We all have challenges at work. For Angela Percival, those challenges sometimes mean life or death. As an outdoor adventure photographer for Arc’teryx, Angela has been scaling mountains, hiking along cliffs, and battling severe weather while capturing the perfect shot for over 13 years, and she loves what she does.
Doing What You Love
Angela moved to Whistler, BC from Australia and loves everything about the outdoors and being in the mountains. Although she went to school for graphic design, working for an outdoor adventure company made it clear that a desk job was not for her. She didn’t want to look at photos of mountain tops on her computer, she wanted to be the one taking them. So, she followed her gut, made the transition to photography, and pursued a career doing something she loved; being in the mountains, working with photography, and going on adventures.
“If you follow what you love to do, you can’t go wrong.”
Finding Fulfilment by Overcoming Challenges
Angela’s job is both physically and mentally demanding. Shooting mountain adventures like skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing often means battling avalanches and working in freezing temperatures, but surviving is only half the battle.
“It takes inner strength to keep going. It takes mentally being in it and committing to it.”
As the photographer and team leader, there’s a lot in her hands, including the lives of her team. For example, when the weather conditions suddenly change for the worse, it is up to Angela to decide whether they should push forward and continue or turn back. While Angela’s job is incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically, overcoming those challenges is what makes it all worth it.
“If everything was easy, it wouldn’t have the same fulfilment.”
Preparing for Success
Angela shared that she is successful in what she does because of teamwork. “The people are key,” she explained. Surrounding herself with the right people who communicate and work well together makes all the difference. “I work with people I would hang out with anyway and get to go on adventures with them.” Angela also prepares for success by communicating expectations to her team before expeditions. Doing so means everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
“I try to set us up for success at the beginning.”
Balancing the Intensity
Angela works incredibly hard, but she also acknowledges the importance of balance. She incorporates mindfulness into her work by taking breaks from the intensity of her job to do enjoyable, light activities like running, biking, and skiing just for fun.
“I need to balance the intensity with something soul nourishing.”
Another way Angela is mindful of what she does is by using visualization. Although she’s big on photographing things in the moment, she also visualizes and plans some of the shots she wants to get beforehand to prepare her and her team. Along with visualization, Angela uses yoga and practices meditation with Headspace. She normally has a million things going on in her head, but slowing down and being quiet helps her begin her day not with a frantic, excitable energy, but a calm, collected sense of mindfulness.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re good at them, what’s important is you’re doing what you need to do for you.”
Angela’s Questions for the KYŌ:
- Is what I’m doing today how I want to spend my life?
- Am I spending time with the people that matter most to me?
- Am I giving enough energy to them?