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The Art of Doing It

"Oh, you’re fine! Up you get."

I say this exact sentence numerous times a day - not to myself, well, not out loud anyway - but to the kids. A grazed knee, an accusation from a sister, playground drama, or a new bruise which has been highlighted by said kid, with a large pink marker, to signify its need for immediate hospitalisation. We are relentlessly coaxing them to gee-up, move on, brush it off and generally just be a bit (a lot) more robust.

Now, I may seem like an un-kind and un-caring Mother, and I am well known for my unsympathetic attitude towards minor injuries, tittle-tattle and illness (sorry family), but it only takes a quick look outside our bubble to see that so many people globally are facing hardship and adversities inconceivable to most of us. So shouldn’t we try to maintain a stoic attitude, soldier on, chin up? This is the home of the stiff-upper-lip after all.

So, I decided to chat to them, whilst also reminding myself, about resilience:



  1. the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties.

  1. the ability for a substance or object (or human) to spring back into shape (mentally).  

Aah, this wonderful characteristic that the team at SubMotion, and many in our industry, have to have by the bucketload. We discussed being able to manage a situation independently, removing yourself from unhealthy situations and learning to manage disappointment and rejection. I am actually laughing whilst writing this, because I haven’t got a bloody clue how to do any of these consistently! I rarely practise what I preach. Because, quite frankly, these things are hard.

It’s tough to teach them something that feels like you’re palming off your parental responsibilities  or seeming uncaring - “If you could just deal with your problems yourself, that would be great. Thanks. Bye.” But actually, equipping ourselves, our families, our colleagues, with the tools to be able to pivot, carry on in the face of adversity and recover from rejection are essential for life. And sadly, the way to learn these wonderful tricks of the trade, are by pure, lived experience. Only through the pain, heartache, exhaustion and anxiety can we re-emerge more resilient and reinforced than before. 

I don’t know about you, but Richard and I love a good motivational speech. They usually start blaring out of the speakers during moments of; a) bad news, b) paralysing procrastination or interestingly, c) when excitement, hope and productivity are at its highest. A great speech, will for a full 4 minutes after you’ve listened to it, have you believing you’ll be the next break out trade floor genius or Forbes 30 under 30. Oh no, hang on, think we missed the boat on that one. But they can be great at, well, motivating! One in particular that you should listen to if you haven’t already is a pretty old speech by Art Williams, (listen from 17 mins if you're short on time), if for no other reason than to enjoy his wonderful thick southern American accent. Art reiterates repeatedly, that to succeed, you just need to do it. You do it; over and over and over again, until the job gets done. And I think to me, this really defines resilience. The slow, repetitive and pertinacious act of persevering and ploughing forward through every lost pitch, difficult brief, grant fund rejection, challenging shoot or other difficult scenarios in life, like marriage and parenting, that could break you, but they don’t. You get up, brush off and do it all again. 

I know many friends, colleagues and clients that feel like they are wading through quick sand at present, and ones endurance is being truly tested. In one of our resilience focused conversations (I am also a fun and cool Mum btw), on the school run yesterday morning, my 8 year old said to me, with firm affirmation “But Mummy, sometimes it’s too hard, and I’m tired”. Ha, well, I was truly lost for a response. I had been schooled, before the bell had even rung. Because she is right. Sometimes, it does just feel too hard and exhausting, and the desire to fold up into yourself and never come out, is indeed, a much more appealing tactic than continually getting back up and pushing forward. But I do believe Art Williams has a point. You have to muster the energy, dig deep and just keep doing it and doing it, until eventually, slowly, the job gets done. 

Some days resilience may just be turning up. Other days, you will feel like you’ve made almighty steps forward. Both days are important, and both days are necessary. And when you look back, you’ll realise that you’ve grown another layer of strength, you’ve persevered and emerged slightly more tolerant and patient than before.

Well, here’s hoping anyway. Now, chin up, and up you get!

Here are some wonderful moments that come to mind when I think of examples of resilience at SUbMotion. There have been many, but we don't have all day, so a select few:

This is Matthew Gates, a former student at West Suffolk College. Matt was a student in the Art department studying prop design when we produced our short film Maximus, in collaboration with the college. He single-handedly designed and created from scratch, 30 incredible hand moulded monster claws, which he then painstakingly painted individually. When covid struck the production in March 2020, Matt kept to his word and completed this task alone, at home, without ever complaining. His talent and work is exceptional, his work ethic is honest and overflowing with patience and resilience. He's also a suer nice guy.

The 2019 General Election coverage for the BBC. SubMotion was hired to rig our cable camera system above Broadcasting House to get the birds eye view of the UK map as votes came in. This was the second time we had done this nerve wracking job of suspending the camera 112ft off the ground, but the 2015 election was in the height of summer - 2019 was in December in the rain, cold and not so good for a camera on wires - wind. It was a 48 hour job, and sleep was done in shifts, whilst whoever was awake watched the swaying camera with breathe held. It was a great endurance test of our nerves, our team spirit and our technical skills - but we'd do it again in a heartbeat!

1 Comment

Enjoyed reading every word! So true 🥰🥰

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