Today’s guest is Xanthe Berkeley, a photographer, film maker, stop motion artist and visual story-teller.

From her beginnings in lifestyle portrait photography for families and women, to guiding and inspiring others to start making their own films, through her workshops and online film courses. Xanthe has worked with many leading UK brands, such as Boden, Cath Kidston, The White Company, Twinings, Penguin Books, Warner Music, Etsy UK to name just a few – creating films, stop motions and photos to be shared across their social media channels.

In today’s conversation, we get straight to the crux of the Courage to Be and what that means to Xanthe. We hear how Xanthe, despite her success as a creative, still struggles with resistance and self-doubt but see these as merely part of the process and shares ways in which she moves through them.

Some key take-aways:

  • Being brave is a big part of being a creative.
  • You can have talent or skill but you have to be brave enough to share it with people, to experiment, to play and to try things out.
  • With more experience comes more bravery.
  • You now have evidence to show you that last time you left your comfort zone the rewards followed. You can begin to see the link between courage and reward. 
  • One of her skills has been her capacity to move through resistance.
  • “Even when your head is telling you that you’re not good enough” you’ve got to move through it.
  • The “who am I not to have a go” mindset has definitely worked for Xanthe.
  • Xanthe draws on Ira Glass both in her own work and in her teachings to hundreds of students around the world:
    • “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.”
  • When you first start out you know that what you’re doing is not as good as what you see out there (be that on on Pinterest, instagram etc) but that doesn’t mean you stop, you have to use that as an incentive to get better and to keep practicing and keep trying.
  • You can’t expect to be brilliant straight away, it’s about putting the work in….
    • “Keep going, keep creating, keep doing and keep practicing…”
  • For creatives who want to go from part-time creative work to full-time – it is simple – “keep doing the work”.
  • Create don’t wait. Start doing the work you want to do today. Don’t wait for an email from that ideal client.
    • Xanthe shares a great story of this as it relates to her work with leading UK brand Boden.
  • Test and learn is key, let things grow organically through play and experiment.
  • She now trusts that things will work out – the evidence has shown her that she always finds a way.
  • “I wish someone told me resistance and self doubt are never going to away!”
  • However, self-doubt and resistance are just thoughts and you can push them aside.
  • Try it ,give it a go, believe in yourself and know that the self doubt is there but don’t let it stop you.
  • We are always working towards getting better   – “when I look at some of the first films that I made I think oh my goodness they are a disaster but at the time they were good enough”.
  • Xanthe talks to the natural ebb and flow of being a creative and shares her experience of launching an e-course that didn’t take off, explaining how awful it felt at the time but how it was really just another contributor of her growth today.
  • “Not everything works, you can’t be a creative and be a human and everything you do is amazing. You need the little failures to make you human”


I do hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did, what a inspirational, colourful, humble human – thank you Xanthe x

You’ll find Xanthe on or follow her on instragram for daily inspiration, fun and colour

Please do subscribe on your favourite podcast app – and even better, leave a review, I would love to hear your feedback.

Oh and, we recommended and referenced the wonderful Steven Pressfield, check out his books