Fast Food Fridays are all about ideas to help you build a stronger more effective business model and often increase brand awareness. I started the series because so many of you are right-brained creative types with little interest in the operational side of your business. Plus, because you're business owners and struggling to find balance in your life between all the different hats you wear, Fast Food Friday posts hopefully help you focus on various aspects of your life other than your subjects. There is no auto-focus button when it comes to life.
Last week I wrote about the importance of getting back to basics, your skill set. The greatest marketing programs in the world won't make up for poor quality images that NEVER meet your clients' expectations, let alone exceed them!
I want to stay on a similar theme. Today's "blue-plate" special is about ways recharging your battery! It's a key ingredient in everybody's fight to find balance and stay focused on your priorities. And, the only key ingredients are time and the discipline to recognize when you need a break.
Is it time for you to take a short break?
Recently I noticed a little burn-out syndrome starting to creep into my life. I think it began with the grief of losing Molly the Wonder Dog, but it continued with some long flights on our WPPI trip, followed by not getting enough sleep and allergy season kicking in here in south Florida. Put all of that together, and you've got the perfect ingredients for a little apathy and a lack of enthusiasm and at times, even creativity.
Too often we deny our lack of energy. For me, I was going through all the motions and getting everything I needed to do done, but there was no sizzle. Life was like a can of soda left open overnight - it had color, flavor but no fizz! Well, you need fizz!
Here's how I snapped out of it, and it's hardly rocket science!
The first step is to recognize there's a change going on. I realized l was slowing down in my passion for the craft. I was going through all the motions but wasn't having fun. "Fun" is one of the most important words in business today and it's often lost underneath all the baggage that stress drops on your doorstep.
Second, is taking the time to do something to change what you're going through. Again, it's hardly scientific but does require a plan of attack. For me, it's often as simple as just unplugging and staying out of my office, off email, and removing myself from the work environment. I needed to go off-the-grid for a day or two. If something urgent had come up, I was available, but overall I needed to change my environment.
Third - do something you love. Often snapping back to your passionate self is as easy as going out and shooting for an afternoon on your own. Other times it takes good friends, people in your network who know you, understand what drives your passion and are just fun to be with.
For me this week it was both. I needed to grab a camera and change my environment, and Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga were here for a couple of days of their vacation. We rented a boat and headed out on the inland waterway with a ton of Panasonic LUMIX gear.
Everyone's needs are different when it comes to getting out of a rut, but the key starts with recognizing you're in one. I've shared this thought so many times in the past, but you can't create images that tug at people's heart-strings if your own heart isn't in it. And, it's okay when that happens - as a small business owner and artist you're dealing with a lot of variables, and many of them outside of your control. So, learn to recognize when you need to take a break and then follow-through with recharging your battery.
On the airlines in the safety pitch before every flight they always tell us, ..." in the unlikely event of a change in cabin pressure, put your mask on first before you help others." Well, it's no different in business, and you've got to take care of yourself before you can effectively get back to helping your clients and associates.
Most important of all remember one of my favorite quotes:
"It's just a bad day - not a bad life!"
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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.