The movie montage (and why you can’t skip it)

You know that part of a film, usually in the middle or about two thirds of the way through, where a lot of hard stuff happens really fast with music playing the whole time?

There is laughing and crying and falling and getting up again and working out and cutting hair and falling over and getting up again and giving up but not really and running and lifting weights and falling and getting up again

and everything is at warp speed

and then the music swirls together with a little triumph and it lands on two people talking or one person suddenly fit and healthy or the new business started or the day of the party or whatever

and that’s the hard part done and now we can get on with the story and finish it in triumph.

They skip all that because if we watched every moment, it would be boring to watch. It would just be exactly like our own life. It would be like watching our own life as a tv show with no forward and no skip and no montage.

So they stitch it all together, add music, and hurry us to the ending. 

Someone shared a post this week (can’t now figure out where the post was or who shared it, you know how that goes) which was about those really stupid “success stories” which go like this

“There was a hard thing
And another hard thing or two
But then we triumphed over those
And now we have a best selling book, six million dollars, a new Porsche in the driveway of our custom built home. We work full time crushing it and hustling constantly whilst being completely at rest and always able to have time for the perfect adorable children and frolicking dog in our custom grown vineyard while the sun sets perfectly in the background.”

Of course, you too can have all this if you buy said best selling book and follow the best practices within it – or actually just download the resources and fill in a few checklists, that’s probably enough to help you win at life, the end, everyone lives in perfection forever.

You’d think from the way these #humblebrag posts (or books or articles or websites) are written, that it’s actually possible to skip past ALLLLLLL the crap and get the movie montage. Hard stuff hard stuff inspiring music DONE!

Success stories actually go more like this: 

There was a hard thing
And then more hard things which built on those
And then things seemed to get a little better
And we got some stuff
Then realised stuff isn’t what matters
Started digging into how we’re wired and emotions and mental health and stuff
Got really confused
Tried a few things and it got better for a while again
Then some real crap hit the fan
Went to therapy
Talked to a lot of people
Worked through some shit
Dug deeper
Worked hard, got sick, gave up, tried again
(repeat this cycle 100x)
Things started to get a little better
Even though they’re still really hard
Started figuring out who we are
Still feel like i have no clue most days
Have some nice things but it’s not about the things or the numbers or the car or the house or the business even the family
It goes deeper than that

That’s a real success story.

That’s the montage.

That’s the part we’re in just now – as a world, as a culture, and as individuals within it.

And some days we want to skip it.

I mean, the films skip it. They hurry it along, stitch it together, add some inspiring music.

But the “montage” parts are actually the best parts. That’s where life happens. Where learning happens. The growing, the actual change.

You can’t see it day by day, when you haul yourself off to the gym or do another pushup you don’t feel like doing, or take an apple instead of a packet of crisps.

It feels like not very much. It feels kind of boring.

But those are actually the good parts. Worth living, worth telling. Worth not skipping over.

Stick with it. The triumphal end is coming, but you can’t rush it.

Follow me


I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌