Finding Your Fifth Gear

How to keep going when things get tough

Let me preface this blog by saying that I’m a busybody. At work and in my free time I’d rather be active and engaged than sitting around bored. That being said, this last month has put that perspective to the test.

May is a very busy month in education, as most schools are wrapping up their year. Being that we work with a lot of schools and other businesses in the education sector, Captivate has been just as busy trying to create content for our clients before June. We’ve been flying to different states on both coasts and driving all over Minnesota. Ten to eleven hour days have been pretty common for all of us, but as I look around I see focused eyes and determined hearts. Photo of Benji Perez Gonzalez

May was challenging for me. There was a point mid-month where I didn’t even want to look at my calendar because I didn’t want to think about my workload. My Tuesdays felt like Thursdays and my Sundays went by in a blink. I dreamt about work and I ate it for breakfast. I was overwhelmed and close to giving up, but right then and there, in that crucial moment, that’s when it came to me…right when I needed it the most.

My high school swimming coach Mr. McManus called it a burst of the spirit, a second wind, a fifth gear you didn’t know you had. “In swimming,” he said, “it comes in the last 50 meters, when no one else has nothing else to give, that’s when you tap into it.” It’s almost superhuman, honestly. It stems from passion and determination and just a little bit of cooped up frustration.

Everyone can access their fifth gear, but I understand that not everyone has a wise swimming coach with awesome analogies, so here are a few pointers on how to access your fifth gear and how to make the best out of a challenging situation.


1. Organize and Prioritize. When work or life seems overwhelming, prioritizing and organizing responsibilities will make everything more manageable and less intimidating. Even a simple to-do list will help put things in perspective and it will give you a great head start. I know it seems like a simple tip but it’s quite crucial and is often ignored.

2. It’s all about the mentality. Whether it’s a 200-meter butterfly race in the pool or a week with back-to-back video shoots you’re going to need to be hungry for the challenge. It will absolutely be a difficult journey, but you need to embrace the hardships and face them with a winning mentality. You need to believe that not only will you make it through, but you will exceed your own expectations That mentality and that hunger will lead the way to success.

3. Acknowledging the journey. You need to know how far you’ve come and how much farther you have to go. Knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel will give you hope and it will make you push harder than you thought possible. It will also help you pace yourself when the road ahead of you is long, after all, working smart is always better than working hard.

4. Focus and Consistency. It doesn’t really matter what the situation is, focus and consistency are always the key to achievement and success. If you can do your job well, and do it consistently, doors will open up for you. It can be hard when you’ve got many things on your plate but take it one step at a time, and give every step your unconditional focus and you will be tackling your challenges without even breaking a sweat.

We all have a fifth gear. After all, here I am on the first day of June alive and well. It was a long month but I came out of it a better videographer, a better professional and honestly a better person. Overcoming your challenges only sharpens your character. The best way to do that is by giving it your all and then finding that fifth gear.

-Benji Perez Gonzalez

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