Good Morning Everybody,
I’ve got a light day today and am looking to enjoy a little of this fine weather we are experiencing. Anyway, it seems I’ve been writing way too much this week with my article for the Professional Photographer Magazine [link] and another project I just finished today.
A few months ago I was asked to contribute a short article to a book that has a planned publication date of next May. It’s title, “Four Words For Success”. [link] It looks like I’m in with some pretty good company. Some notable people that have already submitted stories include: Craig Newmark (Craigslist.org) [link], and Gary Hirshberg (Stonyfield Farms) [link] and Dan Coben (Executive Coach) [link].
I was honored with the invitation and agreed to participate. I have written and posted many times on the subject of Success at DigitalProTalk.com so I decided to scan the nearly 3,000 posts and see if I could find my previous posts. The search itself was kind of fun – I couldn’t believe how much information is available in the DPT archives – TONS of great reading!
Anyway, I found several articles on the subject and decided to distill those several thousand words down to my 800 word article I submitted for the Four Words For Success project. Today’s post is the first draft of my article. I think there’s some good advice that is beneficial for everyone and as a “kick-in-the-behind” even for me to visit over and over again, just to remind myself. I hope you enjoy the read.
Passion Is Your Power!
You know, I've been in the photography business a fair number of years and have loved every minute of it. Like many photographers, my beginnings were very humble beginnings. I'd like to share some of those experiences with you today. Like many folks wanting to start their businesses today, I was nervous, scared, hopeful, and for the most part didn't know how I was going to grow my business.
I was working as an engineer at the time and lots of my college buddies were starting to get married. They knew that I was a part time photographer shooting weddings and sports events for a prominent studio in Dayton, Ohio and thought I would do an adequate job for them. I graduated with a B.A. in Physics, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and thought that's what I wanted to do "when I grew up", but deep in my heart, I loved photography - particularly wedding photography.
I hung out my "shingle" in October, 1978. By 1979, I was working to get any and every photography job I could. I kept my prices low and was the CHEAPEST photographer in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. You know, being cheap is good for building your business, I thought. My prices started at $119 and went all the way up $259.
I continued to struggle in those early years, making the same mistakes so many other photographers were making in starting their own businesses. I knew the "turn over" rate was really high in wedding photography. Heck, you could just check the Yellow Pages back in those days and see all the new ads for wedding photographers and also see so many missing from the previous year. Amazing, it’s not unlike today's wedding photography climate - just check the Craig’s List listing for photographers.
Time To Turn The Bend
Finally I began learning the lessons of success. The biggest is passion. One of the biggest obstacles to success is procrastination. You know, too many people NEVER get around to taking the time to do the things they need to do to achieve their success goals in their life. They are always too busy, out of time, don't have the money, etc., etc, etc. Only 5% percent of the population achieves what they want to achieve in their lives. Too many others think they are owed success. Too many others get caught up in the "hamster wheel of life" and just can't find the time to get off. But success in life is about taking charge of your future. It's about taking that first step in success's direction.
Another big part of success comes down to this - How good do you want to be, just good enough or the best you can be? And if you agree that it's the best you want to be, and you aspire to that goal, and then eventually think that you have reached it - I offer you this. You still are not at your top form.
Being the best is an ongoing journey, it's a mountain that is constantly being climbed with the peak always within site but never reached. But as we pursue our goal to reach the unreachable peak, we go farther and higher with each new step we take when we thought we couldn't take another. None of us know what our "best" is. The worst remark we can make is, "I'm doing my best." Why, because for each of us "our Best" is an unknown level of performance we have within us that we have yet to achieve.
It’s Time To Begin Setting Your Own World Records
Look at all the world records being broken just in the swimming meets so far - Michael Phelps broke his five "Bests" in the 2008 Olympics!. Were his old times his best times, I think the answer is clear - I think his best times are still in his future even as he shatters his past records with his current wins.
We need to do the same if we want to be at the top of our fields, we need to constantly move toward that unreachable peak always keeping it in our sites, always taking the next step when we thought we couldn't take another, and we too will find Olympic Gold Medals laying in our own paths as we move towards that unattainable peak.
And, finally, we need to run scared, constantly evaluating the market, the competition, and the economics and working pro-actively to fine tune all aspects of our business both photographically and financially!
I love this African proverb - it says it all.
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed...every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle...when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
Food For Thought -
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. LaDawn heads out to Nashville with her sister tomorrow and I’ll be bachelor-ing it all next week. I’m a little worried – without my blog editor standing by, I suspect the post may be riddled with errors ;~)
How about everyone having a great weekend and I’ll see ya’ on the flip side.