"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin
While this post is really about photographers, the challenge of courage applies to EVERYBODY in business today. The economy, technology, consumer trends, social media and competition are just a few of the never-ending speed bumps every small business owner is facing.
It's a heavy duty quote above, but now apply it to your own courage in business as a professional photographer. Think back to how nervous you were when you got that first job - it doesn't matter if it was a wedding, a children's sitting or a commercial product assignment. Your nerves were a little frayed and you might have had serious doubts about whether or not you were going to be able to get the shot.
Now, take it one step further, and depending upon how long you've been a photographer, your camera might have been loaded with film. No digital and no "chimping" to see if you got the image a split second after clicking the shutter. You didn't know if you got the shot until days later.
Go one more step and take this little exercise: Just think about how much your life expanded with that first paid click of the shutter. (Check out "Why?" with Dan Cox. He was 17 when he landed the wrap around cover for the Eddie Bauer catalog that was the launch point for his career.)
Well, with that first paid click, just like Dan, you went from amateur to professional. But the step up to being a professional took more courage. You accepted a level of responsibility to your client, your friends and most of all to yourself. You took that "double secret" oath to deliver quality, to exceed expectations, to be the eyes of your clients and even their hearts, when they were busy looking elsewhere.
The courage you had to launch your career has morphed into a lifestyle, a skill set unique to the way you see the world and share it. Your life has expanded. The places and people who came into your life will continue to help you grow as long as you keep having the courage to learn. You need to be involved in the community and the industry, adapt new technologies, network with new friends and keep your mind open to the challenges that make imaging so incredible.
The legendary Don Blair was once asked, "What's the best photograph you've ever taken?" His response: "I don't know I haven't taken it yet!" He was almost 80 when he said that and had been shooting since he was 14! He never stopped having the courage to adapt, to take on new technologies and in the end, his life expanded beyond anything he could have anticipated!
Just a thought today and maybe an explanation why I have so much respect for so many of you!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.