These "captured moments" are some of my best photographs as a amateur photographer. Each of them spoke to me, created a memory, and taught a lesson. In sharing them, I hope you benefit from the lessons learned.
The peace and stillness at this spot along the Missouri River produces tranquility for a modern-day journeyman. Nearly 110 years ago, however, this same spot was the scene of tragedy and turmoil. The Hauser Dam collapsed sending floodwaters downstream causing much damage but, in good news, limited loss of life. What happened? Pressure undermined the dam's foundation leading to the structural failure. Interestingly, metal shards from that first dam can still be seen in the river today as a memory of that awful day.
Fast forward to my 2016 visit, I fished this spot but caught nothing. Honestly, I was enjoying the scenery more than fishing and relished the opportunity to watch a master craftsman at work. My friend knew this river and the fish within it. His expert knowledge and deliberate action was art in motion.
Think about that - same location but different experiences.
Leaders would do well to learn from this spot. Yes, failure is costly but does not have to be the end. Scars of that mistake remain - to be learned from - but have become a simple brush stroke of beauty within the frame. Embrace mistakes. Learn from them. Take the time to heal. Then step back and look at the masterpiece those mistakes helped forge.
Why is this place such a favorite for me? You may think it has to do with the picturesque nature or simply being outdoors, but that's not it. The soothing sounds of the water flowing over the dam relax me and have taught me much. Let me show you with a question: does it do any good to scoop up water at the dam's bottom to run back to the top side and pour it out again? You are laughing because you realize the answer is no. Why is it, however, that we do not do that with people and issues? When "settled," we keep bring them back later just to watch them flow over the dam one more time. The effort is futile and meaningless. Freedom and relaxation comes through the defining moment of letting those negative instances go over the dam and continue away from you down river. My advice is simple -- let it flow so that, in life, you can grow!
Barely visible at the top of the picture is the ocean as the tide is rising. The increasing volume of water creates turmoil, conflict, and noise. Despite the churn, notice the calm and stillness of this reflecting pool. We must build reflection time into our daily lives so that learning, growth, and development can occur. That commitment to reflect is never as important as when the stress of life increases leading to hard knocks along the rocks.
Do you see it yet? How about now? Look closely through the hole in that tree. That's one of my children and, oh, the communication struggle it was to get him lined up for this picture. I knew where he needed to be but had to put it in terms that he could understand and would willingly follow. If your vision is not clear then neither will be your communication. You have to see enough to find your direction, share the vision, guide others, and keep making progress together for an incredible moment.
This photo brings me so much joy!
The curly-headed, little boy was not part of our plan, but he was a perfect gift from God. The photo captured his first ever snow, and he is mesmerized. All of his energy and rambunctiousness was stilled as he climbed into that chair and, silently, gazed out the window. If I had remained "busy," then I would have missed the opportunity to capture this incredible moment. Learn to slow down. Learn to look around. Learn to take it all in. Life, just like leadership, is short, but we have the right amount of time for our purpose. When was the last time that you were "stilled" to take in the joy that surrounds you?