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  • Writer's picturesangeetaangelakumar

Life Lessons: from my Work

Learn a skill and translate it into Action

Steve Jobs dropped out of college, but that didn’t stop him from taking classes he was actually interested in. He learned calligraphy because he was intrigued by lettering it made him want to add aesthetically pleasing fonts into Mac while the PC was using boring fonts. Because he took that class and everyone copied him, today we enjoy aesthetically pleasing visuals in our text. It isn’t just about learning a skill, your skill needs to make sense.

Learning platforms like Youtube, Skillshare, Domestika, 21 Draw, Udemy— give out an abundance of content. But it’s really what you do with what you learn. So while its vital you learn a skill or two or three… what you do with that skill is very important.

I was born into a filmy family. Both my parents were into media, Dad a radio present and then a film maker and then a documentary filmmaker. Mom worked a 9to5 but in her free time would direct plays, dances, shoot. Her passion was film making that she my brother attended XIC (Xavier’s Institute of communication) together.

Media and good writing is in our DNA and so it made sense that I would have the passion to. Movies were my baby sitters throughout my life. I loved editing, I loved camera, I loved writing, I loved acting, I loved choreography, I loved action…So it would be understandable that my interests would resonate towards the media.

When my career actually took off, my internship with USL took a back seat to my glamorous job at Filmfare. But it was with my news channel job that I didn’t just come on camera — I learned to write scripts, write for visuals, shoot and edit your content. It was my production experience at CBN that taught me that documentation wasn’t enough, that telling a story was key to content. So when I started my own production company, I realized and learned on the job that Location, Set Design and Storyboarding went hand in hand with writing content.

Online platforms that focus on skill based learning — can fill your brain with so much information, but making that information your own begins with putting that into practice.

Today because I learned basic production — I’m able to understand the need to upgrade my studio. The importance of having a decluttered backdrop, or the importance of a three point light set up (not just a window light). One of my mentors Rukmini taught me that once I was able to edit your story so you can control the narrative. It helped me instantly and continues to help me today as I don’t have budgets for editors, or camera or sound design people — I have in my kitty, the ability to write, confidence to speak, and a post production sense which is growing everyday.

Learning a skill ins’t just enough, it needs to translate into action — mostly so it can benefit you in the long run.

What are the skills you’ve learn that you haven’t put into action? Take some time to think about that because trust me — there lies your secret to growing.

Pace yourself (Plan your content)

Not so secret Tip: I recently discovered Milanote which has helped me keep all my work organized.

Burnout is a real thing. Feeling overwhelmed is more real than you realize. That’s why its important for you to plan pace your work. I once saw something really funny. People who leave their 9to5 jobs never actually work less, they end up working 24/7 jobs. Anyone who’s a freelancer, entrepreneur or their own boss would tell you that. Many people see 9 to 5 jobs as boring but eventually you go home and sleep and eat and wake up the next day.

When I worked in film fare I had a 9 to 5 job, news channels were more erratic but even in those eventually I would go home. Running a business means you’re managing all operations all the time. Like being a photographer doesn’t near 4-8 hours of shoot everyday, it means I need to take calls, do my marketing, find clients which happen only when you’re not working. Being an illustrator doesn’t just mean you draw and go to sleep… it means wanting to finish the illustration and posting it on social media, blogging about it or podcasting about it. This is a tough spot to be in, especially for those one-person company which doesn’t have employees and you’re doing all of it on your own. Even some of the most famous youtubers have agencies helping them.

One of the key things I love about being your own boss is that you get to take breaks whenever you want. Like today, in between writing this script for the podcast, I took a 8 episode binge-watch break to watch Indian Weddings Season 2. So it does have its perks but pacing yourself and planning your content is vital to have a more sustainable work life balance and avoid burning out completely.

I struggle with this, but that said I love my work so much that I have in 11 years never wanted a holiday so I could stop working. That says a lot about how happy I am— but I am very clean about pacing myself and planning things around my work.

I have great support in my husband who shares a lot of the load, but I do try my best to get my house chores around my work. But honestly the only time I feel burnout is the kitchen with cooking especially after Christmas season, or “birthdays” when I’m working without pacing myself or planning a balance schedule out. I believe that work hard and partying hard is vital when it comes to my work. When I say party I mean watch a movie or have a picnic at the beach. But when I ensure celebrations and joys are a big part of my process — its easier to push myself to survive the hard work (which sometimes can be monotonous).

Create a work space for Comfort

Creating a workstation to take care of your needs I learned during the pandemic. Earlier I had the whole house to myself when my daughter was in the school and my husband was at work. But once everyone came home, I was lost. I helped my husband create his workstation, my daughter have multiple workstations for her school work, her music and play times. But I felt lost because I have no allocated space for myself.

My desk space to edit is fantastic, but all it has is space for a my keyboard, hard drives, charging devices. When it came to having a workstation to shoot on, once we got that famous white table I shoot most of my overhead content on I felt a lot more free and comfortable. I think having a space for yourself in your home is important. And as women, and house wives we tend to be sent off to the kitchen. Even having a kitchen that works for you is important — like when I’m making waffles its a lot of waiting while the waffles are getting ready so I normally move a chair into the kitchen so I can sit down and not get tired standing the whole time.

The more comfortable you are at your workspace, the more you can give to your work without worries.

Passion is the key to excellence

If you woke up in the morning feeling excited to do something, that’s probably where your passion lies. I wake up in the morning and want to draw even before my beloved cup of tea. That is an indication that I love what I do. Without passion — you’re not in your journey towards excellent and its very hard to have no passion and still have the desire to be excellent. So in my opinion, if you wanna be excellent at something, it goes hand in hand with your Passion.

Don’t Let Discouragement Cripple you

Comparison is the emotional the cancer of our times. The biggest danger to passion and enthusiasm is comparing yourself to an unachievable goal. If you want to climb a mountain and your attention is only on the person who’s reached the top. You may feel overwhelmed that you haven’t achieved so much and that discouragement may not allow you to even start climbing the mountain. But as many people who hike, walk or climb mountains know that, it’s the step by step, rock by rock, path by path that is arduously painstakingly taken, that eventually leads you to the top of the mountain. You don’t know the person’s journey, you don’t know their struggles or the path they stumbled through— you’re only looking at their victories. Social media is one of the biggest vehicles of showing you people’s victories but hardly any struggle stories.

People talk about how much they earned, or how successful they are — but you don’t know how many years they had to be without money or beg to get to where they are.

I’ve tried my best to show the real side of life and share my struggles along the way— but eventually even though I don’t earn enough money through any of the ventures I do, not my books, not youtube, not my courses— to support my family through a week. People look at my life and think I have it all figured out.

You don’t know what another person is going through with what they are posting on social media. in most cases social media is a lie — a mask that we show our best faces to the world. I struggle with comparing myself to others a lot.

In my marriage I struggled more because I would compare my marriage to those of my friends. I remember seeing a friend’s vacation photographs where they travelled to Europe one year, and all over India. as a couple they seemed so happy and many times I would compare my life and feel discouraged the way my normal vanilla existence was — but years later they got a divorce and I still cannot understand how. They seemed so happy. That’s when I realized that comparison was so bad for my emotional health because I had no idea what the narrative was behind these perfect pictures. And even though my husband may not take me to Europe or even Matheran— but he will wake up at 4am to drive my daughter and I for 2 hours in the freezing cold for a 6am Marvel movie even thought he isn’t really into them.

In all things — discouragement is natural but if I’ve learned anything in these past few months its you have to be in control of your own moods, your own encouragement because no one can really help you but yourself. Like how do you get over your mother, your best friend dying? How do you cope with not being able to speak to your mom anymore, not because you’re fighting but because she died. And who can take you out of your sadness— its you that has to make up your mind to focus on the positives, value those around you more, forgive hurts that you can’t let go of. I would also add that being alone with God’s help is quite a powerful place to be at for me.

But I’m going off topic— being discouraged is natural but don’t let anything cripple you from being the best version of yourself.


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