A Creative's Journey : Week 1

Currently I've been thinking a lot about where I am in my business and in life.  I've had many successes and some disappointments, who hasn't?  I feel I fit into the mold of "a struggling artist" who is torn between spending most of my time on family and life, or diving head-first into building a business that is highly successful (and I admit "well-known" would stroke the ego).

But the thing is, through last Fall (and continually) I keep playing the comparison game.  Comparing my work and my business with those I look up to and am surrounded by.  And while sometimes it's motivating, many times it leaves me feeling like crap.  And I play the guessing game - "Is my work not good enough?", "Don't people like me?", "What am I doing wrong?", "Am I too expensive?", "Maybe this isn't my thing."  I'm thinking the very things Brené Brown tells us to dismiss.  Who has been here?  It's TERRIBLE.  My friend Sandra Coan once told me, "If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will."  Good point. 

So then I read Simon Sinek's quotes or pick up Brené's books again (and get off IG and FB) to reset my psyche and get going.  And I've recently realized that all this reading and massaging my ego doesn't do shit for my business.  So am I gonna get off my duff with the mindset that I am as worthy of success as anyone else out there and take action?  Yes, I am.

"You are 100% responsible for yourself." - The Success Pinciples by Harvey Karp

This Fall I attended the Click Away conference here in Seattle.  Did you go?  If you haven't bought tickets for this conference, I highly suggest you do.  (The next Click Away will be in Amelia Island, FL in 2018!)  It's chalk full of great speakers, workshops, on-hands training, and my favorite thing, networking.  At the conference I listened to Yan Palmer and many other amazing photographers (including Sandra) speak.  Yan talked about some of the same things above and also things that hold you back, like guilt.  She set a goal for us about living our lives and running our businesses with intention and courage, and doing it guilt-free.  Don't apologize.  You are worthy.  It kinda blew my mind because I always feel some kind of guilt.  Guilt for being away from family if I'm trying to run the business, or guilt walking that I put off that blog post AGAIN and walked an extra 2 miles playing Pokémon Go with Isaac.  Seriously, feeling guilty has me ALWAYS questioning myself.  And it's paralyzing.  So I'm going to try and take Yan's advice this year.

Do you feel the same way?  If so, I encourage you to fumble along #acreativesjourney with me as we navigate this thing called running a business SUCCESSFULLY (#thestruggleisreal ).  I am going to write weekly blog posts here on Little Bellows holding myself accountable, in hopes that it'll help you too.

After all, Simon Sinek says, "Success always takes help.  Failure is done alone."

I was so inspired by an article I read on the Huffington Post a while back.  It's geared towards parenting but I think it carries over to our creative/business journey just as much.  If you haven't read Megan Conley's post, "We Ask Our Kids The Same 3 Questions Every Night," I highly recommend you do.  I'm going to ask myself (and you) these same three questions every week:

  1. How were you brave this week? Courage (in life and business) is often made up of many small acts.
  2. How were you kind this week? Kindness is leading with understanding and becoming stronger for others.  Are you building other photographers up that could use a lift, or offering up some advice they are fumbling through but that you are an expert at?  Or do you have a personal act of kindness that you'd like to share?
  3. How did you fail this week? This is straight from the Huff article - "Life is full of defeat — self-inflicted and otherwise — but that doesn’t mean we are defeated! It just means that we are trying and there is something beautiful in that, isn’t there?"  This personally is a big one for me.  I'm afraid to fail.  But this year, I'm breaking the cycle.

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

So here goes.  Here are my answers for the week.

Scoreboard Week 1:

  1. How was I brave this week: I put this post out into the world!  I kid you not, this is scary for me, talking about my struggles with you. 
  2. How was I kind this week: My niece, who is pregnant, found out that her unborn baby has a heart condition.  They had to fly to Boston for an experimental surgery to try and help the baby.  We are watching her dog and I started a Go Fund Me page to help them.
  3. How did I fail this week: I keep putting other things off such as looking at my 2016 numbers and setting new sales goals and I count that as a fail.  I also did not get accepted to Stocksy and although that's a fail, I'll try applying again!

So here's to all of us fantastic, amazing, talented, fearful, guilty creatives that are going to make a difference in our lives and/or businesses this year!  I hope you are with me!  Be sure to tag your images and stories relating to your journey by using the hashtag #acreativesjourney or commenting below so I can find you.  I'll be featuring your stories/struggles/and wins along with mine.