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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

What is Reinvention? An exclusive from Craig Strong at WPPI.


  • 3 min read

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As photographers, we constantly need to reinvent ourselves to reach our goals and become and remain successful. Lensbabys Chief Creative Officer, Craig Strong, knows this from personal experience and recently spoke about it at Photographers Ignite at WPPI.

The topic of reinvention seems a particularly good time to kick-off our revamped blog, as Lensbaby is going through its own reinvention this year, starting with a game-changing new product launching April 7th.

Check back here often for lots of fresh content, including interviews with incredibly talented photographers, industry experts sharing their take on where our fast-changing industry is headed, and more.

Without further ado - read on to learn about how Craig has gone through the process of reinvention, and see what you can take away to help further your own journey.

Reinvention can mean taking up a different career or a different way of life. We all have to reinvent who we are at various points in our lives and careers. Start by asking yourself, "who am I and how am I going to take different aspects of myself - aspects that the world doesnt know about yet - and share them with the world?"

The questions below can help clarify things in your own head before reinventing yourself. Start by distilling who you are and what you have to work with.

My identities over my lifetime have included: son, brother, student, fisherman, child of God, friend, athlete, photographer, tinkerer, daydreamer, learner, darkroom tech, business owner, Portlander, inventor, husband, Quaker, father, teacher coach, rod-maker, fly-tyer, and designer. While not all of these are current identities, each successful new identity built on who I was up until that point which formed a foundation for the reinvented Craig Strong.

When you reinvent yourself look at who you are and who you are not. I've tried several significant reinventions that have failed and I can't forget those failures if I am going to avoid another big fail.

So, here are some questions that have been useful to me as I've prepared for what's next.

What DON'T you want to be?
One thing I don't want to be that I've been in the past is the constant critic, looking at something and only seeing whats wrong with it.

What do you believe you are good at that you're not?
This is going to involve asking the people who know you. Often, our perceptions hold us back and make us continue to perpetuate something that we're not necessarily good at. In the past I've believed that I was naturally socially skilled and have been a real idiot in new social situations saying whatever comes to mind.

Who's your best self?
My best self is the opposite of the constant critic. My best self is the one who envisions what could be.

What one thing must your best self do?
That one thing for me is to make real what I know is possible -- what could be.

What new skill would you love to have more than any other?
I'm a father and I see this in myself a lot - Id love to harness the ability to say no more graciously.

What skill did you need to master in order to achieve your greatest accomplishment?
I've had various careers along the way and I needed to master asking for help and allowing other people to work with me in areas that I'm not good at.

What is your favorite memory?
We're getting pretty touchy-feely here but this is about what is most important to you. Think about what strikes you in that memory, and how you're going to incorporate what this tells you about yourself and your deepest values into what you do next.

What do people like best about you?
In the next week ask three people the question, "what do you like best about me?" We do not get that feedback, and we do not give that feedback. While you are at it, tell three people what you like best about them.

Who's on your team?
I assume that the people you're going reach out to, to tell them what you like best about them, are the people on your team. Its really critical as you look at what you're going to do next to determine who you're going to do it with.

Who are you?
This is the most important question. Trying to reinvent yourself outside of who you are is unnecessarily difficult and more often than not leads to failure.

What are you going to do?
If what you do comes out of who you are, your work will be authentic, rewarding and true.

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