by Skip Cohen
As many of you make the decision to join us in August at SCU's Summer Session
, I'm going to be looking for great videos and podcasts that highlight the personalities of our faculty members this year. This video from Ryan Schembri was done to promote a ninety minute program last March, but after you watch it think about this statement... Imagine how much you'll learn working with Ryan in a class of only 20 people for an entire day!
We've got one goal for every SCU program - we want you to THRIVE as a photographer, not just survive! See you in August in Chicago and if for whatever reason you can't join us, watch the video anyway, it's guaranteed to get you thinking about the power you have as a photographer and business owner.
by Skip Cohen
Knowing that no matter what you do, you're only one person and only have 24 hours in a day and seven days a week, it's time to accept it and stop killing yourself trying to multi-task. So many of us take on more than we can do and we're missing all the moments to "smell the roses".
Here's a prime example: At some point, I'm not sure when, I realized I'd become a slave to social media. I was out of town for a week at the beginning of this month and spent an incredible amount of time trying to get ahead of the challenges before I left and catching up when I got back!
While I was away I spent too much time worrying about things. I was constantly haunted by the monkey on my back - all the things I wanted to get done. A few are procrastination projects that I should have done days ago and the rest are simply in the queue. But, we're all just one person and we can only do so much before we implode.
So, this morning's blog is more for my personal therapy than for my readers. Who knows though, maybe you'll get something from the process I put in place yesterday. I've got a list for today - just a good old fashioned hand-written piece of paper with the things I want to get done. Yes, I'm going to make it that simple - just knock 'em off one at a time and celebrate when I'm done or for that matter, even if I'm not.
There's a great piece of advice thousands of people claim to have been told by a mentor along the way in reference to paperwork, "Touch each piece of paper that comes across your desk only once - make the decisions it requires you to do and then move on." Well, none of us deal in paper anymore, but it applies to every email, tweet, facebook friend, etc. Read them once, decide on the course of action, respond and move on!
And, for those of you, like me, who often feel overwhelmed about not having enough time to get the things done you want and spend too much time worrying about it:
"You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future!" Anon
Photo Credit: © Elnur - Fotolia.com
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin
by Skip Cohen
It's a heavy duty quote, but now apply it to your own courage in business as a professional photographer. Think back to how nervous you were when you got that first job - it doesn't matter if it was a wedding, a children's sitting or a commercial product assignment. Your nerves were a little frayed and you might have had serious doubts about whether or not you were going to be able to get the shot.
Now, take it one step further, and depending upon how long you've been a photographer, your camera might have been loaded with film. No digital and no "chimping" to see if you got the image a split second after clicking the shutter.
Go one more step and take this little exercise: Just think about how much your life expanded with that first paid click of the shutter. You went from amateur to professional. But the step up to being a professional took more courage. You accepted a level of responsibility to your client, your friends and most of all yourself. You took that "double secret" oath to deliver quality, to exceed expectations, to be the eyes of your clients when they were busy looking elsewhere.
The courage you had to launch your career has morphed into a lifestyle, a skill set unique to the way you see the world and share it. Your life expanded. The places and people who came into your life will continue to help you grow as long as you keep having the courage to learn. You need to be involved in the community and the industry, adapt new technologies, network with new friends and keep your mind open to the challenges that make imaging so incredible.
Don Blair was once asked, "What's the best photograph you've ever taken?" His response: "I don't know I haven't taken it yet!" He was almost 80 when he said that and had been shooting since he was 14! He never stopped having the courage to adapt, to take on new technologies and in the end, his life expanded beyond anything he could have anticipated!
Just a thought this morning and maybe an explanation why I have so much respect for so many of you!
Photo Credit: © alphaspirit - Fotolia.com
"If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person's life in a positive light, and that's what I want to do. That's what it's all about."
It's a great quote, but when you realize who said the words they border on being meaningless. In fact, as poignant a statement as it is, the real meaning is completely lost on what became the brunt of some of Jay Leno's best jokes.
So, the thought for this Saturday morning goes back to an expression my grandmother used, "Practice what you preach!" We all have new expectations, new energy and a new level of hope for 2013. It's actually my favorite time of year, when just the anticipation of what's going to happen next creates energy.
Whatever your dreams and goals are for this year, tackle them with commitment! Don't compromise and don't do anything half- Be true to yourself, your aspirations, your friends and your clients.
Who gets credit for the opening quote? Tiger Woods, who as the greatest golfer of all time, has learned that it's a whole lot harder to walk the talk than the back nine at Augusta!
Illustration Credit: © ojka - Fotolia.com
by Skip Cohen
Every now and then I wander into YouTube to see what I can find. Virtually every time I'm blown away by business concepts, marketing ideas, motivational productions and just plain chuckle power. I found this video looking for motivational pieces last week and it stars some of the greatest actors in Hollywood, together with sports celebrities who are on everybody's hero list.
Some of my favorite quotes were:
"Limits like fears are often just an illusion."
"Don't be afraid to fail. You can't always win, but don't be afraid of making decisions."
"Skill is only developed by hours and hours of working on your craft."
I realize over a million people have already watched this, but I'm betting most of you have never seen it! I hope you find it as inspirational and fun to watch as I did!
This year's SCU Summer Session faculty is there to help you find the route to THRIVE not just survive!
by Skip Cohen
Several times over the years I've found great inspiration in books from WalktheTalk.com.
Well, I was in the middle of cleaning one of the bookcases in my office last weekend and ran across this one, Leadership Lessons
and I started thumbing through it.With Summer Session for SCU coming up in August,
I found myself looking back on the fun of past programs and the people I've met who have become great friends. In the process I started thinking about the stand-out programs for this year from so many leaders in the industry and it struck me how the definition of a leader is so diverse.
Photography is a combination of incredible technology and a creative art form. In the past most of us have considered the leaders to be those photographers who are creating excitement, new directions and new imaging applications. Reading this one little WalkTheTalk publication I found myself thinking about how much deeper the qualities of leadership really go."Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else."
Franklin D. Roosevelt"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
Warren Buffet"Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don't just stand there, make it happen."
All three quotes are from Leadership Lessons
. All three are dead on target when you think about the people working to change our industry. For example, this year's SCU Summer Session faculty is Clay Blackmore, Bob Coates, JP Elario, Michele Celentano, Justin and Mary Marantz, Joe McNally, Suzette Allen, Roberto Valenzuela, Zach and Jody Gray, Dixie Dixon, Michael Corsentino, Ryan Schembri, Jen Rozenbaum and Bob and Dawn Davis. They are all exceptional photographers and people working to raise the bar in our industry, but I love the way they teach. They're going to work to help you plant that "tree to create the shade"
Warren Buffet talked about.
One more quote from Leadership Lessons:"Leadership is not magnetic personality - that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people" - that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. "
Peter Drucker I hope you can join us in August - it's an amazing faculty and destined to be one of our very best programs yet!
And, like Peter Drucker suggested - the team is going to help you raise your performance to a higher standard..
© freshidea - Fotolia.com
It might be time to make a change in your business strategy, but you're the only one who can set the pace.
by Skip Cohen
Just like everybody, I go through stages of focusing on one particular aspect of the challenges of being in business. "Failure" the "F Word" is simply not an option, but it's come up a few times in posts over the last few weeks.
Failure is way over-rated and can only happen if you fall and don't bother to get up. Yeah, I really do believe it's that simplistic...because it's all in your mind or what you let other people put in your head. Success on the other hand is a whole lot harder to define.
I have no idea how "I Am" did as a movie, but the trailer about Tom Shadyac pretty much says it all, because by most of our definitions he had it all. He was definitely successful, but still wasn't happy.
We all define success differently, but a few of my favorite quotes seem to help on the topic...
David Brinkley: "A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him!"
Bill Cosby: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone"
Woody Allen: "Eighty percent of success is showing up."
What prompted this short rampage on the success/failure theme was the increasing number of comments lately where I'm hearing photographers who are spending too much time focusing on the slowness of reaching "success". They're acting like they think they've failed!
Well, I live with a very special lady who absolutely refuses to let me even use the word, "failure". If something didn't work, then it simply didn't work, but nothing in life is a failure until you stop trying. So, the challenge today, in terms of your business is really very simple. Notice I'm saying "simple" - not EASY...it still takes work.
Try out the following exercise:
1) Shut off all cell phones, your computer and anything else in life that interrupts your thought process. That might mean locking the kids out of the house for a couple of hours.
2) Find your most favorite place in the house.
3) Whether you like wine, a cup of coffee, a soda, a beer or a martini makes no difference - get yourself something to drink and get a pad of paper - that's right - we're going to do this long hand.
4) Ready? Just start writing down ideas and brainstorm the challenge - write every idea down and no idea is a bad one. What ideas? Let's start with things you could do to get people to know about your skill set, business and passion for photography.
Example: You're a wedding photographer and business is down. What things could you be doing to raise awareness for you and your business?
Do more local advertising? Put together a direct mail campaign? Purchase a list of brides? Take the owner of the local bridal gown store to lunch? Do a Saturday bridal shoot at the store? Who's the biggest hair salon in town - they know everything that's happening especially in small communities. Look at your brochure or website - are the images the best they can be? Would you hire you, based on the information on your website?
How about a joint mailing with several other vendors in town, e.g. a limo company, a florist and a caterer?
5) My suggestion is to spend an hour doing this and then bring somebody else into the discussion, be it your spouse, associate or a friend who knows you well. We're all too close to our own business. I'm always amazed when a photographer shows me something about their work to critique and they're so surprised over my suggestions to make a change - it's because it's the easiest assignment on planet earth - to review somebody elses work/project when you have no direct involvement. So, don't underestimate the value of one of your friends, who's not in the business, to just come in and join you in the process of looking for new ways to attack the challenge.
Most important of all, let's ban the word "failure" from our vocabulary. Nothing is a failure, just a life lesson or an FGO (Friggin' Growth Opportunity) - sorry can't take credit for that last little gem!
Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work."
Illustration Credit: © jojje11 - Fotolia.com
Supposedly it's a lot more work for your facial muscles to frown, than it is to smile!
by Skip Cohen
A few times over the years I've quoted this kitchen magnet statement in various posts:
"Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain!"
It's time to quote another one. The truth is there's a lot of great information on refrigerator doors around the world and it's time I took a shot at capturing some of it. This is a call to action - send me a picture of your refrigerator door along with your favorite words of wisdom posted there. Whenever I get enough to publish, I'll make a blog post out of them! (Send them to email@example.com )
"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination."
It's signed by "Souza"...and comes from a company called Quotable Magnets. I have no idea who Souza is, but a big thanks is in order!
On a small table stand I've got another one: "Life is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine". There's definitely a correlation between good wine, good friends and enjoying the journey!
by Skip Cohen
Don't let it bother you that you're a photographer and this is a short video sponsored by ModelMuscleHQ. I found it on YouTube and loved it, because the concept of believing in yourself is universal!
The point is the challenge in building your business is often more about your own mindset than the competition. I often hear new photographers talking about how much they're worried about what they don't know yet. They're so focused on what they don't know...the gear they don't have...the studio location they can't afford yet...the community who doesn't know them and the list goes on and on.
And while I wish the challenge was exclusive to new photographers, I hear the same comments from more seasoned veterans about changing technology, shifting paradigms and a consumer landscape that's seems to be constantly changing. So often they just give up, giving in to the "you can't teach an old dog a new trick" philosophy.
Instead of focusing on what you don't have, focus on what you do have - an unstoppable passion. Take advantage of every opportunity you can for workshops, webinars, videos and blog posts. Focus on expanding your skill set and one day, when you least expect it you'll look at one of your images or the success of a promotion, smile and say to yourself, "Damn, I'm good!"
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and a day filled with more smiles than frowns, family, friends and lots of reminders of just how much potential you really have!
All of you have some corner of your house where kitchen magnets have migrated with single poignant one-liners with an endless stream of lessons about life. Well, there's so much wisdom out there and along with the magnets come those little pocket-books we all collect.
Here's one from "Life's Little Instruction Book, Volume II" by H. Jackson Brown Jr. This week I wrote a lot about success and it's a great one liner:
"Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it!"
That one simple statement got me thinking about so many of you, who have worked so hard on your education, running your business and building your brand. All of you have given up a lot. Yet, when it's passion for some aspect of your life, you don't see it as giving up anything, except energy to chase your dream.
I can't think of a better way to kick off today quoting my buddy Matthew Jordan Smith,
"Always dream big!"