Sunday, January 19, 2020

Slowing Down

Recently I took a webinar taught by Sarah Petty called the 20/20 Vision Six Day Challenge.  My goal was, and still is, to learn everything I can about marketing my photography.  Yes, I think it's that good.  In fact, I KNOW my photography is that good.  I've been selling my work on line and in person for many years, but in 2019, my sales almost tripled from 2018, which itself was a better sales year than any previous year.  Why?  I'm not sure, but I did begin doing a better job of marketing, and I realized that marketing was key.

What does this have to do with slowing down.  Doesn't increased activity mean speeding things up?  Well, let's go back to Sarah's six-day webinar.  At the end of every day's lesson, Sarah gave us a challenge.  The first day we were told to pick up our smart phone and immediately make a video introducing ourselves.  OK.  In the first place, I'm much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.  Add to that the fact that I deal in still photography.  I've never really made a video in my life.  Well, as I think about it, that's not, strictly speaking, true.  Back at Portola Junior High, we sold The World's Finest Chocolate to raise money, as I remember, so that El Cerrito High School could buy new uniforms for the Gaucho Marching Band.  I sold so many chocolate bars that I won a prize, a Kodak Hawkeye 8 mm movie camera which I played with for a short while.  Somewhere in my boxes of photos, I have a few reels of "family home movies" that no one needs to see.  I also did a little experimenting with my Nikon DSLRs when Kevin was wanting to video the Hot Springs Football Team.  But, let's get real, video is not my forte, nor even my interest.

One Kodak Hawkeye 8 mm movie camera
(Yes, I still have it)

Back to my story, when Sarah told us to pick up our smart phones, even if we were still in our jammies, I did.  I grabbed that thing, stepped outside into the sunlight, held it up above my head, and introduced myself to the world.  Or at least I thought I did.  I then tried to upload my short video to Sarah's Facebook group, but all I saw was a little blue wheel turning and the single word "Posting."  Nothing else seemed to happen, so I grabbed the phone again, sat on my organ bench and did the whole thing a second time.  Again, that blue circle and the word "Posting."  Figuring I was doing something wrong, I went downstairs and had Kevin hold the phone while I introduced myself yet again.  This time the video posted smoothly, as things tend to do when Kevin gets involved, and I walked away having completed my assignment.  Later, as I was going through the various videos that my classmates had posted, I found that my introduction was there--three times with three different settings.  Talk about overkill.  I apologized to the group for hogging the airwaves.

Day Two's challenge was to fill in a grid:  nine core areas important to life, things like family, spouse, friends, hobbies, business, etc.  Those were on the y axis of the grid.  The x axis was simply where we wanted to be in those areas in 1 year, 3 years and 10 years.   This was to fulfill our daily lesson:  "Take ownership of the results before you know the path!"

Day Three asked us to focus in on those nine core areas  This was in response to our lesson:  "Create Better Habits," and the challenge was to make up a "New Habit Tracker."  This one was harder for me.   One of the core areas was "Faith/Belief."  I no longer attend church, nor do I read the Bible or pray on any kind of a regular schedule.  I do (want to) believe in myself and my abilities, and I have a huge library of motivational books, so I wrote down "Read your gurus for (at least) 30 minutes every day (John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, etc.)"  I went up to my study and found my John Maxwell collection and another book, Slowing Down to the Speed of Life.   The book's subtitle is "How to Create a More Peaceful, Simpler Life From the Inside Out."  Written by two psychologists, Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey, the book sets out to show the reader how quieting our mind can improve the way we function in daily life, especially in the areas of work, family, parenting, even leisure.  

The core concept of Slowing Down to the Speed of Life is that we create most (all?) of the stress in our lives by letting our thoughts run rampant.  A colleague/family member/spouse says or does something that triggers an avalanche of thoughts racing through our minds.  We focus on past grievances, future deadlines, anything but the actual moment.  Once we start riding that avalanche, we go a little crazy and feel stress, and probably anger, resentment, and other unhealthy feelings.  If we can calm our mind, focus only on the present moment, we can let the free-flowing mind take over and find a healthy way to deal with the present stressor.  That is a very simplified explanation, but for the past week, I have gotten up, come downstairs to my favorite recliner, and read for at least a half hour (usually more like an hour) before I ever check my glucose or fix my coffee.  Before I even shower and dress.  The practice has been so beneficial to me, I will definitely keep it up.  It is a "better habit" for me.

I cannot teach you how to quiet your mind, or even how to Slow Down to the Speed of Life, but I can recommend the book highly, and even give you a link where you can find and purchase the book.  The price has even been discounted.  Check it out.  I know you'll find it worthwhile.  And if any of the landscape photos in this post speak to you, click on the link below each one to go to my online sales gallery where you can buy the photo as a print, a mug, a shower curtain, or even a mini-skirt, if that's your thing.

A Photo of Running Eagle Falls, aka Trick Falls, in the Two Medicine Area of Glacier National Park, Montana.

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