For the past several months I have been working with a business coach, Dane Sanders. He is the author of the Fast Track Photographer, has a hugely successful photography business, and has recently branched into the world of workshops. He's utterly fabulous and has such a wealth of knowledge. He not only talks about business, but is helping me define WHO I am...way down to the core, emotional level. He asks permission to help me confront my demons...calls me out when I make excuses (and i usually have a lot) and in some ways provides tough love. But I'll tell you, I'm all for tough love. Emotionally, it does a number on me, but it's what I need and what I want for myself.
I will flat out admit that I have sought approval from others to validate who I am...pretty much, most of my life. Not often enough do I validate myself for just being me...and that me is good enough. That can be such a limiting factor in relationships, business endevours and truly finding success and happiness in life. So today, I was challenged to 'turn in my old life for a new one'...and I accepted the challenge. Sounds hokey, but I'm a believer.
I will write a list of all the things that I have felt hold me back, things that I feel are 'flaws' (physical, emotional, subconscious acts, etc.) and I will literally take this list (and in my case, I will be going to a church) and turn in this list...and ask if I can start over with a new life. Sounds uncomfortable to me, don't you think? I'm totally squirming in my chair thinking how awkward that sounds, and how the person on the receiving end of that letter is going to look at me. I can hear them now...'Um...ok...whatever'. LOL ! But, I've been living in a world of a 'comfort' and it hasn't done me much good...so i need to get uncomfortable to have a better life...for me.
What does this have to do with photography? Oddly enough, everything! How I view myself will ultimately come across to others. It's hard to live a double life and internally tell yourself one thing, but try to project another. I can't tell you how many other friends/photographers struggle with these same demons. Luckily I have been fortunate (blessed) enough to confront them. Today, I challenge you to do the same...and would love to hear about it. Heck, I could be the one you send me your list and I will grant you permission to start a new life (yes, I have that kind of power...tee hee). See, I'm already believing in myself.
It's funny, I didn't at all intend to write about this...I really wanted to share with you an exercise I did with writing down 400 words or less about how I want to be viewed in the photography world...and I'll share that at the end. But I think it's less important how others view me (granted, I want people to love my work, love me and want to hire me), but it's more important how I view myself...and to forgive myself of my 'faults'. I am however, human...and will never be perfect, and that's ok. I forgive my messy desk, the piles of paper, and my disorganization. I forgive myself that the grass that hasn't been mowed, that I haven't yet lost the 5 lbs I wanted to lose, and the the rest of my list that goes on. Wow, it's very cathartic to write this stuff. And, for the first time, I'm not concerned about how others will view it...b/c it was helpful for me.
I want to send a big THANK YOU to my friend Dane, for helping me face this nasty little demon. I feel great things are about to occur! Bring on my new life!
(btw...Dane is conducting these workshops all over the country and I highly recommend attending. The cost is ONLY $750, but you get so much more out of it, and literally almost $2000 in product/services as well. How can you beat that? The Seattle workshop will be the last day of Sept, first of Oct.)
As for my 400 word exercise of how I want to be viewed in the photography world...here's what I wrote:
I thought about the question: What/who I want to be in the photo world. And although I want to be 'somebody' in the 'photo world', I realized that trying to reach superstar status is not me. So, I want to be admired by other photographers and be able to hang with some of the greats, but I really want to be BIG in the eyes of clients hiring me. To them, I want to be the person who is able to walk into their world and be able to objectively capture their personalities, their love, their quirkinesses, and candid moments. All while having a fun, relaxed time by lessening the intimidation factor of the camera and letting their natural personalities shine. I want their responses to the photos they see to be jaw dropping, to shed a tear, or to have a huge smile to take over their face. I want them to hear the laughter through the picture, have a viceral response, remember that moment with more detail than before and to really 'appreciate' and 'love' the fact these moments were captured. When they see their photos, I want them to feel special...like they just won the lottery. I also hope to create relationships that allow me to come back into their world, time and time again. With or without the camera by myside. I want a BIG hug at the end of the session/day and to be welcomed back with open arms. Word of mouth referrals are the best ...and I hope that my clients would shout my name and share me with all of their friends and family...as the BEST photographer (in their world at least) ;).
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