Life lessons from a photographer
I recently enjoyed a couple of hours with a local photographer, a gift from my Step-mum to share with my Dad. We headed up the Northumberland coast to a fabulous little bay. Andy shared a three-step process to taking a good photograph, and I’ve been experimenting ever since.
I love easy to follow steps to anything, and I got to thinking that the way of looking at photography that Andy cited (adapted from Ansel Adams) could easily be applied to changes you want to make in your life. Let me share them with you and see what you think.
Motivation "What’s your motivation for taking your photograph?" asked Andy.
I ask, what is your motivation for making your change. Is the change something that will bring you joy? Who is behind the change; you or someone else? When you make your change, what other impacts will it have on your wider world? I’ve seen this play out many times, for example, where people have decided they want to be more assertive. When pressed on why, they cite ‘my boss says I have to’ or ‘I’m sick of people walking all over me’. Maybe good reasons, but without their own determination and reason, change is unlikely to stick; it will always be easier to go back to previous established behaviour.
For us to successfully make new patterns, it can take much practice (research says anything from 18 to 254 days, so don’t be disheartened if you keep trying!) and we have to make changes to unconscious patterns too. In this article from Mentalhealth.net (https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/motivation-for-change-the-stages-of-change-model/), there’s much you can do to make sure your change has stickability – and it’s all to do with motivation!
Observation "What are you trying to say?" "where is the photograph?" Andy asked.
I ask, how clear are you on what change you want to make? What difference do you want to see when your change is made? What really will be different, and how will you know when the change has happened? Working backwards is a really good way of having that clarity about the change. Start with the outcome, as making sure you’re specific is essential too.
Getting fitter sounds great, but what does it really mean, and when will you know when it’s happened? Something more specific like ‘being able to run one mile without stopping’ gives a much better focus with a definite sense of achievement when it’s done, even if this is part of a bigger goal.
Visualisation This is described by Andy as the ‘technical part’.
I say this is where the magic happens. Making sure this is the best picture, really imagining what this picture will look like, put yourself in the picture so it becomes real. Take yourself to a time when you have made your change, and you’re successfully living your new behaviour. Notice the colours; what sounds are there? Who is there with you? Where are you? What feelings do you get when you’re doing this behaviour? Imagine the benefits actually happening. This part of this easy process ensures that everything you do will be geared towards achieving your goal. Ask yourself every day, what am I doing to take myself closer to what I want? How does this activity I’m doing contribute to achieving the change?
Since I met Andy, I’ve set myself a weekly challenge to practice my new photography skills. How will you practice your new skills in making great changes in your life? How quickly will you begin to see the results you want?
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