057 – Snowy Vancouver

Winter finally feels like it’s here, but so does global warming with the fact that the weather these days is just a mess.

I was just in Ontario for almost 2 weeks, visiting family & friends and working on some projects and while I was there we had a couple of days of rain. Not only was this rain strange to begin with, but we actually got more rain in 2 days than we normally get in a month. There were little lakes on people’s lawns, and the town river was overflowing significantly.

Following this, I flew back to Vancouver, and I am greeted with a couple of feet of snow! For Vancouver, this is extremely unusual. In the winter, Vancouver just rains, lots of rain and gray skies, but it never really snows in the city. Having this much basically shut down the city for a few couple days.

When it snows in Vancouver, the city is unprepared to deal with it. The roads don’t get cleaned very fast, no one knows how to drive, things you don’t think about when you are from Ontario and everyone is used to lots of snow.

Of course, this is happening as Australia is basically on fire, and it really makes you think about the situation we are in. That could be a whole other post, but for now, just remember what’s going on in the world. 

If you have snow, be sure to go enjoy it and make some snow angels or snowmen and go skiing.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

056 – He quit his job!

Many people always complain about their jobs, people who don’t like what they are doing, and who are unhappy waking up and going to work. Some of you may be in this position right now or may know someone who is in this situation. 

The problem is, there are always reasons to stay. Health Benefits, salary, the corporate ladder, retirement plans, and many other reasons. 

Most people who say they don’t like their job, have no idea of what they would rather be doing with their time that would allow them to pay bills, because, let’s be honest, those still need to be paid.

I couldn’t be more excited for a friend of mine, who recently took a leap of faith and left his corporate job. I can’t speak to his feelings about his previous job, but he always wanted to be pursuing his passion and giving it a chance. He knew he didn’t want to be stuck in a job he didn’t like, even though he was good at it. 

So, he started off the new year by leaving his corporate life and starting his freelance videography business.

The important thing to remember is, he did it with enough of a plan and savings that he wouldn’t be on the street within 2 months. Some kind of vision is key to being able to succeed.

Until you take the leap of quitting your job, you will never know what awaits you on the other side. For example, because he quit, he has much more time available, which has already lead him to other opportunities and accomplished things he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Was there any way to plan these? No. But the will happen if you work hard and put yourself out there.

It’s truly inspiring, but for me, it’s also fun to have someone to discuss the freelance life with, help each other out, do projects together.

Others need to take away from this. If you are unhappy in your job, figure out what you would rather be doing, and how to get there, then start doing small steps to make it happen. If you aren’t doing this, then don’t complain about your situation. 

If you aren’t helping yourself get out.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

055 – I went floating

I tried something new. Something that is apparently for my soul, for my brain, and for my well being. Something to help my mind calm down, slow down and be quiet. 

I tried floating.

For those of you who don’t know, floating is where you go into a tank with saltwater, and when you lay down, it supports your body and you effortlessly float. The tank is fully enclosed, with lights in the water (you can turn them off as well) and speakers, where you have the option of some relaxing music, nature sounds, or a guided meditation. A session is 90 minutes, where you are alone with just your own thoughts and no external stimulation (not even jewelry or clothing) to allow you to dive into your thoughts and into your mind.

So how was my experience? Well, through the 90 minutes it changed multiple times. At one point, I was in a state of zen, I had “nature sounds” playing, and sometimes all I could think about what my breathing and the way my body felt floating weightlessly. Other times, I was thinking about business, about work, about life plans and organizing my thoughts. I came up with some ideas and I organized tasks with action plans to get off my plate. It was interesting to think about my problems and my struggles, and just let my mind wander and sort through things. It was a way to go into deeper, uninterrupted thinking.

This may be amazing for some people who do this on a constant basis, like a weekly session to help plan your week, or even escape life and mediate. For me, my mind is often thinking about work (and I love that), so I am not constantly looking for an escape, but I do know many people who are.

Overall, I’d say I enjoyed myself. I’m not certain whether it was the floating that allowed me to think and relax or the fact that I had set dedicated time aside in my day to sit and relax. Either way, it was a very fun experience and I think people should try it at least once. I don’t think it’s something I will be doing weekly, but I can see myself going again in the future when I have something I want to explore in my head and think about solutions in a different way.

For anyone interested in the place I went to in Vancouver, it’s called The Float House in Gastown.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

054 – The Power of Accountability

This goes along with the theme of my last post. Recently, I was with some friends, and we were discussing productivity and motivation to move forward with projects, something that we can all find difficult sometimes. When it comes to personal projects, it’s so easy to put it off and say “I’ll do that tomorrow” but that just keeps repeating, and nothing ever seems to happen because there’s no real deadline.

There is a great solution to this, something I like to employ myself. When you tell someone your goals, they become much more real.

One of my friends had a great way of doing this, he has something he calls “Sunday Sessions” where himself and 2 of his friends get together for coffee or breakfast and discuss their past week, and what they want to accomplish in the following week. They help each other brainstorm ideas to move forward, giving an outside perspective to help others accomplish their goals effectively and offering help where they can. 

Most importantly, this meeting provides accountability. They know that by telling the others what they want to accomplish in the next week, they then have a deadline of the next “Sunday Session” to accomplish that, or at least show their progress. It takes away that feeling of not having a deadline and helps hold you accountable to actually take action on your tasks. 

That is the little push someone needs when sitting on the couch thinking “I’ll do it tomorrow” and instead thinks “I should do it now because I can’t put it off too long or I’ll have to admit I didn’t do that, and for no good reason”.

When you come across a snag or something that you don’t know how to get around, you then have those friends to help brainstorm different ways to move forward, which can be very comforting, and you know that you’ll get that help at the next meeting.

Are you going to try this? Set up a regularly scheduled meeting with some friends that you feel would be good for brainstorming and keeping you motivated and see how it works!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

053 – Vancouver Social Media Mastermind

The other night I went to an event where I was not sure what to expect, but what I walked away so inspired and thrilled!

I went to something we called the “Vancouver Social Media Mastermind”. Ever since I moved to Vancouver I have been looking for a group of people that I could nerd-out over social media related topics and strategies for business growth on social media. These are things that very much interest me. I spend a lot of time researching strategies for growth and ways people can use social media to build their brand.

The ironic part about working in the social media world is that it can be a very lonely business because so much of the work is done alone. Sure, you go out on adventures to capture content, but then you go home to edit, research, write, strategize, all by yourself. Not all of us are Gary Vaynerchuk and have a team of people that do these things for us. Most people see the glamorous photos which are essentially the “highlight reel” but what they don’t see is the hours of work to make that happen.

During the other night’s event, it was very refreshing to discuss and talk about things we’ve learned, help others with their strategies, collaborating over ideas, and getting feedback on your own ideas.

There were 6 of us, which was a great number because it allowed time to get to know everyone. We went around the table each talking about who we are, what we do, what we bring to the table to help the others. We then discussed the problems we are facing and what we would like to achieve. We ended off with an accountability statement, so we said what we hope to achieve in the next month before our next meeting. We all went away with new ideas and things to work on based on the feedback.

Overall it was amazing to meet people who are interested in social media and content creation and to get those different perspectives on ideas and problems we each face. I love collaborating on struggles and ideas, helping others do their best work.

I am very much looking forward to the next one, the only thing I wish was it had lasted longer and that the next one wasn’t so far in the future. I came away with many extremely inspired to step into action.

Thanks to everyone that was there, and to Alayna Joy who organized it. If you don’t know her content you should check it out!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

052 – My friend Cat Clyde

I’ve talked about keeping in touch with old friends, how you never know where they will end up, and it’s a great feeling to be able to catch up from time to time. Some friends just naturally fall by the wayside as your lives change, but other friends it’s always nice to catch up with. My friend Cat Clyde is like that to me.

Cat Clyde is an old friend who I went to high school with. We shared many music classes, band projects, and I even started recording her as I was getting my feet off the ground in my recording career. We spent much time together bonding over the creation of music, late-night studio trips and we worked on many projects over the years. 

I still remember many nights going out to “The Swamp” (a studio I worked at just outside of town) to jam, create music, hang out with Cat and our friend Katelyn, and various other friends that would join us. We would spend hours there, returning home at 6-am many times with the rising sun.

Upon finishing high school, we saw less of each other, but still the occasional visit from time to time. When I was at school, Cat came to visit with her guitar in hand. When I moved to Toronto, Cat would text me whenever she was playing a show in town so we could catch up, and it was always a treat to go see her play. As we both kept pursuing our passion in much, we slowly saw less of each other. She’s always been someone I’ve kept an eye on and I knew she would take her incredible talent to great places.

The other night, I finally got to see her play again. This is the first time I’ve seen her play in 3 years or so, and the first time I’ve seen her play under the “Cat Clyde” name, even though I have been following her amazing growth with the project since it’s inception.

As I stood in the crowd and it really hit me how proud I am to call her a friend, how happy I was she was doing what she loved and knowing I was there since the early years of her growth. I watched a packed room full of people sing along to her songs and cheer, unable to take their eyes off the amazing stage performance and beautiful voice. She put on a great show with her fantastic band, and it was such a treat to hear a show that was so accurate, sounding exactly like the record. It makes me happy to see her succeeding doing what she loves and staying true to what she wants to do. Her style is the same as I’ve always known her to be doing and you can tell it truly comes from her soul.

I did get to catch up with her backstage before and after the show, and it was fantastic as always. I can’t wait to see her again, and hopefully with less of a gap between visits than before.

If you haven’t heard her, you should check out her music and what she’s been up to as she finishes this tour.

Always remember, if you stay true to yourself and do what you love, you will make things work. I can’t wait to see where Cat goes, and I think this is still only the very beginning for her.

https://www.catclydemusic.com

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

051 – I got an office!

Did you read the title?

That’s right, I got an office! A space for me to go to work everyday!

Let me tell you about how this came about and my decision to put money towards an office space. The beginning of this month is when I got back to Vancouver from my trip to Ontario. I was there for over 2 months for some work, weddings, visiting family, and other events. While in Ontario, I had a lot of time to work on my projects, and also lots of time to reflect on my own self. It was the longest I had been away from Vancouver since I moved out here. Moving to Vancouver brought on a completely different living arrangement, habits schedules, along with different work then what I was used to in Toronto.

In my 7 years living in Toronto, I was working for a studio where I would go to work, then come home and work in my apartment where I lived alone. I had a limited number of relationships due to my work hours, and near the end, I had a long-distance relationship. Basically, no one was around to really distract me when I came home and wanted to work.

I am a workaholic, and working 12-14 hour days at the studio, followed by working at home for another 6 hours was not uncommon. I would rarely take breaks for meals and typically just ate at my computer. I lived by my own schedule, although at the time, I hardly realized it was a schedule.

Moving to Vancouver, I moved in with my partner and my schedule drastically changed. I had things to help her with, more household chores, and different types of couple events now that we were no longer long distance.

During this trip to Ontario, I was staying at my parents, where I spent much more time to myself being able to concentrate and work. This made me realize how much more productive I was in a situation where I was able to shut myself away and concentrate on what I was doing.

So, upon returning to Vancouver, I decided it was the right time to put some money into finding myself somewhere to work. Somewhere that wasn’t searching for a coffee shop (which I would often do) and could go every day to get some good solid, uninterrupted, time to concentrate on work.

That’s where I find myself now, I found a great little co-working space that is a 15-minute walk from my house. There are 7 other people in this space, which consists of 2 sound studios for post audio, 2 private offices which are used by a video editor and a 2-man production team. Then there are 2 dedicated desks, one of which is now my “office”. The space has a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a common area with couches, plants, and lots of natural light.

I feel like this is the beginning of a new chapter for me. I am focusing in on my plans for my business, have been having more video editing and web design clients, and now I have a space to work daily. I’ll let you know how it goes since this is still only my second week here.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

050 – The Deny The Threat Project

The following was written Sept 30th, 2019:

I write this after a fantastic weekend of creating music with some old friends of mine. A group that continues to be inspiring and exciting to be around. Those friendships that never seem to fade and nothing seems to change even when it’s been years, this is what this group of friends is like to me.

Deny The Threat is a band that I started working with when we were all in high school. They were one of the first bands I had in my home studio as my “guinea pig” band. I was in the same class as the drummer, and one day I asked him “Hey, you play drums right? Want to record?”. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a lifelong friendship and lead to many projects together.

The band at the time was gaining traction around town and was one of the more well-known bands in the area. They were headlining most of the local metal shows and playing almost every weekend. I loved that I had a band with some traction in the area, and was able to use their name to impress other bands. 

We continued to grow together, learning more about recording, writing, playing, producing, and just dealing with life in general.

Slowly the band started to play less and eventually called it quits when everyone went their separate ways for schooling and other life endeavours.

Moving forward, I have worked and interacted with each member of the band on their new projects. We all stay in touch while we continued to grow as creatives in our fields. We all live in different parts of the world now, but through the power of the internet, we decided we wanted to get together again, have a hang and make some music altogether. That slowly morphed into a project of a live set playing some of the old songs, recording them and making a live video!

That happened this past weekend. We set up in the brand new SG Studios (which has other significance to us that I’ll explain in another blog) for 2 days, rehearsed the songs, setup filming (the drummer, Malcolm, how has a production company now) and had an extremely fun and inspiring weekend together.

It honestly gives me happy goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s such an amazing feeling to work with the guys who were around at the beginning of my career again, while we also continue to be good friends and support each other with our various projects.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a greater group of guys. I will be posting that video when it comes out, so stay tuned!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

049 – A Shift and Focus

For just over a year now, I have been freelancing. The past month marks a year since I moved to Vancouver to have a change in my life and to pursue different aspects of my creativity besides just being a studio engineer. This was a great decision and allowed me to learn so much about myself; what I like, what I don’t like, what makes me thrive, and also what doesn’t.

Over the last year of building ANAK Creates, I have been trying to figure out my best avenue to output my knowledge about making music and the music industry. I knew from the start that I wanted to be able to help people make the best music they could by bringing my top-of-the-professional-industry knowledge to everyone, but I hadn’t totally figured out the best way for me to execute this. The problem was I had many ideas they all felt great, so I wanted to pursue them all. My vision of how it was going to play out shifted constantly while developing my ideas while allowing me to be able to do the things I wanted to do with my life.

Now, a year later, I have decided that it’s time to really drive forward with one avenue, make more of a concrete plan of the road ahead, where to start and where to add the other pieces. Now that I’ve seen my ideas start to consolidate, I am feeling much more confident with my vision. 

Over the past month, I’ve started working on that plan. I have taken a step back from a lot of what I was doing, and I have focused on future planning. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be perfecting it, and (very important) putting it down on paper. I need to write it out so I can see the path, the end goal, and breaking down the steps and the order of things to move toward my ultimate goals.

I know things will still get “in the way” and I will keep finding different things that I will want to pursue, but now over the next year, I will have my plan that I will be following out first and foremost. 

As I put together this detailed plan with my goals I get more and more excited to really shift in and focus on what I want to do and how I now see my business really getting going. I can’t wait to share with you everything I have planned as it begins to unfold.

If you are in the same boat, remember that it’s okay to keep jumping around and exploring, that is how you really discover new things you enjoy, but at a certain point, you do need to pick something to dive in and focus on to give it everything you have.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

048 – I stepped back to re-evaluate

For those of you who have something you put out, something that’s consistent and ongoing, you’ll understand this quite well. I’m talking about things like blogs, videos, or a podcast. For me, I have a weekly podcast, that I have just hit the 15th episode. When I wrote this, it was the first week I didn’t post a new episode in over 3 months.

Why?

Although one excuse I give myself is that I didn’t have enough time, that really wasn’t the case. If I really wanted to, I could have managed to record, edit, and put it out, but I didn’t. Yes, I am busy, but I probably could have managed to dedicate a few hours in my week to do this.

The real reason is I felt that even if I had put the time into doing the podcast, it wouldn’t have been as good of a value to the listeners as I would want it to be. I have been batteling to keep up with ideas and structure of the podcast for a few weeks, and with my extremely busy life at the moment, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fully develop an idea to give it the most value that I knew it would be worth. So I decided it was a good time to take a break, and I think it will be a few weeks of a break.

This break now has an aim, however. I want to work on the backend of the podcast, do some re-structuring, where I can take what I’ve learned from doing the first 15 episodes, take the feedback I’ve received, what people like and what could be improved, and develop a much stronger weekly show. I also want the opportunity to do some forward planning, be able to have a few episodes lined up ready to go so that I don’t have to feel constant weekly stress because I will have a buffer. There are some weeks where I have many ideas, and other weeks where I have no ideas, so having that buffer allows me to utilize when the ideas are flowing and create the best content for the listeners, so win-win.

If you are someone that finds yourself in a similar situation, know that it is okay to take a break to step back and re-evaluate. It helps both your mental health and enthusiasm for the project. This also benefits your audience because they get better value from you.

I can very much attest to this as I have been going through a bit of a struggle with these feelings recently. It’s all about re-framing your state of mind, and know that once you come back, you’ll be stronger than ever.

I wrote this on September 30th, 2019. It is currently November, and I still have not come back with the podcast. However, it is coming, and there will be more details here about what else is coming soon. A lot of work has been happening!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex