Learning curves and roundabouts

The decision to turn an audio offering into a video course provides for a very steep learning curve. Reality is a rocky path that requires tenacity to traverse. It is done and we are glad.

Every morning around 6am Chantal moves to the sunroom, lays down her mat, chooses a teacher and class on YouTube and does a yoga class. She faces the picture window with a view of the expansive crown of a pin oak on the one side and a smaller and less full jacaranda on the other. Up above the sky tells the beginning of the story of the day.

Here in the southern hemisphere it is slowly moving into autumn. The days are cooler and getting markedly shorter. The birds no longer signal morning, as we wake before they do. The oak leaves are still mostly green with a hint of yellow appearing at the top. Soon the tree will don a coat of yellow and the leaves will start to form a carpet on the paving below.

There is a joy in witnessing the changing of the seasons, the beginning of the day, while breathing through each cat and cow, upward dog, warrior, triangle, lunge and balance poses. There was a time when Chantal resisted the onset of cooler days. Her preference was always for the sunshine and warmth of summer which felt more expansive and free. We are spoilt with more sunny days than grey in this part of the world and our winters, although cold, are not nearly as frigid as those in the northern hemisphere.

These days, however, Chantal appreciates the ebb and flow of seasons, and is more accepting of the vagaries of the weather systems that are not as reliable or certain as they once were. The oncoming cooler weather whispers about slower, shorter days.


Take 2 - Action!

Over the last few months we have been quietly working away at an online video course of an audio offering we originally produced for another online platform. Although we had the content it had to be converted into the format required for an online video course, including previews, introductions, and activities. Plotting out the programme, “storyboarding” the lectures and activities, and then converting the text to a large enough size to be read, at a distance, from a laptop screen was quite an endeavour. As the “mostly” writer of the two, this was Chantal’s primary exercise.

Together, we spent much of December making the videos for this course, once the building site next door had quietened down for the holiday season. As amateur videographers we had to make allowances for light, temperature, weather and noise levels. Too hot and we were chased out of the room dripping in perspiration. If it rained, the drops echoed on the tin roof and the thunder drowned out our voices.

Ever deadline driven, Chantal made sure that the videoing was completed by the end of December, the 31st of December, to be exact. In the new year, and after a short break, Matthew embarked on the job of editing. He had to polish up his video editing skills which had dulled from lack of use over the past year and design the look and feel of the programme.


Looking at the recent weather patterns across South Africa, the time for using this may come sooner rather than later. And a hat tip to Clive for his amazing artistry in stacking the wood.

Dabbler to master in no easy steps

Matthew had dabbled with the Da Vinci Resolve video editing tool for previous projects but these had been very basic: talking head podcasts or shorter clips. With a ten module course, involving talking heads, text overlays and slides with animated text, this project was somewhat more complex.

In the course we talk about the Four Stages of Competence, also known as the Learning Curve, a model of learning, first described in 1969 by management trainer, Martin M. Broadwell. Doing the editing gave Matthew first hand experience of this very phenomenon - again. He had no formal training of the tool and no idea of a workflow process. No recipe, so to speak. So it was a matter of trial and error.

Trying something, finding it is not the best way to do it, back tracking, reassessing and trying again. Then when something did work, it was finding a way to document or record it so that when he next had to do it, he could follow the steps without having to feel his way again. Matthew is great at finding the most efficient way to do things. He finds shortcuts to use on repetitive tasks in order to speed the process up. We call him the Optimiser.


Matthew had the pleasure of meeting Leah for the first time this week. Such wisdom in her little face.

Messy, clumsy and taxing

Optimising is easier when you are an expert in something. In this instance however, Matthew was very much the apprentice with no master to turn to. He first had to find the long and windy path to getting a task done before discovering the shortcut. We have all been there, that messy, uncomfortable, clumsy period when we are learning a new skill and getting it wrong more than getting it right.

It takes tenacity and bullheadedness to soldier on, especially when you are a bit of a perfectionist. It is also taxing. Learning all these new processes, combining them in a coherent story, while holding it all in his head was pretty tiring. Many an evening, the steep learning curves and bumpy roundabouts left him nodding off early. We forget how much it takes out of us to will our brains to develop new pathways.

February came and went. The desire to have the course up and running by the end of February had just not been a realistic goal. Our sights were set on mid March but life, and death, happened, throwing us into a maelstrom of emotions that pushed us off course.

Eventually, and with a sigh of relief, the work completed, including proofing, snag lists and jumping through the multiple hoops of the chosen platform, we were able to say it was done. And it is done and up. Emotional Mastery for a Better Life. For our first video course we are pretty happy with it and eager to have it tested.


Emotional Mastery for a Better Life, a transformational course that will, er, change your life! Check out the preview videos. And, if you hurry, we also have a special gift for you below.

Theory vs practise

When we started out on this project it appeared that we would be done by the end of January. The ease with which we witnessed others make and produce video content made it seem like an easy street. In retrospect we knew less than we thought we knew, and this together with being a giant team of two with competing projects to deliver and life changing events to traverse we had set ourselves a goal on a very rocky road that was totally unrealistic.

Like so much in life there is the theory and then the practise and often the practise is a whole lot more difficult than expected. The desire and dream is full of lightness and ease whereas reality reveals a path full of boulders and potholes. Weary and muddied, feeling stupid and inept it is tempting to walk away. No-one would know any better.

In addition, by delivering our work to the world, exposing our foibles and uncovering our lack of experience, there is the risk that we may get little interest and lots of criticism. The possibility of ridicule would send any adult scurrying for the shadows. Our skins are a little tougher than that. We have endured enough echoing silence and dismissive rejections for it to worry us any more.


A moment in time, the sky reflected in a raindrop on a cabbage leaf.

Excited five year olds

So like excited five year olds we stand on stage in our handmade costumes ready to blast forth the song, slightly off key to you, our ever patient audience with an offer:

In celebration of the launch we are offering five readers the opportunity to take our course at no cost. The first five respondents to connect with us will receive a coupon that will allow you access to the course free of charge. Just hit reply to this email or send a message to [email protected]. When you do take the course, if you look very carefully, you may see evidence of one of us having had to rush out to rescue clothes off the line during filming.

As the sky turns a page and the day draws to a close earlier than it used to, we take a moment to listen to the tales the wind is whispering to us. After a tumultuous start to the year, the crashing waves have receded and there is the promise of more ebb and flow. Soon, we too will be taking some time to slow down for a brief sojourn to regroup, revisit and refresh ourselves. More about that when we meet again.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Matthew & Chantal

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5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

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