I’m not a great one for inspirational blog posts. In fact, if I were to be completely honest, most of those carpe diem, you can do anything if you dream type posts bug the heck out of me. I mean no offence to anyone who posts or likes them of course, it’s just my opinion. I have many and not all of them are right 😉 . However, today I feel inspired and I thought I would share that which caused a grumpy, cynical old git like me to bust into blog mode. You never know, it just might inspire you too.
Yesterday I spent a thoroughly enjoyable day in a darkened room creating marketing images for the unique performer, Ruby Dagger. Much as I love spending time in my studio, I felt it was time to enjoy a little of this glorious weather we’re having. So, this morning, after dropping Belinda at work, I went for a walk along the seafront at Gorleston. As you can see from the iPhone snap above, it was calm, sunny and very pleasant.
While I was strolling along the promenade I spotted a couple of work vans parked up. The guys were getting ready to do some maintenance, but it was the signwriting on their van that caught my eye. I have absolutely no idea who Imtech Inviron are, but their strapline caught my eye and started me thinking.
“To be the most respected…”
As I strolled along, nodding good morning to the passing joggers, dog walkers and other aimless souls, I thought about this word ‘respect’ and how much the word meant to me.
On the front page of my website and in my brochures I have included the phrase: “I established CaptureLight in 2013 as a vessel to allow me to develop my photography skills with the aim of being recognised as a skilled practitioner of the art.” In other words, my main goal was to be respected as a craftsman. Not ‘the best’, not the cheapest, not rich, not successful, not a social media superstar, not liked, just simply respected.
So, if I were to choose a single word to inspire me, force me to think through my decisions, prioritise my actions and guide my personality and persona then it would have to be ‘Respect’.
Fortunately, the word chose me rather than the other way around. When I think back over my rather jumbled and random career I realise that this is something I have strived for in every job that I have been fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to be employed in. When I have hated a job it was because I have lost interest and therefore have no drive to be better. Without that drive, you lose the respect of your coworkers and ultimately, if you care about such things, your own self-respect.
Most recently, this was the point I reached in my career in Health & Safety. Over many years (nearly 30) I had established a reputation as someone who could innovate, solve problems and relate to people at the workface, in the boardroom and anywhere in-between. Someone who could get the message across and actually influence change. Not everybody liked me, but I did feel that I was respected and had credibility. In the final few years, before I took the plunge as a full-time photographer, I had lost all interest in trying to repackage the same message that I had been promoting for decades. Revisiting companies and worksites and witnessing the same poor practices and misguided management that I had seen repeated year upon year and decade upon decade finally took its toll. I just couldn’t find it in me to ‘put the effort in’. I managed to live on past performance and previous glory days for a while, but I could see that I was slowly losing that respect that I needed to sustain me.
In the words of Albert Einstein; “If you want to know the future, look at the past.” So, the foundations of Capturelight Photography became the vessel to refresh and continue my drive for respect, without me even knowing it.
- For people to respect you they need to know you.
- If they are to respect your work it needs to meet, or exceed, their expectations.
So my strategy for the future will be to ensure that my activities and actions support one or both of these two sentiments.
Firstly I have recently joined several local networking groups. I’m not the sort of person to bleed my personal problems out onto social media, share my deepest fears, my down moments or reveal my perceived weaknesses to make people like me and know me. I prefer to meet people and let them judge me on true personal interactions, rather than a 256 character description of my visit to Costa Coffee. So Networking will actually allow me to meet and interact with others thereby allowing them to get to know me.
Secondly, I shall strive to underpromise and over deliver with all of my clients, despite the impact that this may have on my short-term profitability. I shall also actively seek out photographic challenges that not only push my creativity but also directly benefit the community or an individual.
The link between these two paths is to ensure that my work is a true reflection of me and my style. Not everyone will like it or want it, but hopefully, they will respect it.
Of course, I realise that you can’t spend respect. However, I know that if I focus on sales and profit I will lose interest and fail because I am not a businessman, I am a photographer. I hope that by sticking to my inbuilt desire for respect for me and my work, then profitability will eventually come.
I’m a simple soul and need simple concepts to help drive me on. The 27 steps to good business, the 6 golden rules of selling or the 3 steps to heaven may help others, but in my case, I’m just a one-word simpleton.
If you’re like me and need something simple to help create some direction, look back on your life and see if you can pick the one word (or phrase) that has driven you so far. Once you’ve found it see how you can apply it to your future plans. You never know it may help you find a strategy like it did me. Of course, if the word ends up being something like Shazbot, Raxacoricofallapatorius or Energise, then you may need to look elsewhere for inspiration. 😳
So, there we are, my waffling attempt at an inspirational blog post. I never promised that it would be good, but I hope you enjoyed it. 😀