Sometimes life is like … trying to photograph snowy owls. I’d like to share four and a half important life lessons I learned along the way. They may just hold the keys to success in any endeavor.
1. Make a good plan to guarantee success …
The first few steps in most any plan are pretty straight forward and I followed them carefully:
- set a realistic goal
- come up with a good plan
- execute the plan
However, just before the step of evaluating beautiful photos that were supposed to come out of this wonder-ful plan, I hit a giant Saskatchewan pothole. I couldn’t find any snowy owls.
The days and kilometres clicked by and … nothing.
2. Be inspired by others’ success …
Meanwhile I kept hearing reports of snowy owl sighting and my Facebook news feed was practically overflowing with snowy owl photos. I began to wonder if I was the only wildlife photographer in Saskatchewan who hadn’t seen a snowy owl! Maybe everyone else had used up all the sightings.
3. Feed off an optimistic spirit …
I knew that perseverance was necessary so I kept going out hopeful and kept getting skunked. It became a badge of honour that my camera didn’t leave the case.
Frustration eventually gave way to despair. Hope had all but vanished but one nice day I decided I had nothing better to do so I took another drive in the country and decided to bring along the camera. If optimism and a positive frame of mind had any influence, there was no chance of any wildlife sightings.
4. Wait for success to come in small doses …
A funny thing happened when I was out for that drive. I found one snowy owl. Euphoria. Then the sun came out and scattered amazing light against a deep blue sky. I was overwhelmed by three more sightings in rapid succession. The odd thing is they all happened in the same area where I had been before. I finally had snowy owl photos and a huge smile!
4.5. Expect everything to turn out different than planned …
You may have noticed a slight disconnect between the lessons and my real life experience. I keep discovering that life has a funny way of turning out different than I expect or plan.
It reminds me of the old TV show The A-Team. It wasn’t exactly high-brow drama but there was a great line often used at the end of the show. After dealing with all kinds of unforeseen events and deviating wildly from the original plans, the group’s leader, Hannibal, would inevitably emerge victorious and say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Ya, me too.