20
May
09

Just Do It – like a Green Machine (apologies to James Brown)

In the last post suggested that one way to get started on something is to ‘Just Start’.
This time I’d like to expand on that a bit more and describe what I mean by using my own journey as an example. There is a bit more to ‘Just Start’ than closing your eyes and jumping it; in fact that approach is less than half-right. Jumping-in is still encouraged, though. That’s the fun part!
If you keep your eyes wide open, instead of closing them as you leap, you might see how to do things correctly. So keep the peepers open, and know that you are about to make a whole series of blunders, do things in the wrong order, and not do ‘important’ things at all – and pay attention to those details – you’ll actually learn what’s important for you to do in your situation.
(small sidebar: this is actually where the name ‘afterexposure‘ came from… it was intended as a learning method … to look at your shots ‘after exposure’ to learn what to do better next time. It’s the keeping ones eyes open that’s important…. doubly so for photographers 😉
In my case I thought that I could pick up a camera, take some nice shots, put them on a website … or blog… and the crowds would beat a path to my door. I planned to learn from what these mythical customers were asking for, as that would be what was selling, and I’d be on my way. Sounds pretty simple, huh?
After a few months I took some time for a what NASA calls a ‘mid-course correction’; a chance to adjust what I was doing, to keep me on track.
There are only a few kinds of ways to do things in any plan, so I looked at my plan in terms of:
  • Things that I was doing right (or were going right)
  • Things that I was doing wrong (or weren’t going right)
  • Things that I knew I wasn’t doing at all (or weren’t happening)
And two tougher nuts that need some brainstorming….
  • Things that I didn’t know I was doing, but shouldn’t be doing, or didn’t know I was doing wrong.
  • Things that I didn’t know I wasn’t doing, and that I should be doing (I call this the ‘Rumsfeldian’ case.. those pesky ‘unknown unknowns’….)
I’ll give some examples next time, but stop for a minute…. How did I know to stop and take stock of where I was?
Well, what I didn’t tell you that I have an annual plan and quarterly plans. And in these plans are whole DAYS set aside to take stock and refine the next 90 day plan. And how did I know to ‘stop and think’? (a rare thing, these days… no?)
For this I have to thank my father for pointing me toward the Success Calendars of Wayne Cotton. These are really simple tools but it really drives home how much time we DON’T have for what he calls ‘Green Machine’ days, so it makes it clear that the time we do have should be spent as effectively as possible.
And anyone who is self employed or self sufficient, but not blowing-the-doors-off-the-bank-vault successful needs to also look at how Wayne describes a better way to handle clients, spend time where it counts, and let your team churn away in the background.
Note that Wayne isn’t a photographer, but look how spooky-close his team is to a team at a studio…
Now go. Read.
Next time: The magic link between Wayne Cotton and David Allen. (oops! I gave it away!)
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