Friday, December 28, 2012

Persistence, Patience and Focus

Since the age of twelve I have had a job.  Over the years I have started many businesses and have worked for many companies; some of which were successful and some complete failures.  As I sat last night contemplating what I wanted to accomplish in 2013 I reminisced about the years passed.  I thought about my successes and failures in business.  As I thought about it three words kept coming to mind - persistent, patience and focus.  These three words kept coming back with resounding clarity as themes in my successes and one or more were always missing in my failures.

Without persistence, patience and focus it's hard to accomplish continued success in any field whether its sports, business, relationships or a chosen profession.  These words seem so obvious yet even the best sometimes miss the mark.  The athlete can be persistent to make the team but lacks focus for the game when he is on the field.  The entrepreneur can be very focused on his new product but lacks the patience to see it through to market.  The worker can be patient on the job but lack the persistence and focus to follow through on the prerequisites necessary for the big promotion.

As an entrepreneur or business leader you must be persistent in order to achieve success.  Being able to endure over the difficult times, refusing to give up just because the road gets rough, can be the difference between winning and losing.  How many times have we seen a football team down two or more scores with only two minutes left on the clock come back to win the game against all odds?  In preparation for the game the coach and team persistently practice their two minute drill in anticipation of winning the game.  Only through the team's persistence to win do they realize success.  The same holds true in business.  The successful business leader refuses to give up when the going gets tough rather he persistently endures through the tough times knowing it will bring success.

The ability for a team to persistently endure the two minute drill when down by two scores or the business leader who faces the difficult business circumstances that come his way requires patience - the ability to endure over time without responding negatively.  Teams and business leaders who can persevere in the face of extreme difficulty or provocation without acting out negatively exhibit the steadfastness to endure the difficult moments that come their way.  Being able to endure difficult circumstances  without responding negatively is an important characteristic trait both on the field and in business.

How many times have you heard someone say "that player needs to focus" or "you lack focus on the job" or "you need to focus"?  On the football field the team that has the distinct clarity of what they need to do wins the game.  It is no different in business.  In order to win you must have narrow attention and concentration on what's required to win.  The job of the business leader, coach or entrepreneur is to set the distinct clarity required to win.  This distinct clarity is focus.  When a team or business is in focus it is easy to see what the goal or target is however, when they are out of focus the players or workers have a difficult time knowing what direction to take.  With focus the coach or business leader draws the narrow attention and concentration needed to guide the team to success.

So as I prepare for a great 2013 I am focusing on what I want my team to achieve.  I will encourage them to be persistent in our pursuit of new business and I will instill upon them a sense of patience to persevere through the difficulties that await us on the horizon.  How simple these three words seem but how important they are to realizing success in everything we do.

Friday, December 21, 2012

If I had Six Months to Live

If I had six months to live what would I do?  I would consider myself lucky.  Most who face death do not receive forewarning resulting in no opportunity to make the proper arrangements, say the right things or have the chance to make things right.  Once I got over the initial shock I would cry.  I would give myself some time, maybe a day,  to feel sorry for my plight but that would be it.  Honestly, I am not afraid to die.  I am at peace with my fate regardless of what may come.

Recently, I ran the question by my wife.  I then told her what my plan would be.  First, I would quit my job and ask my wife to do the same.  Then I would get rid of my smart phone.  The house would go up for sale; taking the best offer.  I would cash in my stock options, company stock, 401K and other investments.  Our motor home would become our residence for the next few months.  We would travel to all the places we have dreamed about going to visit, we would visit family and friends and I would keep a journal documenting our travels.  I would leave the journal for my wife to read once I had passed.  In my journal I would tell my wife how lucky a man I was to spend my life with her.  I would tell her how each of the remaining days spent together meant so much to me.

After traveling I would help my wife select a new home – for a fresh start.  My wife asked, “Why do we need to sell the house?   I told her I felt it only right so that the memories of the house we shared for twenty four years didn’t haunt her.  I know for me, it would be very difficult to continue living in the house that has so many memories of a life together.

Next, I would throw a party to celebrate my life.  I would invite family and friends, have lots of food and drink and let everyone know how much I love them.  At the party I would address my guests.  I would ask them not to grieve when I pass but rather celebrate a great and wonderful life and to find comfort in knowing that I lived life to its fullest potential, that I loved each of them and that my spirit will live on.

I would spend time with my children and grandchildren.  Whatever was left of any money and my wife approving, I would split between them rather than waiting until I passed.  We also own a farm.  I would spend time there with my wife, children and grand children.  I would tell them that it is my wish for the land to stay in the family equally divided between them and my wife.  I would express to them if they no longer wanted the land once my wife and I are gone it is to go to charity.

I hope I am fortunate enough to receive forewarning that my days are numbered.  But, knowing that is not always the case I live life to its fullest, I let people know I love and care about them, and I take one day at a time.  Each day I pray for guidance and each night when I lay in bed I thank my god for the day’s good fortune.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for Great Christmas Season Photos and Videos

Here are a few tips to remember when taking photographs or shooting video this Christmas Season.

  1.  Take pictures or shoot videos – you have to take the pictures or shoot the video in order to have them as memories.  So don’t be lazy start snapping the photos and creating the videos.
  2. Timing - is everything.  Anticipate a moment and capture it as it happens.  The idea is to capture a moment in time - be patient and you will be rewarded.
  3. Lighting – did you know that photography means “painting with light”?  Lighting sets the mood of what you capture.  You can take a photograph in the morning light and take the same picture in the evening twilight and you will create two photos of the same thing but both portray completely different feelings.  Light is the biggest contributor in conveying the story in your photograph or video.
  4.  Subject – The subject of your photograph or video captures the spirit.  It tells a clear story which is undeniable.  Keep it simple.  Capturing a sense of motion or emotion provides a powerful message.
  5.  Composition – make sure what you capture feels balanced and doesn’t give the feeling of falling off the page or give that awkward feeling when looking at it.  Your photographs and videos should be pleasing to the eye.  Use the “Rule of Thirds” – (not sure what the “Rule of Thirds” is check it out here ).

Go out take some great photographs or create some awesome videos and post us an update on how you did.  If you feel brave enough, post your best photograph or video on our Facebook page so everyone can have a look.  Just post the one you think is your best – we will post the best ones on our website and Facebook page giving you the credit for a great photograph or video. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

What Attracts You?

As humans we are attracted to many things – people, places, and things.  When I consider the word attraction what comes to mind is science class many years ago learning about how atoms and molecules attract and repel each other.  Reflecting on this notion there’s not much difference in the way humans attract and repel each other.  Characteristics such as similarity, physical traits, attitudes, personality, interests, cultural background, social skills and many other characteristic traits play a role in our ability to attract people or turn people off.

Considering what I am attracted to, I find not much has changed over time.  I am attracted to all types of people.  Certainly, there are characteristics that have never been attractive to me.  A few years back I went to a high school class reunion.  The same things that attracted me to the people I hung out with in high school were still the same characteristics that attracted me to those same people so many years later.

Considering places and things that attract me, again pretty much the same has held true over time.  I have always had a love affair, with great music, fast cars and traveling.  I know this sounds silly – how can you be attracted to objects such as cars?  It’s easy, many cars are built to attract.  The color, styling, shape, and attitude it projects are all similar characteristic traits to those used to attract or be attractive.

Today, I believe I am more attractive - not necessarily in looks.  Follow me – today I meet and talk with people from all over the world.  In fact, when traveling I find myself having conversations with anyone willing to converse.  Most people are receptive to casual conversation however in years gone by; it was not necessarily the case.  In years passed, starting up a conversation rarely got passed hello however today it seems everyone talks to me.  My wife enlightened me.  She explained that I am less threatening which makes me more attractive.  I asked how so?  In years passed, I was a talker not a listener.  Today, I am older, more mature and I listen more to what people have to say.  Think about it like this – you already know everything about yourself there is no reason to repeat it over and over.  By listening you learn enough to be attracted to find out more or turned off enough to move on.  You can be attracted to a very beautiful person but have absolutely no common ground to even start a conversation – your attraction quickly becomes short lived or very self serving.

Theories and opinions abound with ideas of what characteristic traits play a role in attraction to individuals, places and things.  Regardless, of whether its destiny, theory or predisposition the bottom line is they are, for the most part, just theoretical speculation and not an individual’s personal reality.  So the next time you pass someone on the sidewalk or meet in passing in the grocery store aisle take a moment to say hello – you never know what you may find out, who you may meet or who you may help by just taking the time to say hello.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Choices That Define Us

I have learned that life has a lot to do with making choices.  Throughout life we make good choices and bad choices.  Each choice we make have consequences we must live with.  Recently, on the front page of a New York newspaper there was a photograph of a person who had fallen to the subway tracks as a train bared down just before the train hit and killed him.  The photographer made a choice when he took the series of photographs of the individual's struggle to get out of the train's way.  In the instance of a camera click the photographer made the choice to capture the moment a life was taken rather than trying to help save that life.  In no more than the moment of a click of the camera shutter the photographer gave more value to a photograph than a life.

For over forty years I have endeavored to capture that special moment in a  photograph. When I saw the photograph of the person right before the train hit and killed him it made me think.  What choice would I make?  Would I had opted for capturing the moment in a photograph, or would I had done everything in my power to save a life?  The answer for me is easy - the newspaper would have had to run a different story or maybe the story of how a photographer tried to save a life instead of capturing the moment a life was lost.  I would have made my choice, whether right or wrong, knowing I could not have lived with the consequence of knowing I done nothing to try and save a life.

The choices we make define who we are.  It makes me wonder if the roles were changed would the photographer wanted the individual to take the picture or try to help save him from the approaching train.  I live by the rule my parents taught me - treat others in the same way you want to be treated which makes all my choices much easier to make.  When dealing with people you have a choice that only you can make.  You can choose to treat people the way you want to be treated or you can choose to photograph the moment a life is taken by an approaching train.