It had been a fortnight since I felt on top of my game. Not only was my motivation lacking, but my self-confidence was buried in the rubble of uninspiring projects. There was no real impetus for this lull in ambition. I had been working outside my comfort zone and had not been finding the success in my efforts, at least not to my level of expectation, but this is not unusual. Maintaining a consistent goal of continuous improvement often leads to unsatisfactory lessons along the way.
No, this was something different, my self-expectations were way out of line.
Feeling a loss of inspiration, I did the only thing that made sense. I moped around waiting for my muse to return.
Perhaps you have had similar times and I am not alone in this. Trust me, you can not attract a muse feeling sorry for yourself. It's a fact, I have tested the hypothesis many times.
Mentors are important in a situation like this.
Dictionaries define a mentor as as a person or coach that can advise you. I believe though, a mentor can be real or imagined, animate or inanimate. For example, I know of a person whose greatest mentor is the ocean. When the meanings are lost and inspiration distant, she sits quietly by ocean. Contemplating her environment gives her clarity. The rhythmic undulation of the waves brings a sense of order. A growing sense of peace frees her from that which is holding her back.
Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich gave detailed instructions about creating a mastermind group to motivate, inspire and mentor. A key element, however, of the mastermind group as he defined it, is that members of the group need not be alive.
Hill's mastermind group is literally a group in your mind and so it could be made up of:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or
He teaches that, the more you learn about the thoughts, patterns of thinking, philosophies, actions and behaviors or your masterminds, the more that understanding of them can inform your thoughts, patterns of thinking, philosophies, actions behaviors, and results .
Tony Robbins says succinctly and often, "Success Leaves Clues." If there is a person you admire and you want to achieve similar success, then model their thoughts, behaviors, actions an so on.
So what does this have to do with horses? Nothing really, except . . .
There are many people in my life I consider mentors, some imagined, and some alive and well.
One Saturday, I was actively participating in a mentorship group for photographers run by Don Giannatti. There were but a few of us in this particular meeting, so I took a moment to mention how "I had lost my muse." As a group we discussed this and Don paused for a minute. He suggested I clear my thoughts and and answer his question with the first thing that popped back in my mind.
Don: "If you had no projects, no clients to please, no other incentives, what would you like to photograph?
Me: "Horses? That's the first thing that came to mind."
Don: (Humorously) "I know there are 9 horses in Pueblo, Colorado, grab your camera and go shoot one. Or, take a road trip and just shoot what you want."
After the group, I made some orange sherbet, vanilla ice cream, and then packed the car for a road trip to Westcliffe, CO in search of horses.
I only found one photographable situation involving horses, BUT, along the way, I found my muse. It had been in my heart waiting for me to get up and do something.
Thank you Don, and all the members and mentors in the group.