How to get a $1000 camera (or anything else)

One day I asked a co-worker what she would want to do if there were no limits. The question seemed to stump her at first, but after talking for a few minutes we identified that she would like to ski more, take pictures, especially of mountains, and practice her Spanish. I asked her if taking pictures of the Andes mountains while skiing with Spanish speaking companions would fill the bill. She said yes, absolutely.

My imagination locked in on the South American part, and I started helping her look for images of the Andes mountains and think of creative ways to get there. But it was obvious that those ideas didn’t resonate with her that much. It turned out that for Jenny, the most important part of the whole scenario was taking the pictures. She wanted to take them with a very particular high-end camera, and did not have the money to buy it. The more we talked about it, it sounded like buying that camera felt like the obstacle between where she is now and where she’d like to be.

Even though the camera’s price felt way out of reach, I suggested that she might consider putting a picture of it somewhere in her office to remind herself that taking pictures is important to her. She immediately downloaded a picture of the camera and changed her computer background to that photo.

The next time I saw Jenny she had also set up a high interest online savings account especially for the camera and arranged for our employer to deposit money directly into that account every month. She saves about $50/month.

Update: Jenny bought her camera a year later and loves it! You can visit her photo album at prettymountain.com.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 1, 2006 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Great story. I’m always amazed at the power of focus and taking specific actions, no matter how small they are.

    It also shows the power of really narrowing down what’s important to you. One indicator for me that I’ve found the right goal is that it naturally energizes me and motivates me to take action without any mental prodding.

    I’m sure she’ll now realize her dream of getting the camera.

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