Just like stretching exercises before you jog, Sunday Morning Reflections gives me a chance to "stretch" before I start the day. This morning is the time I go off track with my blog and often step away from photography and jump into life. Earlier this past week I posted this quote on Twitter:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
I connected this to people's "About" pages on their websites, which I've written about before. As a photographer your target audience doesn't care what awards you've won; what gear you have or how your grandfather gave you your first camera. All they want to know is "why" you love being a photographer and if you can be trusted to capture the kinds of images they want.
Sadly too many of you write your bios forgetting about your audience. You submerse yourself in meaningless factoids about your skills, when it's time to open your heart. If they're reading your bio, then they're interested in getting to know you better - so, don't bury them in your list of print competition awards, gear details and the history of your business.
Okay, so that was two paragraphs that hardly suggest I'm going off track on this gorgeous Sunday morning. Time to get out of photography and into friendships and relationships.
I started thinking about that quote above. Here in Florida, we live in a community with too many retirees and in fact, just recently put our home on the market, looking to downsize a little and be closer to the water. One thing I've noticed is there are too many people who stopped working too early. There are some great people here, but they can't talk about anything but what they do each day or did, rather than "why".
It's the "why" that makes us all more interesting. It's the "why" that makes my story different from yours. It's the "why" that takes millions of stories from people all over the world and gives them color, emotion, and commitment. I can't help but feel when some people retire they lose their "why." They stop interacting with the working world and move into a world that's more controlled and consistent. Their world becomes smaller.
I live by the "why" every day, and it's thanks to Sheila and an incredible circle of friends. I'm in the photography industry. I've been president of three different companies in photography, including Hasselblad USA and Rangefinder/WPPI and now my own company. That's the "what", but it's the "why" that comes from my heart.
I simply love photography and the business of helping more people to understand its importance. I love working with so many of you to help you see your potential and in turn, you help me see mine. There's a special rush I feel walking into any convention, conference or trade show.
At a time when I could retire, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I don't want to slow down. I don't want to stop writing or teaching. March is around the corner, and I'm doing two mini-workshops in the Panasonic booth at WPPI. Then I've got ShutterFest, and I've got two programs to teach. At both conventions, I'll be catching up with old friends and making new ones. Every step along the way I'll be enjoying and savoring the "why" I'm in this business and what keeps my heart pumping!
So, it's abstract, but there is a point this morning. Stop worrying about "what" you do and start sharing with people "why" you do it. The "what" is from your left brain and a series of cut and dry statements, the "why" is the right brain and all about your personality, passion and emotion. Plus, your "why" is unique, while your "what" is often the same as everybody else's.
As always make it a great Sunday. Go for those eleven-second hugs with people special to you and remind them "why" they're important to you. Speak more from your heart and less from your brain.
Happy Sunday everybody!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.