Business lessons from thousands of headshots 

Last week I was emailed by a motivational speaker who had a lot of fascinating things to say about his experiences interviewing successful people. Afterwards, I thought to myself: Wow!  Maybe, just maybe, I can write about lessons that I have learned from CEO’s, Supreme Court Justices, scientists, inventors and all of the thousands of people whom I have had the honour of meeting and finding their headshot over the years.

Be Impeccable not a Perfectionist

As an entrepreneur I am constantly on the lookout for tips and strategies that will help build my own dream of running a thriving and rewarding business. The following are five key elements and philosophies that I have never read in books!  These five examples stand out to me because of their simplicity and common sense. 

One client and a personal friend told me that he was just scraping by in business until he realized that by becoming a systematic worker instead of a perfectionist he would be much more efficient. This fellow built a successful, formidable company and retired only 10 years later by following his own advice:

“I used to be a perfectionist and fearful and never finished things.  One day I realized that becoming impeccable was far more efficient. The difference is a perfectionist can continue to perfect things without end in sight, being impeccable to me – means having a timeline and doing my absolute best within that time frame.  Once the timeline is done, I am done and move on to the next thing… I did it impeccably not perfect”.



Entrepreneurs and Optimistic not Positive

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston Churchill

I once had an illuminating portrait session with a university professor. He had a nice little theory about differences in attitude and how they can affect outcomes in business: “A positive thinker is like a doper who gets high to hide from accepting any negativity.  An effective entrepreneur sees all of the problems and resolves them with an optimistic view of the final result.” In other words, accept the problems you are faced with in a realistic and accepting way, have an optimistic attitude and those nagging issues will be more easily resolved.

Positive thinking is for those wanting to avoid obstacles i.e. a dope smoker may want to be high and positive all the time to escape reality. An Entrepreneur listens to the positive and negatives and as a critical thinker problem solves with optimism.

Inspired by a customers wisdom

Be the first, not the best

“You have to listen to this!” said one of my clients as we listened to Jack Ma, one of the founders of the Chinese e-commerce business group Alibaba. He spoke about his failure that happened when he was the only candidate not to be hired out of a group of 35 applicants. He kept things in perspective and it ended up being the best possible outcome. Mr. Ma realized that being the best is far more difficult and actually less important than being the first to bring up a new idea, invention or new way of doing things. “Better to be first than the best”, the best is competing with the first, the first is well numero uno.  An economist by trade, he ended up teaming with Peng Lei and together they created one of the most innovative and important business models of the twenty-first century. 

It’s your destiny

I have a client and friend who, with no financial support and only a rudimentary grasp of the English language, moved from Colombia to Canada all by herself. She didn’t let this slow her down and she became the founder of the biggest annual Latin American event in the city of Vancouver.

” What motivated you to build Latincouver, now with a hundred thousand yearly participants?” I asked. My client responded: “I was too fearful to really look at the odds of not succeeding and I kept on and on, until it became a success – because in my heart, deep inside, I just knew I was meant to do something great one day”. 


Hire people who want to work

Recently I was commissioned to photograph 200 lawyers from one of the biggest firms in Vancouver that would be acquired by the second to third largest law firm in the World.  “Part of my success is that I would only hire people who want to work.  Some people simply want to work, while others, they go to work not wanting to work”.  On your interview, test to see if this is a person who wants to work, you can see it.  My staff were naturally driven and we were able to build a great company through this process.


Art of Headshots specializes in corporate and professional headshots for websites, social media like LinkedIn, and advertising. We have over 13 years of experience guiding you into authentic and professional portraits.

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