Ripples in the Pond – Photography, New Years Resolutions, Declarations, inspiration, and paying it forward

As we enter the new year and everyone is making their New Years Resolutions I’ve got to come out and say I’m not a huge fan of News Year Resolutions and like many people the amount of times over the years I’ve made the resolution to loose a few pounds goes back decades. Those resolutions like many those of many other people I know never had any real success.

What I am a fan of is making declarations. Publicly declaring what your goals are is a huge and powerful motivating factor. On some level it makes you accountable.

In December of 2009 I attended a photographers workshop, Fast Track Road Show, with photographer Dane Sanders.  I was struggling with a lot of things at that time relating to making my passion of photography a successful business.   I was also struggling with my weight.   At well over 400 lbs (that’s biggest loser first weigh in contestant size) my size was impacting my business greatly as it did every aspect of my life.   I was hoping that I would pull something from this workshop to help me with my business and maybe even some inspiration to focus on my weight issues.

Well in a room of my peers from around the country we had a conversation that day and I made a declaration to them to do what was needed to take control of my life and my business.   My declared goal was to loose about 200 lbs in two years.

That conversation and declaration changed my life.

I found the motivation to reach out for the support I needed from friends, both local and around the country.    My second shoot, Dane Linder, became my gym partner – we see each other 4 days a week in the gym.   The Fast Track Photographers became my support group.

My life began to change.

As these changes started to accumulate I became more confident and starting sharing my story with select local friends, mostly in the photography and wedding communities, and started my fitness blog,

But for the most part I kept these two things separate, my business blog only occasional mentioning my health and fitness successes and links to the blog.  I struggled with where to draw the line between my weight loss and my business.

What I’ve realized since then is there isn’t much of a line.   My success at my weight loss turned into success in my business.   My confidence and focus all increased in every aspect of my life.   The level of dedication and commitment I made to my physical journey is also part of the dedication and commitment I give my clients.   I realized these things are all part of who I am and impact every aspect of my life.

As 2010 came to a close and my first year of my declaration was over I had lost over 150 lbs.   I far exceeded my weight loss goals for the year, just as I far exceeded my hopes with my business.

So the other day I’m watching a video blog post by Dane Sanders and another leader in the wedding industry Becker (whom I also know and have studied with) and they are talking about their declarations for 2011.  At about minute 25 they start talking about me, and how my journey has inspired them.

The entire show is well worth watching but from minute 25 to the end they talk a lot about their declations.

Over the last few months I’ve started to realize how much my story has inspired some other people, but I was still shocked a bit by hearing them talk.   These are two photographers I look at as inspiration, and it was weird to wrap my head around the notion I had inspired them.

So what’s my declaration for 2011?

I declare that I’m going to remember that conversation in 2009 that changed my life.   I’m going to be more open and honest about how who I am as a person affects my professional life.   I’m going to be out there in the hopes that I can start that conversation with someone else that might change their life as mine has been.   I’m going to pay it forward.

So while my blog will still be the focus of all my fitness posts, I’m going to touch base here a bit more about that aspect of my life.   I’m going to be open to others who might want to have that conversation with me, just as I had with Dane and the Fast Trackers.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, wether it’s success in business or fitness, but I know how having a simple and honest conversation can me a huge catalyst for change.

So hit me up sometime if you think this might be a conversation you’d like to have.   With dedication and support, can you imagine what it is you can do.

  • Mark, this is so so awesome! Can I help share your story by mentioning you on my blog? I’d love to do that and I just cannot BELIEVE how far you’ve come. It’s so inspiring, friend!

    Hope we can reconnect at WPPI!

  • Mark Hayes - Denver Wedding Photographer

    By all means, feel free to share.