Appreciating the Process

Do you ever have those ground breaking self-realizations come to you at the most uncomfortable, inconvenient time? My most recent was when I was shivering in the trunk of my SUV during a wind storm (more about this later). Basically, it started with wanting to challenge the idea that January 1st is the starting point of an inner pinky promise to change something for 365 days (aka a New Years Resolution")…and shift that notion to actually finding areas in your current lifestyle where there can be small improvements to allow room for further exploration, growth, and gratitude. 

I thought about this when I was camping near Yosemite on NYE with my husband and dog (a 16 lbs. tube-like fluff named Blue). Brian was chopping wood to stay warm and I was drinking beer to…also stay warm. As the evening sun overlaid a rose tint on the lake behind our campsite, I thought “This…everything happening right now is what I want forever.” I knew that we were lucky enough to escape the city for a weekend because of the flexibility and stability of our jobs. I started thinking about past projects, and new emails, and potential jobs, and edit schedules, and deadlines….I quickly got skyrocketed out of that blissful moment and shot into a murky cloud of over thinking. What just happened?

Later in the night, we laid on a blow up mattress inside my SUV sheltering ourselves from the freezing wind storm outside. I thought about why my mind went from grateful and lightly thinking about work perks, to full blown worrying about my next project coming up when I get home. I nailed it down to this…I am incredibly goal driven. To the point where I completely skip over the details of the process it takes to get to said goal. Sometimes all I can focus on is the final product and getting there as fast as possible with as little obstacles in my way. I expect to get from Point A to Point Z & skip the whole alphabet in between. Yikes — I knew right then what my main journey for this year was going to be…

Learn to appreciate the process. Starting specifically with editing.

In the past when I was on an edit, the post workflow was an exhausting expansion past traditional editor duties. So for years I became very goal focused to finish things as quickly and efficiently as possible with little appreciation to the complex process. That made me stressed & burnt out, so I took a step back & made time to establish myself as an editor and nothing more. After over a year of focusing on this, finally in my mind, I thought, “This is it! I did it. I am happily officially an editor.” But I still carried a pebble of anxiety that stopped me at the start of every potential project. 

I so much ignored the beauty of experimentation and creativity during the editing process that I could ONLY focus on the final locked cut. That freaked me out, made me think “How the heck am I going to get there? There’s no way!”. Which is ridiculous because dozens of times I’ve successfully “gotten there” and completed an edit that the team is happy with. But halfway through last year I joined a company made up of editors & that changed my view completely.

Being surrounded by professionals who have been focused on this for years, I saw the life and excitement that they brought to an edit. What they projected was a true appreciation of the process. Yes, there are still deadlines & occasionally stressful client sessions, but each day is dedicated to experimenting and putting together the tricky puzzle that is an edit. Making it the best it can be without stressing too much about the grandiose final product (which takes A LOT more people than just an editor to achieve). 

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a quote I tweeted out earlier this month from the podcast Meet the Creative. They had the VP of Design for Airbnb, Alex Schleifer, on the show & he had a quote that has really stuck with me.

“Somebody is giving you feedback not because they think you can’t do any better, but because they think you CAN do better”.

HELLO! If that wasn’t what my goal focused brain needed to hear than I don’t know what is! Each edit has steps and hoops and ladders and the hardest of all of those for me is the feedback. I literally have to mentally prepare myself for a full day before I start editing. 1) Telling myself that there are obstacles. 2) I’ve gotten through those obstacles. 3) The project is not only mine. It’s a collaboration and that means opinions and feedback. That’s part of the PROCESS. I am lucky enough to be in the wonderful mix of people during that why not appreciate it while I’m in it?

Finally, with that realization I had in the back of my SUV on a 20 degree night on New Years Eve, shivering next to my husband as we were wrapped in our mummy bags…I was ready to put it to practice. We drove back to LA and the next day I started on an edit for one of the world’s most popular female pop stars today (can you guess who?). I felt refreshed, steady, and SO ready to appreciate the process of the edit. I spent long days and late nights experimenting, playing around with different ideas and structures, building sound design, & working with the director and artist to create the best video possible. And guess what…I was so freakin proud when that video released! 

On the premiere day, I watched that saturated pink-washed video and knew that during the process I allowed myself to appreciate the time I had in the project and the breadth of creativity I was given. I had gratitude for everyone involved because I was able to see that it truly was a team effort. The goal was achieved, I didn’t collapse under false pressure created by myself, I didn’t say “no” over and over in my head, but rather took the first step in my journey of learning to appreciate the process.

Have you also had one of those “ah-ha” moments in a completely unexpected scenario? Most of the time it’s when we’re actually given time to think. Between the group texts, watching Instagram stories, and catching up on Vanderpump Rules (what…) there is that empty space that lets you figure out what you crave. Let me know in a comment or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter & tell me what your moment of recognition was.

- Taylor