©2023 Lena Drapella (@lenadrapella)

When everything is clicking, when the people are trained and are executing, when the modeling has been absorbed, there are moments when one can take a step back and simply observe. And appreciate. And reflect. These moments are extraordinarily brief. The amazing photographer Lena Drapella saw it. It is testament to her eye, experience, and training. Where some may observe that I am doing nothing, I'm actually doing the sum of everything that has ever happened to me in my life of doing things. This is the real work. Yet, these moments are extraordinarily brief.

I just had an exceptional opportunity to do unprecedented things. I leaned in very hard. I have had the opportunity to be the very best at a particular thing exactly three times in my life. I have accepted those challenges. I have been "world's best" at things. That's a weird thing to write.

I am skilled and I am fortunate. I am persistent and I am optimistic. I evangelize my beliefs and I am correct an overwhelmingly majority of the time. I fight and I get hurt. I win more than I lose. I see through knots. As they say in the community, "He got that dog in 'em!"

There has been so much overwhelmingly positive feedback for what I am doing now. It's all nice but I know there is real work ahead. In order to make others better, things better.  I have to get better, be better. "Absolute legend" can wait until I'm dead. "Best in the business" needs tough competition.

Is there a cost? Yes. Do I care? Not any more.