Dear Female Photographer,
When it comes to your photography business, which one do you prefer … winning or failing?
A win might be you signing a contract with the commercial client you’ve always dreamt of working with. And the shoot is in Hawaii. In February. Or, maybe it’s hitting your revenue targets early for the month.
A fail might be you closing your studio due to a lack of sufficient income. Or moving to a new area and not (yet) figuring out how to break into the market. Your bills are piling up … you’re trying everything you can think of … but it’s just not working.
We all know which one feels better … the win, of course!
It’s the win that gets our hearts pumping and that amazing I-can-do-this! feeling coursing through our veins.
Since the win feels so good, it seems logical to conclude then, that the opposite of a win — a failure — would NOT feel good. In fact, for some, failures can be more than painful. They can be crippling. One failure and it’s over. They go back to living their lives “safely” rather than trying to stretch themselves. They hug the tree rather than walking out onto it’s long spindling limbs.
How about you? Does fear of failure hold you back?
If so, then you’re in good company. I don’t like pain. I prefer happiness and success! But the thing about pain and failures is that that’s where the growth comes from. If you can pick yourself up, shake off the dust, and push through the hurt — you’ll be able to see the neat little lesson that you tripped over. If you learn from it, you’re one step closer to success.
“Those things that hurt, instruct.” – Ben Franklin
“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” —Denis Waitley
If you allow your “failures” to stop you — then yes, your efforts to succeed as a professional photographer may be in vain. But if you allow yourself the luxury of NOT looking at failures as something negative … but rather as a stepping stone to your next big success, you will go far. Where? I don’t know. You might not even know right now either!!! But you will some day find yourself doing amazing things — things bigger and better than you had originally dreamed of. All because you tried. And tried. And learned. And tried some more.
Think of all the learning and growing that come from your mistakes as photography boot camp.
Have you ever watched a serious body builder in the gym? I mean, the guys that look like Thor. (Because yes, I had to find a way to include that beautiful man in an article eventually!) These folks know a little secret that a lot of people don’t realize. A few reps will be good, sure. But growth — muscles-of-the-Gods growth — happens when you push yourself to the brink, where you feel like you just can’t go any more, and then add in a few more reps. It’s during those last few reps that the body builder may feel like he can’t keep going. But those last few reps will make all the difference.
It takes discipline, dedication, and a willingness to experience some pain.
You’ve signed up to be a professional photographer, an entrepreneur. Therefore, you’ve accepted that pain may come your way. And it may stay there for a bit. It’s what you do with it that counts. It’s how you learn from your failures that makes all the difference. If you push through the pain and do a few more reps, your business will grow.
So this week, let’s adopt this fabulous perspective:
Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn.
Why do I write these posts? They’re for me, really. This is me talking to myself (Hi, Kate!) … encouraging myself … building myself up. If it helps you, too — then that makes me really happy. I also wrote myself a workbook on how to become a successful, confident photographer. You might enjoy that, too!
p.s. The difference between a reactive and a proactive photographer, and why it matters!