Do you want to know what makes us different? Anyone can take a picture and make it look good. Anyone can be a photographer by watching a handful of youtube videos. Anyone can just find a way to find success through hard work. What makes us different is our story. Storytelling is by far the most underrated aspect of a business. We get so caught up looking for shortcuts that we forget to tell our story, to understand our perspective, to show our point of view.
I am sure you are wondering "Why Tim for the Keynote Speaker for The Photo Cookout?" I have shared my story a few times for other conferences but not in this on my website.
When I was 18, I was in college, and my father would say to me "I do not care what you do, I just want to know where you are at, at all times" Today, it does not seem like an unreasonable request. The sad part is that for whatever reason I just could not do it. It was not that I could not physically do it. It was just that I did not want to do it. I was pretty dumb. After about the 10th warning, I came home, and my father had all of my belongings packed up on the doorstep, and he told me to leave. If I was big enough to do what I wanted, then I was big enough to be on my own. He said I had no clue what it was like to live in the real world. At the time, I did not own much; my belongings consisted of a trash bag of clothes, a $600 Emerson DVD player and a 13 inch TV. I had nowhere to go and no one to blame but myself.
I slept in my 1991 Honda Civic hatchback for two days and worked double shifts waiting tables at Applebees until I earned enough money to put down a deposit on an apartment. Those two days of homelessness taught me about effort. It showed me that I was not going to get to where I wanted to be without a ton of work, sacrifice, and energy. I was also filled with resentment to prove my father and others who doubted me wrong.
Life has everything to do with how much effort we will give to be successful. All I have ever known is that effort will get me noticed. No one else can give you effort. I am just sharing my story to tell you that every time you see someone that they have not always had, it figured out. I'm telling you this because hustling is how I got here. I have never received a handout. I have worked for everything I have received in life. I am not satisfied yet, and I am not finished yet. I will put in the work to be considered one of the greats in photography. I remember that day of sleeping in my car, and I promised myself that I would never feel that way again. That pain I felt, I never want to feel again. That pain I felt will cause me to outwork every other photographer in the industry.
Ray Lewis once said there are two sides of pain. There are the suffering and the discomfort. It happens that pain is what causes people to quit. On the other side of pain is the effort. If you can push through the pain, the disappointment, the failures there is glory on the other side of pain. I was already hurting so why not receive something for it? That is the moment where I decided that I would hustle and outwork everyone until I found success. If you want to find out what hustling, hard work, is about and how you can change the paradigm of your situation or business then see me speak at The Photo Cookout in Atlanta, Georgia on September 17-18th.
In fact, I want you to come so much that I will pay for half of your ticket. All you have to do is comment on my blog post. That's it. I will randomly select a winner on Friday.
In case you are wondering about the picture, it is room 306 from the Lorraine Motel. It is the hotel room that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Our stories have meanings.