Yesterday was the last day of our 5th year in Conscious Growth Club. Today we’re beginning our 6th year together. You still have about 2.5 more days if you want to join us since the deadline for opting in is May 3rd.
I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts and intentions for Year 6. Some of these are personal. Some are club-related. And some are a mix of both.
One thing I love about CGC is that it’s so supportive on the personal side, so even though I facilitate the group, I also engage with it much like any other member.
One intention for this new CGC year is to refine my fitness routine. That’s been going pretty well for many years, but with all the possible ways to balance it – running, weight training, HIIT, gym workouts, group fitness classes, etc. – I’d like to give it more structure. The tricky part is that my body adapts to predictable routines very easily, and then it doesn’t feel like I’m improving as much. On the flip side, I also like the simplicity of predictable routines like running. I’d love to figure out how to merge structure with enough variety while doing this sustainably too. This may take some experimentation.
I’m not sure if it’s even possible to come up with a “one fitness routine to rule them all” or if the key is really to keep mixing it up with a lot of randomness. I love the variety and the social aspect of group classes. What I don’t like as much is the time investment, including travel time. I also don’t find group classes particularly good for strength training – I tend to improve in that area much more efficiently on my own. However, group classes can be great for cardio, yoga, and some other dimensions of fitness.
Starting today in CGC, many members are kicking off the new CGC year with a 30-day fitness challenge. Rachelle and I are doing that too. In fact Rachelle recently passed 950 consecutive days of closing her Apple Watch rings, so she’ll hit 1000 sometime in June.
I may do some dietary experiments as well, but I also feel drawn to testing some additional forms of intermittent fasting. I tried the 16-8 version previously (only eating in an 8-hour window each day, then not eating for 16 hours) and found it worthless – it didn’t make any difference as far as I could tell. But I might try 18-6 or 20-4 to see if those patterns are any better. I’ve decided to lean into this today by not eating anything till after 2pm.
Creatively I intend to get into YouTubing this year. I have about 55 videos on my YouTube channel so far, most of them recorded when doing a 40-day water fast in 2017. In CGC we formed a new YouTubers group a few months ago for members with similar goals, including streaming, TikTok videos, and really any kind of video expression.
I love engaging in this pursuit collaboratively. It’s great to share tips, insights, and encouragement with other members.
I would love it if more people who want to get into making videos (or who are already into it) would join CGC this year. It would be fabulous to support each other on this path. I intend to host more Zoom calls this year where we can mastermind together.
My YouTube channel is fairly modest in size compared to some. It currently has 8253 subscribers. I think it would be fun to build that up to 100K+, however long it takes.
I feel very comfortable on camera, but I have way more experience being recorded live on Zoom with only minimal editing. In April I did about 100 hours of live video calls (all recorded). I don’t think that’s a great format for YouTube though. Tighter, shorter videos would likely be better received there.
This year and beyond, I want to explore how to leverage the skills I have while also building new video skills. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun experimenting with different ways to share personal growth ideas and insights through video. It’s going to take a lot of patience as well, but I’m not in a rush. I like the long-term trajectory of this – the outlook seems pretty rosy to me.
Video Production Skills
Coming up with interesting content for videos is easy for me, but what always held me back was a lack of know-how on the production side. So I’ve been educating myself on this quite a bit this year. I can see myself doing a lot of divergent experimentation this year. I’m not going to focus on trying to create hit videos per se. Rather I want to explore the skill set on the production side, and I also want to see what kinds of videos I most enjoy making. I sense that if I raise up my production skills a lot more, I’ll likely discover more enjoyment in the process.
For some reason I love learning about video lighting. I bought a bunch of new lights this year, all from Aputure, including a Lightstorm 60X (bicolor), an Amaran 200X (bicolor), two Amaran P60C panel lights (RGBWW), and a 4-pack of MC lights (RGBWW). I love that these lights are all controllable via an app, so I can sit in one spot and change all of the lights (brightness, color, etc) from my phone. Working with LED lights is so nice because they’re energy efficient and don’t get very hot. I think I’m becoming a fanboy of Aputure since they keep coming up with new lights with great features at great prices. I could easily see myself investing in more lights from them over time. But for now I have plenty to get started with.
I also bought 4 C-stands and some other rigging pieces, and I watched a ton of gaffer videos, so now I know many different ways to rig lights. What I lack, however, is experience. It’s one thing to watch a video to learn what’s possible. It’s different when you have to actually apply the skills yourself.
I’m not sure why I like this so much. You’d think that being color blind, learning about lighting and especially investing in RGB ones wouldn’t be the best fit for me. But for some reason I’m really curious about it. There’s something undeniably enticing about playing around with lighting to see what I can do with it. I just have to accept that how the colors look to me won’t be the same as how other people see them. So maybe some of my videos may have unusual color choices. I can also lean on Rachelle for help since she’s experienced with lighting, given her background in theater, and she can see all the colors too. Amazing!
Learning about lighting adds more appreciation when I watch movies and shows now. I notice the lighting, especially on people’s faces, way more than I ever did before. I sometimes ponder why the cinematographer (or whoever else made those choices) lit a scene they way they did. I often watch cinematography videos while making lunch or while relaxing in the evening.
As I build better video skills, I may also want to explore how to apply them in other ways. It could be really interesting to create a structured video course that’s pre-recorded and nicely edited instead of always delivering it live like I’ve done in the past. I could do such a course that today, but it would take an inordinate amount of time since I’d be so slow at it. I’d like to build up a lot more practice and experience first, one micro-skill at a time, so I can get faster too.
This sort of thing can be outsourced, but I’m really enjoying exploring it as a personal growth adventure. I’m not 100% sure why, but I can tell that this is a path with a heart for me. It also seems like a very aligned opportunity and a delightful way to build upon my existing skills.
I would do this on my own anyway, but doing this as a social journey with other CGCers just makes it even sweeter. I feel more motivated to upgrade these skills because then I can immediately share what I’m learning with other members. I think it will be especially helpful to learn gear tips from each other (lighting, mics, cameras, etc). And there’s tons we can share with each other on the editing side as well.
Balancing Rhythms of Work and Personal Time
In the last CGC year, I was really good at focusing deeply on one project or another. Sometimes I put my all into a creative project. At other times of the year, I invested obsessively in personal projects. I definitely got a lot done, which was very satisfying. But I think that for the months ahead, I’d like to explore a more relaxed and balanced rhythm instead of spending so much time in deep focus mode for weeks at a stretch.
It’s been interesting to create new courses with an all-in strategy. For the recent Guild course, I probably averaged about 10-12 hours a day for 30 days straight, usually starting at 6am and going till around 6pm. I had short meal and rest breaks, but it was still a very obsessive experience, like going through a tunnel. Sometimes I didn’t finish till around 10pm if there was a CGC coaching call on a given day too. Plus there was a lot of advance prep for the course before it began. This intense strategy really does get the job done, but it requires putting so many other parts of life on pause.
I feel like my obsessive creative mode is really well developed now. The inspiration to create just never seems to run dry. I like taking breaks from it now and then, but I always know that it’s there for me when I want to engage with it.
This year I’d like to explore a different relationship with creativity. I think video creation will be part of that. But I also sense there’s more to it, something having to do with rhythm and balance. If my creative output across the span of a year is like a song, you could say that I want to explore different style of music this year, so I can learn how to align with different creative rhythms.
In terms of my working and personal rhythms, I’d like this upcoming CGC year to sound like a combo of Oh Yeah by Yello, She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby, One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head, and Down Under by Men at Work – playful, simple, and fun and without major spikes of intensity. Definitely 80s all the way. Maybe a splash of The B-52’s Loveshack here and there. 😁
I know that I can always fall back on the tried and true, but I’d like to see what other creative rhythms might emerge this year if I gently coax them to the surface. I can’t articulate what that’s going to look like, but my intention is to do a lot more divergent exploration this year.
Divergent Creative Exploration
For previous years in CGC, I would pre-announce the topic of a major course to be delivered during the year. This year I feel inclined to allow for more flexibility and adaptability. I intend to create and publish at least one new course this year. But I might create multiple smaller works instead of one giant new course each year like I’ve done for the past few years.
Whatever interesting forms I create this year, such as new courses or workshops, CGC members will have them included as part of their membership at no extra cost. I just say in advance what it will be.
I also want to see what emerges in CGC (and in my wider audience) this year in terms of what people want to upgrade in their lives. I love connecting the dots between people’s desires and my own explorations. That could lead to something like a course or workshop on life balance, for instance, if there seems to be some demand for it.
For now I feel it would be premature to lock onto a particular form or topic right now. I want to roll into the new CGC year first, engage with our members, and get a sense of where CGC’s energy wants to flow. I also want to explore video production and YouTubing with others in the group. I don’t know how the dots will connect up ahead. I just know that they will.
Join Us for CGC Year 6
I love how rewarding it is to engage with CGC each day, especially its playful side. It’s immensely gratifying to share this human journey with other growth-oriented people in such an intimate way. It’s wonderful to explore so much depth together while also having so much fun and sharing so many laughs. 😁
I hope you’ll join us for some part of this journey in Conscious Growth Club, if not this year then in some future year. The door is open. If it’s to be this year, you have till May 3rd to enroll.