“Do you dream? Do you believe dreams come true? There is a reality in every moment, with every living being. All the realities are different. All of them can be successful. Even failure is a counter-weight of a successful reality.” ~ Maria Lehtman
Living the dream.
Do you feel that your success is culminated in a single moment in time – an image, a happy memory, a successful project closure, an anniversary, a win?
The most significant transition in my career was moving from senior sales positions to a management role. This marked a clear threshold from living ‘my success’ to supporting ‘our success.’
I always believed in strong team teamwork, and my skill has been in creating motivated and collaborative teams even when I had no direct reports. I never believed that my success would suffer from sharing credit, on the contrary, I always thought that what we share multiplies.
During the last year I was working in front-line Sales, the account team I lead was able to close a significant customer contract. I gained confidence in myself that lasted longer than the single moment created by the feeling of a win.
The win allowed me to travel to complete another dream I had had for a long time: to photograph dolphins. It was the first time I visited the Middle-East with my husband. The culture shock went both ways, I am sure. My husband is quite tall and very Nordic looking. We stood out from the crowds like light candy canes. It was more comfortable to walk about in groups or with guides. We were not allowed to photograph locals. In fact, I was quite aware that female photographers were frowned upon.
I held my ground. It had a once in a lifetime chance. Everything changes. I loved the way Oman still recalled much of its heritage. Oman had not been a great tourist attraction because of the zero tolerance to alcohol. Only one bar was allowed to serve it, and the place was booked for the tourist groups all-year round.
Meeting the dolphins.
It was the first time in my life I was embarrassed to say that I grew flowers in my garden. On a jeep safari, our young and skilled driver asked us many questions about our country. He was shocked that we had water to waste on flowers. “Are you seriously watering flowers just for decorative purposes?!” Every time I water our garden I still feel a tinge of quilt for all the greenery we have up in the North. I am pretty sure he thought we were mad using water that way, and I cannot say he was mistaken.
When I finally saw the dolphins we were lucky to witness various species of them dancing around the waters of the Arabian Sea. I did not stop photographing until my memory card ran out. I wished we had had a sailing boat gliding across the waters as silently and gracefully as the sleek, beautiful creatures around us.
The dolphins were a perfect metaphor to my successful year. A time before the transition. I did not realize that I would never again feel quite the same way when we won, closed and delivered projects. Being a manager changed the way I felt about success. From that moment on I lived in the future. Envisioning the steps forward.
What it taught me thought was that we need to celebrate every moment when we are successful. Share that feeling across the network helping us. The memory of it will last a long time. Even now, it lights up the shadows over other years with more struggles and challenges or losses.
To carry on feeling successful:
- Recall what lights up your day. Is there a topic you cannot stop talking about once you start – a topic that creates passion in you? Start realizing that passion in small steps.
- Ask people close to you what they value in you. What would they like to learn from you. You might be surprised at what you learn.
- Take a trip back memory lane. Take mental notes on what worked for you during your life, childhood, your career. I found my way back to music when I realized I had forgotten how much it meant to me as a teenager.
- Forgive yourself for failures. It is easier said than done, but we all fail, we all make mistakes. If we did not, it would mean we never actually tried.
- Move ahead to new beginnings – do not worry about closing all ends. Some journeys are not meant to end. They are winding paths that only courage can navigate.
Wishing you all success in your photography, travel and career journeys!
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Ref. Weekly Photo-Challenge by Daily Post: Evanescent