Confidence comes with acceptance

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on March 8, 2015

in This is Art,This is Business,This is Life

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The seemingly never-ending insecurity we photographers experience is born from our stubborn, fearful refusal to accept where we are in our journey up the mountain of success.

We don’t accept that to get where we want to be as artists and as business owners, we have to start here, where we are today – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that our art, prices, marketing, web site, business cards, client rapport, social skills, Photoshop skills, selling skills are not as good as they’re going to be in the future, but are more than good enough to give our very best effort starting today – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that our photographer heroes are human beings who climbed the same mountain that lies ahead of us. Every path may be different, some may have been blessed by exceptional talent or opportunity, but every successful artist has had to climb the same mountain – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that right now, sitting in front of this computer or this tablet or phone, we have everything we need to be part time professional photographers. Our present talent, experience, skill set, camera gear, is more than good enough to bless clients with our art and be blessed by their investment in us – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that our clientele will grow with us – that we are at the startup end of the industry and for now will gratefully serve the startup end of our market. Our clientele will grow with us as we grow as artists, marketers, and business owners – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that our fears are unfounded, and what we fear and stress and worry and suffer anxiety over rarely if ever comes to pass. If we spent as much time taking action to move the needle in our art and business as we spend wondering, wishing, rationalizing, making excuses and justifying our fear-driven procrastination (tomorrow’s going to be the day!), we wouldn’t even recognize ourselves three months, a year, five years down the road – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that taking action is a choice, that luck is made, that we’re in complete control, that we are solely responsible for our future, that change isn’t a bus that’s going to come pick us up while we wait for life, and that life isn’t waiting for us – there is no stagnation, no standing still. You’re either getting ahead or getting behind, and while yesterday was the best time to get started, today is second best, and today is in your control – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that what we’re going to accomplish tomorrow and ever is a result of what we choose today. Do you have a shoot booked for this weekend? Get on the phone or social today and get booked. Do you want to study and take action on that latest book / blog post / video / e-mail / course / e-book you discovered? Get on your calendar, schedule the time, add half as much again as you think you’ll need (for Pete’s sake give yourself margin so you can succeed), and commit to it with the resolve of a hugely important date with your SO or meeting with your boss. Do you want to practice shooting tomorrow? Get a friend (read: guinea pig) booked, get your camera gear cleaned and charged and bagged, get gas in your tank, get some sleep tonight, plan an energizing healthy meal and light workout for the morning, figure out what encouraging podcast or audiobook chapter you want to listen to, and schedule the time you need and add half as much again. You have to get yourself set up for success tomorrow by prepping for that success todayand that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We don’t accept that the hurdles, roadblocks, walls and fears we encounter are not negatives, they are positives – they are opportunities, the chance to persist and strive onward where others would lose heart for their dreams and quit – and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Get real with me. Aren’t you tired of feeling mousy and scared and disappointed?

Take a deep breath and really imagine with me: What would it feel like to let go of all this negativity in your chest and just accept the truth that you’re doing your best and your best is more than good enough?

What would it feel like to feel good, proud, at ease, peaceful, encouraged and driven about your art and business?

This Resistance, this insecurity we suffer, is stress – stress that discourages, disables, and distances us from success.

The drive we feel in our most inspired moments is eustress – a positive pressure, a motivating discontent that pushes us to climb out of our ruts, shrug off our chains, overcome our weakest selves, and strive to do and be better, to become our best selves and create success with our own two hands.

Hold your hands palm up and look at them.

You are looking at limitless potential. Limitless possibility. Limitless power.

You absolutely, positively hold power and dominion over your choices, your actions, your success.

And in equal measure you hold undeniable power over your indecision, your inaction, your failure – which by my life philosophy is to quit without quitting, to let the dream die, not by proactive and willful choice, but by slow, insidious, quiet, distracted, disappointed, depressing, allowed idleness of heart, spirit, and thought.

True failure is when you numbly let go without choosing to, wanting to, or admitting to.

You bring yourself one step closer to peace and confidence with every freeing truth you accept about the journey ahead – about your climb up the mountain of success, about where you are today and where you can be in the future if you accept yourself and your art and your business and these truths.

Accept success, not failure.

Flip the polarity on your thinking and use the newfound energy and capacity you’ve been wasting on worry to fuel your journey up the mountain.

Next Steps

  • Every time you feel disappointed in yourself or discouraged by your progress, lift your hands, look at them palm-up, and really study them. Let this action be a totem, a touchstone that gives you the opportunity to pause, recognize that you are empowered, and that the Next Step is always your choice.
  • Get out your sticky notes. Tear off five, and on each, write: Acceptance. Peace. Power. Stick these where you will run into them every day, over and over again, including at the start of your day. Every time one catches your eye, pause a breath, absorb and accept your freeing truths, and carry on empowered.
  • Brainstorm session: List five actions (or inactions) that you feel you’re sabotaging your own progress with – could be the inaction of not shooting more, could be the action / inaction of hours of study with zero hours of practice, could be the worry you allow yourself to indulge in, and so on. Now choose from that list The One Thing that would make the biggest difference in your progress as a part time professional photographer if you could just focus on and overcome it. As of this moment, it is your mission in life to flip the switch on that problem and overcome it. It may take a week, it may take a month of daily purposeful, proactive attention and choice. It may be something you will have to remind yourself of every day for the rest of your life. But as of right now, you are claiming dominion over this problem, instead of the problem claiming dominion over you. It’s power, it’s influence, is null and void. You are in absolute control. Get out five sticky notes and write down just one or two words that will remind you of this focused effort, and stick these where you will see them every day, over and over again, including at the start of your day. The rest, file away in your Brainstorms folder.
  • My writing at PartTimePhoto.com exists to serve your needs as an amateur photographer making the transition to paid professional. I appreciate and welcome your readership, and invite you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
  • What’s the biggest struggle holding you back right now? E-mail me your answer (yes, right now!), and let’s make a breakthrough today.
  • If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below, drop me an e-mail, or call or text me at 830-688-1564 and let me know. I’d love to hear how you use these ideas to better your part time photography business!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Arensberg March 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

It took me a long time to accept that I am in the place I’m supposed to be, and that so many of the things I worried about (which you spell out in this post!) were just keeping me from taking the actions I needed to move forward, and the worry itself was sapping my energy to make those choices and take those actions.

Thanks for the “hands ritual” to help remind us that our destinies are within our own two hands, and the actions we take with them.

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Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor March 19, 2015 at 8:38 am

Amen brother. Having recently changed day jobs, I’ve had to relearn these very concepts. The more I stay conscious and redirect that worry energy into productive energy, the less I have to worry about.

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Yuliya April 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

I need to print it and put it on the wall. I go from feeling excited about the photo I took to very dissapointed:-)

Reply

Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor June 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm

You’ve got this Yuliya!

When I bought my first dSLR, a Digital Rebel, I was upgrading from a Sony point and shoot. Immediately the quality of my photos went through the floor! I felt like a fool, and almost send the camera back, figuring it was broken.

Turns out I just didn’t understand what “depth of field” was yet.

Baby step by baby step, my friend – keep the feet moving and the clicks coming!

Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

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