Just before I got out of bed, I was thinking about so many photographers I've talked to lately who are frustrated with their "jobs." While they have some good streaks of happiness, overall things aren't going the way they planned. They're not happy and are becoming unfocused.
I don't have the answers, but there are a few things I've learned on my business journey to date.
- "To thine own self be true!" Shakespeare wrote it, but we all have to live it. If you're in a rut, then you have to step back and identify what's dragging you down.
- The cool thing about photography is that nothing has to be forever. Once you identify the challenge, then it's time to come up with a few solutions to change things.
- Confide in somebody you trust - for me, ever since I left Rangefinder/WPPI in 2009 it's been my wife, Sheila. She knows my business inside and out, and she's become a great sounding board when I'm frustrated and trying to figure out how to make a change.
- Take 5! When I hit the wall about something, I just can't seem to resolve I'll take five minutes to think it through, take a few deep breaths and put it on my whiteboard. I know it's old-fashioned, but I'm a visual guy and writing something out longhand and having it in front of me on my whiteboard helps me better focus on the issue.
- Your health: Getting enough sleep, exercise and eating right definitely plays a role. Even though I'm up early, we typically crash for the night around 10:00. We starting walking every morning five months ago, and after thirty days it became a habit. Food-wise, I've cut out processed sugar and although I'm still work in progress I've reduced my portion size at meals - it's made a massive difference in my energy level.
Here's my point this morning.
I spent a lot of years in what so many of you thought was the perfect job! While there were some aspects I loved, I was living vicariously through all of you with the entrepreneurial spirit. Starting my business in 2009 was the scariest thing I've ever done. It was the right decision, but just like you keeping pace with technology, my "job" keeps changing and morphing into so many different and exciting directions.
Take a look at your career path. You've chosen to be an artist. Creativity is vital in virtually every aspect of your "job." If things are getting in the way and not allowing those creative juices to flow, the smile on your face when you started is eventually going to disappear and along with it the passion you have for the craft.
So, If lately the spirit just doesn't seem to move you - take some time off, whether it's an hour or a few days. Think about what it was that brought you into this business in the first place. Spend some time answering the question, "If I could do anything in business what would it be?"
This is just a single post on a lazy Sunday morning, and I can't cover everything that's helped me build a life I love, but my points above might help you think through the ingredients you need to smile more.
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and as usual, a day filled with peace, love and time with some of the people most important to you. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and remember to give yourself a big pat on the back. Another year is coming to a close, and even if you have a little fine-tuning to do in your business, you've chosen a pretty fantastic industry to be part of.