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


Road trippin and tomb hunting in the northern Irish countryside with one of my life besties. It’s a satisfying thing to climb these hills and watch the clouds move… and explore the old tombs which are older than the pyramids. 

Here we go. 

#adventures #roadtrip #northernireland #sperrins #tombs #giantsgrave #satisfyinglife #trekking
What will you do when you’ve arrived?

One of the things business owners tend to focus on is getting the business to run without you.

Systems, team, leadership, pricing… you work so hard on each of these and it often takes longer than you expect.

Maybe you have a vague idea of what you’d do with all that free time once it appears, but I’d guess just as many of you aren’t 100% sure what that will look like.

Every day is so full you don’t have to time to pause. “I’ll spend more time with my family”, you tell yourself. More holidays, more of whatever fills you up.

It might be cooking or DIY or reading, but equally it might be writing a book. Coaching. Speaking. A second or third business of a new kind. 

Which means NOW is the time to start thinking about it.

That can feel overwhelming, if things aren’t “sorted” yet. You still have team issues, or the systems and tech are taking longer than expected to deliver results. You’ve lost some clients, or are struggling to get new ones.

The fact is, all those things may be indicators you’re closer than you realise.

These issues will get sorted – and the moment they do, you could hit a point where you have that spare time. You have a little more energy, or money, or space and freedom. For whatever. 

Now what?

What’s that “whatever”?

That’s when you start looking at your personal brand.

It’s different from your business brand. Instead of being focused on an audience, buying a service; instead of being something which summarises an entire business including clients and team, now you have the opportunity to consider what summarises YOU.

What you care about. The message you’d get out to the world if you could. The kind of people who think the way you do.

If this is even a *glimmer* of a thought in your mind, I’d love to hear from you. I’m working on a live workshop event in the UK, and I want to make sure we cover what would be the most helpful for you, right now.

Before everything is “sorted”.

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