Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

When I first read that the online training powerhouse company known as creativeLIVE had an opportunity for people to audition to have a chance at being selected to speak at the massive WPPI annual photography convention, I didn’t even really give it any thought or consideration.  I should have but, it just seemed like one of those “oh yea sure…like I’d have a chance” type of moments.  Of course, being that I just launched my photography training website: Cole’s Classroom, this should have been something that I jumped all over at first glance!

My attitude though changed this last week when I was watching Jasmine Star on her latest creativeLIVE workshop called ReSTARt and they made the announcement about the auditions approaching the deadline.  This time though it occured to me, when would I ever have a chance to speak on such a large platform as this?  When else could anyone “from the crowd” have the opportunity to speak and educate to that massive of an audience, and have some of the biggest names in the business, including Jasmine Star and Sue Bryce in the audience watching YOU speak?

I started researching and found out that I had to create a video audition explaining my topic, why my information would be valuable, what makes me unique and more, all under 3 minutes.  So right then and there I knew this was an opportunity I HAD to take, who the heck knows if it would pan out at all, but you can never have a chance at being selected if you don’t first try.  I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one of the hardest projects I have done and was definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone.  One thing that I am so passionate about is instructing other photographers thru Cole’s Classroom how to better their photo skills, editing technique and how to run a successful business and that is what I decided to focus on teaching!

The deadline was yesterday at midnight, my plan was to wake up at my usual time and hit the ground running, first writing out my outline, then going from my comfy PJs to looking sharp and then filming, then editing and boom I should be done in a few hours — or so I thought…

I woke up extra early, 4:15 am – ughhhhh, this is even pretty early for me, but with the video outline and what I planned to say on my mind I decided to get up and get to work.  I worked on the outline and script of what I would say which took a couple hrs to get just right, then I rehearsed in front of the mirror critiquing myself and making changes to posture, stance, voice expression etc….jumped in the shower, shaved and was ready to roll.  The greatest challenge was, as always, recording it all by myself and having my lovely dog Chloe who chooses to bark crazily at the most opportune times – like right at the end of my best take. ….take 12…..

I quickly realized that my script I wrote out sounded perfect and just how I wanted, but, I didn’t have enough time to memorize it ALL, so I came up with a great idea to make what I called: the poor-man-tele-prompter as shown below…

The idea was awesome but I didn’t like how I could see my eyes  go to the sides when referring to my notes, so I knew, it was time to memorize segment by segment.  I read aloud the first 3/4 of a page over and over and over….then recorded, recorded and recorded.  This process took a while but was the best I could given the time constraints I had.  I’d guesstimate I spent about 1.5 to 2 hrs of actual recording….so much for an easy 3 min clip!

I then got busy on the editing which my skills are still fairly basic…I really didn’t rush through it though because I wanted to make it as polished and solid as I was capable of, a total of about 1.5 hrs or so was spent editing and I had never felt so good to have been “done” with it.  After all, at this point, I had already been up since 4:30am and it was somehow pushing 2pm on my supposed “day-off”.

So the audition deadline has arrived as of midnight last night and it appears there are about 25 of us in total hoping to go to Las Vegas to get our chance at teaching our subject.  There were submissions all over the map, in terms of content, creativity, production and overall look of the video etc… my video is certainly not winning awards for its production value or editing element but I do believe the content is so very important and valuable and it is real and raw – pretty much just me in front of the camera – certainly stepping outside of my comfort zone, but you know what?  That is exactly what it would be like on stage in front of thousands…LIVE, you, in front, with no editing.

So you want to see my video?!  I am so proud to share it with you below.

The lesson to be learned is simply, don’t let potential major opportunities pass you by just because the idea might be a little scary or out of your norm.  In the end, its the hard work and you pushing yourself to do new things that will make you stronger and more skilled and ready for future opportunities that may come your way that you previously wouldn’t have given any thought.  In my case, who the heck knows if I will be among any of the selected, but the only thing that is certain is if I didn’t even try I wouldn’t have a chance.

Do you have a similar story or something to share?  If so, I’d love to hear in the comments below.  Feel free to share this with anyone that you think would find value in this post…thanks!




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