Archive for February 2010
This will be an extremely important factor in your time in the desert. Your tent mates normally end up true friends for life. You may not contact them very often after the race but if and when you do it will be sincere. You will get to know each other in the raw.
I am not sure if it matters what tent you end up in. Many try to engineer things but often you can’t and invariably it does not workout better. And besides its good not to know. If you manipulate your tent where are the surprises? The new things that we do this sort of thing for.
My advice would be not to engineer your tent. Take what you get, learn from it and make some great and interesting times with your new mates…..
Its getting close to departure now for the MdS runners and because of my own trip out there I am thinking about my preparations. But I also know what is going through the minds of the runners. The nerves, the worry, apprehension for some, the excitement and eagerness. Maybe the fact that they have niggles or injuries that might impede their success. But I also know how huge the event is and that niggles will not really figure. The MdS is bigger than any niggles and unless it’s an acute injury it will go away on the start line and not return again.
I know that kit will be spread out over the bedroom floor or that there will be last-minute purchases fearing that more is needed or that kit is not suitable. Worry about shoes and clothes. Food and nutrition with calorie counts and if enough electrolytes have been purchased.
All these worries are normal, though, and are part of the success for most runners. Its called preparation and if it is done well success is pretty much for sure. I had my kit out for 4 months, adding to it, taking from it, counting, packing, unpacking, staring at it and so on. It’s just my way.
What is scary is those who do not prepare as this is a tough race. It’s probably the toughest physical thing that most people will do in their life time. If the preparation is weak then the agonies will be high. If the preparation is solid, your belief becomes stronger too and as with my previous post, this is the overriding factor in success (http://wp.me/pvysu-6Q) and strengthening belief can be so easy…..
Runners now have a month left and with everything tied up, every last detail seen to, their race will be a real pleasure. Still extremely tough but tough fun…..
Above are a couple of images, one is the medic tent which does such a great job. They are called doc trotters but the aim is not to have to visit but event the best prepared often suffer blisters so this cannot always be avoided.
I look forward to this years race as I am sure most of the competitors do. It will be great to see new faces and new dramas….!
This is my account from 2006 http://wp.me/pvysu-q
I am off to the desert again next week. I haven’t been for a while and I am looking forward to it. This time it’s for a photographic job and to look at other business opportunities.
I have been visiting or exploring deserts since 1984. My first venture was from Dubai where I borrowed a friends 4×4, got together with some other friends and went out for around 5 days. We explored a region between Dubai and Al Ain and since that first trip I have been hooked. So drawn in by it that I have taken people back, led long journeys through some of the most hospitable parts of the desert in Oman, and more recently taken bereaved youths to benefit from what a desert offers.
People ask me what it is that keeps taking me back and use to find it hard to explain. To begin with it was the excitement of adventuring and exploring something new. Then I would return to the same region many times like the Wahiba in Oman. I would always find something new on each journey but that was not the attraction anymore. It was now about the real reasons I loved it so much in the first place.
The desert strips you back to the real you. You in the raw. It takes away all the gloss that we live with and even if you take some of it with you, you invariably wish you hadn’t. Last time I took my iPod and at the end of the trip I realised I didn’t even get it out. Opting for the sound of the wind in the sand, the crack of the fire and the conversations with the people around me. Then at sleep time, I would watch the stars, shooting stars and make my own music in my head. To listen to music is just wrong for me.
In my early days I did. And funnily the album that always come to mind was that in the title by Fine Young Cannibals. The only music I ever listened to in the desert.
My journey with the youths was when I first saw the real benefit to others. I had taken many people who felt it had changed their lives but these trips were different. The purpose was to give them space and time after their bereavement. Map out their futures or at least make sense of it after their lives had been thrown into turmoil. No one to question them. No expectation other than to survive. We walked 150 km across the Sinai, self supported with camels. Each of those taking part formed lifelong bonds and they are still all close and have each found their path in life for the time being. And an inner peace.
I also see so many people touched by the desert in the Marathon des Sables. Fortunately I get to photograph it each year. I have also run it….. Most runners will tell you its the event. Deep down, I think not. It’s the whole journey from when the training starts but it’s the desert that really gets them. (www.darbaroud.com)
Runners put them selves through real hardship but that is not really the deal. It’s more about living with so little. You have just about what you need to live. No more. There is no reason for not completing other than miss management or unfortunate injury and you have all life needs in your pack. And that is all we really need.
I met my wife in the desert and I know her heart is the same. She feels it too. She needs to go back as I do.. In April 1000 more people will feel it on the mds, experience the beauty. Some won’t like it but all will be affected in some way. Most will cry when they cross the line. Not because they are glad its over but more sad. Sad that they have to leave behind the rawness of what has just changed them forever.
It is the people of the desert that that teach us most. I have spent much time with bedouin too and this is usually the most humbling experience. They share everything. If you meet them on the journey they will sit down and offer you coffee and dates no matter what hey have left. They will help without question if you are in trouble. They will act like family.
The next few weeks I will see this environment again. Not in a solo role and not out of touch with modern life but it’s still the desert.
Give it a try…..
Today I had a real problem finding inspiration. I had a list as long as your arm to to get through which is now tomorrows, I had to run (which I did i the end) and I needed to blog which I struggled with until now…
I thought about what it is that inspires me and went to my image library. I looked through some more resent stuff and some old stuff too… I usually do this when i need inspiration.
Ordinary people inspire me. Its very easy to go to a talk and listen to a great achiever and come away temporarily inspired but its so short sighted. If I have a good call or coaching session, I fly. If I am working with a group I invariably come away inspired. Tonight I had an email communication with someone who told me how I had again inspired him, I think he had no idea how he inspired me too….
Take a look at those around you. In your office, at home, your friends, or just ordinary people you see in the street. Then take a deeper look at them and perhaps their circumstances. Look at their lives and what they endure, or achieve. Who they ‘be’.
The world is full of inspirational people who are ordinary, people who do extraordinary things in their life. People who seem to be ordinary but actually are not, they have qualities that perhaps they don’t share on a stage but they they are no lesser being.
The images I have posted today each have a story to them. Some quite sad, some not but all are perceived as ordinary people in their environment but who are actually extraordinary.
Look around you for inspiration but look with your eyes open. Look deeper than just clothing, hair styles or cars or the things that annoy you. Get to know the people in your team in the office. Sometimes the inspiration is right on your doorstep…..
So often you hear about making a change in your life. “Live your dream not someone elses” Just heard that one in a cafe! “Live life to the full”, and so on…. But this is invariably said without too much thought or that its easy just to make a change and be a better person. A person who loves him or herself. A person who is not taken for advantage anymore.
Changing is far greater than that though. Most of us have learnt habit patterns over years. Since childhood we have been learning to be who we are. Learning to act and react in the way we do. Mostly subconsciously but always from the people around us and closest to us. We take for granted that that is the right way or the best for us. Mostly we dont event think about it until certain triggers in our lives have an effect. We then question our behaviour or actions. We question our being…
So, to make a change to life long habits cannot be done in a day. The decision to make that change itself can take time. You recognise something you do not like, you need to change but another year goes by. Something else happens and finally, snap! Its when you get that snap that the toughest part of the whole process begins. You decide to change. Some people make conscious decisions and follow through with good positive actions. Some need help to get them through the process but what is most important is to recognise that change will take time. Change requires unlearning and re learning new habit patterns. Getting use to those new ones can be a real roller coaster of emotions so requires real dedication. Dedication to the task. Without one can easily slip back to what they know best….
Someone close to me stated recently how it would all be different after a certain date.. Wow! I wish I could know that. I wish I could say ” everything will be fine after the 17th”. You simply cant. Whatever the situation. You cannot say if you will slip back or if you will have made that change.
When learning a new skill you go through 3 stages of learning. Cognitive (Beginner – learning the skill or behaviour) associative (aware and practicing new skill) and automotive. You know it and do not think about it anymore. Maybe address it from time to time and check for bad habits creeping in but essentially you are there.
A simple analogy is changing you grip on a golf swing or a technique change in your tennis game. You need to go through all those stages before it finally works. The easy route is to give up and slip back to what you know best and just say “well that didn’t work”. But that is just a cop out.
Making change is good. It can be hugely beneficial to you and the people around you. It is never guaranteed but the only person who can make the decision is you. It can also be a fun process…….
Making a life change is the same as making a skill change. You need to go through a process and practice this and practice is more until it becomes final This can take years but often does not with good work. More in a bit….
I used to get this question so often in the tennis world. “How good will my son be?” “could my daughter win wimbledon?” “What’s the best I can be?”
I listened to one coach who told me many years ago, “it doesn’t matter how many lessons you have you will just become a player equal to the number of times you play in a week.” I never forgot this and over many years of observing people in competitive sport and being aware of the number of hours put in, he was essentialy right!
When replying to people I was always very aware of my answer until around 10 years ago when it became clearer. Basically I am not in charge of your potential as a coach. That’s in both the sporting and the business/personal development arena. Only you can be in charge. Potential can only be directly related to the effort or practice put in. In life or work it can be measured by attitude to task which is much the same. A good healthy attitude to your working day will produce good results and keeping sight of your ultimate goal whilst dedicating yourself to “the now” (http://wp.me/pvysu-bH) will produce better results still.
Then there is Daniel Levitin’s theory (http://bit.ly/bGFaB5) that if you put in 10,000 hours of practice you will become a master of your skill. So in sport thats pretty easy to identify, or you would think it is….. In personal development a little more tricky but can still be achieved.
So when it comes to potential and the question of what is yours? is firstly down to how much you practice. Good practice. If you wake up every day and can be positive throughout the day your potential is endless and increases with time. The 10 thousand hours of practice, however, has to be 10 thousand hours of good dedicated time.
Tom Aikens, above is a good example of putting in the hours. Just check out his restaurant http://www.tomaikens.co.uk/
I leave you with that…..
I just received this piece through a comment and I will give you link to the article. It is a very goo piece written by Annie Kaszina. This will be my feature for this week. I tried the link to her sight but only got chinese! Thank you, Annie.
So what is a limiting belief?
Don’t you love the current expression: ‘does what it says on the can’. The can is, of course, purely metaphorical and ‘does what it says’ suggests clarity and ultimate intelligibility.
A limiting belief, obviously, does exactly what it says on the can: it holds people back in any and every area of their life. Perfectly clear – or is it?
In fact, the potential problem lies in the underlying assumption that the limiting beliefs sufferer actually believes they have any real and unique value, gifts and qualities. Often they don’t. That’s the nature of a limiting belief.
Women who have endured the brainwashing of an abusive relationship don’t feel they are blessed with value, gifts and qualities. Understandably, they tend not to feel blessed at all. Even if they know, with their head, that they have certainly abilities; even if friends, family and colleagues corroborate this, they don’t really believe it. It has no bearing on their emotional world.
“Yes, but…” they’ll say; or, “it doesn’t make me feel better about myself”, or other words to that effect. They can’t feel any pleasure in the good that others see in them, because they simply don’t believe it. The only communications they can truly receive are on the frequency of the negative beliefs that they hold about themselves.
It’s an agonising place to be, as well as endlessly frustrating for the people who try to support them.
Working with other women’s limiting beliefs recently took me back to my first experience of coaching…
At first when the core question: “What’s holding you back?” came up: I couldn’t even formulate an answer.
I thought I was doing pretty well when I eventually came up with an answer and proudly offered it to my first coach: what was holding me back, I said, was me.
Awareness has to start somewhere, I guess. As I now see it, I was both right and wrong. What was holding me back was me – inasmuch as it was not anyone else
But, equally, what was holding me back it was not me.
You see, we are not our self-limiting beliefs and our self-limiting beliefs are not who we are. Not at all. They are, at most, a distorting, fairground mirror, in which we glimpse a grotesque distortion of ourselves.
I know this with my head because I’ve learned it somewhere along my own (ongoing) journey. I believe it with my whole being because I see it in the women I work with.
They may experience themselves as a human black hole. Regardless of what goes into them, nothing unconditionally good will ever come out from them. Or so they believe. They feel condemned to sit forever on the sidelines, watching the great game of life without ever becoming full participants.
They are like hungry, urchins, whose nose is forever pressed against the window, They can see other people seated at the banquet of life and they know, they just know that they’ll never participate in that feast.
Now, that knowledge is false. They have no way of predicting the future. Their view of their world is simply darkened by a self-limiting belief that appears to have all the trappings of reality. So they struggle, futilely, with a vision of the future that is crude, pessimistic, and false. That vision that crushes them daily.
And yet, as soon as they turn their focus away from themselves, they are perceptive, creative, supportive, nurturing, dynamic, multi-talented, energetic. Those qualities, and many more, are who they truly are.
Anyone who survives an abusive relationship has actually dug very deep and unearthed enormous personal resources and riches.
For as long as they continue to regard themselves through the filter of self-limiting beliefs they may well remain deaf, blind and numb to their own personal treasure. But their treasure will continue to grow and the day will come when they are able to claim it and rejoice in it.
How long will the process take? That depends. If you listen to your limiting beliefs, it’ll make the seven labours of Hercules pale into insignificance.
But if you start to challenge them, if you start to ask yourself – or better still, get someone else to ask you: ‘Is it always that way?’, ‘Do you never…?’ , ‘How do you know what the future holds? Do you have special gifts?’ then you’ll start to get some new answers and some new realizations.
You’ll find that your limiting beliefs will start to fall by the wayside. You’ll be surprised by how much faster you can move forward without them. And you’ll be amazed to discover just how special and valuable you truly are.
(C) Annie Kaszina 2005
I am sat in a cafe in my home town. A cafe that is part of a local church and in 10 minutes there is a Friday service. I am here for some peaceful time to write not for the service but find myself writing about what I see and not what I need to do for my work.
I am opposite an elderly couple dressed in hi vis jackets over their Berghaus fleeces so I assume they work outdoors somewhere. They are together, also in love. very in love.. Most of those around me look happy and are probably 20 years older than me. Few worries, content with their day . The couple on my table are reading an adventure magazine talking about some of the beautiful places in the world they would love to go to, may never go to… I am not sure really. The husband has now walked away and the wife continues to talk…….funny! He returns and they finish up their coffee and wander off hand in hand…. I have been so lucky to have travelled to where I have but they are lucky in what they have too. Peace. Beautiful.
Back to work…….
I mentioned this concept yesterday in the Intent post so I though I would develop on it today. It has been around for years and I first heard Martina Navratilova talk about it in terms of how she thinks on the the tennis court in a match or in training. Her focus was just about as good as it gets…
Simply, its about not thinking what might be in the future but more what you are trying to do right now to get to where you want to be. In tennis, its easy to dream of winning, think about what it will look like holding up that trophy but you can only succeed in realising that goal if you focus in the now. By doing this and building block by block you greatly improve your chances of success.
However, saying that the plan and a goal is essential too because without you cannot identify what needs to be done right now. Once the goal is established you must then not let the outcome thoughts interfere with the immediate task which will enable the outcome. Concentrate on the immediate actions and your journey to your goal will be very pleasurable. Again, I reiterate winning is not always possible but lessons will be learnt and dealing with any failure will be easier.
The following images are from a race I covered in 2008 in the amazon. Briefly my thinking in the now started when I got the commission. I researched where I would be, conditions, rainfall temperature etc. I then focussed on all the necessary kit I would need to allow me to get into the jungle to get the shots I wanted without having to worry about me or my cameras- clothing, water proofing, security, backups, cases for my kit and so on. I then needed to find buyers of the images other than those I had. I wrote pitches to many magazines and papers. With everything in place I arrived and assessed all my work so far. Did I need anything else before departing to the middle of nowhere? No, I was fully equipped. Now I had the shoot to do for 7 days and to be honest it was a pleasure. I did not have to worry about anything as my preparation was solid.
What is your intent? How do you show your intent? Do you live life with intent…
When I work in sport, intent is always easy to understand but still many do not get it. As a footballer you never do anything without it. You get the ball and you pass it, not just anywhere but to a player on your team. You shoot for goal, you throw in to a player, you kick into touch all for a reason. On a tennis court, you hit every ball with a target (or should) in mind. You always serve with a specific position and strenght in mind. You consider the power you need and the spin you impart to enable you to play the shot you require – every time. If you do not do this you will fail. You will not make your shot and you will lose the point, then the game and finally the match. Unless of course you are both playing without intent, then its just a big mess. You will also have an outcome goal which is, of course, to win. The smaller task is to win the point and smaller than that is to build to a winning opportunity within the point. So intent is there all the time. And it must be ‘in the now’…..More on that in my next post..
In sport you have an opponent who is trying to do the same too and failing is a part of the process in any sport. In sailing for example or golf, your opponent is not fighting against you directly but still has an effect on your performance. You are aware of them, their standing, their ability and what you have to do to win. On that journey you will make mistakes but this does not mean you wont win, or be first. It is no different in life but its how you deal with these failures or mistakes along the way that can increase your chance of success. Having intent will greatly increase your chances even more. In both sport and life its a battle that needs to be thought through and tackled with tenacity and skill but can only be done effectively with intent.
Photography is just the same. I have a commission (task or goal), and my intent is to produce the shots required of me by the editor. If its a personal project its still for a reason because if I shoot without then I am likely to fail and produce poor work or simply not enjoy my shoot.
Business and personal stuff is no different. If you live life without intent you will not achieve and therefore not be happy. If you go to work and do not have purpose, you will die in your job. It will eat you up and spit you out for someone else to pick up the pieces for a short while until that job spits you out too.
You business and life goals are inextricably linked and if you take care of only one of them they will both suffer in the end. It is quite common to find someone not performing in work and searching for reasons why they have lost interest to find the problem is in their personal life and, or course, vice versa.
What was my intent on the shoot below? Job wise was to tell the story, show the eagerness at the start and the emotion of finishing a 50km race. I have a complete portfolio of the race and enough shots for the story. This is just a few. In my personal life the intent was to enjoy my day so I went home happy. Then to go and love my wife and enjoy her too because I had such a good day at the office. I have to throw myself into the work I love and love being at home afterwards otherwise what is the point? In terms of my career it was another step to getting a few commissions I am currently after; my next right answer…….another linked post here http://wp.me/pvysu-7v
My whole day had intent and there was little differential between business and perosnal other than they were in different places. They have to work together for me to be happy….. and for the people around me to be happy. If you can relate to this blog try this site as maybe you are in the wrong place…http://www.escapethecity.org/ If its in your life stuff that intent is missing go here http://www.prohabperformance.com/ or call me and we can chat through some ‘stuff’.
This was just an awesome event. But more importantly I believe it will stand out and grow into one of those like the London Marathon. The run had everything; it was challenging – long, hills, sights of London, parks, navigation but all doable as well as many fun participants.
If you are looking for a challenge in your life or even a life changing experience then perhaps this is for you in the future. A marathon or more is a huge decision for most people. Running a mile is often big enough but to train your body to cope with the pounding it will take and believe that it will be able to make it is in itself life changing. The London Ultra is a distance that is very achievable. It offers beautiful scenery (if you are able to take it in) and will certainly challenge you without taking over schedule as might those multi day events.
Training should start soon for next year so maybe this is the one for you… It will be a lot bigger in 2011!
More images are at http://www.junglemoon.co.uk/londonultra2010
Lego Serious Play is a tool I was introduced to two years ago and one that I think is very good at doing what is says it will do. Added to this, it give you a solid tangible build to refer to and see right before your eyes.
Lego is for building. In its simplest form it is bricks that click together, rather satisfyingly, and allow the builder to explore and create. Almost anything can be built using it and in the training room it seems to keep all participants absorbed for hours but more importantly the building done is for the future.
Lego Serious Play is exactly what it says. Children build their dreams using it. I remember building police stations, helicopter pads and houses and I was a part of every toy build. Now in business we use it to build the company. See it for what it is now, what it aspires to be in the future and how it will get there. We build teams and find the identities within the teams and those all important shared identities. At the end of a Lego Training session a team will see a way forward to a shared goal in a way that they had not seen it before. Understanding and respect within the team is infinitely stronger and its all their on the boardroom table to look at.
Now I use it in personal development too. On Skype in the comfort of your home or one to one. And I build with you. I love Lego.
This morning I spoke with the creator of LSP and the developments are constant. It is being used in large engineering projects, the world of green and tackling global warming, regular business and of course personal development. His enthusiasm about Lego never wains. His success stories are continuous too.
There is more on it here http://www.seriousplay.com/13554/ or give me a call to find out more. Details at http://www.junglemoon.co.uk/Junglemoon/Coaching.html
……Even those who think they are not but that does not mean we cannot stand out. The photos above are of people who will be seen in society as ‘non sheep’. People who don’t do the ordinary. People we look up to because they are “achievers”.
But is that true. So many of us are achievers but we just don’t realise it. Just because you run a marathon does not make you special. It just makes you someone who runs marathons.
What is important is realising what your value is. What you have to offer and what you bring to this world and when you can see that you can take so much more happiness and real wealth along your journey…. I dont kow anyone who has no value.
Go back to the “achievers” above. They are just the same as the rest of us…. And look carefully, none of them are alone – just like sheep………Value yourself who ever you are….
What is it about asking for help that is so hard for so many of us?
If we play sport, dance, or do some other hobby or activity we will naturally go for help in terms of a coach. When things get tough at work or at home we try to fumble by, continue to make the same mistakes and often get into a complete mess. Sometimes the way forward is just not that clear but we just keep believing things will change.
The biggest problem is things do not change. The change has to come from the person experiencing the troubles and to pass those or blame someone else does not effect change…. In some cases change may be drastic and others small, but where the change that is needed is small it could turn out big if no action is taken. I suppose a good analogy can be found on the tennis court. A player with a particular fault in their style will if they continue end up with tennis elbow or a back injury. If they then continue further they will make the injury worse still. Eventually they find they can no longer play their favourite sport. In business? You get laid off. At home your spouse leaves you, or things become intolerable and so on….
Making change is a huge decision because it means finally admitting that something is wrong. Everyone hates that but lets face it, everyone on this planet gets things wrong. Everyone fails at some point but its how we deal with that failure that makes us successful. Click through to http://www.junglemoon.co.uk/Junglemoon/Coaching.html to find our more.. also go to… http://www.prohabperformance.com/ check out the first pic too, its mine!
Ok, this is the image and this is how I got it.
I spent 3 days bugging the organisers, I went to the helicopter around 4 times before I got to go up. I had been promised I would get on but it is never for sure. I still had to push for it. Finally I got my time and I went tot he helicopter early to be sure I did not miss it. Finally I was strapped in next to the tv cameraman so a bit of a squeeze but beggers can’t be choosy.
Once we were up the pilot asked what I wanted and at first I was not sure but things soon became clearer. I needed the usual safe shots of runners from above, shadows, and height showing the landscape but I wanted me in the final shot. We circled a few times and I fired away but the one shot I now visualised eluded me. We checked out the sun, runners and I relayed to the pilot my request. We made one final swing round and I shot around 4 shots to get what I needed. I was very happy. We landed.
I did not get the shot or the series of images by luck. I had to create what I wanted. I used the knowledge around me, my own experience and thought through my process.
I always try to put myself in the position of most potential in order to get images that stand out…..SOmetimes that costs a lot of money as I am freelance but without I would not achieve the images I want
In business it is no different. If you want to reach your goal you need to take risks, put yourself out there and think quickly. Find out what the place of most potential is because if not you don’t you will miss all the opportunities around you…..
On any assignment or project you will have a goal or task to meet for your client or employer but that does not mean you should focus too narrowly on the task, if you do you might miss a real opportunity. Take a look around you. Photographers usually find this easy to remember but in business its often forgotten and an opportunity can be missed if your view is too narrow.
Below is an example of looking around on one of my assignments… I was covering the Jungle Marathon in Brazil, there were two incidents in the medic room and needed to be covered. One was going into a coma and the other was in excruciating pain with a back injury. My job was to shoot the moment, record everything that happened. I was there for press.
I looked around and for me the best shot is the last one of the locals looking on in amazement. I liked it, it finished the story and if I had not turned around I would not have captured a winding up shot. Obviously there were a lot more shots than you see here and if you wish to see that portfolio go to www.junglemoon.co.uk/junglemarathon08
A task you can try is to go and shoot a subject and see how many ways you can capture it. Different lenses, angles whatever just be creative around one subject. And don’t forget to look around you…..
I will twitter this out too and use lightstalking to hit a few of you….
I cycled the London Ultra route www.londonultra.co.uk and it was one of best routes I have ever seen. For such a long distance there was so much in terms of beauty. The 50k should go so quickly….. Here are a few pics from the day….Snapped on a Panasonic Lumix. A little smaller than the usual kit!