Skip to content
Home » Blog » Pink Keychain & Unlocking Gifts

Pink Keychain & Unlocking Gifts

We usually think of gifts as singular events, like handing someone a present or donating $5 to hurricane relief. But gifts can also ripple out, especially when we use our gift to unlock someone else’s.

That’s exactly how my 20+ year career as a video editor started… with a pink key chain.

My high school had just built a brand-new building, and through a grant they were able to furnish a computer lab. PC’s lined the walls of this room, with desks in the middle facing the front. Back in the corner sat the crown jewel: an Apple Power Mac G4.

This thing was glorious, with it’s clear-ish gray body and matching monitor. It got an audible “ooooo” every time someone first laid eyes on it. This beast was built for creating videos, and it was how I really started to cut my teeth as an editor.

Had I only been able to work in the lab during school hours, maybe I’d still go on to do other things. Like fulfilling my short-lived dream of becoming a physical therapist, which died immediately after I had to take physical therapy myself. But to get the extended time I needed for all the crazy ideas my friends and I cooked up, I’d need to get into the lab more often. It just so happened my dad had this bright pink keychain that provided me the access I desperately needed.

Suddenly, I had unlimited freedom. Me and my friend Eddie lived in this room for two years making stupid videos. I’d film basketball games then turn them into highlight reels. Every school and church event that came up, we’d create a special video for it. Sometimes we’d be in there a full day, leave at midnight, sleep, then come back in the morning to start it all over again. Just now, I’m wondering how poor of a security system we had that a kid could come and go as he please with little interference.

This was the most pivotal point for my burgeoning career. Although not quite 10,000 hours, the reps I got here gave me confidence that carried through college, my first job, then onto Los Angeles. After 8 years in California of making films, documentaries, and countless short-form content and web videos, it brought me to Ramsey Solutions in Nashville where I now lead a team of editors.

The pink keychain was an amazing gift, giving me access to a space to work on my skills, craft stories, and collaborate with other creators. I also learned valuable lessons, like saving my project continuously so I don’t lose much when the computer crashes (clicking save right now actually). It may be that I have some natural ability as an editor, but undoubtedly someone else opening the door of opportunity for me to use that gift was a gamechanger.

I’ve had many people throughout my life who have been “pink keychains” for me. My dad, who also showed me how to edit when I was 11. Ben Waddell, who found out I had an iMac in college and roped me into editing video after video for student government. It was because of my friend David Schultz, director of the movie “Ragamuffin,” that I got to live out my dream of making feature films. The list goes on of people who believed in me and let me use their access to learn, create, and grow.

How different things could have been had someone not used their gift to help me realize mine. I don’t actually have to wonder. After graduating, I came back to the school and talked to a student a few years younger than me that also liked to edit. I asked him if they were still making videos in the lab. He said “Not anymore.” The school had instituted new rules that no one could be in the lab without teacher supervision, which made it much harder to get in and make stuff without the access they had before.

They had locked everyone else out. No more pink keychain.

Even though I understood the rationale for making the change, it still broke my heart. I knew how special and valuable that time in the lab had been. It was going to be that much harder for the next girl or guy creator to get the reps they needed.

That’s not generous. We have an opportunity to ripple out our gift to help someone else realize theirs.

Give away your access, knowledge, skills, experiences, or resources. Like buying art supplies for a kid who doodles on his homework. Invite a stay-at-home mom who sings to her kids to lead worship. Support missionaries who have a call for another country. Giving a word of encouragement to someone who likes spreadsheets a little too much to (shoutout to Barney Varmns from Parks and Rec).

So how can you use your gift to unlock someone else’s?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *