Playing it Safe

“How can you achieve anything if you’re not brave and willing to try?”

This is what was going through my head as my family was playing with a remote control helicopter. Really?? That’s what you were thinking as you played with a helicopter? YES!! You see, one daughter was terrified of touching it, and the other daughter was nervous, but still chasing it around the room trying to catch it. Who do you think had more fun?

Simple story, but it makes me think about lots of areas of my life. Sometimes if I’m too afraid that I’m going to fail, then I don’t try. But what’s wrong with a little failure?

I can accept failure. Everybody fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan (this explains his stint in baseball, doesn’t it?)

I’ve faced fears many times, including in my family photography business. I remember a time when I was super nervous before each shoot – I was afraid I’d run out of poses to tell my clients to do. Yep. I was fearful of drawing a mental blank. Should I quit?? Or just keep slogging along hoping it will get better? Each session felt like a risk.

I don’t think we should foolishly believe we can jump off a cliff and just begin to fly. I see it more along these lines: Figure out exactly what is making me fearful, develop a strategy for working through it, get some counsel from others, and top it all off a lot hard work. Then stand at the edge of the cliff and take a deep breath – because I still have to jump. It’s real scary and nerve wracking. I know that I really might fail and look ridiculous.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. – Proverbs 13:4

Once I identified exactly what was hindering me during photography sessions, I could develop a strategy to overcome it. I read books on posing, developed a filing system on poses I like for all age categories, and invested in some workshops to improve. I look at pictures and then stand up do to the pose myself – how does it feel and how can I tell my client to do it? Also, I developed a custom shot list for each session I booked – based on the age of the individuals, composition of the group, and location we were shooting. Over time I’ve found these lists to be priceless. Most of my best photos have not been a spur of the moment “lucky shots”. Rather they are the result of specifically envisioning what I could create, and guiding the lighting conditions, props and outfits to achieve the results.

I’ve also learned not to expect to immediately excel at anything. My first (or tenth!) attempt will not be my best. I need to remember that is a huge encouragement. Otherwise I’d have no room to grow. But by expecting to make some mistakes, I can be encouraged that even though I’m not where I want to be, I’m in process and can see improvement. And I can enjoy the journey even though I haven’t reached the end yet.

Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m encouraged to take a risk, work hard, and not mind what others think of me when I fail. I can even expect that I will fail many times before I reach my goal. And I choose to pursue the goal anyways. What will you dare to try??