Part of this post is from the archives, so if it sounds familiar, my apologies, but nobody makes the point better about taking a break than my good buddy and long time friend, Nick Vedros.
Three years ago, in another blog I wrote about an email I got from Nick. He's one of the finest, most brilliant commercial photographers on planet earth. If you have a chance to attend one of his programs, usually as part of the venue at a large convention, don’t hesitate – just do it!
But today’s post just like three years ago, isn’t about Nick’s photography, it’s about something he wrote that got me thinking about the importance of taking a break. He sent me an email that said:
"I am in Metropolis, Illinois....on a week long motorcycle trip to North Carolina...Blue Ridge Mountains and Dragon Tail. I am sitting in a Motel 6 motel...$42.00 a night...All this keeps me from slowly being strangled by the noose of sameness.”
Think about Nick’s comment and reference to the noose of sameness. When was the last time you just took time to do something you love doing that wasn’t directly related to your business? When was the last time you took a break? The truth is you should never be asking yourself how long it’s been, but instead, "When am I taking my next break?"
In order to stay fresh and be creative, you’ve got to step out from behind the camera. You’ve got to participate in life, not just stand on the sidelines working so hard you miss it. What’s that line about life not being a spectator sport?
I’ve quoted a motivational speaker, Ed Foreman, who I met years ago at a Polaroid meeting a number of times in various posts. He laid out a typical life scenario, which I’ll do my best to do justice in paraphrasing:
Here’s what happens in life. You’ll say to your spouse, “Next year when the kids are a little older we’re going to take the time for that vacation!” Then, when next year rolls around it’s, “You know when we get all moved into that new house, we’re going to take some time for ourselves!” A few years later it’s, “When the kids are married and out of the house, we’ll really take the time to have some fun!” Then years, later, in your coffin on the way to the cemetery it’s, “Oh my God, I forgot to have fun!”
I love friends who I always learn something from and I’ve learned a lot from Nick over the years. He takes care of himself, not just by working out regularly and staying healthy, but by taking time to really enjoy life, his family, great kids and the dog. This isn’t about his success as an artist, this is about knowing how to keep his battery charged!
Ed Foreman had another great line, “Life is for Laughing, Living and Loving, not for bitching, moaning and complaining!”
Stop what you’re doing right now and think about the next few weeks – when are you taking your next break from the business?