Today, I'm taking a personal time out to focus on an important topic that many of us are so driven by, not through relevancy or realistic measure but more through comparison. When really, it should be the other way around.
Take me, for instance, because I can't critique anyone else's behind the scenes. There's a photographer I know of who has thousands of Facebook likes, and charges what I would love to charge for my work. Is she more successful than me? I don't really know.
Success is not based on what others are doing.
It's not looking at where someone else is in their life, in their career, or their choices. Their life and work shouldn't have that kind of impact on you.
I was talking to my friend Kim today and we were chatting about her improvements in her photography. She told me she was making baby steps, but I quickly differed. She is taking huge leaps and bounds from when she began her work in July to now. It's noticeable, not by just me, but by our colleagues as well. Then it hit me.
She is nailing each session. With improvements, her creativity is also just skyrocketing. She is taking giant leaps and it's noticeable. It feels like baby steps because she sees where she wants to go. She is taking her own personal journey where she is and driving her passion to get where she wants to be. But to everyone else, myself included, we think she is making leaps and bounds.
That's it. She is successful because she is focused on a long term goal, and smashing each individual smaller one to get there. It doesn't matter where she is right now, because she is reaching each level, and she is making it look effortless. Kim is successful.
I don't know where her end goal is. I don't know where her path is taking her. I don't know if she's facing personal struggles to get there.
Being successful is not measured by comparison to anyone else except your goals. How are you doing compared to YOUR goals?
Do your personal achievements define where you are going? Can you answer these questions with a resounding "YES! I am doing well against what I have laid out for my life!"
For me, I am. I am increasing booking numbers, I am finally full time and my workload is steady, but not stressful. I am turning a profit and I am steadily reaching where I want to be.
Long term: I want to be a travel/destination photographer. I want to be in demand, and I want people to want my work on their walls.
Short term: I want to upgrade my equipment, and I want to know that equipment like the back of my hand.
Now, it should make sense. Success takes time, devotion, and challenging yourself to be better. Everyday.
Success is not part time. It's not a roller coaster. It's not "Today I am successful, but tomorrow I am unsuccessful".
It's always work in progress. Successfulness is reaching for more everyday. Knowing that today, you may not have hit a mark, but tomorrow you can.
And!!! It's once you hit that mark, reaching for the next one. It's continuously pushing yourself.
No one else can make you want to be successful, so you have to invest yourself 100%. For what it's worth, you also have to be able to hold yourself accountable for your hits, and misses. People may not applaud every single accomplishment.
That's okay- they may not see it. They may not have seen that you nailed getting sharper images. But, you did.
Be proud. Stay focused. And nail it. Maybe not every time, because even your misses are little successes.
Be successful to your standards. Everything else will fall into place. Just keep pushing. And don't stop!
I would love to hear how this post impacts you! Tell me your success stories in the comments below! I just might use your story as inspiration in a blog post!