I had the enjoyable experience of working with Frank from our cable access channel this spring and summer for a local internet short called “That Oregon Life”, a production that highlights members of our community. Frank joined me for parts of many training sessions. This included conducting interviews, taking photos, and shooting a whole lot of what his industry defines as “B-Roll” footage. 

What is the B-Roll? In a production, it is all of the footage that isn’t the main action. 

Many of you have likely heard that social media is most often our “highlight reel” of life. Well, the B-Roll is the rest.

If a vacation is the A-Roll, then the packing, planning, and preparing is the B.

If it is a work promotion, then the daily grind is the rest of the footage. 

If your child’s milestones are the highlight, then the diaper changing, late night feedings, and hours of daily highs and lows are the filler. 

And if a race is the A-Roll, then consistent, daily training is all of the B.

Most of our lives are the B-Roll. 

It is easy to blow through the mundane every day-ness to get to the next main event, but being fully present in the B (and C) roll of life allows us to fully live. As always, I urge you to ground yourself in all of the moments—including those that you consider “in between.” You don’t want to miss any moment of your one life. 

Maybe you are good at fully showing up to it all— the A, B, and C-Rolls. But, the pressure to make each big moment A-roll worthy can also take us away from enjoying the present one. I wrestle with this often, whether it dictates what I do, or sometimes how I need to perceive it on social media. 

Yesterday I raced a local sprint distance triathlon. Although I would typically consider racing to be an A-Roll worthy main event, I suspected that this last minute add-on would yield a B-Roll result. And, feeling unprepared not only affected my desire to share it with the world, but it almost caused me to not sign-up at all. 

Has the need to give an A-roll appearance ever stopped you from showing up? Here are a few things I have worked on to stop stubbornly defining and portraying each experience in life. 

  • Lean on curiosity over control. Stop creating and relying on the story you are telling yourself (or the ones you put on Instagram). Instead, open up to the present experience. When you do this you often surprise yourself!
  • Stop being a perfectionist. The relentless pursuit of perfection can lead to a constant feeling of falling short and high stress surrounding failure. The anxiety that comes alongside this way of thinking can stop you from vulnerably trying new things and showing up to your best. It can also cause you to look at others through the same lens, yielding unrealistic expectations and disappointment in relationships. It is true that no one is perfect!
  • Consider where you project personas, instead of authentically showing up as yourself. Investigate why you do this— is it the environment you are in? The people you choose to spend time with? Or possibly something deeper? Not everyone needs to have access to all of you, but no one wants a curated version. Reflect on your own insecurities. Even if you struggle to overcome them, awareness helps!
  • Check why and how you do certain things in your life. Are you climbing the mountain for the challenge of the effort and the amazing view? Or, only for the Instagram worthy pic at the top? Do you work hard to get the fabulous retirement benefits? Or does your work add daily value to your life and the lives of others? Do you train for the A-Roll finish line experience? Or for the hours and hours of B-Roll moments? 

You get to choose most of your footage, so I urge you to live with an openness that blurs the lines of the A, B, and C-Roll. Don’t let the desire to over-edit get in the way of showing up to all that life has to offer. Race when you aren’t fully ready (safely and smartly, of course :)). Find a job you enjoy–not just one that allows you to climb up a ladder, or gives you a glimmer of hope for your future. When a friend calls, go out in your sweatpants and sans makeup (even if you know pics may make it onto every social media platform). 

A few days ago Jamie and I saw a sign on our way home from Galena, IL that said, “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot.” 

You are the pilot. And you are the producer, director, and star of your own show.

Show up to it all.