At least once a month, and sometimes more, something happens that makes me question my place in the industry. Sometimes it’s a “mean girl” situation. Sometimes I catch myself being jaded, or even becoming that “mean girl” in my own mind. Sometimes it happens when I run across the blog of a photographer I’ve never heard of, and I’m blown away by their work. I know I should just be challenged (in a good way), and inspired, but instead, I sometimes find myself shrinking down like the Wicked Witch of the West in a puddle of dirty water.
Woe is me.
There are people out there who are so much better than us. Just miles and miles and miles better. I know that. I’ve never claimed to be the best in the world. But we DO want to continue to grow and get better, and we always want to remain proud of our product, and sometimes I feel like reaching that world-class level of consistently astounding imagery is just an unattainable wish.
And if I’m being completely honest here… I know there are some people who believe it IS an unattainable goal for us.
But it is when I sink down the very deep-darkest point and feel like just giving up altogether that I see a little glimpse of light. It’s small, but it’s there. That light is doubt itself.
Not my own, but the doubt of others.
When I was just starting out, I wasn’t brave enough to write down my goals or say them out loud or really reach for them. I became brave enough when a friend told me that it’d never happen… that it was irresponsible for me to invest money in a hobby when I clearly wasn’t talented enough to make a living out of it.
That person’s doubt was the driving force behind yelling my goal from a mountaintop… “I will be a full-time wedding photographer!!” And I met that goal two years earlier than I intended to, because the fire that her doubt lit underneath me was a powerful one.
We’ve been blessed every step of the way with really wonderful encouragers and supporters, like my parents, and some of my best friends, and the photographer who shot our wedding. Not one of those people told us anything would be easy, but they DID tell us we had what it takes to make it if we’d really try. Their support has been invaluable.
But, for better or worse, the negative forces have been just as valuable. And while I try to take time pretty often to thank those positive influences in our lives, I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Thank You” to the people who told me I couldn’t do it.
So here it is:
Thank you to the naysayers.
Thank you for telling me it would never work, because that gave me a reason to celebrate when it DID work.
Thank you for telling me it was impossible, because you helped me believe in miracles.
Thank you for telling me I wasn’t talented enough to make it, so that when I DID make it, I knew I was talented.
Thank for not believing in me, so that I had to believe in myself.
Thank you for the back-biting and down-talking and every other sly secret move you made against my success, whether you knew it or not. Your opposing force in my life has made me stronger, as I know I can never be complacent.
And now, as we take our first steps in a new year and prepare for a new era of this business you said we’d never have, I thank you sincerely for your doubt. I have learned over the last 4 years that, apparently, I work best under pressure.
So come on, doubters. Doubt as hard as you possibly can. Because together, we’re proving Impossible WRONG every single day.
TELL ME, dear blogstalkers… what’s a goal you have? It can be something that’s common knowledge, but I encourage you to dig way down deep and confess a goal you’ve been too scared to say out loud. It’s a new dawn, my friends. If you can’t even say it, how will you ever achieve it?
Let’s prove our doubters wrong and make 2012 the year of no excuses. TOGETHER.