I was sitting at my desk at work, daydreaming about hitting the road, when I noticed I had received a notification on Instagram. I opened the app and the message was from @bankofthewest:
I put my hand over my mouth in astonishment and stared at the message in disbelief. I had actually won a Tesla. A few pinches later and I realized I was, in fact, awake and proceeded to call my family and friends.
A Little Background
Bank of the West announced a photography contest on social media in early February. The point of the contest was to showcase examples of our changing world. Environmental consciousness, sustainability, green tech and energy transition were four categories you could potentially win prizes in if you portrayed them well in your image and caption. There were also two grand prize winners who had the chance to win a 3-year lease on a new Model S Tesla.
The judges based their decision on three details: 1) Spirit of the Contest: How well does the submission capture a change (positive or negative) in the world related to sustainability, environmental consciousness, energy transition, or green technology? 2) Artistic Merit: Does the submission convey a high level of artistic quality? 3) Creativity & Originality: Does the submission express a fresh, unique and interesting point of view?
After finally settling on this photo and writing/re-writing my caption multiple times, here is my final winning submission:
After sending in tax info and getting some forms notarized in Hawai’i while I was on vacation, I talked with Tesla who gave me two options.
I could either build a car from scratch (with a budget) OR pick a car with low miles from their current inventory. The specific inventory car they found for me had 200 miles on it, unlimited supercharging (not available with build-a-car), Long Range (340 Miles), Premium Carbon Fiber Interior (also not available with build-a-car) and the upgraded autopilot, which would have been out of my budget. Needless to say, I opted for the one with free supercharging. As much as I wanted to customize my own car, you can’t pass up free charging.
Since the nearest Tesla dealership is in Bellevue, Tesla paid for my flight over to Seattle and also an Uber to take me to the dealership! Unfortunately, Emily had to work, but my mom was so excited, she bought a plane ticket to go with me! I also met up with my sister who was in Seattle with a friend.
Once we made it to the dealership, we had a lot of waiting to do because of some paperwork issues. But once everything was all done, we walked around the building and there she was.
Seeing a car like this and knowing that it’s yours (even if only for 3 years) is a weird feeling. We got a run down of the features and I got accustomed to all the controls. Go check out my instagram story for a limited time to see some video! We piled in the car, had some lunch and then headed home!
Is it luck?
I’ve told a lot of people the story of winning this car and the overwhelming response is “You’re so lucky!” I won’t deny that winning anything requires some luck. But I want to make it clear that this car wasn’t just handed to me. I have been pursuing photography seriously for 5 years now, hiking many miles with pounds of camera gear to mountain lakes, waking up before the sun rises and staying up after the sun sets. Many many hours of editing, re-editing and constant curiosity have helped drive my skill and passion forward. I’ve been pursuing a following on social media and, most importantly, I have been entering contests the entire time. I have entered hundreds of contests to date and got nothing from 99% despite the work of taking the photos, typing a thoughtful caption and entering my camera settings over and over. But the hard work pays off. And I highly encourage you to take the time and find some contests worth entering!
With that said, here is my advice for winning contests:
1) ENTER THEM! Take the time to look for contests that appeal to you. Read what the judges will be looking for and use your talents to create an awesome submission. You can’t win contests if you don’t enter them.
2) BE SELECTIVE. You have an extremely small chance of winning contests on instagram where you “tag 3 friends and follow our page” because so many other people are entering them, especially on larger pages. Find contests that require you to use your skills and identify with your talents. Look for contests that may be overlooked. Put in the work and the rewards will follow.
As always, thanks for reading everyone! And keep your eyes peeled for a new vlog coming soon about our first road trip!