7 Ways Being a Wandering Photographer Helped Shape Me into a Leader, Part One

This is part 1 of a Guest Post by Mick Haupt. He has amazing insights into leadership and being human that apply to all of us. Mick Haupt is a photographer and graphic designer, and has worked with Cru for 25 years. Mick is a foodie, a cyclist, and family man with two uncontrollable boys. You can read more from Mick on his blog: Wandering 40 Days.


Artists sometimes get a bad rap. Flighty, flaky, disheveled, disorganized, in-their-own-world, temperamental, opinionated, and prickly could be words to describe the creative nearest to you. Do you know one? Those aren’t the words to describe a leader, wouldn’t you agree?

In today’s world where you need to be on top of things in order to earn respect, an artist needs to be organized and sensible. They need to transcend the typecast of a creative, and somehow learn things that make them worthy of following. As a self-proclaimed wanderer (which to me encapsulates being an explorer, photographer, and philosopher) here are a few ways that I’ve grown into being a leader.

1.  I may wander but I still need a plan and a road map to get there. Wandering is a beautiful thing, but by definition it means moving from place to place with no fixed plan. Wandering allows you to find the hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path jewels…a major pay-off. But to be successful in finding the images that move people’s emotions, I need to research and plan. Ultimately, I need to know how to get there. Putting in the time to create a good exoskeleton of a trip still allows the space for spontaneous. A leader embraces the tension between execution and improvisation that allows a plan to succeed.

2.  I’ve learned to be OK with uncertainty. On many a trip through Europe, there are days when I don’t know where I will be sleeping the next night. I’m not super big on that kind of uncertainty, but it comes with the territory. Once I’ve nailed down a spot, I usually relax and start exploring. Looking back, I never had a sleepless night shivering in the cold. Everything turned out just fine. I’ve had to grow in being OK with uncertainty. A leader needs to confidently live in the tension of uncertain resolutions and organizational direction.

3. You may make a plan but still need to be flexible. Too many times to count has my planned itinerary been altered for some reason or another. It’s great to have an agenda on what you want to see and in what order. But hold that loosely. Having a flexible attitude that rolls with it when you are thrown a curve ball can make the difference between a bad and a great day. A leader has the capacity to flex and change direction when obstacles appear.

4. It forces you to be adaptable in a wide variety of circumstances. I thought I would be staying in a guest house, but ended up staying at the house of a co-worker in urban Uganda. Quite the difference I’ll have you know. Especially when using the latrine. Being a traveling photographer has landed me in a huge variety of situations, some not very pleasant. The ability to make the most of every situation, smile and be gracious endears you to the people you find yourself among. A leader’s ability to be graciously adaptable in every circumstance raises the level of follower’s respect.

mick haupt


Join us again for Part Two of 7 Ways Being a Wandering Photographer Helped Shape Me into a Leader. You will learn from lessons 5-7 and see another sample of Mick’s awesome photography. Don’t forget to check out his blog.

Other posts you might enjoy:


About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with my wife, Terry. We have been married for 36 years and have 4 grown children. I have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously, and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right sidebar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit: sarahjoellephotography.com
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5 Responses to 7 Ways Being a Wandering Photographer Helped Shape Me into a Leader, Part One

  1. terry morgan says:

    The tension between plan and flexibility… with grace extended to others is definitely characteristic of a great leader. Thanks Mick and Steve for this post. I look forward to the next one!

  2. daylerogers says:

    It really is about intentional perspective, isn’t it? Because no matter how we try to plan and manage and make our way happen, we can’t control circumstances. I love how you define wandering–it’s not purposeless but the process of a creative, inquisitive, curious mind. Thanks for these insights, guys. It gives breadth to the whole idea of journey and choosing to do it well in light of God’s truth and presence.

    • There is something beautiful about not being able to control all the circumstances. If you can roll with the uncertainties of it with a wink and a smile, there is much to learn and much to give to others. Thanks for the comment Dayle!

  3. Pingback: 7 Ways Being a Wandering Photographer Helped Shape Me into a Leader, Part Two | Leader Impact

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