Fear of the Unknown

What scares you? What have you always wanted to do but never have? What is that thing on your bucket list that never gets done because obstacles stand in the way? Do you fear the unknown?

Have you ever thought, “Man, I sure would like to ______,” but at this stage in life you’ve just never quite gotten around to it.

What is your fill-in-the-blank?

I recorded a Facebook live version of this yesterday while on my paddle board out on Lake Keowee in SC. But then the rocks got in the way and the recording took an interesting turn and then it disappeared off Facebook. I learned that self-videography and paddle boarding on choppy waters with lots of boat wakes bopping me about is more a recipe for disaster rather than a recipe for a great Facebook live message. So….here I am at my laptop, plunking out the message in written form. There are fewer mishaps this way. And truly, I am a writer at heart.

I ask these questions because they are relevant to all of us and because I’ve been pondering these things while out on my paddle board this past week, dodging choppy waters and strong currents in four different states in the span of 7 days. After crossing the St. Croix river from Minnesota to Wisconsin, I saw a post by my long-time friend, Cindy Chrysler, that included photos of Pictured Rocks National Park at Lake Superior. The photos made me want to go there. And then I started thinking really I want to visit all 5 Great Lakes on my Bote board. But…..it’s all so far away. And, the water might be too cold. And it will cost money. And I won’t get to sleep in my own bed and enjoy the comforts of my own home. I’d be away from my family, what about my high school-age child and her busy schedule? And then there are the pets to care for and the four businesses to run…..so many obstacles. There’s also the fear factor – the unknown. What if? What if? What if?

The quote in my planner one day this week was perfect for the occasion: “Do something every day that scares you.” (anonymous). Fear cannot be your driving force if you want to accomplish anything noteworthy. And then today’s quote by Thomas Jefferson, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Now there’s a real gem to live by! It turns out I have learned a lot and accomplished much by following the lead of some of America’s great dudes of the past. (Another favorite is Ben Franklin and his “6 things a day” model, which I wrote a blog post about and still follow pretty much every day).

So, here’s what I’m getting at….we all have a fill-in-the-blank thing we’d like to do but never do. There are obstacles. What are yours?  Identifying the obstacles is the first step in overcoming them.

If you want to achieve a personal accomplishment goal, first write it down and then list the obstacles that stand in your way. Next, work through the obstacles one at a time to determine creative ways to overcome each obstacle. Then, like Nike says, just do it. What are you waiting for?

I’ve learned through my years of teaching and speaking in the grooming industry that there are two types: the go-getters with failure-is-not-an-option attitudes and those who give up when an obstacle stands in their way. The first do amazing things. The second mainly just whine a lot about how nothing ever works out for them. They are their own worst enemy.

So, in light of all of the above, and after making my obstacles list, sorting through my overly jam-packed calendar, and getting the thumbs up from my fabulous husband, I hope to head out from Hershey Groom Expo in less than a month with my Bote board on top of my SUV and make the 14-day trek up and around the Great Lakes region to board in all 5 lakes and even take a jump into each lake, despite the coldness, which for me is an obstacle of ginormous proportions. The trek will ultimately end up in Delaware in time for Lynn’s wedding before making the last leg home to South Carolina. In total, I will drive about 6300 miles. Along the way, here are my objectives:

1. Use Facebook live to raise enough money to buy a cow (or 2 or 3!) for some villages in Uganda, which will be delivered as part of #cowproject with the Call to Africa team going in early 2017. This will cost $1400. Divided by 5 Great Lakes that’s $280 per lake. I need folks wanting to get involved in making a difference in these folks’ lives, a real immediate, everyday, sometimes life or death difference by pledging $280 per jump in a cold lake, alone, maybe in bad weather. Whatever. I’m committed to doing it. Who wants to #getdirty?

2. Drop in on some CFMGs along my route and shoot some “Danelle Drops In” videos to share a glimpse into the world of these amazing folks living out their dreams. Real groomers, real life. Making it happen. If you are along my route, let me know so I can work out my travel schedule, fitting in whatever is possible.

3. Train 2 new Remote Certifiers for the NCGIA. We need more. I’m coming through New England/ON/Great Lakes region. I will train. Together we can save the world one cat at a time by making CFMG certification testing more accessible to those that want to pursue this fabulous opportunity and become a cat ninja warrior.

4. Shoot one child portrait session. Want photos of your child? Dramatic, adorable, editorial style, personality-driven photos you can share on social media and proudly hang on your wall? I’m coming through the above-listed regions. Let me know so we can schedule and make it happen. I will definitely be wanting some #behindthelens time!

5. Conquer a personal challenge, step out of my comfort zone, and do something kinda scary and adventurous and filled with unknowns. Inspire others to do their own scary, adventurous, life achievement, fill-in-the-blank, major accomplishment, so-glad-I-did-it thing.

BEFORE I take on this huge project and drive all those miles, I’m taking a vote. I’m not doing this unless I get at least 100 affirmative votes via commenting on this blog post or on Facebook.  And at least some of you comment and tell me what your fill-in-the-blank thing is. Let’s do this together. There’s no point in doing it alone if my 5 objectives are not met. I’d rather stay home, see my family, sleep in my own bed, have a hot beverage on my back deck, ride my horse, and hit the local 93-degree lake near my house for a bit of boarding. So let me know you’re in. Cast your vote. If I’m crazy, tell me to stay home and read a book (I’m totally good with this plan).

If, however, you want to go along for the ride by joining me via blog, Facebook live, and through meeting my 5 objectives above and making a difference at the same time, leave a comment. Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

UPDATE: I set up a YouCaring account for donations. Please use this to donate during the challenge if you feel so led. Thank you to all who have expressed interest thus far!

Hi. Hello. How are you?

I sat down next to her in the sand and said “Hi.”

A soft foreign tongue replied “Hello.”

Smiling I said, “How are you?”

She offered a warm smile back and said, “I’m good. . .”

Camera in hand I asked, “May I photograph you?”

“Yes, but I don’t take good photos” was her bashful reply.

“Just keep doing what you are doing, and I’ll take care of the rest. . .”

 

It all started with the intent to rise from bed at the early morning hour of 5:30 AM to catch the sun as it peaked over the horizon. My camera was eager for an adventure and the sun-lit ocean surface would make an attractive background for the photos I was to present to my client. In theory this was going to be an amazing photoshoot. However, at that hour my body had other priorities; like sleep. Needless to say my agenda was altered when I missed my alarm clock’s wakeup call. This now meant that I had to catch the sunset if I was going to capture some stellar photos by the water’s edge for my client.

As I concluded my other duties for the day I watched for the perfect time to venture to the beach. I suppose it was around 6:30 in the evening that this prime time presented itself. With my gear in tow I made my way toward the coast and found an elegant area of sand to support my shoot. The sun was peaking in and out from behind the dark blue clouds in the sky. The wind was maturing to a point of being noticed. The ocean was having its typical conversation with the shoreline but today their connection was especially soothing and smooth. It was my camera’s favorite weather conditions and the products I was shooting looked great against this backdrop. Naturally as I concluded the product pictures my lens got curious about its surroundings. As I glanced up from where I was stationed my eyes were met with a delicate view. At some point while I was preoccupied with my original shoot the section of beach directly in front of me had been cleared of its inhabitants. In the void sat a lone soul. My lens was quick to act as I arose to my feet. I gently stepped forward as if approaching a rare bird in its natural habitat, but not wanting to spook it. In view, all alone with only her thoughts, a peaceful young woman sat in the sand penning her mind to paper.

The wind was ever so gently brushing her hair from her neck and face. Her sun-kissed skin made an attractive contrast against the bleached sand. She sat with her toes eagerly reaching toward the water’s edge. Disappointed in the water’s distance she let her toes play freely in the sand. Piled on her righthand side was a small collection of belongings. The only thing she seemed concerned with in the moment was embracing the free feeling provided by her surroundings and capturing her thoughts with pen and paper.

Approaching from behind I took a knee in the sand. Like a sniper preparing for his shot I made my camera adjustments and composed my photo. My index finger found home. Snap! What a beautiful picture. I smiled to myself and thought “This is my favorite type of photography. The world rushes to the beat of time and often misses the little details of life. However, for me, getting lost in time with my camera. . . seeing beyond the surface of life. . . and exposing a story with a photograph is true bliss. This is the future of Fourth Dimension Photography.”