One of the things my friends constantly comment on is how busy I like to keep myself. If I’m not shooting a wedding, I’ll be putting something out there on the gram or hosting a networking brunch. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I’m very good at sitting still and zoning out, you see, but I just don’t like doing that too much. Besides, my mind is much more hectic than I let on and I can’t help but put an idea in to practice when it comes to me. Unsurprisingly, not all of us feel this way and some of us struggle with motivation. I’ve put together a list of five things that I believe will help you to feel inspired, stop stalling and start doing.
#1 Get off the comparison train
One of the biggest contributing factors to us creatives struggling to find the motivation to make changes, comes from comparing yourself too much to those around you. We’ve got the comparison bug so hard, we even compare ourselves to creatives that are so far removed from our line of work. If we someone that’s killing it on the ‘gram, then we tend to make them our target for setting the bar. There’s nothing wrong with that though, acknowledging that someone out there is really acing it. But the problem is the assumption that we cannot exceed the imaginary bar we’ve set. And that’s a key point. The bar is always a figment of imagination. There is no race being run here, guys. If we all simply aim to put our authentic selves out there – not nakedly or too exposingly – then you will never have to lead yourself down the dark and tricky road of comparison. No one else is you and that’s your super power.
If you find that social media brings you down more often than raising your spirits, it might be worth taking a step back. Do not fear the down time! Removing yourself from a negative environment is always worth while. When you’re ready to return to your online community, you can do so with a fresh mind and a less heavy heart.
#2 Set realistic goals and always put them down on paper
I’m a big fan of grabbing a notepad and pen when there are goals I want to achieve, or if my mind gets a little bit foggy. Sometimes, especially during peak wedding season, I can get slightly overwhelmed at the number of things there are to keep track of. When I put everything down on paper and see them with my own eyes, it always cools the heat a bit and the motivation get stirred.
It also makes it easy to keep track of my errands when I’ve done them. That ‘ticked off the list’ feeling is blissful!
#3 Do everything with confidence
Me and my Pa like to joke that we’re the blaggers of the family, because we enter most situations with an air of confidence about us. We’ve both blagged our ways through job interviews in the past, and it’s gotten me out of sticky situations too! Confidence, for someone that doesn’t naturally have it, is not easy to fake. Believe it or not, I know that. Until the age of about sixteen, I used to be such a crippilingly shy girl that I couldn’t even go in to shops on my own or order for myself in a restaurant.
However, I’m a firm believer in being your own biggest cheerleader. You can’t guarantee the support of others at times, but you know you can always have your own back. And that level of support for yourself can get you so far in life!
Supporting yourself = confidence. Believe in that ace photo you took enough to share it on Instagram, because I bet you loved it when you took it. Stop overthinking the likes. Validate yourself with that same confidence you had when you pressed the shutter.
#4 Start seeing failure differently
Guys! Alert!! This is not a drill. Failure is not something to be afraid of. Accepting failure as a natural part of progression in life is exactly why we don’t shave our eyebrows within an inch of their life any more, and why women eventually got the right to vote. Learning from your mistakes will lead you to success. And people so often fall at the first hurdle rather than jump straight over. That’s okay.
Repeat after me – failure is not something to be afraid of!
#5 Rid yourself of guilt
Guilt is a wasted emotion, so my other half tells me. And I love that, because it is. Guilt can so often get in the way of us focusing on what we need to focus on to achieve our goals. Whether that be because we’re spending less time with our family than we could be, or giving our dog less cuddles than it truly, truly deserves. And sure, you didn’t start your business to neglect those you love. But I bet your a$$ you probably started it to provide for them. Where does it say you should ever feel guilty for that? Shock – nowhere.
I think we can take solisce in knowing that, as freelance photographers, our time is ours to waste. With the exception of wedding days. I personally choose to work at every opportunity, because guilt is something I’ve rid myself of. For those of you that struggle with guilt, especially parent guilt, consider working one day on and one day off. Literally splitting your time 50/50 couldn’t be any fairer.
Finally, we’ve all got superpowers, don’t we? Learn to utilise them. And keep it in the back of your mind that this job is a blessing to us. There are so many people out there trying to get in to your shoes. Run with your shoes, kid. Before the soles wear off. And always, always take a step back from the noise when you need to. A little down time never hurt nobody.