They say that some of the best lessons in life are learned outside the classroom—and I couldn’t agree more. In addition to wearing multiple hats as a startup founder, I have found solace and unexpected inspiration in street photography. Surprisingly, this seemingly unrelated hobby has influenced my leadership style, enhanced my focus, and enriched my understanding of people—essential traits for running a successful startup.
Patience: Waiting for the Right Moment
In street photography, you can spend hours searching for the perfect shot, but sometimes, it happens in a split second. It’s all about being patient, being in the right place at the right time, and yet being prepared to capture that decisive moment. This skill translates perfectly into the startup world, where timing is everything. Patience often pays off, whether launching a product, securing investment, or scaling the company.
Creativity: Seeing the Unseen
Street photography has trained my eyes to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. A puddle after the rain can turn into a canvas reflecting a whole new world, just like a common problem can become a groundbreaking business idea. This ability to look at things differently is a crucial asset when leading a startup. It has helped me develop creative solutions and strategies that defy the conventional wisdom.
People Skills: Understanding Body Language and Emotions
The streets are a theater of human emotions—joy, sorrow, surprise, and everything in between. Capturing these moments has given me a nuanced understanding of body language and human behavior. In the boardroom or during team meetings, this insight has been invaluable. I can read between the lines, understand what’s left unsaid, and gauge the room’s emotional temperature, making my interactions more effective.
Risk-Taking: Navigating Uncertainty
Street photography often involves stepping out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, you must take risks, like approaching a stranger for a candid portrait or capturing a volatile situation. This has made me more comfortable with uncertainty and risk, which is part and parcel of running a startup.
Mindfulness: Being Present
Street photography has taught me the art of mindfulness. When you are out on the streets with your camera, you are entirely in the moment, your mind free from the dozens of tasks and responsibilities that usually occupy it. This has helped me cultivate a sense of focus and presence that I bring into my professional life. When I’m in a meeting or making a decision, I’m wholly there, making the most of each moment.
My journey into street photography has been much more than an artistic pursuit. It has equipped me with invaluable skills and perspectives in the chaotic, challenging, yet exhilarating world of startups. So, if you’re a startup founder feeling bogged down by the daily grind, it’s time to pick up a new hobby. You never know what lessons lie in wait, ready to be captured.