I first met photographer Stephane Najman in 2009 (that's him with me above). He came highly recommended as someone whose camera truly sees things differently, an outlook I needed given that I was in the need for a back-page author’s portrait for a wild book I was writing about the element of surprise for John Wiley and Sons.
I knew he was the right guy for me the instant I checked out his website, listed under his superhero-esque nom du lens “Photoman.” Every one of his pictures wasn’t merely worth the proverbial 1,000 words, but brought those words together in a way to tell quite the visual story. Done deal.
A few weeks after my book photo session with him, Stephane phoned and asked if I would like to be part of his own book project that was to be released in early 2010. True to his off-beat nature, the concept was a series of outrageous photos that would feature an image of someone today, holding an image of him or herself much younger, the combination of which would speak volumes about change and life transformation (the one of me below is an outtake; for the book, he chose one of me jumping, with jewelry and hair a-flying).
Well, guess what’s happening on October 2, 2014, almost five years to the day of our first meeting? Stephane’s aforementioned book is finally being released.
In the interim between meeting one and October 2, I had been in touch with Stephane several times, many of which as a friendly consultant to help him find funding for the project, after the initial publisher faded away and left him high and dry.
Or as a reference for grants he was applying for to keep the project alive.
Or as a sounding board for his idea to convert the book project into a public photo exhibition.
Or as a shoulder on which to share tales of woe.
As I’ve said in this space often, my lessons learned can be profound or simple. They may be revolutionary and new, or old news that needs to be repeated. The point here then, this week’s lesson learned is a simple, old one of the value of perseverance. Or put another way…
True, there’s nothing wrong with failure. But there’s nothing wrong with success either. In fact, there’s a lot more right than wrong in it.
I spoke at an entrepreneur’s event called Start-Up Grind last week. It’s a multi-national, worldwide series of conferences that attract some of the world’s top businesspeople…and me ;)
During the Q & A session, I was asked about dealing with failure, and if I can believe the tweets, I said something to the effect that the best way to deal with failure is to succeed. No problem failing, but eventually succeeding brings context to failure.
is no fun,
nor is it sustainable.
I guess it’s no accident the series is called Start-Up “Grind,” as that is the operative adjective and verb to making things happen.
So yes, falling on your ass is part of life, and you have to deal with it. Knowing when to fold is imperative.
But so is knowing when to keep going.
For five years, something inside kept Stephan Najman driving towards October 2, 2014. Some voice said that his project is worth pursuing. Some gut feeling that kept him tenacious instead of vanquished.
The difference between success and failure then, is knowing when to listen to the pesky voices and gut feelings, and to never stop driving forward when they keep saying “Yes”…no matter how much allowance you have for the alternative of shutting down.
Don’t worry. The voices and gut feelings will eventually quiet down.
Once you reach your own October 2…whenever it may be.