New Year’s Resolve
Here we are, well into January of a new year! Traditionally, one reflects on the accomplishments & challenges of the past year, and looks forwards to plans & hopes for the coming year. Who am I to flaunt tradition?
Last year was truly exciting and fulfilling in a lot of ways, including with my photography. Thinking back on the highlights brings back memories of some great experiences:
- National accreditation in the category of scenic & pictorial photography, with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC).
- A trip to the amazing country of Iceland with another fun bunch of photographers. This trip was organized by good friends Samantha Chrysanthou and Darwin Wiggett.
- A challenging but highly rewarding international photography exchange project with 3 other photographers from Alberta and Arizona which included the initial exhibit of our work in Gilbert, AZ. The team included Peter Carroll, Ken Ross and Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, all of whom I now consider friends as well as colleagues.
And those were just the big highlights! It was a hot & action packed year… frankly, I’m still somewhat cooling down & catching my breath from it all. 🙂
Looking ahead to 2013, things will be different but no less busy I suspect!
- I’ve got several more exhibits of project work coming up, including Exposure 2013 Photography Festival shows at the Calgary Public Library and St. Mary’s University College. Plus several pieces appearing in the juried group show The Artist’s Lens, put on by the Alberta Society of Artists (ASA), also part of the Exposure 2013 Photography Festival.
- I’ll have the opportunity to help build out our new non-profit group, The IRIS Photographic Society of Alberta. IRIS arose from the Arizona / Alberta photography exchange project last year, and we have a lot of ideas for this group.
- More submissions for accreditation in the PPOC and ASA associations are coming up.
- As well as planned 2013 Spring and Fall photo tours in the Canadian Rockies, I’m organizing new workshops, including a landscape photography masterclass with Brian Merry and an exciting new tour in Iceland with Markéta Kalvachová.
And more! So there’s lots of fun stuff ahead. I may need one or two clones to help out — whew!
On the subject of future plans, when looking ahead at this time of year, a common thing is to make some new year’s resolutions. Now, according to people who quote statistics about such things, most resolutions fail. There are many reasons for that, and I know they’re often all too true for me as well, so I don’t really make resolutions any more.
But here’s the thing. Even though I’m going to skip the resolutions, I’ve decided to have New Year’s Resolve instead.
Resolve is something that underlies everyone who succeeds at anything that has any degree of challenge to it. It’s the thing that stops them from being just a flash in the pan if they meet too-quick early success and are tempted to board their own hype train. It’s the thing that keeps them working ahead, doggedly but intelligently, when obstacle after obstacle crops up in their way. It’s the thing that disciplines their flexibility, and guides them in adopting and abandoning plans & tactics as necessary to ultimately succeed at their goals. Resolve is what underlies a phrase from one of my favorite business authors, Jim Collins, who identified a principle in his book Good To Great — it’s the “Stockdale Paradox”: confront the brutal facts of reality, but never give up hope.
What’s my resolve about, in this context? To keep refining my sense of what my artistic voice is, to keep making my work, and to keep getting it out there. And to keep working with other positive, energized people who have this same resolve.
Don’t get me wrong — resolutions aren’t bad in their own right. But I believe they are a means to an end, not a silver bullet. They need to be underpinned by resolve, or they’ll probably fail. If you’ve made some resolutions starting out this new year, then I wish you all the best with them. But even more, I wish for you the resolve to keep striving after your dreams even if the reality you’re facing doesn’t look good right now.
Don’t lose sight of reality, but don’t let the daily distractions and annoyances sap your drive to keep doing your work. Let those little things disappear into the clouds for awhile. Instead, look to the horizon — that’s where you’re going. And look to your wings — because they’ll carry you there.
Got resolutions, or just plain old resolve? Got some thoughts on how to keep the faith while facing down reality? Feel free to comment…