Roaring Bushfires Continue To Be Menacing For Australians In 2020
Its hard to feel excited about 2020 as bushfires rage around the entire country. The men and woman of this country are either trying to escape the path of the fires or tirelessly fighting to save houses, bushland, wildlife and lives.
We have a leader who shows no compassion for the people suffering and truly fumbles at every basic way to help, but his true colours are showing and in front of the world, so I leave it to him to dig his own grave with the Australian public.
Time and time again Australia shows when natural disasters strike, is that it brings our communities together, it makes friends of strangers, the average person becomes the hero in the story, we drop the bullshit and get on with the job, and we grow stronger as a nation. We don’t need politicians to lead us! The everyday hardworking Australians, the volunteers, the backup support and the courageous lead us through the tough times.
And the best us people who feel helpless in these situations can do, is to provide support in whatever way we can. Whether its through encouragement, a pad on the back that the RFS and volunteers are doing a great job, a shower or bed to rest, a big warm hug, help raise funds, providing a box of supplies to nourish the fighters to get back out their to fight for us and just general kindness. We all can play our roles.
You are probably wondering why a photographer has no photos to share of the bush fires, well Im pretty much stuck in Sydney caring for my father who has dementia so I need to be at home for breakfast, lunch and dinner so I dont have much spare time these days to go out shooting photos for myself.
Resolutions vs Goals As We Roll Into 2020
The new year is typically a time where people are excited for the year ahead, with resolutions and plans for making it a better year than the last. I attribute most of that cheer to coming out of a week of holiday festivities and spirits are high. But resolutions really! Ive never been one to make resolutions because they have a habit of failing within the first 24-48 hours.
I heard a woman on the radio talking about setting goals rather than resolutions and it made so much sense. Resolutions have this black and white, succeed or fail concept. Whereas goals are more simple without the ‘oh Ive failed so give up’ attitude. With goals you can fall over, make mistakes, but continue on the path to reaching the goal without feeling like a failure.
TBH I really don’t get this whole start of a year and end of a year nonsense. Its something we as humans just do and have done since time began – Im guessing as I really don’t know if cavemen followed a calendar, probably followed seasons if anything, you know the whole survival thing. But why. To me, days just follow days and it’s only my iCal that tells me what day it is as a reminder of things I have to do. Yes we have events throughout the year which I believe are just pinpoints for something to look forward too – we all need things to look forward too otherwise life would be pretty mundane. Anyways – while everyone is focusing on the new year vibe, its just another day on the calendar to me.
Maybe because Christmas and New Years just brings up so much family issues … anyway there’s a novel in that somewhere 😉 … so I just honestly want to skip the entire festive season, except for the excuse to take days of work right people! haha
So if I was to set a goal for 2020 it would be pretty simple. Focus on my business while Im stuck here in Sydney looking after my father who has dementia and plan for my next chapter.
And if you haven’t heard, my next chapter involves building out a Sprinter van or similar to live in (oh yeah #vanlife baby!). A traveling home and office on wheels so I can see more of this wonderful country while working on the road.
Inspiration Doesn’t Always Have To Come From The Present
As the new year rang in, I was looking for something inspirational and I stumbled on to reading this interview on Thrive Global with Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton where he comments ‘Following Your Passion Requires More Discipline Than Passion’. A very timely read!
As a photographer I have followed the journey of Brandon and his HONY stories since the beginning – who hasn’t though. Back in 2015 while in New York, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Brandon mid interview in Central Park under a layer of snow – quite the magical setting! He was peacefully sitting on the ground with his video guy beside him interviewing a man and his dog sitting on the bench across from them. When I say interviewing, it was more like Brandon just listening to the man tell his life story without interjecting at all.
It truly made my New York visit extra special to experience HONY in real life.
In the Thrive Global interview, photographer and New York Times best-selling author Brandon Stanton talks about passion, burnout and his role as a storyteller. I truly resonate with this article. And while it dates back to January 2017 just after New Years, it’s just as relevant today. So I wanted to talk more about some of the topics discussed in the interview.
The Thrive interviewer is on point with his opening statement “sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions“.
Even Brandon Stanton was talking about “movement toward a goal” back in the new year of 2017 rather than a resolution. And considering he is a best-selling author and has made a successful career from telling authentic stories of some of the most interesting and vunerable people on the streets of New York, he is someone to take serious when he speaks.
I love this one! “Following your passion requires more discipline than passion“. I literally fell into being a wedding photographer, no real plan or goal to running the business side. But having been a full-time professional wedding photographer for 10 years in 2020 I have definitely learnt this lesson first hand and the hard way. Sure it’s great to be passionate and love your job, but at the end of the day it is a business and your sole income and that takes discipline (and so much more) to stay relevant in an ever-evolving and competitive industry – as is the climate for all creative industries these days. But saying that, you also can’t exist in the creative industries without a love for the craft, so there definitely needs to be balance between passion and discipline too.
Another gold nugget from Mr HONY! “Progress is not linear“. Yes Yes Yes! In business we need to be celebrating the small wins just as much as the big wins. Its all the little things you do and don’t do that get you to the successful result. So don’t sweep those little things especially the failures under the rug as not counting. In fact its the failures that teach us more and help us step forward more than anything. If you can learn to see your failures to guide you on a different path and as a mere stepping stone to success, you will learn to handle your failures that much better and learn to not look at them negatively or hold you back from your goal.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
This extract from Forbes story on 8 Ways Smart People Use Failure To Their Advantage speaks exactly to the point.
"Thomas Edison is a great example. It took him 1,000 tries to develop a light bulb that actually worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” That attitude is what separates the successes from the failures, and developing it requires emotional intelligence."
"Thomas Edison isn’t the only one. J. K. Rowling’s manuscript for Harry Potter was only accepted after 12 publishers denied it, and even then she was only paid a nominal advance. Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a Baltimore news anchor for becoming too emotionally involved in her stories, a quality that became her trademark. Henry Ford lost his financial backers twice before he was able to produce a workable prototype of an automobile. The list goes on and on."
One of my goals in 2020 is to work on mindfulness. I can’t yet speak to really what that means, but I hope to be able to improve the way I handle situations and not letting my emotions get the better of me – maybe its being a bit more rational in the heat of the moment. Im sure I will report back to you in the next few months as to how my work on mindfulness is going.
Back to the point Brandon made with his answer of “progress is not linear“, just keep making small improvements.
I can’t say I was surprise at New Yorker Brandon’s answer to his relationship with his phone and “that it sleeps on the bed stand next to me“. My relationship with my phone is something Ive been working on over the holidays. Less screen time and time spent on social media, and more time doing real stuff. Again I will report back to you with how that travels as I do feel having a business ties you to social media to a certain degree, but I will be investigating ways to better time manage my social media in the coming months.
The next question was along a similar line and how Brandon deals with emails. I always find these that are somewhat trivial business questions interesting as I too work for myself. I think all self-employed people struggle with communication, simply by the fact there are multiple ways in which you can be contacted these days. From email, phone calls, Facetime and Skype etc, text messages, PM through Messenger, comments on all the social media platforms, to DM on Instagram … thats alot of different apps to manage and messages to check and respond too!
Also as Brandon points out, “it seems unnatural to be always available“. “The expectation of an immediate response means that we can no longer choose whether or not to be accessible“. Speaking first hand, having people being able to contact you 24/7 (and they do) means you are always on hand. So unless you create business hours for yourself and get a system in place to handle after hours asap for the way people can communicate with you, its going to kill your enthusiasm for your business and you will be venting to anyone that will listen! And that’s not even addressing the fact that all those interruptions will impact on your creativity!
A great question “you unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day. What do you do with it?“. TBH I have never really valued the time in a 15 minute gap but I think thats something I want to work on in 2020. I think finding little joys in life are important. Especially considering my current situation where I am caring for my father with dementia as I have be here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have any ideas of things that can be achieved in 15 minutes please comment below.
Oooh the burn out question is sooo relevant. I dont believe there is any successful person who hasn’t suffered from burnout. Successful people are driven and motivated and sometimes forget to stop and therefore struggle with work/life balance.
I believe everyone suffers from burn out at some point and thats why breaks like weekends and holidays are not only important but a must-do – to the point it should be compulsory to take breaks. Even as far as taking morning, lunch and afternoon breaks at work. Breaks are a chance to step away from the screen if you work at a computer or whatever you are doing at work, so you can chill, nourish your body, get a fresh injection of energy and inject some fun into your day/week/life.
I think we all feel a little burnt out at the end of the year, which I blame on all the fussing for weeks over one day, yep Christmas Day creates so much unnecessary drama! I think the holidays are a great way to take stock of how busy we have been – and I dont want to say force – but with how busy our lives are, its like we are being forced to spend time with family and friends! Okay I said forced. I do think the holidays are intended to dedicate time for catching up with loved ones.
I don’t know about you but I feel exhausted after this past year and if the new year can serve any purpose, hopefully its a chance to take stock, have a break to re-energise for another 12 months.
8 Signs You’re Burned Out
You’re Not Taking Care Of Your Basic Needs
You’re Snoozing Your Alarm Too Much
Your To-Do List is Overwhelming
Your Life Doesn’t Motivate You
You’re Not Having A Break
You’re Getting Overly Irritated By Other People
You’re Living On Auto Pilot
Your Thoughts Are Negative
And as the final question in Brandon’s interview was “share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace” his response was “Don’t wait for perfect!” – I wholeheartedly support that statement.
On that note, Im taking another week to relax before I get into some strategising for the year ahead.
Oh, you may have noticed I totally skipped over December and the lead up to Christmas. Well it was pretty busy getting work done and two weddings to shoot. One of which was my brothers wedding in Sydney and the other a friends wedding in Yass near Canberra. I will have more on those in two separate posts later this month.
The bushfire season sadly doesn’t look like its going to end anytime soon with no rain in sight so please stay safe and look after your loved ones and our furry friends too.
Here’s hoping we can all be a little kinder to ourselves and loved ones in 2020 and make time for breaks!
Remember, if you have any ideas of things that can be achieved in a spare 15 minutes, comment below! I can’t wait to read your ideas and even try some of them out …