I hired a photographer to update my head shots.
There’s an old joke about not updating your head shots enough.
It’s the one where the event planner hires the speaker, prints his head shot, and goes to the airport to pick him up for the event.
Waiting there, she is looking at the head shot, comparing every person walking by, anticipating his arrival.
Suddenly, an old man, disheveled and worn out, walks up to her and says, “Hi, I’m your Speaker!”
The event planner looks down at the head shot and back up at the speaker, and says, “Wow, how bad was the flight?”
It’s a tough thing to get older, especially for speakers and performers, as head shots need to be updated more frequently than ever once we go from youthful to…what’s it called?
As I looked in the bathroom mirror, prior to driving to the appointment, I noticed every flaw…
- When did those hairs grow back from my ears? I thought I clipped them yesterday!
- I wish I could lose this belly that came back during my injury. I’m working out every day and eating clean…not sure what else I can do. Where’s my SPANX?
- My nips sure are pokey!
- Glasses or no glasses? I wish I didn’t need them but I can’t even see my iPhone on stage anymore for my music cues.
- When did my eyes get so squinty?
- Is that a freckle on my lip?
- Do I have age spots? What is happening!?!
And then came the ultimate kicker.
It was very upset. I tried everything. Nothing worked. Not only would it not do what I needed it to do, but there was a new realization:
GRAY! It is SO GRAY!
I recalled being at the DMV, perhaps one of the most joyful places on earth, where people go to sit for hours and then are told they didn’t bring the right paperwork.
I love that place!
The last time I went they made me take a new photo and choose between 3 hair colors for my license:
Black, Brown, Gray
I marked gray and then confirmed my birthdate was really what I said it was.
How could I look and BE this old?
Gray is the color on my license for my hair…so be it.
As I drove to my photo shoot I thought of past photo shoots and how this may be my least favorite things of all things I get to do.
- Get on stage in front of 20,000 people? Let’s go!
- Perform for accountants and make them laugh? Bring it on!
- Coach an executive how to speak at his own convention, even though he has no charisma, personality or willingness to share vulnerability? We got this!
And yet: Photo shoot of me with a camera close to my face? Kill me now, please.
Long story short, this is The Promise.
I showed up.
I sucked in, and then just let it hang out.
I almost taped my nipples.
I ditched the SPANX.
I bailed on bringing the makeup to cover my new spots.
I squeezed into shirts that once fit, and even realized I’d brought my son’s black shirt, which is a medium, and barely fit over my forearm…so I tried another shirt in hopes it wasn’t my daughter’s.
I did all I could to do my best, hoping and praying the photographer might somehow have enough skills with photoshop that we could pretend I don’t look like I just starred in The Walking Dead.
She made me laugh.
She made me feel like I was ok and not completely ugly.
She was a light, while also shining way too many lights in my face.
As a photographer, she kept The Promise.
She did her job, she was amazing, and I was thankful I hired her.
I don’t know if I’ll ever go to anyone else ever again.
My Promise was to show up and update my head shots, despite how I felt about the process.
Showing up is often all we need to do.
Even though, for this one, I hated showing up.
Maybe I’ll share these photos soon.
Actually, yes, I will.
Because she sent them to me raw, unedited, before photoshop, and told me to choose 30 that she will spruce up.
I thought I’ll be grateful for even 1/2 of 1 to turn out.
Perhaps you don’t know this about me, but being called ugly every day of my youth really still stings, so sifting through photos of myself is on the same enjoyment level of waiting at the DMV while intermittent fasting and taking an eye exam without glasses.
I reluctantly clicked the link as I parked my car and sat, fearfully about to stare myself in the face.
The first photo surprisingly wasn’t so bad.
The next one was even ok.
The next one…I noticed my lip quiver. Not in a funny way, but in a could I really look that not terrible way?
As I flipped through hundreds of photos I sat stunned and I admit, my eyes filled with tears.
I actually looked ok.
She had somehow pulled out of me a side of me that I’ve never seen.
A side of me that says I guess I’m not as bad as that voice in my head told me I was.
I even sent them to my wife, brother, sister, and a few people I trust to help me choose.
I have never done that before with thousands of photos through the years.
My little sister texted me and said, “I love the silverfox thing you have going on with your amazing hair!”
I’ll take it.
How can I get that on my license?
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Coach & Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”