Working Alone


I used to have a theory that if I just surrounded myself with people who were go-getters, I, too, would become a go-getter.  While good influences are wonderful, I think this theory is just not quite sufficient.  Here’s why.

My first example was with working out.  I would just take every opportunity to work out that came my way when people invited me.  So this added up to working out two times a week when friends were around, and sometimes it would just be once a week.  Since I need to work out at least 3 times a week to be in shape and have something to build on, working out with other people just isn’t enough.  I need to be motivated enough to work out alone sometimes.

My second example is happening today.  Sometimes I am motivated by the routine of getting into the office and the sound of clacking keyboards everywhere.  This  morning, no one was in the office.  No one was there because, it turns out, it’s a holiday.  For graduate students, the word “holiday” means “work from home” or “do an hour less work.”  So I need to be self-motivated in this moment to get things done because I’m not surrounded by the go-getters at this very moment.

I do, however, find that systematic habits and accountability are really useful in achieving goals.  For instance, I’m much more likely to work out if I do it first thing in the morning because I’ve made this habit of working out before fully waking up.  I also downloaded a Bible app to read the Bible every day.  I also have a habit of working while I’m at work.

If I develop a couple of more habits, I think they will help me to be much more goal-oriented.  So, to kick myself into shape, I’m going to very publicly announce that I will no longer be snoozing in the mornings.  I find snoozing to be a terrible waste of time, and it keeps me from getting things done in the morning.

How about you?  What habits do you need to develop or do away with in order to become more goal-oriented?  Have you ever tried to ride on the coat-tails of someone else’s good habits to only find that you need your own to get what you want?


Going After What You Want


Have you ever tried accomplishing goals in your life but every time you try, something comes in your way? Obstacles are mental challenges to discourage us from achieving what we want in life. Obstacles are also building blocks to greatness. We have to decide how bad we want something to push through it. We all have an undying spirit within. We have to “just do it; feelings are deceiving.”

Sometimes we don’t feel like doing something but the grace or will to force ourselves comes into action. Today, I jolted myself into working out and playing basketball. I felt great afterwards. We can’t wait for the right feelings to come in order for us to do something that’s good for us.  If we wait, we may be stuck and never achieve what we are destined to achieve. There is no such thing as waiting for the right time.  Waiting is the same as preparing – it’s an action, not a resting position.  You keep trying till the right time comes. You will learn a lot along the way. Do not mistake this as not being patient.

What do you hope to accomplish and what is in your way of accomplishing it? What are the necessary steps to take in order to accomplish that goal?


Burn Your Ships


According to folklore, when Cortez came to the Americas, he had his men burn their ships. As a result, everyone was well-motivated to survive in the Americas because they had no other choice. Sometimes the problem we have is that we want something, but we don’t fully commit to it. We kind-of want to do this, and we kind-of want to do that.

This week, we were talking to one of our production assistants who has a goal to make it in the film industry. He told everyone he was doing it. The result is that he created this atmosphere of social pressure, and it hardened his determination. This guy is going to make it. He burned his ships.

It’s like Nike says, just do it. But how many of us waiver, and in waivering, we can never get anything difficult done? My friends and I sign up for races so that we have to work out. We’re already committed. No one can run a half marathon well without training, so we train because we are committed. Commit, commit, commit. You aren’t going back. Burn your ships.

When I came to school, I made that the only option I could do. I must get this degree. I am committed.

Amazingly, having lots of options and opportunities isn’t adding to our happiness. We have too many options, and so we never commit. The result is we can’t really take advantage of any of these opportunities. Then some of them pass us by, and we think, “Maybe that would’ve been great.” But, at the time, we weren’t willing to commit, and we are in a stalemate forever. I’m not advocating making hasty decisions. I just think that sometimes we’re unable to reach our goals because we don’t have the conviction of mind to commit, and then we don’t persevere and fight for our goals because we’re not fully committed.

How about you? What goal or plan do you need to commit to today? What can you do to burn your ships and fully commit?


Plan A


Today, I’m working on my plan A.  Recently, I was filming at a magazine launch in which a former mayor of Washington DC, Marion Barry, was the guest speaker.  He said something along the lines of, “Don’t make a plan B.  That’s just giving up on your plan A.  If plan A doesn’t work out, then make a new plan A.”  We love that.  Of course, we’re planning for the future, but we’re always working on our highest goals, our reach plans, our biggest possible accomplishments.

So today I’m working on plan A.  I’m writing, promoting, and working on this movie.  In Proverbs 16:9, it says, “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go (CEV).”  I think some people mistake this verse to mean, “Whatever happens, happens.”  And, “don’t make plans because you don’t know what will happen.”  I take a different view.  I think it means that when we’re in the will of God, then he’ll direct our paths and plant dreams in us.  Then, we need to work on those dreams, and God will make them happen if he placed them in us.

How about you?  What’s your plan A?  What are you doing to make it happen?


Go Get It Trade-Offs

When you think about the life of an assassin, or a former assassin, what has he given up to live that life?  This is a rarely noticed or discussed topic because it never seems like there was ever another choice.  What trade-offs did he make in order to become an assassin?  What trade-offs did he make in order to run and hide from his mob boss so that he could not be an assassin anymore?

Although we aren’t assassins off-screen, we do often have to give things up in order to get to our dreams.  We have to eat right and work out to look good and have good health.  We have to wake up early to start writing and earning income.  We have dream vacations that we can’t take yet in order to be able to work and save toward our goals.  And, tonight, we’re both working away from each other in order to get our goals done.

In a movie, where time is sped up and theme music is playing, it seems glamorous for the character to forgo life’s luxuries in order to reach some goal.  But in real life, there is no theme music when we wake up at 5 AM.  The little battles must be fought.  The long-game must be played.  And, even though it’s not exciting in the moment, the results – passing an exam, buying a house, having a freshly-painted room, writing a paper and making a movie are worth the small strokes that got us there.

How about you?  What do you give up in order to get your goals?  What are your goals, and are they worth it?


Super Hero!

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When you were a kid, did you ever dress up as a super hero and believe you could really become that character?  If you tried hard enough and really believed it, you could do anything as a kid.  When I was a kid, I truly believed that if I had a bed sheet tied around my neck, I could jump out of a tree and fly.  Don’t try it; it doesn’t work.  Or, maybe, do try it.  It’s better to believe in yourself and have high hopes, fall down and pick yourself back up than to never know what you can accomplish.

As grown-ups, there is something about movies that makes us identify with the main characters.  If we really believe enough, we can be that epic.  We can be Thor, or an Avenger.  We can do it!  And for the next hour after watching the movie, or after rethinking about the movie, we are super heroes.  Everything we do is lightning fast, and the problems we solve will change the world.

Why do we lose that luster?  If we really believe enough, can we not be truly epic and change the world?  How about you?  Is there anything you truly believed as a kid that you wish you could believe now?


The Dream Cloud


Have you ever sat in a place where your dreams came true, and you never wanted to leave it?  I have been on the track team in my high school and college, and I didn’t want to leave because my dreams came true on the track. The high of a fulfilled dream is so thrilling that I just don’t want to go out and fight for another thing.

My pastor back home often says, “You can’t get to second base without leaving first.”  Which, I think, means you can’t accomplish the next great thing without leaving the comfort of your already-accomplished goals.  It also means, don’t hold too tightly to the past and to your successes, because you could be called out.  But the fact is that if you stay on first base, you will be out.  You must move on to second base.  You can’t rest on first base.  You can’t rest on what you accomplished in high school or college.

You have to keep learning and evolving.  You have to keep working toward the next big thing.

How about you?  What are your past accomplishments that you’re so proud of?  What are your next big goals?  What are the next action steps you need to take to accomplish your next big goals?


Working for Yourself


In the last blog post, we talked about how Alex is quitting his job as an assassin which means his old boss no longer calls the shots.  Now, he’s on his own, making decisions that are self-motivated.  There’s something unique about being self-motivated.  When you’re working for someone else, you feel a heavy weight like, even if the job is your dream job, you’re being forced into it. Working for yourself is different.  You have a new drive, a new need to make it – because this is your goal, your desire, and, let’s face it, your lights need to be on.  At Skyrunner Productions, we work for ourselves, at least in spirit.  One of us runs his own business.  The other one of us works for the man and has a side business.  But here’s the thing – not matter who you technically work for, you should always be working for yourself. Here’s how I work for myself.  Number 1, I recognize that my career is self-driven.  I may currently, legally work for an employer, but the skills and capabilities that I develop are all mine.  I may spend years working for a boss, but I will spend my whole life working for me.  Number 2, I value my craft and skills knowing that work now will be worth more later.  Work pays dividends, and careers are exponential.  Think about the work you did learning a skill.  If you went to school, then you worked hard at school, and your time wasn’t worth much.  But the time and effort you put into developing your skills has (hopefully) paid off to make your skills worth more now.  So the time you waste, the time you think “my boss isn’t watching,” is time you’re not investing in your number 1 asset after God: you. Now, it’s your turn.  Who do you work for on the books?  Who do you really work for?  How can you make your skills and assets grow exponentially?  How do you think Alex’s change in employment will change his actions?


On Set with Hollywood

For the past few weeks, we’ve been working on set which means we’re pretty stoked and tired.  Of course, the movie we’re on set for is an action film that we’ll be seeing open night!  Here’s what life is like on set: 1) Drive out to the middle of no where 2) See celebrities 3) Nicely chase away onlookers who wants to be in the way of stunts or to hug and/or kiss celebrities 4) Run around all day helping with anything and everything.  Anything and everything has, so far, included helping extras find their places, helping onlookers find their not-places, directing the flow of things and running errands.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

Our goal with being on-set is to see how it’s done.  Of course, in Indy films it’s different for us.  We don’t have an $80 million budget, and we don’t spend money catering food like it’s the end of the world.  Instead, we’re more like grad students eat pizza and just trying to scrape by and make a truly epic film.  Last time, we talked about working for yourself, and this applies here.

While some people are dragging their feet to work and showing up late, I’m excited to be here because I know this is building my skill set, helping me make connections and getting me where I want to go.  I’m working for me.  I’m noticing how stunts are done, how extras are moved and how big celebrities work.  I’m building my resume.  I’m also noticing that much of Hollywood is moving to my city which is promising.  It shows I’m in the right spot at the right time for movies.  I’m also humbled thinking that everyone starts somewhere.

Now it’s your turn.  When have you worked a job that other people didn’t appreciate but that you knew was building your skills?  How about vice versa – did you ever work a job and wished you had looked at it from a different angle and taken better advantage of what you could have learned?


Choose Your Own Adventure

“From The Shadows”

Welcome to Skyrunner Production’s blog!  Here, we’ll be talking about our current projects, posting videos and letting you in on what’s going on at Skyrunner Productions!  We’ll also be giving you teasers on upcoming videos, inspirational stories and creative thoughts.  Let’s begin!

Have you ever watched a DVD and seen the alternate ending?  It’s often shocking, and you think, “Why would the character choose that life?” or, “What a different life he could’ve had!”  Have you ever seen the childhood “Choose Your Own Adventure” gamebook?  As a kid, you can choose what happens to the character.  Now that we’re grown-ups in real life, do you ever wish you could watch the end of the DVD and choose your own life, your own happy ending, your own action-packed adventure?

Amazingly, you kind of can.  Here at Skyrunner Productions, we spend our mornings visualizing our successes.  We’ve heard it said that with every decision, you should follow it downstream and see where it leads.  Once you jump in the river, you’re going with it!  When you visualize success, you tend to accomplish it because your mind tends to complete what it sees.

In our next film Alex, a top-of-the-line assassin, wants to get out of his field.  He made this career decision years ago.  We don’t know his motivations (yet).  Maybe he was young and wanted adventure, maybe he thought what he was doing was right, maybe he wanted the money, and maybe he didn’t have any other motivations in life and found a skill he was good at.  Let’s see what happens as he tries to jump out of this decision and into another adventure!

How about you?  Do you follow your decisions downstream?  Do you regret a decision you made years ago and are now trying to correct it?  Do you (will you) use visualization to accomplish your dreams and aspirations?