Pound up off the clutch – By @RobynHFrost
By Robyn Frost
Pound up off the clutch
Imagine the fastest car in the world.
The model, colour, engine power – the decision is yours.
You get in, and pull slowly onto the test track. A straight road that stretches miles into the distance.
You hover your foot over the accelerator.
Set to go 0-100 – but in what time?
I passed my driving test in 2011. And to this day, I’ve still never set foot (or wheel) on a motorway.
Last week I realised why.
I’m scared of crashing.
Doesn’t it sound silly?
My Dad told me that motorways are the safest roads I’ll drive on, with single carriageways holding a far greater risk of accident.
But I don’t believe him.
At the front of my mind, something tells me that I’ll hop on the road and another driver – I’m picturing a lorry – will swerve in front of me, or recklessly sway into my path.
Creatively, I’ve been veering off the road for a few weeks.
I’ve not made anything I’ve been particularly proud of.
I was on placement two weeks ago, worked hard, and made something I was satisfied with. But satisfied isn’t enough.
And last week I made nothing.
I wrote some words, and got fired up. I felt empowered and on it.
And this week I realise how wrong I was.
Coming from me, those words are pointless if I stop creating, or steer in another direction. I’ll have nothing to back them up and nothing to drive them forwards. My purpose will shift from what I know I was born to do.
At SCA, I feel like there are three accelerators. You, your network, and your book.
I’ve been slamming my foot down on the network accelerator and neglecting the other two.
Only this week, I realised it’s partly because I don’t trust myself. I’m scared of failing, but I’m also scared of success.
So I’d put my book in my blind spot and not looked at it.
Marc told me it was a bit like I’d put my foot down too far on the gas, I’d gone off the road in the wrong direction, and now my car was up against a tree.
Not going anywhere. Wheels spinning in the mud.
When I think back to when I learnt to drive, a penny-drop moment was my instructor saying “pound up off the clutch”.
Just lift it ever so slightly – the thickness of a pound coin.
I was learning to find the biting point, making sure I had enough control of the clutch so I didn’t roll back, and enough revs so I had the power to move forward when it was my turn.
Lifting and shifting both to find the right balance.
Awareness of other drivers is key, but it’s down to you to move.
If you don’t trust yourself and practice the skills you’ve learnt, then you’re unlikely to make a good, safe driver.
I considered coming off the road entirely this week and not getting back on.
I felt so behind, so unsure of what work I wanted to make, or whether I was capable.
Then I took a step back and looked at how much I’ve learnt at SCA. And thought what a total waste it would be to give up now – especially when ‘give up’ isn’t a phrase in my mental dictionary.
No, I’ve not made a piece of work yet that I’m really, really proud of. But we’ve got 10 weeks left. And I trust myself and my abilities.
I looked back at all the notes I’ve made since we started – flipped through masterclasses, read past SCAbs, and took a good look at my portfolio. I trawled agency websites, sussing out where I wanted to be and what work I wanted to make.
I decided to reintroduce myself to some habits I formed in the first two terms to refocus me. I’m practicing gratitude, I’m going to reflect more, and meditate more.
But you know what felt totally great?
I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my phone. I’ve still got my profiles, and I still post – but I can only do so from my laptop.
And I got excited again. I remembered why I’m here.
The day I got into SCA was the best day of my life, because I knew it was absolutely where I should be. You can’t fake the feeling you get when you walk in to the studio for the first time and you ‘just know’.
So it’s time to stop focusing so much on what everyone else is doing, what car they’re driving, what engine it’s got or how fast they want to go.
I need to find that biting point between the clutch and the gas.
I want to go fast, but I’ve got to start slowly – bit by bit.
Pound up off the clutch.