A few weeks ago I visited a friend in Australia. He wanted to photograph a waterfall inland from the Great Ocean Road. Not the kind of thing I usually shoot, but I took it as an opportunity to try something new. I even bought a tripod so I could do it justice.
I was very pleased with the results; this shot looking away from the waterfall is my favourite. But so many things could have stopped me getting this image. We miscalculated where the place was by maybe an hour and half of driving. When we realised, we went ahead anyway. When we got to where we thought we were going, it turned out we’d taken a wrong turn. The wrong dirt road. But lucky for us it lead to another waterfall. Except that the sign for the walking track said ‘DANGER! Do not enter. Falling trees.’ We pressed on. I hadn’t anticipated that the track would cross a stream several times. I had the wrong footwear. I got wet feet. We pressed on. I’d never used my tripod before. I’d never taken longer exposure shots. I’d never used the HDR function on my camera before. I’d never adjusted the white balance so specifically on this camera. But we did it. We experimented. We got the shots. But even if we hadn’t, we’d still have learned something: about the environment, the conditions for success, the tools needed to do the job. And the next time would have been easier.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you have everything in place to guarantee success, because you might be successful anyway. And if you don’t get the optimum result, you will still get something valuable.
A few weeks ago I was working with a group on a high-intensity sales presentation programme. There was a part of the programme where the participants had to break into groups of 4 to deliver their presentations to each other using PowerPoint. The organisers suddenly realised that there weren’t enough projectors for all the groups. That could have been a problem for a lot of people, but not the Regional Sales Director. Quick as a flash he helped one group open a laptop flat and prop it up against a whiteboard with the keyboard resting in the pen tray. Not perfect, but it worked. And that was all it needed to do. I got a strong feeling that the Sales Director always felt he had what he needed to be successful. And he is.
Do you have what you need to be successful? You know, you just might. Have a go. Press on. Use the resources around you. Learn from what happens. Stay focussed on the result but value the journey.