This is a picture of me and my favorite CART driver Paul Tracy. As you can tell, I am a huge auto-racing fan. For as long as I have been alive, my family has been carting me off to racetracks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois to see a myriad of races from CART, to Trans-Am to LeMans. The smell of the brakes and oil, along with the high-pitched scream of the turbo engines is a part of my upbringing, and always elicits a Tim Allen-esque growl when I get to the track.
A Family of Amateur Photographers:
Part of the fun of our race weekend activities is to take pictures. We all carry around our SLR’s with huge lenses with the hopes that we will get that one shot of our favorite drivers, or the chance wreck at turn 5 at Road America. On one particular day at a CART race, my dad and I were walking past “my” driver, Paul Tracy’s trailer in the paddock, where they prep the cars. Naturally, I wanted to get a close-up picture of Paul, so I staked out a position behind the barrier of the trailer.
While standing there waiting, my dad and I had a chance to develop a plan for the photo we wanted:
- Because it was Saturday (and the races are on Sunday), the crowds were minimal. This meant it was easier to get close up shots.
- Paul was scheduled to practice at one of the upcoming sessions
- There was only one exit of the trailer area where they bring the cars and drivers to enter the track, and we were standing at that spot
- Not many people saw Paul enter his trailer, so there were no other fans hovering around his trailer.
With our position set, my dad and I rehearsed what we were going to do to not only get a shot of my favorite driver, but my driver with me. Pretty cool.
I handed my dad my SLR, and said “OK, when I see him come out, I will tell him I am a huge fan, and could I get a picture with him. Then, I will hand you the camera, you take the picture, and we will be on our way.” He got used to the camera, fired a couple test shots, and gave me the thumbs up.
Paul’s crew started moving his car out of the paddock area into the pits. Paul came out of his trailer, and approached the exit where we were. Just like we rehearsed, I explained that I was a big fan, and could I get a shot with him. He agreed, so I handed my dad the camera, he took the shot just before all the other fans realized Paul was outside. This all took, maybe 5 seconds.
We were stoked! Everything happened like clockwork, just as we anticipated. It was a very cool moment. Bragging rights ensued amongst our family of race fan/photographers!
In the grand scheme of things, this may seem like a small moment – a picture with a driver – big deal. If you think about it though, the moment itself had some important ingredients of a successful moment.
We were enjoying things in life that we have a passion for – auto racing and photography.
RIGHT PLACE – RIGHT TIME:
For the picture, we had to stake out a position where we know our subject would be. Because the driver was scheduled to practice, and we were between the trailer and the track, we were set. We were where we needed to be, and we were “present.”
Some people may give up after standing outside a trailer for five minutes. We knew the reward would be worth some time, so we stuck with it.
We knew the practice schedule, when my driver would be outside, and which entrance to stand by. We mapped out a strategy using our experience and creativity.
My dad rehearsed taking the picture, knowing that it was a one-shot opportunity. I rehearsed what I would say, so I wouldn’t have to think about it. This put our actions on auto-pilot.
When the moment came, and everything worked out exactly as we planned, in our minds, we achieved a big success. We were able to enjoy the moment, having taken care of variables ahead of time, like my dad fumbling with the unfamiliar camera, or me getting tongue-tied.
Maybe it is a presentation you have to give, or an upcoming sales call. Either way, working these ingredients into your “system” could bring more successful moments in your life.
Try them. Do you have a story where you used tactics like this?