Decisions and Convictions

Ask any successful person, and you'll discover this consensus. Indecisiveness will get you nowhere toward your goals. In his book "The Power of Decision", Raymond Charles Barker states "Indecision is actually the individual's decision to fail." Bold assertion, perhaps, but I didn't have to search far to stir up a MASS number of indisputable quotes from high achievers to support his claim.

Will your decisions always endure time? Not likely. In fact, since the day I hung the shingle proclaiming I was in business, I hated the idea of networking. The idea of gathering in a room with a bunch of people that only met to gain more business seemed like business card speed-dating. Blah!.. "I'll pass". "That's not for me". "I'm more a one-on-one person". The list goes on with  my anti-networking rhetoric.

Having attended a few networking events, I was completely put off by the idea of meeting people that were not likely to be my clients. I have verbal convictions that "they" were like the guys on the Vegas strip "slap-slap" pushing flyers of nude women into your reactive hand. (and who cleans up the mess of them, dropped after you realized what you accepted?)  

During that same span of 20 years I've poured myself into the study of mind science. What makes us win, lose, happy, depressed, lie, steal and yes... TRUSTED?

By no strategic intentions, I caved in to an invitation to "Friday Network" at the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce. That is after explaining my concisely distilled mantra of opposition.

I had just moved my 18-year-old Portland Oregon portrait studio to this  suburb after realizing that it was where most of my clients commuted from. 

"It's free to come try, so why not?.." Her logic hooked me, so I went. To add to my expectation of dislike, Lake Oswego Oregon is classified as one of our country's "super zip codes" with a significantly higher median income per capita. My outdated judgement that it would be an unwelcoming bunch of cliches, that wouldn't understand me, was quickly debunked.

Many Name Tags

They sang a dorky little Good Morning song, the office manager Sean radiated welcoming enthusiasm, and I had people coming to me, inviting me into conversation. Only one of them went after me with his snake oil, while many others just became my friends.

One of them even helped me cover my new pool, in the rain, the first year it became my new chore. My business increased by 300% (same prices!) including a number of these chamber members and their referrals.  No Vegas-style card-snapping, just an ongoing conversation of trusting friendships. Enough so that I was awarded during my first full year for apparently being an effective networker. "But, but... I don't do that, right?"

One invited me to present to her Rotary group after my tithing of talent for a shoot in Kenya. The Rotary motto "Service above Self" made me feel right at home with this group of givers. I left with an app in my hand.

Another invited me to. BNI group (Business Network International) to again stir my pulp of scepticism.  "Great, a pay-to-play room full of snake oil brands..." Wrong!

Their philosophy of "Givers Gain" was validated by all systems and structure. In keeping with my hypocritical pendulum-swing, it wasn't enough that I helped charter the club, I also serve as the inaugural "Education Coordinator". Yes, I now give a weekly feature on the value of networking. Doh!.. But, but...  

Monday - Rotary, Wednesday - BNI, Friday - LO Chamber... Not radical enough for you, I outgrew my studio and moved to the extreme west of Lake Oswego that borders Tigard/Portland AND Tualatin. I now have a name tag for Thursday as well!

This story is not about my becoming a social flip-flipper as much as it is to say this:

Be careful about where you apply your convictions, because you are putting emotionally charged attention on something you may not really want in your life.

mystic beach: 1997 (before I knew what photoshop was) Awarded by the western united states, professional Photographers of America (British Coloumbia, Alaska, washington, oregon,  Hawaii, california, nevada, idaho, montana,) receiving "Best Illustrative", Fuji Masterpiece Award, Kodak Gallery Award, published in the 2nd annual kodak gallery award collection album and hung at the Kodak Epcot center in orlando florida. more importantly - it got me over my conviction of "nature only" in my photography.

mystic beach: 1997 (before I knew what photoshop was) Awarded by the western united states, professional Photographers of America (British Coloumbia, Alaska, washington, oregon,  Hawaii, california, nevada, idaho, montana,) receiving "Best Illustrative", Fuji Masterpiece Award, Kodak Gallery Award, published in the 2nd annual kodak gallery award collection album and hung at the Kodak Epcot center in orlando florida.

more importantly - it got me over my conviction of "nature only" in my photography.

With enough emphasis, your opposition to excessive weight-gain, attracting unhealthy relationships or (insert peeve here) could fill your closet with a stash of snake oil!

Our brains are wired to deliver us everything that we feed them. Ever bought a brand new, one-of-a-kind car color, only to find it in every other lane of traffic?..

I actually opened Prints Charming with the idea that "I don't want to shoot people - I only shoot nature. I'll just focus on product and novelty images." HA!

I must have said it with deep enough convictions to attract all of my fears - now overcome. A majority of my awards were portraits of my clients (except Mystic Beach on left - never did identify the silhouetted clam-digger - appearing as a wise old man walking the beach)

Learn enough about what you love, that you can pour your flesh-covered purpose into it and make a difference in your world. Purpose, fortified with your convictions can lead to same pretty amazing things.

Make it a great life!

Click image to read the full post - but this knighting ceremony is what happens on the other side of a swayed conviction. Fellow Rotarian/Newspaper editor for Lake Oswego review hears about my history, runs an article about my 15+ years service. Rose Festival Foundation and royal Rosarian members ponder the history, "anti-networking" Prints Charming becomes an honorary knight. Indecision may be dangerous, but sticking to the wrong ones can also lead to a less fulfilling life. That would be "sir" flip-flopper - thank you!..

Click image to read the full post - but this knighting ceremony is what happens on the other side of a swayed conviction. Fellow Rotarian/Newspaper editor for Lake Oswego review hears about my history, runs an article about my 15+ years service. Rose Festival Foundation and royal Rosarian members ponder the history, "anti-networking" Prints Charming becomes an honorary knight. Indecision may be dangerous, but sticking to the wrong ones can also lead to a less fulfilling life. That would be "sir" flip-flopper - thank you!..

2 Comments

Brian Geraths

Passionate for nature, life, writing and sharing, this site is mutually dedicated to my three favorite vehicles through life - Photography, Writing and Speaking. As professional photographer I was (and still am) in my favored "Observer" mode. As writer, these observations exposed a deeper understanding into ethics, authenticity and leadership. As speaker, I get to be selfish. In giving we gain - big! By helping you to discover your own authenticity, passion and where you too are a leader, I get a huge pang of fulfillment. Yes, I am a giver - the most selfish sort of person that ever was. (that is, once you realize how great the results of giving truly are)