I love having roots wherever I am at. The first thing I do before being able to work is to ensure that my home is all put in place, clean, and comfortable. It’s only my fourth day waking up in my new home in Miami and although my roots here aren’t complete yet, I’m working on doing that from the moment I wake up until I go to bed.
As I unpack every box and find familiarity within this new, strange domain, memories of past and visions for my future move through me.
I’ve accomplished a lot in my photography career already, everything I’ve ever set goals for I have achieved and then some. From being published – and paid for my image rights – in some of the leading wedding magazines including Martha Stewart’s Wedding, to assisting in the development of camera gear made by and for women and leading a company in a successful global campaign, to hosting a phenomenal education platform live to an international audience, to holding the largest solo photography exhibition in Seattle, and a whole lot more.
Yah, I feel I’m doing alright in achieving my goals and then some, because I DO things. I reach out, risk, fail. Repeat. Over and over until I achieve. My image published in Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine took sending in almost 50 submissions before they picked it up. Before digital submissions were accepted. That means all 50 of my submissions had to be PRINTS (25-35), with a disc, and priority mailed. That, my friends, was a blow to the checkbook (yes, we still wrote checks way-back-when too) for the sake of self promotion and marketing.
The global campaign for camera gear? I thought myself social media and connected with every single blogger and Twitter influencer personally, staying up Tweeting until 9:00am from the pervious day to make sure I spoke with influencers from the US to Europe to Japan and not miss a thing. No automated Tweets or posts could have the direct impact of a real person backing their word and brand real time. I also sent out thousands of test units to bloggers around the world to get the few key reviewers from industry giants needed in the countries that the company wanted to be selling in (the B.R.I.C.K.S.). You’ve got to teach yourself your strategy before laying the grounds in those heavy-hitting fields.
But that’s what it takes: persistence and determination of doing something consistently, differently, and fiercely until you achieve the results you want. No one is going to hand it to you on a silver plate or in a paid video. And you can’t get it by hanging out with celebrities. If someone famous gives you a “break” that means they will instruct you by example first-hand, but YOU still have to do the work and find your voice and kick ass making your own name and brand. You are the one who has to achieve your goals in life.
The mind-thoughts I had for myself five years ago wouldn’t have dreamed I would be where I am today, and the thoughts I have this morning cannot fathom the greatness that is in store for me in another five years from now.
One of the best gifts my first mentor (I have had three), Gregory Mordick, gave me was to share a true story and I’ll share it with you now. Gregory went in to his local camera shop for film and supplies every week. The man who worked there was one of the best photographers he had ever met. Every week they talked about gear, technique, and psychology. Every week, Gregory asked the man why he was still working behind the counter instead of getting out there and being a professional photographer. Every week the man said the same thing: he needed one more piece of gear, or he needed to read one more book, or take one more class. After he would do that “one more thing” he would start his photography business. This went on for years and as far as I know the man still works at the camera store.
So my challenge to you today is this: do you work behind the counter or do you work in the field? Both are needed in this world, but you’ve got to choose to wholeheartedly live and achieve what you alone are meant to do in this world.
Don’t waste another moment waiting for one more piece of gear or needing to take one more class. You’ve already got it so get out there and do it.