something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension, or evaluation

This is different from the post you think it is.

In photography, a lens is a vital equipment that helps create an image by focusing rays of light. Depending on your genre, you'll have a variety of lenses in your arsenal to ensure you capture the perfect picture and the story you want to convey with that image.

I've been pondering the past year as 2023 dwindles, and I prepare to ring in 2024. Much of my evaluation has focused on what I could have done better. I recently shared this story on my LinkedIn profile:

Permission is one of the core values tattooed on my wrist. Today, I had to permit myself to be frustrated with a little mistake…

It took a fifth attempt to write two cards today. I love writing with ink and a nib. I do this because I like my family, friends, and clients

to know that I take the TIME to write to them.

I’ll be honest: I got a little frustrated on the third attempt, but it was also a simple reminder today that I think I needed.

Allow space for mistakes. I’m very well aware that there are things I get wrong, but I’m at a stage in my life where I finally recognize I’ve gotten a lot of right, too.

This thought is what I need to carry in times of challenge.

It also was a simple reminder that if you’re in my circle, you are pretty lucky to have a friend like me.

It’s good to be our cheerleader sometimes. We all need that.

I share this because we all look at the world through a lens.

In photography, you have a variety of lenses that are used depending on your scope of work.

  • Primes are fixed focal lengths that limit the space between you and your subject based on your position. If you choose the wrong focal length, the only way to capture the image is to position yourself to see the subject how you want to photograph it. Once they get too close, they are out of frame.
  • A wide angle allows you to capture an image that can either show all that you see, such as beautiful landscape images or buildings, or is used in very tight spaces but wants the whole picture, and you have minimal focal length to achieve that. Those tight spaces can often distort if the subject is not photographed at the right time.
  • Telephoto lenses allow you to adjust focal distances between your subject and give you space to decide how to frame your subject. Depending on your chosen telephoto length, they allow more flexibility if a subject moves closer or further away from you.
  • Macro are lenses that focus on very close-up, detailed images. They are extremely limiting.

As the new year approaches, I've decided to go in a different direction than the goals that are usually a focus but instead thinking about how I use the lens in my life and if I am using it in a way that influences perception, comprehension, or evaluation in a manner that is genuinely beneficial. It is beneficial to my personal choices and how I use them to view others.

I have no problem admitting that I'm not for everyone. I call things as I see them. I address issues that are important because they affect all. I will call out issues in an industry as a whole. Humans are inherently good and deserve the ability to make choices that align with their values. These are all things I know many others feel the same way about, but often, they are afraid to talk about it. I'm not. I'm proud, and I'm not scared to use my voice. It may not make a difference, but it's seen and heard. And it's a ripple. (which you'll understand if you read my previous blog post).

I also know there is a lot I get right. You see, I'm the type of person that will listen to you and keep your confidence. There are gains I could make not doing that, and I assure you that has happened to me, but I won't do that to you or anyone I work for. Although an issue doesn't affect me directly, I'm the type of person who will fight for you because it matters. I'm the type of person who truly lives by the community's ideal. I don't believe any one person is more important than the next. I'm the type of person who reaches out to you or comments on something you post; it's because I genuinely care, not because it looks good to do it. I'm the type of person who will spend $90 to FedEx hot chocolate to a friend whose mother is dying. Despite a coach being disrespectful to me, I'm also the type of person who donated $500 to one of his players whose life was in the balance.

Love, Compassion, Experience, Authenticity, and Permission are my core values and guiding principles in who I want to be.

This year, I will focus on my core values from a lens perspective in a way that I would want people to see me. As a photographer, every lens is essential to our work. Some aspects of the job require a macro, and some require a telephoto. How we view the world and those around us requires a different lens at different times. There have been times I've not chosen the best lens, and that is something I can change. I can change how I perceive, comprehend, and evaluate situations and people around me.

I want each of us to think about this as we move into the new year: the lens we choose rarely affects the subject we use it on. The truth is that it affects us significantly. It affects our mental and physical well-being, and then it becomes a domino effect on how we act moving forward until we change the lens again.

I'll admit that I've often used a macro lens when a telephoto would have been the best choice. The best lens we can use is the one that allows us to frame the subject in a way that creates the best picture. We have to choose one that will enable us to perceive, comprehend, and evaluate in a way that is true to our authentic selves.

We need to allow space for mistakes. I’m very well aware that there are things I get wrong, but I’m at a stage in my life where I finally recognize I’ve gotten a lot of right, too. I can only imagine where I'll be when I am more mindful of my chosen lens.