Just recently I have taken part in a photography challenge
Let’s get a few things out in the open first:
- I am no photographer! I like snapping away on the iPhone (like many of you I suspect) but until recently I was a point and snap type of gal. My camera (Nikon 1) did all the hard work me and I was quite happy to snap away merrily and enjoy the outcomes which were non too shabby I have to say
- I had heard my husband (a keen railway photographer) mumble way about ‘F’ numbers and something called ISO and had nodded my head, smiled and mentally made a rapid exit from the conversation. Numbers, technology and such like were not ‘me’
- I didn’t see myself as an artist. I mean, there are pieces of art that I like but I am not one for art galleries and the like. I can copy (ask my seven year old and he will tell you I am THE BEST at drawing dinosaurs for example) but the real creative composition – nah, not for me
So, what made me enter the challenge then?
Well first of all, I posted some of my amateur, iPhone images on Facebook and got some lovely feedback (OK I know – Facebook feedback is not known for its unbiased, critical commentary) but it boosted my confidence and actually helped me enjoy the taking of the photos more. And then a few people whose opinion I respected said that there was a germ of some talent in the photos.
Then, I started to think I could do better. Once I believed that I could take photos that people liked and appreciated, I wanted to do myself justice. I began to look at professional photographs more critically. I started to take more care over my photos. I started to experiment.
My teenage son is doing a photography course at college and I looked at his portfolio. His pictures were not ‘my type’ but they intrigued me. I would never have taken these types of photos but suddenly I was interested, stimulated by them. I started to look differently at my surroundings, take different types of photos, be more creative
Finally, I enrolled on a one day course at my local college and learned to move away from the Green Button (auto mode) and play about with aperture, speed and ISO (yes, I know what that means now!). Armed with some technical know-how (and my husbands fancy-pants camera) I have embarked on a new world of photographic discovery.
So, what are the lessons learned about this experience:
#1: Having someone believe in you, spot the germ of talent and encourage you has immense power. For some of my clients, this is the spur to stand up and speak up even though previously they had held back (for all sorts of reasons). These people are not just those who say . ‘yeah – of course you can do it’. They are the ones that believe in YOU. Skills can be learned and acquired, self-belief needs to be understood and felt first!
#2. Somewhere along the line, there needs to be a light bulb moment that says – ‘you know what, I can do better than I am doing at the moment.’ Without this, we carry on doing what we have always done. And we get the results we have always gotten. But when we realise we could do even better, then we start growing and opening our minds to new possibilities
#3. Surrounding ourselves with people who are better than us, have a different perspective than us, a different approach can help us grow by expanding our beliefs, expectations and skills. That’s why my Speak up Club works because attendees can learn from each other and support each other.
#4. Learning a set of skills is just the start. Practicing, experimenting and stretching ourselves is the next stage. For speaking up in public, this means speaking! It means trying new things out! It means getting feedback and it means constantly updating your skills.
#5. Finally, I always had a view that I am not a photographer. And for sure I am not likely to embark on a career of photography anytime soon. But you know what? I think I may have some talent. I like the photos I take. I LOVE the journey I am taking to learn more. So maybe I need to banish the self-limiting belief!
What self-limiting beliefs do you have around speaking in public? What skills do you need to learn? Have you reached a point where you know you can do even better? Come and speak to me if you think I can help