In this business, you’ll find that being a good sport goes a long way.
There’s an old saying that goes, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” In general, we use this to refer to our attitude in how we treat someone in order to get what we want. But how often do we stop to think about the implications this mindset can have on our business? Sadly, I fear it’s far less often than we care to admit because as photographers, we tend to be overly protective and afraid to share with anyone. But, as you go about the pursuit of this business, one thing that you will find to be consistent is that opportunities to work with others will come your way. Maybe it’s an opportunity to collaborate on a project. Maybe it’s a fellow photographer reaching out for help. Maybe you’re being asked to share some of your knowledge with a group. Whatever the situation, when presented with these opportunities, we are given the choice to either “play nice” or “take our ball and go home.”
There’s something important we need to remember however…we never know what impact working with someone else may have on our business. When we make an effort to be open and share our talents and abilities with others, people tend to remember that effort. Sometimes, these people may end up being figures of influence that you had never imagined…and they can be an invaluable asset to have remember you when larger opportunities arise. Now, I’m not suggesting that we use people to get ahead…but what I’m suggesting is that there is a constant in this life in which tends to the majority of, “Do good to others and they’ll do good to you.” Not always, granted (we are human after all), but majority.
I am also not suggesting that we work with everyone that comes our way either. Just as there are those that can have a positive effect on our business, there are certainly those that can affect us negatively. But I’ve found that through a little observation and experience, it’s usually pretty clear to tell which is which. What we absolutely must not do though, is to shut out everyone because we’re afraid of what might happen or because we’ve been burned in a past experience. Some people simply want to step on you to get ahead to the next rung of success…but, many others are all to happy to reach down a hand and pull you up with them. And if we just head out to burn bridges, we’ll never have the chance to work with those people that can help us reach our next level.
So the golden rule still applies in either scenario. If we pay mind to do unto others as we would have done to us, then we increase our chances of working with people that can turn out to be a wonderful business asset, a great mentor, or even a new found friend. …and if our trust in someone ends up burning us in the britches, then chalk it up to a life lesson and allow yourself to gain wisdom and discernment when the next opportunity presents itself!
Don’t shut yourself off to the rest of your peers because of a bad egg or two. You never know what doors God can open when we choose to play nice with others!