Consistency contains powerful forces.

The more you do something, the more it becomes habit. And typically, you get better at it.

Consistency is a creature of habit that can breed surprisingly good results.

Recently I read a story about a university professor in Florida who – on the first day of class – divided his film photography students into two groups.

Those on one side of the classroom were placed in the ‘quantity’ group. They would be assessed only on the amount of work they produced. One hundred photos submitted would count as an A grade.

Students on the other side of the room got put into the ‘quality’ group. They would be marked solely on the excellence of their work. Only one photo would have to be submitted, with a near perfect image scoring an A.

At the end of term, it was time to see the results.

The professor was surprised to discover that all the best photographs had been taken by the QUANTITY group.

What appeared to have happened was this…

The students in the ‘quantity’ group had got busy taking photographs, incentivised to submit up to 100 pictures. In taking so many pictures, they experimented with lighting, exposure, composition and testing out various darkroom techniques.

Consistency in getting out and taking lots of photos was their friend.

In the process, they learned from their mistakes. So, gradually, photo by photo, they developed and refined their camera skills.

However, it was a different story for the ‘quality’ group.

The students sat around, speculating about and worrying about perfection. At the finish, they had very little to show for their efforts. Just a few untested theories and one average photo.

Who would have thought it?

That pursuit of perfection got that group of students stuck. The spent so much time conceptualising what that fantastic image could be that they forgot to get on with the part of creating it.

Done is Better Than Perfect

The benefits of consistency are not limited to taking photographs.

They apply in all walks of life.

A desire for perfection can inhibit action. Not drawing that painting in case it might not be good enough. Not entering a competition because you might not win. Not starting a family because you worry whether you’ll be a great parent or not.

It’s the same in business.

Waiting to find the right moment to go self-employed or set up a company. Exploring all the software options and not choosing one because you’re afraid of not picking the best one. Not writing that blog post because it may not be ‘just right’.

Perfection puts a handbrake on doing things.

Inaction gets you nowhere. Action – and consistency of action – is key.

This is certainly what I have found with my business and the growth to what it is today.

It’s why every week my audience will see my newsletter, a blog post and a summary.

It’s why they can listen to (or watch) my podcast, Virtually Amazing
four or five times a month.

It’s why I have written dozens of training manuals and guides about Microsoft Office applications for Bookboon.

It’s why, every year, I create or update online courses for professional assistants. Each one gets added to my ‘box set’, known as The Hub.

Consistency is the key.

It has helped me to get noticed, reach a wider audience and expand the range of services and products available for assistants who want to be superheroes for their clients.

Have you got into the habit of being consistent in what you do?

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2 thoughts on “The Photo Test

  1. Hi Shelley
    This is EXACTLY why the blogging challenge is 30 days of posts. You can’t get better if you don’t “do”, or in this case take photos.
    It’s great to hear you’re not so much of a perfectionist and you value getting it done. I know your audience would be lost if perfectionism was your sole focus 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah – yes a freind once said to me Done not Perfect and I have adopted that as one of the ways I work. The blogging challenge is fantastic! I took part twice! Really helps to hone your skills Thanks for your comments 😀

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The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes