know that — that can be effective. But you have to be careful with how you set yourself up with other people.
[-30:24] If you set your goal, identify the things that will help you measure your success. Those things will keep you moving forward when you are taking punches. “That’s how winning is done!” (I just had to quote Rocky.) Usually, in that time when you’re taking punches, you have to remind yourself why you’re doing it. Otherwise, it’s easy to talk yourself out of it. We all go through struggles. You’re doing this to get the results down the line. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. You’re doing something for you.
[-27:44] If you want to change professions, or raise your fees, or not have to take the job somewhere you don’t want to relocate to — whatever your goals are! I had a call two days ago with someone who wasn’t saying yes to Vancouver based work — so he was being seen as someone who didn’t play ball. If that were a goal for you — to establish working from home — you can do that! But all of those things require getting out of your comfort zone.
Become an Executor!
[-26:00] You can have that change anytime. It takes a commitment and an investment in yourself. All of us need to do that but some of us aren’t willing to do the work. If you’re willing to do the work — you will stand out as someone who is a doer. My superpower — is being an executer. I may not be the most talented or hardest working person in the world. What sets me aside is when I want to do something — I do it. I actually make it happen. In this day and age, if you want to get something off the ground, you can. If you take a traditional path, you have to pay your dues (which is a really brutal path), meet the right people, have the right timing and opportunities. You still have to be able to sell yourself as well.
[-22:23] These days, there are so many tools that allow you to skip all of those channels and the hierarchy of people early on, to make it happen:
You can create opportunities for yourself.
You can do crowdfunding by creating a short film trailer.
You can do anything, you just need to be someone who executes and not just talks about it. Stop asking for permission from others — and execute! Do the hard yards yourself! There are steps you do along the way and test yourself. Put yourself in places where you can measure your successes.
[-20:12] If you can be one of those people — it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail — because it’s still you moving forward. I welcome failure because I can pick it and learn from it. I’m always experimenting with my business, for example, and seeing where it takes me. I like doing that socially too where I used to go out and meet strangers because it was the number one thing that scared me. Bit by bit, I would figure things out and become more comfortable with it.
[-18:46] On Monday, we’re diving into the new Course and we’re about to go on this journey. I know there will be people who will struggle along the way. Every week, we’ll do two Live Review Webinars. Those people who show up to the Webinars grow the most: they ask questions and learn, get their work critiqued.
[-16:48] You’re always going to go through struggles. If you’re not — it means you’re being stagnant. When you’re not doing all the things that make you uncomfortable, that’s when you’re at a standstill. It’s better to be winning or failing, than keeping still. Some of us feel that we can keep still, we’re going to be okay. But if there is no growth in your company, for example, there is no financial growth either. Eventually, if you don’t keep bringing on new clients — there will be a dip.
[-14:29] That’s why I entertain failure: I can evaluate what worked and what didn’t. It’s okay to have some losses, it’s part of life. But if you aren’t willing to experiment and take risks, you won’t grow. Embrace the failures!
Attack With Urgency — Fail and Learn Fast!
[-13:26] Attack with urgency and fail fast! Do everything with urgency as if your tasks were due tomorrow. I talk a lot about Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” With that, if you have a week to do something, it will take a week. But if you underbid yourself, you will give it everything you have to attack the task TODAY! It’s also better to get to the failure fast. That way you can learn faster.
[-11:58] This year should be the Year of Execution. Fail and succeed fast! You will learn from those failures. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. This is going to be a killer year for all of us, I hope!
I. [-09:43] I have come really cool Episodes coming up! Please shoot me an email about what subjects you’d like hear or which guests you would like to get onboard.
II. I will be doing a talk on branding at the IAMAG Master Class: how to craft your story and image. I’m excited for this year! We all have hidden talents and abilities that we can take advantage of, if you’re willing to execute it.
III. [-06:21] The reason I started this Podcast is because a lot of us don’t know how to become the Best Artists we can be! It’s all about getting that growth. Your talent is one thing; but your network, communication skills — may be your downfall. Learning these skills make us better artists. That is who we all should be. It’s easy to embrace the starving artist mentality. It’s something you hold onto to not put yourself out there. But identifying what makes you the best you — the talent and the skills that make you special — that’s what makes you successful. You’re also building your network, your army around you — and you will all move up together.
[-02:46] Be the artist who uses your full potential! You’re your own studio. By continuing to grow, you’re able to ask for what you’re worth. It all starts with opportunities, like signing up for a course. Tomorrow can be the start of your growth. Dedicate more time to investing in yourself.
This is my challenge for you: Make this YOUR year, invest in yourself, learn new things, grow, put yourself through change, attack with urgency — and fail fast!
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