I typically try to be as transparent as possible… Today, I’m bumping that up a level. When I first began this wild journey, I was a Sophomore in High School, I had played with a friends full-frame camera (which was a Nikon), just taking photos of football games, our friend group, and just a whole bunch of random objects. My parents saw a passion igniting for Photography within myself, so what was next on board? Purchasing a camera that was better in quality than my little Samsung point and shoot. I ended up purchasing a Canon Rebel T3i, which proved to be my number one side kick for many years.. I was on top of the world, or well, in my mind I was. I was determined to make a name for myself, but had little patience to sit and learn from others. While the years passed, I started to open my eyes a bit to who and what was around me. I had always been afraid to ask questions because I felt like that would make me look incompetent, to those who were being asked. As I started to realize how much I was missing out on by not asking those questions, doors started to open, and my photos were constantly improving.
The first photo is from the beginning, we all begin somewhere, and there’s no doubt I had very little that I knew about photographing sale cattle…. The second photo is from this spring, and there’s no doubt I don’t know it all, but the photos speak for themselves….
Growing up my siblings and I were encouraged to dream, and dream big, and dream we did. When I graduated High School I remember standing in front of a Senior Banquet and professing my hopes and dreams of wanting to become a Professional Livestock Photographer. At the time, I truly thought it was such a distant dream, but yet kept pursuing it relentlessly. Looking back now, I am thankful for the passion I had in pursuing my dreams, otherwise, I would not be where I am today. Right into college, I received my first major break, I was hired on as an intern for an International Livestock Photography Company, who I, at the time thought so very much of. I went on to work for that Company as a Photographer, and Media Coordinator for 4 years, and truly developed myself as a professional in those years. I remember in the beginning I was completely blown away by the talent that surrounded me, and being able to spend quality time with photographers who I admired so very much. Looking back, I truly wish I would have had the courage to ask more questions, and not be afraid of how I would be perceived.
A few weeks ago, I sat in a room full of uber talented photographers, graphic designers, social media experts, videographers, and just flat phenomenal people. While we discussed our strengths, weakness’, goals, and a business opportunity that was on the table at the time, I glanced around the room realizing that my hopes and dreams, were what placed me in that room, that day. Each of us in that room were different ages and came from different states, and backgrounds, but we all had a passion for Livestock tying us together. Through those few days we learned from each other, and helped build each other up, in a way I have never witnessed. There wasn’t any stone left unturned or any question left unasked. For the first time in my professional career I truly realized what the meaning of a TEAM is. A team, that has become a family, not many can say that their counterparts celebrate each others accomplishments as though they were their own.
One of the most recognized bible verses is Proverbs 27:17, it says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
I believe that to be true, especially with this group.
You may wonder where I am going with this, so here is the punch line….. Why are we afraid to ask questions, or to “be a bother”? Whether it be in a professional or personal setting asking questions should be encouraged. I know that personally as you read above, if I would have learned to ask questions earlier on, I probably would have been further developed in my profession than what I am now. I also realize if I wouldn’t have been afraid to ask those questions I would have saved so much time, and stress, and overall wouldn’t have spent so much time googling or searching youtube for how to’s. I wouldn’t have had to take the long way around.. I am writing this to encourage all of you to be fearless in asking questions, because in the end that is going to be the only way to reach your full potential in whatever it is that you are doing, because you never stop learning.
“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.” – T.D. Jakes
Having a passion for something greater is part of the challenge, the rest is continuing to learn, and pushing yourself to accomplish more. Each and every one of us has goals, dreams, passions, and a vision for what we want our future to hold, it’s time that each of us break the mold of what we believe we are “Supposed to Be”, and truly be how we are meant to be. Take the leap of Faith, and relentlessly pursue what sets our soul on fire.