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Get comfortable in front of the camera
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How to get comfortable in front of the camera doing live video


How do you get comfortable in front of the camera? How do you learn to love the way you show up doing live video?

Today I’m going to talk about the one thing I’m hearing most often from people that’s really holding them back from making video and especially from making live video. People are telling me again and again that they really just don’t like the way they look on camera, or they don’t like the way they sound on camera. They say, “Well I made a video and I looked at myself and you know what? I just don’t think I look that great.”

What I’m going to address is how do you learn to love the way you show up when you’re in front of the camera?

In front of the cameraWhen I was a little kid I was living in a house where all the mirrors all over the house were way up high, way above my head. By age 3 or age 4 I didn’t actually know what I looked like. At the time I had this really positive self image. In fact my hero was the western TV star Michael Landon. You probably remember Michael Landon from the show, “Little House on the Prairie.” But I remember him from an earlier western that was called, “Bonanza” and he was really handsome and he was really cool and I thought he was the best thing ever. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be Michael Landon. And I thought that I looked like Michael Landon.

One day I went into our big bathroom and I climbed up onto the rim of our clawfoot bathtub and from there I climbed up onto the sink and above the sink there was a bathroom mirror. I stood up on the sink and balanced myself and I could see myself in the mirror…

And what I saw was this little kid with a completely shaved head and this really big forehead and a really tiny, scrunched face. I did not look anything like Michael Landon and I was horrified.

I went down, with tears in my eyes and found my mother in the kitchen. She remembers this story and actually tells this story over and over. To her credit and great wisdom she took me out bought a mirror – a big nice mirror with a wooden frame – and she hung it in my bedroom at my height so that when I got up in the morning my mirror was there. When I got dressed in the morning, I could stand in front of the mirror and get dressed. And every day I would see myself and over and over in this practice of looking in the mirror and seeing myself, I got really used to who I was. In fact not only did I get used to who I was, I really fell in love with my reflection and who I was.

Honestly, I used to do stuff like dance in front of the mirror and then I would hold up a hair brush and pretend it was a microphone. And I would sing rock songs in front of the mirror. And I became a rockstar – to myself. And my reflection of me was rockstar.

This really works. Anyone can do this. I’m sure you’ve had some experience of looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling that self love. And if you haven’t, trust me, try it. This is a life skill. With this kind of practice, you can learn to love how you show up in the mirror.

The really good news is that right now, with all of these rectangular smartphone things, we now carry a mirror in our pocket everywhere we go. And there’s nothing better or easier that you can do than pull out your phone, turn on the camera, (remember to turn is sideways) and hit record. And talk to yourself. You don’t have to try and broadcast anywhere, but just make a recording and then look at that recording. And then tomorrow do it again. And the next day keep on going. With this practice, the same as what I experienced growing up, you will not only get used to look and the way you show up and the way you sound, but you will learn to love the way you look and sound. You’ll actually learn to love the person who your are when you’re showing up.

The other good news – and this is specifically to doing live video – when you go live no one out there expects you to be perfect. They don’t expect you to be a rockstar. They expect you to be yourself. And the more you show up as yourself, the more they are going to resonate with you. What happens is that you go live and people go, “I like this!” I promise you by doing this, by pulling out your phone, hitting record, going live, people will like your thing, they will comment, they will say, “You’re awesome!” And what will happen is that you’ll start believing it.

You’ll be thinking, “Wow! People think I’m awesome.”

Over time you will start feeling, “I am really doing something. I’m showing up as who I am. I’m offering people something that is valuable to them and they’re appreciating it.” And that’s as far as you need to go. The more you do that the more you realize you are doing it.

And if you’d like to know a good place to start, I’d like to invite you to join my Videomaking Mastermind group on Facebook where there are a bunch of Awesome Videomakers who are making videos and they’re posting them into the group where we can all look at them and give them kudos and give them praise and give them very constructive, helpful feedback on how to be even more awesome. You can join right here – the group is FREE!

http://facebook.com/groups/videomakingmastermind

Here’s to loving the way you show up and getting completely comfortable in front of the camera…

rinse and repeat

Rinse and repeat – Video making by volume

I’d like to let you off the hook.

If you’re like me, you are a bit of a perfectionist. Any time you’ve thought of bringing your work into the world you’ve wanted to make sure that it’s your best. And you take a lot of time polishing and tweaking before you feel ready to show it to anyone.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, your work will get a whole lot better if you focus less on perfecting and more on creating and sharing as often as possible.

How do you ensure you’re doing your best work? Get out in front of people and get their feedback

Case in point comes from a cool little book called Art and Fear. A pottery teacher split his class in half and asked the first half to focus on making one incredibly wonderful piece of pottery. Then he told the other half to make a lot of pots saying they’d be evaluated on their quantity (rather than quality).

So, who came up with the best work?

Invariably, all the best pots came from the group making as many pots as possible.

You can apply this lesson to whatever endeavor you’re engaged with: if you want to make something really great, you need to start making. Striving for perfection will just get in your way.

I know. You just don’t feel ready. You have a Goldilocks mindset. You want everything to be just right.

Don’t let your inner perfectionist hold you back.

Treat your work as an ongoing experiment and embrace the mess you create. Expect the unexpected. Treat everything you do as a learning process.

Do this often. Rinse and repeat.

Case study: Pulse reader

In 2010, right at the time the first ipad came out, two students, Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari, were in a one-month course called “Launchpad” in which the students have to start a real company. In order to get into the class you have to pitch a business idea so our two heros raised the question, “why is the experience of mobile news browsing so bad?” And they pitched the idea of a creating a news reader app for the ipad.

rinse and repeatTheir first assignment was to build a functional prototype in 4 days.

To get the job done quickly, they chose to sit in a cafe (a room full of prospective users for their reader) where they had a quick, rough version of their app open on an ipad. Since the ipad was brand new, this was super attractive to everyone who passed by. People who had never seen one would ask about the ipad and they’d let them play with the basic version of their new app. They got tons of immediate feedback from cafe patrons and, as a result, went through hundreds of small revisions each day.

Their published app, called “Pulse Reader” turned out impressive enough to be shown off by Steve Jobs himself and, later on, was sold to LinkedIn for $90 million!! (this story came from the book, Creative Confidence)

How can you get into the rinse and repeat mindset?

Move from planning to action. Share quick, rough versions of a product or service your working on to get fast feed-back. Put a time constraint on yourself. Imagine you have a boss who’s telling you, “I want to see something by the end of the day.” See how quickly you can turn your ideas into action.

Rinse and repeat is a core principle of my program, Video Power Strategy™. It’s about engaging your audience in a way that they ensure you’re doing your best work.

As an experiential educator I’ve seen first-hand how well learning by doing works. If you want to do your best work (and if you want your business to thrive) then you need to jump in with rapid innovation cycles of creating a piece of work, showing it off and learning from the feedback you get. Learn by doing. Rinse and repeat.

Want instant feedback for the next video project you’re working on?
Join our group on Facebook and share often >

Take the Plunge

How jumping in cold water every morning helped my business grow

Sometimes lessons in what it takes to help your business grow come from the most unlikely places.

Take the plunge

I used to work for Outward Bound. Every morning we jumped in the ocean. It was always cold. Really cold. And yet we made everyone take the plunge. There was only one way to get used to it.

Do it every day.

At first it seemed like maybe this really wasn’t such a good idea. But by jumping in every day, it became normal. We didn’t just turn it into a daily practice, we made jumping in the ocean part of our cultural identity. When we each agreed to take the plunge, we became members of a tribe who were people of the water. We jumped in every day because we now believed that this was how we how we thrived.

It sounds crazy. It was crazy. No matter the weather, no matter how cold, we jumped in all the way.

Getting your feet wet as a daily practice

Since then I’ve seen first hand how developing a regular practice of ‘getting your feet wet’ works really well for growing your business.

We tend to develop our new stuff in a closet. Musicians call this ‘woodshedding’ – as in a long period of practicing your instrument out back in the wood shed so no one can see or hear you until you’re good enough.

This is not the way to grow your thriving enterprise. If you spend six months developing your next big project on your own, you may well find that you’ve spent all that time on something that no-one cares about.

You need to take the plunge with your new projects.

Jump in – get your feet wet – every day. I know. You’re not quite ready yet. It could be really cold!!

But, if you share some small part of what you’re working on you’ll get feedback right away.

Show Your Work

You may have noticed that this site is all about making videos. So what can you do with video as a daily practice?

You can show your work.

It’s all about reaching out to those you want to connect with. And you know what? If you start sharing part of your work each day you’ll actually start changing your identity. You’ll move from someone who’s thinking about doing something to someone who’s doing stuff.

The art of a daily share-your-work practice is about experimenting your way to success – to stop planning and start acting.

If you’re thinking about plunging in yourself you may be wondering what exactly does it look like?

Here are some helpful guidelines:

1. Plunging has three goals: showcase your creative process, share your vision, learn something from your audience.
2. It gets your feet wet right now. There’s no waiting around. Take a deep breath and… jump.
3. It’s simple.
4. It gets your blood going & moves you out of your comfort zone.
5. It puts you out there in front of your audience.
6. It’s an opportunity for growth.

Sharing early, messy versions of your work can be scary – you will meet your resistance – and you may find your audience doesn’t want what you’re creating.

But that’s how you learn.

And better to learn quickly, with others engaged with you along the way so you can jump in again. (if you fall off your horse, the best thing is to get right back up in the saddle again)

What plunging is not

1. It’s not deciding something. It’s deciding and then doing it.
2. It’s not staying in the closet. It puts you in front of your audience.
3. It’s not about sharing only with your friends and family. You need to jump out in front of the people you most want to impact and serve.
4. It’s not taking a class. You want to be sharing your gifts with the world. Now!

The benefits to getting your feet wet? You’ll avoid costly mistakes. You’ll learn what really works. You’ll do something now. Think for a moment about what getting your feet wet looks like for you. What action can you take that meets the six stages of plunging above?

Here’s how to get started. Just fill in the blanks…

My Next Plunge is: ____________________ (short phrase)
Timeline/deadline: ____________________
Learning Goal: ____________________

Want to jump in with support from others?

Join my Facebook Group >