Spending time in nature with my camera feeds my soul. Something happens just by putting a camera in my hand. Immediately, I start looking for beauty, for interesting plays of light, for textures and patterns. I notice things I hadn’t noticed before. I notice the big-picture views and “landscape” shots as well as details, textures, colors, and qualities of light. All of my senses are heightened. My awareness expands. I “see” more clearly, in more dimensions, and from many angles. Taking time out for nature photography helps me be a better coach, teacher, and leader.

This summer I was practicing using a big telephoto lens to play with focus. Shooting with a telephoto lens is great for getting close-up pictures of far-away objects. However, it’s also great for close-up photography when you want just one object to be in sharp focus and the rest of the photo to be softly blurred. As a photographer, you choose what you want the viewer to focus on. Everything else then fades into the background. There is nothing to distract the viewer from the one thing you want them to see.

Daisies--Alan Seale (2015)

It’s all about the daisies – nothing else! (Photo: Alan Seale, 2015)


It occurred to me on an early morning shoot that this is a great metaphor for life! How often do you find that there is so much going on that you have a hard time focusing on what is important? What if you could blur out the distractions and put all of your focus on one thing at a time – even if only for an hour or a day? You can always re-focus when you are ready to look at everything again. This is just a way to help you sort things out – to focus on one thing without distraction.

There may be other times when you are so focused on what is right in front of you that you can’t see the bigger picture. Or you get so caught up in the close-up view that you completely miss the longer view. Where in your life might it help to look past the close-up object and focus on what is just beyond? What might happen if you simply shifted your focus?

Blue Heron, Chautauqua Lake (Photo: Alan Seale, 2015)

Looking through the close-up flowers to focus on the magnificent blue heron (Photo: Alan Seale, Chautauqua Lake, 2015)


Whether or not you are a photographer, you can choose where you put your attention in your life circumstances. You can choose what to bring into sharp focus and what to intentionally blur for the moment so as not to be distracted. You may even choose to go back and forth between several different points of focus, views, or perspectives. Just as all perspectives are possible with the camera, all perspectives are also possible as you focus on your life.

Where will it be the most helpful to put your focus right now?


P.S. Many of our Transformational Presence tools are designed to help you look at things from different perspectives. One in particular that you may find helpful is the “Enlightened Dialogue” tool. You’ll find this tool in a coaching sampler video on the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching Tools page of our website. Just scroll down to the Enlightened Dialogue Coaching Sampler.


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