This has been a huge year for me. A little more than that actually about a year and five months ago things began to change.
In August 2010 Ray, my husband, and I started planning a month long trip to Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite! A photographer’s dream location. I decided I was ready to take the next step with my photography and upgrade my equipment. I invested $3,000 in a Canon 7D and my first L lens, a 24-105 f4L.
Yosemite was and still is the most beautiful place in world I have ever seen. It is one of those few places where no matter how often people tell you how amazing it is and build up your expectations, it really is that good when you see it in person.
When I got back in October, I decided to take the advice of one of my idols Chase Jarvis and start building an audience. I knew it would be quite some time before I had anything big to say or to sell, but when I was finally ready, I needed to have some people to tell about it.
I started taking my blog more seriously. I had a blog already but I only posted once a month or so. I started posting at least once per week.
I decided to stop being a dinosaur and give in to social networking. I started with Twitter. I found some of my favourite photographers and started following them. I was surprised by how much information they shared about how they created their images. People started following me too and we had some great conversations and I found some inspirational work and great learning resources.
I also started facebook and flickr, but honestly those have not had the same results for me. As of now I don’t post on flickr at all (I may have to give it another shot) and facebook is a bit of a dud, but I still link my blog posts there.
Then, in about January of this year, a photographer I know started making changes in his life. I am referring to Jim Moitke of BetterPhoto.com. I knew him not only through the online photography school where I had taken some classes but also through a workshop he gave in Seattle. Jim interviewed me for his series of audio-interviews on his blog “Gain the Secrets of Success from Master Photographer Anne McKinnell”. I couldn’t believe he considered me a master photographer!
Jim started making some changes in his career to move into motivational speaking and helping others with personal development. He asked me a question which turned out to mark the beginning of an important change in my life. He asked me “If you knew you could not fail, what would you do or be?”
It was an exercise, I was to get out a paper and pen and devote 10 minutes to it. I began with lofty goals. I mean if I could not fail, who would not want to create world peace or end poverty? I wanted to save the ocean, find a cure for cancer and depression. Ok, so if I could not fail, how would I accomplish it? I would have to use my skills to communicate to the world: photography and writing. I mean really, if I have to write it down, and it sounds crazy I know, but this is it: National Geographic Photographer. That’s just insane, but hey, it’s just an exercise.
Then in February a friend of mine died only six months after being diagnosed with cancer. I was shocked. I know it sounds cliche, but it made me start thinking about how short life is and whether I was living the life I wanted. Here’s another cliche: mid-life crisis. I admit it, I was in my early 40’s and giving serious thought to how my life was turning out.
I decided that if I did not take the leap and at least try to have the life I really really wanted deep down, I would always wonder what would have happened if…
Now that I’ve made the big change in my life and my new journey is six months in I finally realize Jim was right about one thing. I cannot fail.
Well I think I’ve written more words this week than I ever have before, so I am going to give the blog a rest now until the new year. (Sorry Toad, I know you wanted to see the photos of the Daytona Racetrack, but you’ll have to wait until January now.)
I want to thank all of my loyal friends and followers who have made such a big difference to me this year. In addition to my family and my real-life friends, I have made contact with over 500 photography enthusiasts on facebook, 1700 on twitter, and a whopping 15,890 on Google Plus!! I know that a lot of the G+ people are just numbers, but I figure there are a core group of a few thousand who regularly interact with me. I write on my blog 5 days a week now and I have an audience of 3,700 unique visitors every month (not including the search bots only the real people!), many of whom come back every day. I am overwhelmed with the response.
Merry Christmas and let this be my gift to you: Answer this question – If you knew you could not fail, what would you do or be?