There is a plethora of business coaches out there lately. Have you noticed that? They have fabulous information and support to offer. It’s such a cool thing (something I’d even enjoy doing since I’m a natural coach). The problem is, I have seen hundreds of articles talking about how if you do what you love, the rest will fall into place. Just follow your dream. Work hard. Do what you love for the love of it & remember why you are in it. What great advice, right? It’s true. And it happens that way for many people. But I would like to add that there can be another facet of the story for those of us who love what we do.
My business is my heart. Connecting with incredible women. Days, weeks, months of planning & dreaming of their photo shoots. Shopping for them and creating vision boards (sometimes physical, sometimes mental). Pouring blood, sweat & tears into their shoot day (yes, literally). Bonding. Feeling uplifted and knowing I’ve uplifted another woman. Excitedly receiving the film scans from my lab and being glued to my computer for the following 3 days, trying & failing to force my love for them through the screen & into each image in photoshop, making sure to enhance their unique beauty and never crossing the line of making them look like a different person. Thinking how excited they’ll be to see their images. Imagining their first email to me and what they’ll say. Putting those images online and crossing my fingers & toes that they’ll be accepted with the same enthusiasm as I created them with. Getting the email from my client & being (usually, hopefully) overjoyed with how much they love them. And eventually sending their finished album or disc and receiving the final thank you email. Feeling I’ve done my job. Feeling I’ve maybe created change. Feeling I’ve created closure but at the same time… momentum.
But we don’t talk about the other times.
The times where you don’t get a rave. The times where you’ve done a fabulous job… and awhile later you find out that client has booked another photographer for another shoot they need done. The times you hear a rave from your client but you know they aren’t referring you to their friends that want the same type of shoot. The times where someone you work with in your business is praising other people in your field, referring their friends & acquaintances by touting someone else’s work.
It’s business, right? We should suck it up and move on. I mean, we all take things sort of personally b/c it’s OUR business but come on… just get OVER it! But there’s a catch. You LOVE what you do. It’s your soul. It very nearly defines you. No no no, you should never let a business define you! How true, how true. And yet… again, you LOVE it. It’s part of you. Your business is so personal… your business is actually YOU, connecting with OTHERS, after all. And when those connections which are so real to you FAIL… it’s nothing short of crushing.
So we work on our resiliency (or so we think). We follow the rules that are supposed to help us have a work/life balance. Ideas that are supposed to help us thrive. We try to distract ourselves with other things. We busy ourselves. We brush it off. We fish for compliments on our Instagram accounts. We try to play it like we’re all kinds of happy & we don’t need anyone or anything. But that voice that lingers. And that voice stings. It stings like it did in High School when you didn’t get asked to the dance. I believe it’s true that artists are more sensitive… I don’t know that it’s always a bad thing, I mean, it enables us to do what we love with EVERYTHING we have. To always strive to make it better, to always want to be our best. But as one of my favorite authors/researchers Brené Brown relates, ‘we’re wired to love, be loved and to belong’. And sometimes, we just aren’t loved and we don’t belong. And it is not a great place to be.
*from an experimental shoot I did with my good friend and one of my favorite hair & makeup artists, Misty Spinney*
In the last year or so, I’ve been really focusing on how I can help, uplift & nurture others in their pursuits. I believe to feel satisfied, we need to GIVE. Focusing on building others up has been difficult but usually rewarding. It’s a great tool to use when you’re not feeling as much connection as you’d like. But how do you keep giving? How do get over yourself and feel like you’ve got something in your bucket to give away to someone else? You feel gratitude. Make small lists every other day or at least a couple times a week of what you feel grateful for, no matter how hard it is. Fill up your own bucket with love. Notice what’s there. Enjoy it. Play with the desire for more! And enjoy THAT! For someone who has their heart in what they do… their heart is on the line almost daily. And we should all have some reserves to reach into when we feel the sting of disappointment. And keep filling up those reserves. What do you want? How do you want to have more fun? How do you show yourself love? We should all be able to look INWARDS for love & worthiness because, frankly, we just won’t get it from anywhere else.
In the comments, I’d LOVE to hear how you fill up your bucket with fun, love & worthiness!