My morning routine is a little different than most people. I’m up around 5. I eat breakfast at home (a scramble of eggs, black beans, chicken, fresh tomatoes and spinach). Oh! Wait! Major tangent here ...
A little over a month ago, inspired by Kevin Swan, Chris Becker (who I actually think I’m supposed to call just “Becker” but that seems really strange to me so I’m going to keep calling him this if he doesn’t mind too much - which he actually may.. so hmmmm ... ok, seems really weird but - er) “Becker,” and a few others in the photography business as well as by the fact that I serve a world of professional photographers who insist on taking pictures of my fat self everywhere I go, I decided to try out the 4 Hour Diet. I had read the book and talked with some friends who know about such things as nutritional science and with their blessing and the promise that I could lose 20 pounds in 30 days and if I was willing to alter my lifestyle and eating choices in some very manageable ways, not only would I continue to lose weight but I would also keep it off, I set off. (that sentence is positively Faulkner-Esque!) Well, 32 or so days later I am more than 20 pounds lighter. I feel great. I am still fat in my own eyes (the only ones that count) but 200 lbs is in sight and my weekend bike rides are more fun already. So thanks Kevin and, er (still feels weird but I’ll get used to it I guess), “Becker” for showing the way...
Ok, tangent over.
Like I said, my morning routine is a little different. I eat breakfast out of a cup in my truck on my way to the gym. (I know - it’s not safe - yada yada - write the NTSB about it - there are exactly 12 other people on the road at that time and they all know to watch out for the semi erratic Ford F150 weaving its way down the road). It’s about a 35 minute drive. I get caught up on the major news stories (KNX Newsradio here in Los Angeles is an excellent source - though I have to confess I don’t like morning anchor Dick Helton’s style all that much) and listen to some country radio. Once at the gym I “ride” (I guess that’s the right verb) the elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes, stretch, do sit ups (which I hate but which are good for my terminally bad back), and then shower, change and stop by Starbucks for my Venti Pikes, no room, no sugar, before getting to the office, most days these days, around 7.
That may be TMI. I dunno. It’s what I do. The reason I got to thinking about it is because all of this time gives me a lot of time to think. And when I have a lot of time to think I spend most of that time thinking about my clients (all, I-don’t-know-how-many thousand of you). Some days I think about all of the ways I/we suck. Some days I am frustrated that there are many ways that we no longer suck that don’t seem to make a difference. Some days I think about all of the ways you suck. (oops! am I supposed to say that out loud?) But frankly most days I find myself falling into a kind of mental retrospective of inspiration.
One month in to my first year at Pictage (which was exactly two years ago today, give or take a day) someone asked me what I like the most about my job. It was a challenge then and much bigger challenges loomed to be sure. But the reason my friend had asked the question was because he’d seen a change. I was happier. I liked work. I didn’t even mind taking the brunt of so many frustrated customers (frustrated about stuff that happened long before I got here and frustrated about stuff that was still happening). What was it about this job that made me happy?
The answer then and now is an easy one. I love serving professional photographers. Now don’t worry. I’m not going to go all sappy motivational speaker on you. But it’s true. I love what you all do. I am amazed at your vision and your craft. I am amazed at your willingness to give of your time and talent. As a long time blundering student of photography myself, I know how hard many of the things you do actually are. I wish I could do them myself. Some of you have had the time and patience to try to teach me and that’s been great.
Here’s my thought for a (Good) Friday. Keep it up. Don’t get distracted by the storms. That’s such a time suck. We’ll make a deal. You keep pushing and I will too. There are a whole series of pretty amazing things getting ready to jump out of your grandmother’s old Pictage. Most of these will launch in May. What’s going to launch in your business? Why will you be different in June than you were in April? Never stop. What’s next is what’s important.