The power of commitment

Working in a beautiful and inspiring environment is something I have always strived for, so working from my leafy courtyard in Venice, California, where I’ve been based for the last month, has been amazing. Whilst here I’ve met with some of the photographers I’ve been mentoring. Some of them live here (and what wonderful hosts they are!), but some of them have also been inspired to jump on a plane to LAX.

I count myself pretty lucky that I can hop on a plane and escape a wet winter in Auckland. However, doing it has reminded me how easy it actually it is to follow your dreams and do what you love. The main thing is commitment.

I learnt about commitment pretty early on at the age of 16 when I discovered (in a book) the world of ad agencies and I decided that I wanted to live in London W1 -my favourite place- and work in the best ad agency in the world. As luck would have it, Saatchi and Saatchi, one of the top ad agencies in the world, happened to be in London W1. (Theres an example of the universe moving to accommodate commitment). Like a terrier I didn’t give up until I had a job there. It took a year.

Since then I’ve committed to everything else I’ve set out to do. Commitment is crucial because there will always be people who, with the best intentions, try to discourage you. Who cares if there were no photo agents in New Zealand? I did it anyway. No one in NZ will pay a consultant? Gosh, there are some grateful photographers out there now.

They’re grateful because one of the things I do is help them uncover their essence. And this helps them commit to moving in a clear direction. It helps them know what to say ‘No’ to, and what to say ‘Yes’ to.

Numerous times a photographer has had me review or ‘Blitz‘ their work, help them re-define their style, and suddenly a client has called them with the perfect brief. Often, all it takes is a switch of mindset to get those rusty wheels turning again. With commitment incredible things happen.

Commitment brings certainty. It gives you permission to focus on the right clients, to create amazing personal projects, to say ‘No’ to that frustrating cheapskate client who is constantly asking for favours, and to jump on a plane to shoot that dream series, or meet a mentor.

I think Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe says it perfectly:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.

Begin it now.”

So what are you waiting for?