Your Next Step

Last week, our team finished a new short film, entitled “Why Row an Ocean?”.

It’s the story of three incredible women who this summer rowed the Pacific Ocean, breaking two world records in the process.

(And it’s premiering on the 20th March 2019 at the British Film Institute in London if you want to come and watch it…

It’s a film I’m really proud of and more importantly very grateful to Cazz, Meg and El for letting me tell their simply incredible story to the world. (And to Gareth Vogan for all his hard work on it too!).

I’ve been struggling to find the superlatives that adequately describe their achievement, but in today’s world where so many of us are so eager to share every little achievement on social media, their accomplishment really reminded me of what true success in life is.

There’s an episode of the TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”, where one of the main characters in the show receives some good news. Following this we hear the inner monologue of all the other characters who immediately ignore their friend’s good fortune and instead compare it to themselves and their current achievements.

To me this really affirmed the fact that as humans we’re innately flawed in that we are constantly caught in comparison with our peers.

And what’s more, social media has infinitely exacerbated the problem as every time we log in we are presented with a stream of images from our friends, to which my intuition says that for the majority of us, we will immediately start comparing our own lives with.

Often you don’t need to scroll down far to find a picture that will send you down a path of negative thought.

For me 2018 has been a challenging year for a number of reasons. But I’m not in any way complaining.

For whatever reason I’ve somehow been unthinkably lucky to be given such a privileged position in life and thus feel it my responsibility to do something worthwhile with the incredibly fortunate position I’ve found myself in.

And although like all of us I do compare myself to my peer group, my only source of despondency is not feeling like I’m living up to my potential.

To a number of close friends I’ve said that this year I don’t feel my work reflects what I’m capable of.

Now apologies for getting so far in to this blog without talking about my ideas to help your content production, but all the above was needed to set the scene, so here goes…

The film “Why Row An Ocean” finishes with the crew reflecting on their achievement, with the closing narrative focusing around the idea that however big a challenge or obstacle seems, no goal or ambition is unattainable.

Sure rowing 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean is a mammoth feat, but if you take enough strokes in your rowing boat, eventually you will get there.

When I first started making films I simply had the goal of making every video better than the last one and judged them only on that merit.

Now working in the industry for nearly a decade I’ve often been defining the succes of my content by different metrics, but recently I’ve been keen to get back to my original goal of making improvements in every piece of work I release.

My intuition says there’s a cumulative positive effect in this mindset. You’re not comparing yourself to somebody else’s work, you’re always just in competition with yourself.

Focusing on the incremental gains and improvements in your own content is a constantly positive feeling seeing the progression you make and can only encourage you to focus on the next step and keep improving.

If you keep improving and keep ‘taking strokes towards your goal’, you can get anywhere you want to go.

Sure it might take a lot of time and persistance, but if you keep focusing on your next stroke, your next step, your next piece of content and it won’t be long before you look up and see how far you’ve come.

So remember, focus only on your next step.

And I wish you every success.


About Jack

I help people, brands and business communicate more effectively with their customers through visual, audio and written content.

I do this through Southpaw Sport, the sports content marketing company I’m currently building as well as on a freelance basis working for agencies and production companies.


You can follow me on YouTube where I post videos and vlogs sharing my experience and opinion on content production.

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And my social media for behind the scenes look at what I’m up to

Instagram — @jackwrtompkins

Twitter — @jackwrtompkins

Jack Tompkins