It’s hard to admit, but sometimes we allow things into our life and business that are just poisonous.
Sometimes it’s attitude. The way we think completely motivates the way we feel…and the way we feel motivates the way we act. So our attitude becomes a direct hinge-pin that can affect our entire persona. One of the attitudes that most infects us is pride. I see it all the time in our current photography industry. There’s this constant attitude directed at new and younger photographers that they’re ruining the industry and have no place charging people for photos. We think that because we have more experience than them or because we’ve been around longer that we’re better and deserve more than them. This is a poison that will infiltrate your business and spread like wildfire. It will start to dictate what business you do, how you do business, and who you do business with (and the same goes for our daily life)! Instead of being teachers and mentors to the new generation of photographers, we become crotchety old curmudgeons who are yelling at the young kids to “stay off our lawn!” What a sad state of existence this is. We become the type of person no one wants to be around…all because we think we’re the person that everyone should want to be around.
On the other end of the spectrum is the attitude of depression. When we allow everything to bring us down because things aren’t going the way we want them to, it becomes a deadly poison that can defeat us if gone unchecked. We begin to feel like we’re not good enough and that what we’re doing is useless. We totally lose sight of the unique individuality that God has given us. We become the party pooper that just drags everyone else down. Ever come across anyone like this at a conference or convention? You’re rolling along, have a great time, talking to and meeting other cool folks, and then you inevitably always come across the one guy that is just sucking the life out of the room. All they can talk about is how poorly their business is doing and reminiscing about the good ‘ol days, before “digital” photography, when business was good…but now they’ll probably need to close up shop. Let me say this definitively and without mincing words… get over yourself and move past it! We’ve all had some bad times and had crappy things happen. So what are we going to do to move forward? How can we adapt and find ways to bring our unique spin on things into the industry? We can either suck it up, or shrivel up and die. It simply depends on your attitude.
Sometimes it’s stuff that becomes poisonous. We try and try to accumulate the things that will make us a better photographer or better entrepreneur. We think that if we just had the gear that so-and-so has, then we could create awesome photos too. …or if we just had a studio space that some of the others have. …or if we had the location that someone else has. …or if we had the money to pour into our business like some of the other top photographers, well then we’d just be all set. Make no mistake…your “stuff” will never make you a better photographer or business person. “Stuff” may make what you do “easier”, but it will never make you “better”. The only way to better ourselves is by building skills, and skills are never dependant on “stuff”. I’ve watched some amazing photographers use the worst cameras and lighting to create incredible photos. I know many home-based photographers that have thriving and successful businesses in spite of their limited resources. Because these people never depended on “stuff” to make them better. They’re always willing to work with what they’ve got and always working to better themselves at what they do. Relying on “stuff” for your key to success is a poison that will likely leave you frustrated and in debt.
Sometimes it’s people. This one may be the most difficult to deal with. The reality is, there are just some people that are always going to be a bad influence. This is often hard to diagnose because sometimes it forces you think critically about a friend, or even a family member. Maybe they’re a complainer, and when you’re around them you become a complainer too. This keeps us from seeing the blessings and gifts that God gives us because we’re too focused on complaining about everything else. Maybe they’re a neighsayer, and their “can’t do, won’t do” attitude makes you feel like you’ll never be able to do anything either. This keeps us from seeing the future that God has in store and prevents us from rising up to face the challenges before us. Maybe they’re a habitual liar, and their tall tales and deceit are causing you to have a false sense of reality. This keeps us from seeing the good parts of life and can have a negative impact on our impression of the people, places and things around us. Sometimes we need to even stop and ask “Am I one of these people?” Is there any poison in your own life that you may be inadvertently spreading around to others?
Positivity, hard-work, dedication, encouragement, inspiration…these are all things that combat the poison that we’re so often faced with. It takes effort, but how can you develop these attributes in your work and life? What are some things you can start being more positive about? Make a list and go through it every day, actively thinking about each thing in a more positive way. What are some areas in your business that could use a little more hard-work? Find ways to put more effort into those areas and watch the payoff. How can you be more dedicated….to God, to your family, to your friends, to your peers? Find ways to invest your time in those that are important to you. How can you be a better encouragement? I’ve found that the best way to feel better about myself is to make others feel better about themselves. Don’t believe me? Try it. How can you be a better inspiration? What can you do for someone else or what can you teach them that will inspire them to be a better version of themselves?
Start looking today for any poison that could be infecting your life, then take some steps to remedy it…and remember, you’re not alone. We’re all in this together!