“If you want things to change,

you first have to change you”

– Rachel Bright, The Lion Inside

A few events recently have started me thinking about the topic of change. Firstly is the above quote. Not from some sage mystic or motivational speaker. It’s from a book I’ve been reading to my two year old in which a small mouse feels left out and ignored. Instead of wallowing in self pity the mouse decides to make himself brave and think like a winner.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this applies to my photographic practice and with a lot of introspection realised that the reason I am not where I want to be with my photography is through fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Now I have recognised where I am and what is holding me back I’ve tried to make changes and to move forward. I’m now actively seeking out opportunities such as an upcoming shoot with the Moscow State Circus and an exhibition at Leica Store Manchester.

I’ve also though deeply about the skills I am lacking. Studio work, flash photography, printing. My next step is to find opportunities to develop these skills. I’ve already reached out in the community and had a lot of help from friends such as Pep Williams, Nick Mayo, David Alan Harvey, Jan Grarup, Thibaut Octave, Jahan Saber who have given me invaluable advice from, “just do it!” (David) to in depth technical advice (Thibaut) to everything in between.

The second event is a course I am on at work about leadership. The topic of a workshop I attended was on managing change and they introduced, “The Five Stages of Intentional Change Theory” by Richard Boyatzis. I have been considering how this model can be used in our photographic practice. The model is based on five “discoveries” and are as follows:

  1. The ideal self and a personal vision
  2. The real self and its comparison to the ideal self resulting in an assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses, in a sense a personal balance sheet
  3. A learning agenda and plan
  4. Experimentation and practice with the new behavior, thoughts, feelings, or perceptions
  5. Trusting, or resonant, relationships that enable a person to experience and process each discovery in the process

When I read these steps I realised that without knowing it I had been following this path. I knew where I wanted to be; I sat and thought long and hard about where I was at the moment and I had a plan and a goal. Next, I started to reach out to as our mouse friend says, “take a chance, after all forever is such a long time to feel small”. I looked at my network and found people who could help me and guide me. The main thing for me to do was put my ideas out there which made it less easy for me to slide back into old habits.

So, have I changed? I’ll let you know.


Click to access Boyatzis_2006_intentional_change.pdf

“The Lion Inside” Rachel Bright, Jim Field