"What exactly is success and when do we know we have become successful"? It is a question I often start with at my workshops. What is success? Isn't is something we ALL strive for? The ultimate "I AM SUCCESSFUL" means I have "made it". Right?
But. What does that REALLY mean? What are you chasing?
When I first started my journey with photography I followed a few photographers blogs. Photographers that I admired, looked up to, and dreamed to one day become as "successful" them. As I started booking clients and really working as a photographer myself, all of a sudden I noticed my focus changing. Yes, I was still following those photographers, but now I spent more time focused on how many times they were posting, how many new clients they were blogging. I looked at each blog post as a "client booked" and heaven forbid they would post an old image or a silly recipe instead of a full session, one I had never seen before, I would immediately begin to think...and in some twisted world of thinking, I hoped it meant they weren't as "booked" as I once assumed they were. Oddly enough, and at the time I am not sure I even knew I was doing it, but I think by hanging to every move they made...or every move they DIDN'T make, it made me feel like they were slipping, and the more they seemed to slip the more I validated myself with how "successful" I was becoming.
Months went on and my calendar became more and more full. Upwards to 8-10 session a WEEK (this all seems so silly now, but follow me). I no longer had time to follow those blogs but that was okay because my blog had a constant flow of new sessions being posted. One on the outside looking in (or following my blog) would think I had "made it", but I was sinking. I was so busy I was never home, my husband was cooking dinners, taking my children to their baseball games and tucking them in at night. I was gone and if I was home I was so in up to my eyeballs in computer work that I might as well had been gone. I was missing out one everything, I was miserable.
It got to the point where I couldn't keep up with much of anything. Not my house work, not my family...not my blog. What? I couldn't keep up with posting to my blog? Humm I wonder if anyone "following me" started to assume I wasn't booked? I wasn't "succeeding" at my job? Well I was. ..in the terms of "busy means successful". But not to me. Not to my family. THIS was NOT SUCCESS.
That is when I stepped back and asked myself...okay well that is when my husband took me by the hand and sternly asked "what I was doing". Is this REALLY what I want. Is this REALLY what success is? And success to who? Who is determining what MY SUCCESS is? How many blog post I had? How many sessions I had marked on my calendar? WHO was I trying to prove my "success" to? And at what cost was I doing it?
Finally I sat down and decided I was going to take control of my business. I was going to determine what SUCCESS was for ME. By doing what was right for ME and MY family... but I had to ask myself what was I working for? Have you asked yourself that?
What are YOU working for?
For some of us we are trying to supplement income so we can eventually go from working a full time desk job to become a full time photographer and a full calendar of bookings is what you want. For others, we are just working to pay for our family fun time, vacays, school clothes, etc so one or two sessions a month will do. Whatever it is you are working for, YOU determine YOUR OWN SUCCESS. Don't worry about what others are doing, YOU do not know WHY they are doing it so to compare it only cheating yourself.
So. GO. DO. Work for YOU and YOUR family. Determine your SUCCESS!!!