As I write this, I’m sitting among a group of enthusiastic Europeans at the international airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on my way to Paris for eight days of photography and fine food.
This is the final leg of a trip that started 10 days ago, with a photo expedition to Amboseli National Park in Kenya, followed by another eight days photographing in the Serengeti in Tanzania.
People often ask me how I sell my photos… and manage to take these to-die-for trips. To me “Just do it!” seems like a no-brainer. But to be perfectly candid, when I was trying to break into photography just a few short years ago, I had the same fears that most people encounter.
“Just Do It” is what I say now that I can look back on my accomplishments. It wasn’t, of course, what I was saying at the forefront of this journey.
Back then, my first hurdle was conquering the deadliest disease that has killed more dreams that any other: procrastination.
I was always going to “get around to it.” Then one day, my wife gave me a wooden nickel with the word “TUIT” written on one side – literally “a round TUIT.” Her aunt used to hand those out all the time to her friends and family when they would talk a good game and then do nothing or wait until the timing and conditions were perfect. Obviously, you will wait forever if you want perfect conditions.
My second hurdle back then was the symptom of another deadly and recurring disease: self-doubt.
So many people believe that they are too young, or too old, or not experienced enough. But the truth is, many people with far less talent have succeeded in myriad fields by just getting started and not giving up.
Self-doubt is related to self-image, and the best way to improve yours is to associate with people who believe in you and want you to succeed.
I’m thankful to have a supportive wife. But I also got lots of support from the people I met at the Great Escape Workshop.
The third failure disease is one that’s epidemic in our culture: worry.
What will people think?
But let me share a little nugget with you: Everyone has this fear… which means they’re more worried about what you think about them than they are about what they think of you.
They’re not thinking about what you’re doing. Your focus – if you want to get anything done — needs to be on your future and not on someone else.
One of my favorite sayings is FIDO! It simply stands for “flush it – drive on!” I thought of it often during those early days.
Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb after 10,000 attempts. When asked how he could endure such failure for such a long time, Edison replied that he had not failed 10,000 times, but had successfully eliminated 10,000 combinations that would not work.
Call your local publications, attend networking events, contact interior designers, promote your work in office buildings, or restaurants that have artwork or photographs on the wall (they are everywhere) and commit to the process – not the results.
If you commit to the process, the results will follow. And, in no time, you’ll start seeing results.
Before long, you’ll be at an international airport headed to some fabulous location, camera bag packed, and clients eagerly awaiting the results of your work. I can attest to that!