For many years, the traditional employee performance review has been used by managers to help their employees identify their strengths and their biggest weaknesses.
A quick nod at the strengths – right – and then they would work with you to develop some sort of action plan to address those weaknesses, with the hopes of seeing some sort of improvement within the year.
We’ve all lived through them right?
But what if there were performance reviews for our dreams? Something that actually measured our strengths and weaknesses, and gave us a score on how well we were doing along our path to making our dreams a reality.
I think my “top photographer dream performance review” would go something like this:
OK, Remy you’ve had this dream since you were 8 years old. That certainly is a long time. What kind of photography do you like? What do you feel are your strengths?
“I like shooting any kind of nature scene – you know, stuff like landscapes, the ocean, vineyards and flowers”.
“Because they don’t move a lot and they can’t talk back. I can take my time, and wait for things like ‘good light’ if I want to”.
OK, what else.
“I like shooting sports, because I’m in the moment, watching a performance, and the excitement for me is anticipating the athlete’s moves and capturing the shot. I like shooting still-lifes like food, old cars and abandoned buildings, because you can play with angles and close ups – even distort the image a little so it leaves people guessing.”
“I like shooting informal portraits outside , like a couple’s engagement photos or a business person’s casual portfolio shots. I think I like this better than formal portraits in a studio because I use the environment I’m in as a prop, and as a part of the story I’m telling. Inside, my options feel too limited.”
OK, so what kind of photography don’t you like? What do you feel are your biggest weaknesses?
“Weddings – Too much pressure. Do I have to say anything more about that?”
No you don’t. I get it. What else.
“Formal portraits in a studio. I guess posing people is a challenge for me, cause it feels un-natural. Inside a studio is also a challenge without good lighting equipment and the company hasn’t purchased anything like that for me yet.” (another awkward boss stare)
“I don’t like taking random shots at causal get-togethers’, either. I think this is because I hate mingling”.
“Oh, and night photography. Out of all the ones I don’t like, I guess I don’t like that one the least… meaning, I think would eventually like it – I’ve just been told that I don’t have enough patience or technical knowledge to shoot quality images.”
If my boss lived in a traditional business management setting, I know what I’d get back. An action plan outlining all my weaknesses, with all of the things I don’t like about photography, with lists of goals attached to each weakness so that I’d have plenty work on for the rest of the year.
Then I’d get to look at my dream weaknesses each day, faced with the belief that no matter how much I try, I’d never be able to close the gap enough. I would be in fear every day of losing my dream due to my list of highlighted (hell, almost celebrated) weaknesses.
But what if my top photographer performance review was different?
What if my boss gave me an action plan outlining all my strengths, all the things I loved and that I was good at, with lists of goals attached to each strength so that I’d have plenty to do for the rest of the year to follow my dreams?
Until next photo,
Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work