This is Lepeka “Pekx” Nanai, an power-lifter training in Melbourne, Australia. He’s a pretty inspirational dude.
How I found Pekx
On April 18, I put a call-out on my Facebook page. I asked people to share who in their life inspires them; if there’s anyone they know who’s up to something amazing. I got a few answers, and one of them was about Pekx. My friend Zoe powerlifts with the Melbourne University Weightlifting and Powerlifting Club and said that he might be an ideal candidate for my project. I asked why.
Pekx isn’t an ordinary powerlifter. He’s only been doing it for 3-4 years and came to the sport after being blinded by two separate random events. He now hold 3 world records in Blind Powerlifting and will be heading to the World Open Championships in Moscow where he will be competing against sighted competitors.
This definitely caught my interest, and Zoe was kind enough to set up a meeting for me to meet Pekx during one of the Club’s workouts.
I took the tram down to Melbourne University and walked over to the Beaurepaire Centre where the Club holds its workouts. He wanted to meet me before he agreed to working on my project with me. I also wanted to meet him to make sure that his story was one I wanted to tell.
After a hearty handshake, we sat down and I told him about my project. I enrolled him in what I was trying to create over the noise of grunting, yelling and heavy weights being dropped after successful lifts. Pekx would step away from the conversation from time to time to go and do a set while I tried to figure out what angle I wanted to take on his story. Then it hit me…
It is written on his shirt
Don’t think, just do. Respect. Pretty clear message if you ask me. Of course his biographical story is inspiring, but in a way I felt it was too obvious. Too easy. Thing was, I wasn’t looking to just do a storytelling project around a blind powerlifter, I wanted my project to do something more.
It all connects with where I’m taking Korinek Photography. I am committed to creating the possibility of a visual storytelling business that makes a difference in people’s lives. As part of that, I’m taking on attracting inspirational people to participate in a series of storytelling pieces. These piece include a mixture of video, photographs, social media and blog posts.
The aim is to shine a light on people who are living their lives powerfully and doing what they love. My intent is to touch, move and inspire people to applying the lessons successful people use on their own lives.
To me the idea of living in action instead of letting the thoughts in your head stop you was where I connected with Pekx’s story. That’s the place I’m coming from. How can you all apply a bit of “Don’t think, just do” to the things in life that are important to you?
Stay tuned for more on this project.
As always, feel free to share your perspective in the comment section below and share this story with your friends and social networks. Thanks for your support!
*In the original version of this post I accidentally spelled Pekx with an “s” (Peks). After speaking with him at our last shoot, I asked him which he preferred and he said Pekx, hence the changes!
What did I learn from my first ever workshop? How did I make it successful?
Here’s a few tidbits that I thought I’d share from my January 2013 workshop. Things that worked, and things to improve.
Things that worked:
- Survey for Success – I sent out a free SurveyMonkey survey to the participants to get to now them and their interests better. The survey was only a few questions long so that it would be easy to complete. It helped me get related to them quicker since I knew a bit about them. The opening survey worked really well. I also sent out a survey after the workshop was complete to get some feedback but only 2 out of 5 responded – something to improve!
- Be Authentic - You’re you. Why try to be anyone else? If you’re not into helping to develop others, or aren’t a people person – perhaps you shouldn’t be delivering workshops? I felt 100% at ease and was honest when I was giving opinion versus facts. Let people know that there’s nothing wrong with a little #fail.
- Ask Strategic Questions – Figure out what people are interested in. Find out what they want to know more about. Discover what information will most likely produce the results they’re looking for.
- Offer Information in small chunks – Too much information can be overwhelming. It can be hard to retain. I kept thing manageable by giving participants things to think about and then time to put their new knowledge into practice. Information + practice = retention.
- Have a Plan, Be Ready to Change it – I had a general sequence I wanted to go through with the participants based on the survey I sent. I kept a close watch on everyone to see how they were doing with the tasks I suggested and their overall motivation during different sections. Sometimes we stayed in a location longer than planned, and other times we moved on quickly. I felt it out and think I got a good balance.
- Keep the Group-size Manageable – I chose to open the workshop up to 5 participants, because I knew I could manage this many people and also make sure they had a great experience. I could maybe fit a couple more in, but not at the expense of the experience for each individual.
- Have Fun - Do I seriously have to explain this one?
Things to improve:
- Timing – Its hard to be sure about this, since I only got 2 responses to my post-workshop survey, but it seems like the timing could have been better. It was an easy time for people to fit into their schedule which was a good thing. I could have started it earlier to leave a bit more light, especially since this wasn’t a tripod workshop.
- Niche it up – Offering a variety of workshops that tailor to certain niches would allow me to really get to focus in on the skills and techniques that would allow people to reach their goal. This is based on feedback from one of the participants and I agree wholeheartedly.
- Clear Outcomes – There was a few outcomes that I was unsuccessful in achieving. This was because I wasn’t 100% clear on what I wanted the participants to get out of their experience. Of course what the participant is looking for is important here and I feel that targeted workshops would facilitate this.
Do you have any advice to share from your own experiences of running OR attending a workshop?
There’s runners, and then there’s Runners.
Beau Miles is a Runner (with a capital R) and Adventurer (with a capital A). From his website I can see he’s been living an adventurous life since he first started traveling at 17 years old. I actually never got to meet Beau, since he was running across Crosscut Saw in Alpine National Park and I was in the helicopter!
Brett and Beau have been working together on a movie called “The Trail of Miles”, and that’s why Brett had hired the helicopter on that day. Lucky for me he did, cause I got some sweet shots. Have a look at the trailer for “The Trail of Miles” below.
To be honest I don’t even know much about the story other than what Brett from Goatpen Media has told me and what you can see in the trailer. I was in that helicopter because he called me an offered a free trip. I figured a free helicopter trip is a great way to get into aerial photography; instead of paying lots of cash just to “try it out”.
If Brett lets me know where it is playing, I’ll let everyone know where they can go see it!
Free helicopter rides are awesome
I thought I’d share some more of the results from my collaboration in the sky with Brett from Goatpen Media that occurred in early January of this year. These images were taken with my new Nikon D600 – I figured the high ISO capabilities would come in handy and they did!
Although I call it a collaboration now, at the time it was just a friend calling me and giving me the opportunity to experience aerial photography for the first time. There was no specific plan outside of that. Brett needed the helicopter to finish his documentary video “The Trail of Miles” and there was an extra seat in the helicopter.
Either way, I think it shows you how you can work with friends and help each other out.
Click on an image to see a larger version.