Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Charting My Course

I am driven by goals. Some people like goals and others find them detestable. I need goals because they give me a focal point in the sea of 'what ifs' and 'wouldn't it be cools' that cross my mind throughout the span of a year. I also appreciate the fact that at the end of another 365 days I can look back and actually feel like I've accomplished something worthwhile –if I actually have, of course. I have a tendency to forget about the good things that I've achieved and all too often will focus only on the things that need work if I am not careful. That isn't always a bad thing in terms of learning how to grow as a photographer but we all need little positive reinforcement from time-to-time.

One peculiar thing that I've noticed over the past few years is that the number of items on my list of goals has begun to shrink, while the ambition level of each seems to be rising. I have found this to be a very natural progression as my maturity as a photographer grows and my focus becomes more and more fine-tuned. In actuality, each one of my goals has a lot of moving parts and pieces – they just happen to share a common umbrella. For example, in 2010 I am focusing on four main projects. If things go as I hope, the outcome of some of these will include components such as books, exhibitions, and articles. In the past, I might have just listed these products individually. Now, I've begun to look at a body of work and consider all of the different ways that the imagery can be interlaced to support a common message; not exactly brain-surgery but it takes me a while to catch on sometimes!

I recently flipped through Andrew Zuckerman's book Wisdom. There is quote in the book from Ben Stein, in which he basically states (paraphrase) that one should "Focus on the best thing that you can do in a given year and your career will take care of itself." Right now, I am not quite at that level of trust but maybe one day I'll arrive. Although I'm not quite so young anymore, at 33 I am still dumb enough to be joyfully ambitious in the face of great odds. That is a piece of my youth that I hope I shall never lose!

For those seeking some instant inspiration and goal-setting advice for the approaching New Year, I came across this free downloadable e-Book from Seth Godin today. It is packed with thoughts from people way wiser than me.

No comments: