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Ep.51 – Garth Dew – The Un-Optimised Life

For Episode 51, videographer Garth Dew talks about creating an “Unoptimized Life”, focusing on purpose and mastery over entrepreneurship, and how he builds rhythm in his days to support his work, his wellness, and his relationships.

Show Notes Links:

Full episode transcript below, and links to find out more about Garth Dew and his work.

Creating Cadence Podcast Transcript – Episode 51

Published 20th October 2023

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:00:00] Hi and welcome to Creating Cadence, a podcast for life and work in motion. I’m your host, Mich Bondesio, a writer, coach consultant, and solo entrepreneur. I’m also the author of The Cadence Effect. 

I help high achievers stuck on the toxic treadmill of overwork to transform how they approach life, work and business. So they can activate more of their potential and perform better in every part of their life. At a cadence that’s more suitable to them. Despite this fast-paced world we live in. 

This is episode 51, the seventh episode of season eight. The interview for this episode was recorded in September and the episode is going live in October, 2023. 

So as mentioned in my recent cadence newsletter, after being away gallivanting for a few weeks, I’m now back in the thick of work things. And I have a big To-Do list that needs to get done before the end of the year. I’m sure many of you do too. 

For me, this includes working on the audio book version of my book, The Cadence Effect. Adding some new services to my website and getting ready to move house, which has a whole long list of its own To-Dos, too.

I’m also putting together the marketing bits for the launch of a new coaching and accountability programme, which is coming in early 2024. 

It’s geared to help overworked high achievers to transform how they work. By creating a better cadence in their days, so they can be more purposeful with their productivity. And craft a healthier, more meaningful life. 

 I’m sharing more about this in late October early November. And my Cadence newsletter subscribers will get first dibs. So head to creatingcadence.co/subscribe to sign up, so you can be the first to hear about special offers and early bird pricing. 

The programme is tied to the topics covered in my recently published book, The Cadence Effect. And if you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s a quick review. 

Danielle Hughes, who I recently interviewed on the podcast has also read the book. Here’s what she had to say on Amazon: 

“A new way to think about productivity. The words productivity, habits, and boundaries are bandied about a lot these days, so much so that they’re losing power and meaning. 

Enter cadence. There’s something refreshing and lovely about Mich Bondesio’s twist on all three that will make you look at them differently and likely implement them without resistance or malaise. Using her own story of burnout as the impetus, The Cadence Effect is packed with actionable tips, relatable stories, and even whimsical illustrations to help you create a life of meaning and purpose.” 

Well, thanks so much for your kind words, Danielle. If you’re also looking for a refreshing take on ways to live and work better, then you’ll find all you need to know about the book at thecadenceeffect.com. Just a reminder that the illustrations are only available in the print version of the book, which is a special edition that also includes workbook sections. 

So now onto the interview section of this episode, where I have a thought provoking conversation with Garth Dew. 

Garth Dew is a filmmaker from Preston in Lancashire in the UK. He produces, directs, and edits commercials, content, and corporate videos for a wide range of clients, including Volvo, Speedo, and Autodesk. His personal documentaries have been featured on the BBC and Kendal Mountain Festival Player. 

His latest film called Head Above Water is his most ambitious project to date. And he has high hopes of it doing well on the festival circuit in 2023 and 24. 

Now, aside from his keen eye and excellent filmmaking skills, Garth is also a deep thinker and a talented writer and a skilled marketer. And he has been an inspiration for me and the way that I approach my own work. 

Like me, Garth is a multi-passionate creative who delves into other side projects too, such as podcasting. And as you’ll hear, he has a lovely voice for it. 

Garth is also a committed dad. In his words, “I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids, as they won’t be small forever.” 

This conversation dives into lots of interesting topics, which you are going to both enjoy and learn from. I guarantee it. 

We talk about elements related to creating an unoptimised life. Navigating your own way and finding your own truth. And how Garth creates rhythm in his days to support his work, his wellness and his relationships. 

The conversation includes topics such as:

  • Working on your fitness and longevity, so you can be kick-ass at 100 and why this is important to Garth. 
  • The challenges of running a business when you have little children, and how Garth has changed the way he works to ensure he can be a more present dad. 
  • The pros and cons of working with other people when you’re used to being independent in your style of working and way of thinking. 
  • How mastering your craft and wearing multiple hats in your role helps you be a more valuable asset for both your customers and your business. And Garth also has an interesting take on digital marketing, too. 

A quick note. At the time of recording, we had a calamity of sound issues. I had sudden problems with my internet and my microphone and had to use my wired earpods, so there was this rustling sound quite a lot. 

And at Garth’s house, there was a tree surgeon on the street outside having fun with a buzzsaw. 

I’ve done my best with the AI software to clean things up a bit, but it has left me with a rather weird sounding voice. 

Please be warned, we also get a bit sweary, in case you’re listening in a public place or need to cover little ears. And stick around at the end of the episode, as I’ll also talk a bit more about some of the points that Garth has raised. 

So if you’re ready, let’s dive into this super interesting conversation with Garth Dew. 

So welcome Garth. It’s nice to have you back on the show.

Garth Dew: 

[00:05:38] Thanks for having me, Mich.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:05:39] So some background for new listeners. You and I have known each other for about five years now, I think. And we are both part of the coworking community at Society1 in Preston in Lancashire, and over the years, you and I have collaborated on a few different projects at Society1, such as video marketing.

And I was on one of your podcasts back in 2019, I think it was, and you were on mine in 2020. And more recently, we both participated in a Society1 panel discussion about freelancing.

Garth Dew: 

[00:06:06] We did. That was a good evening.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:06:08] It was, it was great. Lots of helpful advice shared by people.

Garth Dew: 

[00:06:11] Yeah. Crazy to think I’ve known you for five years.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:06:14]I know.

Garth Dew: 

[00:06:15] TIme is flying.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:06:16] Certainly. so tell us a bit about your current life and work landscape. Where are you on your journey at the moment and how is it impacting on you and your life? You know, what are the good things you’re experiencing and what kinds of challenges are you facing?

Garth Dew: 

[00:06:28] Yeah. So I guess from a personal standpoint, I’m in the thick of being a dad. So I’ve got a six year old and a two year old, two girls. And so that obviously keeps me very busy. And from a business perspective, I did hire somebody recently, a video editor. That hasn’t worked out because the guy I hired, I think was just so used to being a freelancer and struggled with being on somebody else’s schedule.

And so we’ve parted ways. So I’m almost back to being a freelancer and so I’m trying to juggle the demands of parenthood and being a good present father with doing the work again. 

So that’s a constant battle and I’m sure that’s what we’re going to explore in this conversation.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:07:14]Indeed. So, that’s interesting because to me, your approach to life and work emulates how I think one might go about seeking to craft a more meaningful life. And from the outside at least, you seem to manage to do that despite juggling a busy freelance business with raising young children. And maybe some of that has to do or that perception has to do with how you approach your days.

So tell us a little bit about your day-to-day routines. How do you try to support your wellbeing and your productivity so that you can show up fully in these various facets of your life?

Garth Dew: 

[00:07:43] Sure. It’s an interesting question. And just as a bit of a preamble, it was interesting because I went back and listened to our conversation just around the COVID time. 

And I’ve also sometimes listened to other podcasts I’ve appeared on. I’ve been on one or two and I always seem to have different answers to questions. I do seem to change my mindset.

And, the way I’m living my life, it often changes. And I think I used to look at that as maybe a negative. But I think actually what I’m doing is I’m choosing the belief, or the process that fits me right now. 

So I’ve just come out of the school holidays, which was quite challenging, because you’ve got to sort out more childcare or you’ve actually got to look after your kids.

And really it’s very difficult to work. And so over the summer holidays, my approach was to more embrace the unoptimised life, if that makes sense. And that’s to stop trying to over-optimise your day and your schedule. And almost just be juggling five things at once, through the school holidays. 

A classic example is, it’s now not the school holidays, but the other day, I’d set my alarm for 6 30.

I put my diary out and now it’s September and I need to go out and get some new work and new clients. I was going to get up at 6.30 and plan my day in my diary and really get after it, bearing in mind that my kids don’t wake up till 7.30 most days. 

That morning. My two year old decided to wake up about 20 past six. And so the diary thing went out the window and from minute one of the day, I’m sort of juggling things.

And so at the moment, my mindset and my approach to work is to almost embrace the unoptimized life and enjoy the unoptimized life. And so this week now, September, trying to get back into it, than trying to plan my day by the hour, which is what I used to do, I’m now just writing down a list of tasks, and I’m making sure I get them done.

There’s not really any more structure than that. 

But I would say that the one key thing, that I’m doing every day is exercise. That is an absolute non-negotiable. Fitting in plenty of exercise every day. I know that you and myself mentioned the book Outlive by Peter Attia in a private conversation recently, and that book’s given me a lot of purpose, because I used to be a professional rugby player, and since I retired, I’ve never really had any purpose around my training.

But the idea of training for longevity and training so you can be a kick ass hundred year old appeals to me. And so I would say that the one key thing I do every day to keep me on the straight and narrow and stay positive and productive is to exercise. 

But apart from that, everything else is sort of unoptimized, if that makes sense.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:10:35] Absolutely and really interesting to hear that. And you know, actually that is still a way of creating cadence in your days because what you’re doing is you are treating your day and your routines with elasticity. You are adjusting and adapting based on the current requirements of your situation.

And, that’s what cadence has to be about. 

 So, tell us a bit more about the types of exercise that you do.

Garth Dew: 

[00:10:57] Yeah, so, like I said, I used to be a rugby player, so it used to be very much strength based. So I used to do a lot of strength work and gym work, and being brutally honest, obviously that was for rugby, but there was obviously a vanity element to that as well, I think, when I was younger. But now it’s balancing those four key things that Peter Attia identifies. So it’s strength, VO2 max, max heart rate work, zone two, which is low intensity cardio and a lot of stability, which is the sort of building the foundations of your body, balance, muscle stability.

And so I’m trying to. balance all of those throughout the week. But I have also in the last year taken up running. I’m very drawn to the idea of ultra running. It’s probably not the best idea because my body’s already been through so much like two knee surgeries as a 24 year old, but I am slowly building up towards wanting to do a marathon and beyond And so that’s that’s how I’m sort of taking care of the cardio side of things.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:11:56] Well, that’s a worthy goal to have. I definitely don’t have the knees to be an endurance marathon runner, I would say, but running is something that I also aspire to doing. And like you, Outlive (the book) has had a powerful impression on me and I’m definitely training for the “Octogenarian Olympics”, as he refers to it.

Garth Dew: 

[00:12:13] Yeah, he is done a great job and he just seems to be everywhere, Peter Attia. But I’ve been following him for a long time and so this book was, it’s a great book and it’s a great accumulation of all that knowledge. It’s quite dense at the start, but I think that back end of the book, like you said when we were chatting, uh, lots of great advice.

 So I think it’s a similar concept maybe to Mark Manson with his Subtle Art book that we only have, can we swear on this podcast?

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:12:37]Yes, of course go ahead.

Garth Dew: 

[00:12:40] We only have so many fucks to give, you know, and I think when you try to optimize every single thing in your life and you’ve got the unpredictability of children, it’s just a recipe for disaster.

With my running last year, I was really getting into my running and I was scheduling like 5.30am runs with friends on a Saturday morning so I could go and get 13/14 miles done before the kids wake up. And then we’d have a really bad night with the baby and I would, it would put me in a really bad frame of mind.

And think I’ve just had to accept that life’s very unpredictable. And so we can only give a fuck about a certain amount of things. So for me, what it means is that I’m finishing work most days at 3pm, so I can go and do that 90 minutes of exercise. 

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:13:21] Well, I think that’s a perfect example of intentional productivity. It isn’t about optimizing every second of your day. It’s about keeping things simple and flexible. And, you know, that isn’t about having lots of things. It’s about being intentional about the things, you know, will support you.

So for you, it’s like exercises are non negotiable. When you do it in your day is very much based around the needs of your kids and your work, but you focus on that in a way that you can fit it into your life.

Garth Dew: 

[00:13:45] 100%.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:13:46] Hmm. Great. Well, let’s talk a little bit about your work. So you have a video production company called GD Video, which you started in 2014 and you produce commercial content and corporate videos, and you’ve done some lovely work with some really big name brands and clients. But you also make time for passion projects in the form of your documentary work.

And recently you’ve done some visually stunning work filmed up in the Lake District.

So, tell us a bit more about why and how you do your work and how you think cadence might apply in the context of supporting you and also in the context of supporting your clients.

Garth Dew: 

[00:14:19] Yeah, so my work varies a lot. When I got into being a freelance videographer, I basically did it as a job for two years and then I went freelance and all my first clients came from my rugby club network. So it was a lot of professional services, corporate work. But then I realized about three years in that my portfolio was just naff and it wasn’t representing where I wanted to go. 

And so then I started to do more self-initiated passion projects, telling emotive, authentic stories around athletes and adventurers. And so I always try and have those projects on the go, to support my sort of creativity and wellbeing, alongside all my paid work.

But the funny thing is that the passion projects are the best marketing tool. They normally introduce me to cool people. They allow me to put out my best work and then that drives the commercial work. And then on this most recent documentary, Head Above Water, Ellis Brigham have actually sponsored that.

And so I finally got paid to do my own original work.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:15:21] That’s fantastic.

Garth Dew:

[00:15:23] And so, yeah, after 10 years, it’s sort of moving in that direction. So I think in terms of cadence, I asked you to email me your definition of cadence because I think everyone would have a slightly different definition. For me, I’d link it back to running, like, you know, running cadence, they recommend you run at 180 steps per minute.

And for me, that’s where I find that flow at 180 and it’s efficient and it feels good. And I think the passion projects I do, they do that for me. They keep my soul alive. They keep my creativity alive. It’s very easy doing corporate, paid work that maybe you’re not 100 percent passionate about.

It’s easy to start to fall out of love with the craft. And so the passion documentaries, I always try and have something on the go every year just to keep my soul in the game. And every time I do one, it makes me realize why I fell in love with filmmaking in the first place. So that’s probably how they create cadence in my own work.

For clients, I guess, it’s helping them by, I like to think that I’m a strong creative in terms of taking control of a project. So if somebody comes to me with a project, I’m happy to lead on that. And that even comes down to being on set on the day. There’s a lot of, say, Director of Photographies, who want to be told exactly what to do by the Director, but because of the background I’ve come from, I’ve always worked on my own.

A bit like Robert Rodriguez. I do everything from writing scripts to shooting to producing to editing to sound design. And so I think when somebody comes to work with me, they can rely on me to wear all of those hats and really drive a project forward, which allows them to focus on their priorities.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:17:00] Hmm. That’s a really important point. And, as a solo entrepreneur, myself as well, and freelancer, learning how every facet of the business that you work in works is a really important part of being able to do your job to the best, because you get to recognize the patterns and you understand how everything fits together.

Garth Dew: 

[00:17:15] Definitely. And I think that’s one of the challenges I had with hiring somebody was that… Seth Godin talks about this really well. Are you a freelancer or entrepreneur? And the entrepreneur creates jobs for the people, creates processes, builds assets. The freelancer owns being a freelancer and takes ownership of the craft and becomes a master of the craft.

And for me, it didn’t work trying to offload little bits of the creative process. I’ve always worn all those hats and I think trying to master as many of them as possible within that realm of video production, it means that I can be a much more valuable asset to my clients and charge more and do better work.

And so, yeah, I think it’s important, especially with the way technology is disrupting all the industries. It’s important to be able to wear multiple hats in your role.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:18:07] That’s a really good point. And I know from working with you, Garth, that you are super professional in your approach and the calibre of your work is exceptional.

So people come back to you or they build strong relationships with you because you know how everything fits together and you know your industry and you know the work you’re doing and you’re also focused on mastering your craft, which is not a quick win.

You know, it’s something that takes time.

Garth Dew: 

[00:18:30] Yeah. Thanks, Mich. I think it’s interesting that I do look at a lot of people as being more talented than me, but I think people always feel like that as creatives. I think the difference is just that in a small niche of when you’re looking for one guy to, to do it all I think I’m pretty strong in that area.

So yeah, it’s interesting as well that you use the word mastery. Since I’ve parted ways with my employee, that word keeps coming up. I think I get a lot of fulfillment and purpose from getting better at the craft. And it, again, it comes back to that freelancer entrepreneur thing. It’s, it’s something Seth Godin said on akimbo, on the freelance episode.

He’s like, if you’re going to be a freelancer, own it. And, yeah, I think I get a lot more from trying to master filmmaking and get better with every project as opposed to trying to maximize profitability and build processes.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:19:24] Similar outlook look to me. Nice to hear. So, I want to also want to chat a bit about your marketing approach because the way that you use something like LinkedIn, for example, as a marketing tool is super effective in helping you to find the right clients. And you have spoken about this in your newsletters and on LinkedIn before. And people follow you on LinkedIn, not just to potentially work with you, but also to learn from you.

So what’s your outlook on content marketing and the role that it might play in helping you to maintain momentum in your business and your work?

Garth Dew: 

[00:19:56] So I guess with LinkedIn, I think it was around 2018 when it started becoming more of a player and I posted a video on there, off the cuff of, it was showing behind the scenes on a shoot. And I had this, in fact, it was with you, you were in the video, we were recording those testimonials. And, I thought I had a cool lighting setup going on. Looking back now, it was actually not great, but the time I thought this looks great, I’m going to shoot a quick video showing how I did it.

I put that on LinkedIn and I got three direct messages that day, two of which turned into clients and one of those clients has spent a lot of money with me. And so, straight away I was all in on LinkedIn and like you say, since then I’ve mainly just documented my journey, shared what I’m learning and it has helped attract a lot of clients.

I think giving stuff away for free, sharing freely, demonstrating expertise has worked really well on a platform like LinkedIn, especially when there’s been so much free reach and engagement. 

If I’m being brutally honest, I’m not sure if it’s still like that. I’m starting to become a little bit jaded with social media.

I’m certainly not posting as much on LinkedIn. I just see a lot of, um, how would I describe it? I think a lot of it isn’t healthy. Some of the stuff I see on there. And so I’m not sure where I’m at right now with content marketing, if I’m being brutally honest. But I, I owe a lot to LinkedIn, definitely.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:21:24] So, are you doing more in person networking now, or are you finding that there’s a momentum that has built in your networks where you’re getting more word of mouth work coming in?

Garth Dew: 

[00:21:33]I’m doing very little networking and very little content, because I think now it’s, gosh, what’s the date? So it’s next week, it’s nine years since I went freelance. 

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:21:44] Congratulations. 

Garth Dew: 

[00:21:44] So there’s a lot of momentum there. There’s a lot of existing network. And, I think earlier in the year what I did was actually thought how efficient is all this writing content and posting on LinkedIn?

Like the best stuff or the best jobs that come to me come through people I know. And so I really mined my database and I went into zero and looked at everybody who’s ever paid me to do anything and just started reaching out to all these people. And the more you put out there, the more comes in. And, you know, I’ve had quite a successful year doing that and going more direct to people I already know.

And I think that would always be my advice. 

You know, the great opportunities are going to come from people, you know, not just at the start, but throughout. And so my mindset is more around outreach and personal conversations right now. But I do think across the board, across all industries, people are quite quiet.

I’m hoping that’s going to pick up now we’re out of the school holidays, but I do feel I think we’re going into a tough time or maybe we’re already in one. And so I think it’s harder and harder maybe to be attracting cold clients through something like LinkedIn right now. And so my mindset is definitely more towards those personal conversations.

I don’t know how you’re finding it.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:23:01] Yeah, I’m finding something similar, and, you know, economically things are quite unstable on a lot of fronts, and for a lot of reasons, and I think that approach is, the good one, to nurture the relationships you do have, because people obviously want to work with people that they know, like, and trust, and you’re going to find those people in the network that you’ve worked with before. 

Garth Dew: 

[00:23:22] Yeah, 100%. But I do think as well, I mean, my favorite bloke on the internet is Derek Sivers. I just think everything he does is so great. The way he goes about it and he doesn’t even use social media. And I think if you’re going to go down the content and digital route, I think what I’m doing right now is actually a great way to connect with people on a deeper level, appearing on podcasts, you know, going to where somebody has already built an audience. I think that’s a underrated strategy because I think, I don’t know how you’re finding it, but I think trying to grow an audience and find people through social media is just, it’s just becoming harder and harder or it requires playing a game that I think a lot of us just don’t want to play.

It’s an interesting one as well, because without social media, I wouldn’t have a business. So it’s a constant battle of how we go about that digital marketing piece.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:24:17]Yeah, and again, it’s about being flexible and learning when to adapt and adjust and it’s not that social media is necessarily becoming less important, but perhaps for certain people in certain industries it is. And I’ve written about this extensively in my book, The Cadence Effect. I have a very love hate relationship with social media from a mental health perspective, and I refuse to dance for the fucking Puppet Masters.

You know, I’m not gonna do reels like that. Ever. And I’d like, prefer to show up at a time that works for me to share something that’s meaningful for me, rather than having to do it on a schedule and to deliver so many posts a week and to do all of this. Then as you say, you end up being more of a marketer than doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing in your business, which for you is, you know, making meaningful work.

Yeah. So it’s, it’s an interesting time and good points that you’ve made about that.

Garth Dew: 

[00:25:03] Yeah, I love the idea more of a, you may have seen how terrible my personal website looks. And that’s not my business one. It’s garthdew. com again. That’s very much inspired by Derek Sivers. And it’s, you know, I coded that website myself for fun and it looks awful. But I’ve got a “Now” page on there which explains what I’m doing now and I’ve got a small email newsletter sign up and I think I’d much rather I’d much rather have a meaningful online relationship with a hundred people than a hundred thousand.

And I just love the idea of like a DIY website and a little newsletter and just trying to bring people to that website rather than fighting the game on social media. You know, it’s very much resonate with like the thousand true fans thing with Kevin Kelly. I think that could be 100 true fans these days. 

I just think, like you say, you’ve got a love hate relationship with social media. I think we love the idea of connecting with people of sharing ideas with the world. But I’m just sick of the centralized social media. And yeah, I prefer the idea of putting things onto my personal website and just letting people find them who, who somehow come across me and actually want to engage with it.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:26:15] Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Well, thank you for sharing that. And I’m sure that people might benefit from that in terms of how they approach their own content marketing and think about it. All right. So we’re nearing the end here, Garth. 

Back to this idea of creating cadence. In a few words or sentences, can you summarize what that concept means for you?

Why does cadence resonate with you?

Garth Dew:

[00:26:36]  Well, I mentioned the running thing before and the way I would think of the word cadence is rhythm. It’s about creating rhythm in my days. And so, yeah, having that to do list with three tasks that must be completed. Knowing that I’m gonna be hitting the gym and getting my exercise in. Having some routines around the kids. That all just creates rhythm every day.

Unless I’m on a shoot, my days are all very similar, but I like that. I like that sort of groundhog day. It means that I’m taking small steps every day, continually making small bits of progress , and uh, yeah, it’s that it’s that rhythm of life. I think that’s how I would describe cadence for myself.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:27:15] Hmm, mm hmm. Beautifully put. So final piece…

Any words of advice or key learnings or suggestions that you want to share with listeners based on your life experience so far?

Garth Dew: 

[00:27:24] That’s a big question. I think one thing I’ve been thinking about a lot at the moment is, it’s about finding your own way. And not trusting what all the gurus say, and taking it as gospel. I think I’ve, over the years, read so many books, followed so many people, listened to so many podcasts, and each week I’m changing my mind based on what he’s saying, based on what she’s saying. 

I think you’ve got to go out there and find your own truth. So, of course, take bits of inspiration from people and ideas, but ultimately, whether it’s business or life, you’ve got to really look at yourself, examine your own life and find your truth and find your best way to live. I think that’s why I would say.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:28:09] Lovely, wise words. Thanks so much, Garth. 

So where can people find out more about you and your work? And tell us a little bit about this documentary that you’re about to release.

Garth Dew: 

[00:28:17] Cool. Yeah. So my personal website is garthdew. com and that’s just a very plain text, basic website, which says what I’m up to now and links to my video production company, which is gdvideo. co. uk. As you will tell, I’ve not put a huge amount of effort into that website either. That’s just got some examples of my work and the latest documentary Head Above Water.

So that tells a story of an ultra endurance athlete called Alex Staniforth. It’s 25 minutes long. I’m super proud of it. So I’m hoping it’s going to do some festivals, but that’ll probably appear online in the next six months at some point.

And so, if you connect with me on LinkedIn, or sign up to my newsletter, you’ll probably see something at some point about that film.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:29:01]That’s awesome. Thanks so much for your time, Garth. As always, it’s a pleasure chatting with you.

Garth Dew:

[00:29:06]  Thanks, Mish.

Mich Bondesio: 

[00:29:07] Well, I’m not sure about you, but I found my chat with Garth really uplifting, and he made lots of excellent points that are worth pondering as to how they may apply in your business and life, particularly if you are a freelancer and/or have little kids. 

Here’s my thoughts on a few of the things we discussed. 

The first is around work cadence. 

Garth is a working dad and a busy freelancer who is also trying to be a present father. He gave some great examples of the challenges we can face in this type of scenario. How do you get your work done when you’re also faced with the unpredictability that comes with looking after young children who potentially need your constant care and attention? 

For Garth, he has realized he needs to be as flexible as possible in his work. So he adapts his work and his philosophy and mindset to a changing environment. To ensure that he is doing what fits best for him in the present moment, both in time and in life. His journey has brought him to this point of embracing what he calls “the unoptimized life”. 

Garth’s approach proves that you can still get things done without boxing your tasks according to time constraints. It’s all about being flexible in the way that you work, finding a rhythm, pace and method that works for you, that you can adapt to the changing needs of your environment. 

The second point I want to cover relates to fitness and longevity and creating lifelong, consistent routines and habits around exercise.

Before becoming a videographer, Garth had a professional rugby career. Although he retired you to injury, fitness is still an important part of his life. And he has made daily exercise a non-negotiable in part, because it helps him manage his stress. But also because it fulfills a deeper need and purpose for him. He’s training to become a kick ass 100 year old. 

In my book, The Cadence Effect, I talk about treating yourself as your “number one asset” in your business. And fitness is one of the key ways you ensure you remain an asset. And you maintain your physical fitness by building consistent habits around exercise. And your mental fitness by building consistent habits around nutrition, sleep, and mindful practices, such as meditation. 

Garth referenced Peter Attia’s book Outlive, and it’s a resource that I also highly recommend. And I actually reference Peter Attia’s work in my book. I’ve also discussed longevity on the podcast before. And some of my guests this season have also spoken about their approach to building consistent exercise routines that set them up for a longer, healthier life. In particular, check out the episodes with Trudi Roth, Danielle Hughes and Catarina King.

Now, longevity is important because we are living longer and we want to be in a position to be as healthy as we can be for the duration of our life. 

Currently the research finds that many people’s quality of health declines rapidly once they hit their sixties and seventies. We lose muscle mass. Our bones become more brittle, so we’re more likely to fall and break something. And we have a greater risk of all mortality diseases at the stage. 

But as I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, we’re not all retiring at 65. Many of us are wanting to keep doing meaningful work or needing to continue to work for financial reasons, well past official retirement age. 

To do that, we have to be strong and well, both mentally and physically. So focusing on health and fitness is a non-negotiable. 

Please don’t wait until you get a health scare to do something about this. It starts now, not when you’re 60. 

Find something fun to do to help you to train for longevity. Something that makes you feel good and helps you prepare to be a kick ass hundred-year-old. Your future self will thank you. And your kids will too, because you’ll be less of a drain on their resources in the future. 

The third point I want to speak about is the benefits of initiating passion projects. 

Garth is very much like me and that he is open to experimentation through self-initiated side projects. It’s evident from the way that he describes his passion projects, that they feed his curiosity, help him grow creatively, and help him find his flow. 

Side projects that help us explore new things, develop new skills, fill our creative cup, and enrich our spirit, are incredibly beneficial for our wellbeing. 

In my experience, I would go as far as saying, I think they aren’t just beneficial, I think they are essential, particularly if you identify as a creative person. (Which we actually all are by the way, most of us just don’t know it.) 

We’re more than just what we do at work and everything we do outside of work helps us perform better or worse in our jobs. So having a hobby, a side project, a volunteer role, or some form of extracurricular activity is beneficial to your productivity. Even if it doesn’t connect to what you do at work. 

But, when a side project does connect to work, it can also help you align your values with your business goals and connect to a deeper purpose. 

For example, every longstanding element of my business, including this podcast, initially started out as an experiment. For me to see whether I liked the format and whether it would work in helping me connect with like-minded people, and spread my message about the importance of creating cadence versus balance. 

My side projects have been learning opportunities, but also a chance to fill my cup creatively, find the things I enjoy doing and the things that mean something to me that bring purpose to my work and also to my life. 

Experimentation is a helpful approach to employ when trying to make change, because change is hard and it can be scary when you’re not sure how you will feel about making that change. But when you treat implementing new behaviors, habits, and routines as an experiment, you’re more open to the feedback and learning that comes from the experience with less risk of succumbing to the feelings of failure if things don’t work out as planned. 

Being willing to experiment helps you to iterate and make flexible change. It’s a more supportive approach to finding ways to live a more meaningful life. And it also sits at the heart of how we create cadence. 

The last point I want to make is about finding your own way. 

At this point in his life, Garth is focusing on purpose and mastering his craft, following the freelancer mindset approach prescribed by Seth Godin, in opposition to the traditional entrepreneurial mindset of maximizing your profitability and processes. 

After nine years in business, garth is at the point where he is focusing less on social media and more on outreach and personal conversations with his existing network. He is deepening the relationships he has built from doing the work over time. This is a great example of his grit and persistence, in developing his skills and being prepared to show up and do the work, time and again.

And Garth also clearly understands how his business needs to run so that he is able to build and have consistent yet flexible routines around how he approaches his work. Which will support the rest of his life too. 

I agree with his idea of focusing on the benefits of creating deep relationships with a hundred true fans, instead of aiming for catching the distracted attention of thousands of followers that sit at the digital periphery of your business ecosystem. 

I don’t know about you, but I came away from this episode, feeling invigorated and also validated. 

 There are others like me who know that there are ways we can be working, which don’t need to be constrained by the dictates of conventional working practices, a toxic culture of overwork, and business and societal norms, which aren’t necessarily helpful. 

So contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to dance for the fucking puppet masters!

As I say in my book, there is always another way. And you can find and make your own way. 

 

A few things before I end off…

You can find out more about my new book at TheCadenceEffect.com. And helpful reviews are always welcome to help the book get found by those who need it.

A reminder too that if you want to be the first to hear about the special offers relating to the new coaching cohort that’s coming in early 2024, please sign up for the cadence newsletter at CreatingCadence.co/subscribe.

If you like the show, please share the love by rating it on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or Amazon Music. You can also support “CreatingCadence”, all one word, on Patreon, or BuyMeACoffee

Thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep moving forwards with courage, curiosity, and cadence.

Bye for now.

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