One Non-Photography-Related Reason Why I Respect Joe McNally


I’m reminded of what Joe McNally told me on May 2, 2013. After teaching his class at NiPHEC, he promised to send autographed copies of his book to me so I can help give the 3 models that helped him with the classes. To be honest, I didn’t think he’ll remember to follow through especially since the models where not necessarily pestering him for copies of the book.

Perhaps one reason that made me not to take him too serious on that was because I was used to people (especially Nigerian citizens & leaders, the set of people I’ve spent most of my life with) making promises and not keeping them. If he didn’t keep his promise, I would not be offended because I was used to it.

Fast forward to September (I think I’ve been using the “fast forward” phrase too much, I must look for a replacement phrase so I don’t become too predictable), I got an email from his manager asking me for the address to mail the books to. By October 3rd, the books were in my office. I was impressed.

I was impressed because it occurred to me that the ability to keep to one’s word is a feature that will distinguish any business owner or personality from others. It is actually a rare commodity in this part of the world especially since I still struggle to fulfill the many promises I’ve made to family, friends & colleagues.

Consequently, I realize that if I want to increase my value/worth as a brand, I need to be known for keeping promises. If I tell a client I’ll be there by 9am, I should get there by 8:30am. If I tell my wife I’ll give her the world on a plate of gold, I better be ready to do that even if it means getting killed in the process :). Infact, I’m more conscious of the promises I make to people now. Once uttered, I should be ready to do my best to fulfill the words.

I know this might not be a tip that will be palatable for a lot of photographers or creative professionals but if we want to stand out in this part of the world, keeping our word is a sure path to convincing people & clients that our brands are synonymous with INTEGRITY. Your pictures may be better than Joe McNally’s and your gears may be more expensive than my dream BMW 540i Active Hybrid. However, if you’re not a man of your words, everything will soon fizzle out in the amount of time it took you to read this piece.

So if you’re reading this and coincidentally happen to be one of the few people I owe anything (whether favor, money, discount, gala, water or pictures), please give me time. In due season, I’ll pay them all. In due season, I’ll fulfill my promises with God’s help…..so that when I grow up, I’ll be like Joe McNally.
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