Editor’s Note: Chris Burkard is barely 29-years old and already he has a lifetime of career accomplishments to share. His TED Talk speech earlier this year not only put him in the company of some of the world’s most creative and influential minds, but it’s inspiring people across the globe daily. All this makes Chris’ the perfect mind to pick when searching for those ever important “keys to success”. In photography, in the surf industry, and in finding happiness, here’s three pointers he shared with us.
1. Don’t be in a rush to define yourself, but it’s always know your strengths. As a photographer or any creative person, as much as you’d like to think you’re being hired because you can do everything well, it’s actually because you are good at something specific. You’re a specialist. And when you’re hired as a specialist it’s important to know what that specialty is.
It will speed your business along if you identify what your skill set is, rather than working to try and convince people. You have to be comfortable with who you are.
2. Treat everyone as though you can be working for them somebody. I’ve found this industry is so small that it happens more often than you think. The surf industry’s tiny and you just never know.
3. Never get comfortable. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was that we have to constantly be in self-examination. Early in my career, I gave myself a timeline when it came to working what I thought was a dead end job. When the time came, I gave up everything else to pursue photography. And I think it’s important in any career to put yourself out of your comfort zone because I think that’s where the best growth takes place. You find what you’re made of even if you already have something great going. In fact, it’s almost more important if you have a great career that you love, because at what point do you start to figure out where you are and where you’re going?