How I really feel about the "F" word | Surviving as a Photographer

Photography tips

August 23, 2017

I want to let you in on a little secret of mine about the “F” word and how surviving as a photographer is dependent on it.

Nope, not that “F” word. I’m referring to the other one: FAILURE.

failure |ˈfālyər| noun: lack of success, an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing

Surviving as a photographer is no easy task

I say this from experience. Not that being an entrepreneur has ever been easy, but the truth is, there are a lot of photographers out there and it’s a competitive market we’re in. (see my recent post:Dear Photographer, take a deep breathe. There’s plenty of work for all of us)

Here’s my secret …

I used to be paralyzed with the fear of failure. I’m kind of a big scaredy-cat anyhow, but I’m talking panic-attack-in-the-middle-of-the-night SCARED.
I was completely terrified of being called out as a phony. Scared beyond words of pouring my heart and soul into my passion to only see it go down in flames. A great big, catastrophic FAILURE.
A few years ago I stopped looking at failure the way I used to. I started to see my life and work as an ongoing experiment. Trial and error, but above all a learning experience. If something doesn’t work out the way I want it to, I step back, take a good look at what happened, what could have been done differently, learn from it, and MOVE FORWARD.
There’s nothing worse than self-doubt. Dwelling in the “what ifs” and “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”. Trust me, I know it all too well. I spent far too many years doubting myself. Every single thing I did (or didn’t do), I doubted myself.

Am I good enough? Will others agree/approve?

When in all reality, I should have been listening to my heart. I let myself get in my own way.
Here’s another secret, friend. No one needs to give you permission to follow your dream. That’s your dream to chase. Don’t let anyone get in your way. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not good enough. YOU ARE. But if you don’t believe that you are, who will?
These days I focus on what’s important to me, what fuels me, what excites me, the activities I get lost spending hours on without ever noticing. These are my passions. Where I invest my time and energy. This is how I hope to be remembered … my legacy, if you will.
My children, my family, my happiness, the way I treat others, creating genuine photography. 

As soon as I stopped focusing so much on success vs failure, I noticed my world got a lot brighter. I looked at life in a whole different light.

The more I focus on following my heart and putting my best self out there (instead of focusing on all the things everyone else out there appears to be doing) the happier I became. Looking inward was the key all along. Who knew?!

Please friends, stop comparing yourself to others. You are YOU, not them. Focus on YOU.

Truth is, the people that care most about me are happy when I’m happy. When I’m chasing my dreams and helping others. And honestly, that’s all I care about. Being happy and seeing the people I care about happy. It all comes full circle.

Don’t get me wrong, every day I see things I could improve on. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else. And that’s the best I can do. Continue working on being the best version of ME and stop wasting time focusing on anyone other than that. 

If you’re struggling over there, surviving as a photographer, my advice is: look inward. Focus on the good. On your accomplishments. Focus on YOU and your happiness. No one else can do that for you.

You’ve got this, friend. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Patience, persistence, and an open heart and mind. You’ve got this.

Boulder newborn photographer and photography educator, Jenni Maroney shares free photography tips on surviving as a photographer.

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