Here's my take on it... It's our 'defeats', and our response to those defeats that define our future success.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of photographing World Champion Triathlete Non Stanford for New Balance. Non finished a magnificent, yet heartbreaking 4th in the Olympic Triathlon in Rio.
I watched Non's post race reaction on TV. Maybe I read this wrong - but there was something in her body language that screamed 'yes, this really, really hurts, but I'm coming back to win this in 4 years time'. I sensed so much resilience, as well as humility. My money is on Non winning Olympic Gold in Tokyo.
It got me thinking about a big lesson I've learnt over the past 10 years of being a Sports Photographer, and one I wish I'd got my head around way, way sooner. Rejection, defeats... call them what you will... happen to all of us all the time. In fact, the more courageous we are, the more likely we are to experience them. It's how we frame and react to them that defines what happens next.
When you put your soul into something you've made, something that's important to you, and it doesn't get the response you hoped for straight away - it can feel like a knockout punch. In that sense, we get our asses kicked all the time. But we have to get straight back up every time, and come back with more strength and tenacity. If there's feedback that's helpful, then be honest with yourself and take it on board. But feedback that's not, we have to dismiss it straight away and be even more courageous. Hey, we're all human, unless I'm unaware of a hidden Robot Army - but whichever career you're in be that a Photographer, Entrepreneur, Sportswomen, or whatever, the quicker we can let that negative feeling of 'defeat' go, the faster the next success will come. Be persistent, and never think you're defeated.
I'm sure examples spring to mind for you. Earlier this year, I had a week long commission in Africa pretty much booked in the diary. A wonderful experience I was really looking forward to, but the brief changed and so with it the shoot. I was gutted at the time, but as it turned out a wonderful opportunity for those same dates was just around the corner. The opportunity was in fact the start of this New Balance campaign. So I guess where I'm going with this point is that sometimes when we think we lose, we're actually winning.
Reframe those apparent defeats, and when they come even be grateful for them and the lessons they'll give you. You'll experience greater successes, and they'll come to you sooner too because of it.
I can only imagine how it must feel to Olympic Athlete's who sacrifice so much to get where they are, and keep coming back stronger again. There's a lesson there for all of us. Getting back to this shoot with Non, below are of my favourite images from that day. Enjoy!
If you'd like to read Non's Olympic story in her own words, there's this great piece over on her Blog