Have you ever felt like you don’t quite fit in?
Like somehow you shoehorn yourself into other people’s expectations of what your life should look like.
Even if you deem yourself as ‘quirky’ or ‘unconventional’ or you KNOW you haven’t taken life’s traditional pathways but you have definitely created a life defined on who you are – IT’S STILL BLOODY THERE!!! RIGHT???
Those linear pathways of what your BUSINESS should look like!
It was never told to me from childhood, but I grew up somehow with this innate understanding that for work, for your ‘career’ (ugh I hate that word, it just conjurs up SUCH outdated ideals of the ‘job for life’ when the reality is there IS no job for life) you choose one path.
There isn’t a great big windy road called life where actually, travel and adventure and children and all sorts of other things creep in.
Instead ‘life’ and ‘work’ are different, to be kept apart.
And the WORST thing is that even if you are a creative, this is no different. As an artist, which you are, you have an artist’s heart and soul and the wandering eyes and ambitions of the dreamer, you are supposed to be inspired by life, capture it even, but still your work is not your life!
It is not possible to do EVERYTHING you love!!!
That would be crazy ridiculous and self-indulgent, wouldn’t it?
I mean, those poor old people out there just DYING to do even a SHRED of what you do, which is somehow magically combining business and life in one magical blended ball. Well, it just wouldn’t be fair to them would it?
So you have to choose ONE thing to tell people when you answer the question ‘what do you do?’ and you say ‘i’m a photographer’.
Because people understand that. It’s easy for them to put you back into your box.
You see, I’ve been hiding inside a box.
And I HATE IT. In fact I’m completely and openly now going against it because the more I think about it the more I hate it and the more wound up and angry I get, which is a surprise because actually despite the ranty nature of some of my posts I am actually a peace-loving Libran who doesn’t really get angry, UNLESS I see something unfair or unjust and generally what gets me riled up is the women I work with who are unfairly and unjustly taught to believe that they are pigeonholed into these tiny bloody boxes!! And often we fence ourselves in, but enough about that bit for now.
I’ve only just realised that it’s because of a completely MESSED UP hangover from childhood, from society, from well-intended and huge-hearted parents who are ultimately WRONG.
You see, you might not be ‘just’ a photographer.
I’ve been feeling like I had to tell people that I am now a business coach, or mentor, however it comes out of my mouth at the time.
Sometimes I say I’m a blogger, depending on who I am talking to.
Because to tell people that I’m a photographer who writes a blog who has written four books who runs a membership program who coaches women into HAPPINESS and SUCCESS and that I have launched two courses, not to mention the fact that my business is online and encompasses everything I love about internet MARKETING and not even bringing into the light my main and most important job which is that of a MOTHER, well how on earth do I tell everyone THAT and expect to fit into everyone’s neat little boxes?
So I don’t. I haven’t.
I’ve hidden away. I’ve told people ‘ I don’t really shoot anymore’ which I guess kind of makes me not even really a photographer, right? And to say I’m a business coach actually makes me feel slightly sick because actually I love writing FAR MORE than I do coaching, yet I coach because I love that too and it’s important to the people I care about and work with and-
We get caught up in knots.
Because we aren’t supposed to be this multi-passionate, multi-diamond-faceted-love-driven-creatively-driven individual.
We are supposed to fit into a bloody box!! Our photography business, it’s just supposed to be this neat, all encompassing, BOX – you’re a PHOTOGRAPHER.
Don’t dare sit there and contemplate anything else, will you?
And the more you tell people I do just THIS, this ONE thing, the more the other parts of you die and fall away. Like fairies.
And it becomes this weird sort of perverse truth that actually sinks into our brains. We tell ourselves this, we believe it, we become it. We literally program our minds into believing this is true.
You can’t be creative, you are a photographer.
You can’t be businesswomen, not really; because you are a photographer.
You can’t even be a PHOTOGRAPHER even, not really – because our ‘main duties’ are childcare or full time jobs or so on.
And as for bringing in art into our work or writing books or poems or whatever else it is that we LOVE
How does THAT fit into what everyone else is supposed to make of us?
It doesn’t, does it? So we bury it.
We concentrate on developing ourselves as JUST ONE THING.
You’re a photographer.
And that’s it.
Or maybe you’re a photographer and you run workshops. And that’s it.
And then the rest of our loves and passions get squeezed in or squeezed out of our lives and who we are because we just can’t seem to figure out how to fit them in.
I’ve lost count of the amount of photographers I’ve met who love to paint, yet when I ask them when the last time they painted was the expression that flits across their face is one of both guilt and fear and sadness and it literally makes my heart flash in a similar way, I ache for them because part of who they are and what they love? Is dying away.
And you think you’ll pick up that paintbrush, or pen, or snowboard or whatever else it is that you LOVE to do but somehow during this thing we call LIFE and squeezed in between BUSINESS it has fallen away, and we think that ‘one day’ will come soon when we will do it again, but right now we just don’t have time,
when really, actually, that’s a big fat LIE, we do have time, we can MAKE time, it’s just that right now we aren’t sure how those parts of ourselves are supposed to fit into the other boxes we have!!
Whatever else you are supposed to title yourself and fit into.
but time? That ‘time’ you’ve bookmarked for yourself at some point in the future when your kids are older / you quit your job / you simply have more ‘free’ time- well that bloody TIME??? it runs out!!!
And instead perhaps what we should be doing instead of thinking about what we need to do in order to GROW our business, DO our responsibilities, BE a photographer,
is do ALL of those other things that make us truly happy and think about how to fit it all together in one big BEAUTIFUL and MESSY parcel and who gives a damn about what to call it.
So this is it.
So what I decided to not shoot weddings anymore.
So what I decided not to shoot families anymore.
So what I love coaching MORE than I do photography, that doesn’t mean I have to BE one any more that I have to NOT BE the other!!
I’m still a photographer, always will be, my eyes and head will always look at beautiful landscapes and faces and those incredible and precious moments that pass by in front of us and I will mentally frame them within a lens, my hand will always have a camera in it, my hands will also always hold a pen or love to type, glue for my sketchbooks, and my lips will always speak MY TRUTH for those I work with and coach and mentor, my heart will always be overfull as a Mother, and, daily, I will try to fit in all of those loves and passions, and daily and by His grace I will fail, BUT OH CRAP SURELY that is better than trying to squeeze yourself into ONE TINY BOX where your wings are clipped and day by day a little part of who you are and what you love falls away.
Don’t know how to quite fit that all into a life that is already overfull?
Paint, and blog your paintings on your photography blog.
Paint over your photographs and exhibit them.
Write poetry to go on your blog and accompany your images.
Paint your clients.
Write about your experiences of your life and world not through the box of one thing or the other.
Write your blog from the heart not from the perspective of ‘ this is baby rose who was born blah blah blah’. WRITE THE WORDS YOU SEE IN YOUR HEAD, THOSE STAMPED ON YOUR HEART.
Change your photography niche to capturing what you truly love
Take your kids on shoots.
These are just literally touching the surface of all of the millions of ways you can combine all of your photography loves into your life and how your life becomes entwined with your work, they are not separate and WHY do we feel that they have to be!!
Mix it all in together as one big whole and WHO GIVES A DAMN WHAT YOU CALL YOURSELF and if you can’t do this, but you have a slight inkling you want to?
You’re afraid of what the world will think if you can’t say to them ‘I’m a photographer’.
So tell them you’re bloody SUPERWOMAN because you might as well do, because isn’t that crazy we can’t tell people that we are multi-passionate, creative HUMAN BEINGS who do LOTS OF THINGS in order to answer the question or write on our blogs ‘this is my job, this is what I do’
and when you are doing so many things and you are living the life of your dreams and you are managing to do EVERYTHING that you love, that’s how it makes you feel.
On a constant high, every single day, in love with life, every single day, because you aren’t hiding a single part of you but bringing every single thing that you love, into each and every precious day that you have.
Because when I try to tell my Mum what I do, she doesn’t understand it. So you’re a photographer who writes books and who helps other photographers?
Kind of…. but that’s not everything.
She wants to know so she can understand, so she can tell others when they ask the same question, and because if she understands it then she knows that her daughter is safe. A natural parenting instinct.
but if you’re playing it SAFE?
Are you really fulfilling your purpose? Were you put here on this earth, you, with all of your incredible gifts and talents, to play it SAFE??
Is that the route you really want to take?
Perhaps it is.
But for me, I would rather take the road less travelled and at least attempt to embrace every single thing that I LOVE, with passion and determination and so-what-if-this-doesn’t-stick, and my heart be full, than forever wonder what sits on the other side of the fence.
I know, this might sound scary to you.
Perhaps you like the safety, the security, and to rock the boat seems unfathomable to you -especially if your business is just starting to skyrocket.
But nobody is saying you have to suddenly become all of these things.
Nobody is saying you have to radically transform everything, overnight.
But if you have a little piece of you that says
I miss this.
I wish I could do that.
I wish I had time for.
I hate being pigeonholed into one big bloody boring box
start small. Baby steps.
Bring a little of what you love, in a little bit at a time.
And the irony here is that when you do that? everything else that you do and are and love, suddenly seems more fulfilled, more fabulous and wonderous.
I adore my family, ok. Like, every fibre of me vibrates with love for them. But. I’m an introvert whose energy completely gets sapped by being around groups of people, even my own incredible family.
I know right? I’ll probably get a sackful of hatemail here about how children are a complete blessing and how I should make the most of every precious minute I’m with them because some people aren’t lucky enough to have kids ETC.
I’m not saying I don’t love them I’m saying I’M A BETTER MOTHER WHEN I GET TIME BY MYSELF. Time to refresh and recharge and BE MYSELF again so I’M ABLE TO LOVE THEM without the veil of haziness. Of tiredness. Of the existing within the daily battles for my boobs and attention and time.
I’m not ungrateful. Every day I’m thankful, but I’m even MORE thankful when I get time to go and appreciate it and reflect on it. Like editing images. Viewing things from a distance, closeup.
So every Saturday, I take half a day for myself to go and read in a little cafe.
And even just doing that? Refreshes my mind and spirit and heart and I cannot WAIT to get back to my little family and I feel so full of love for them!
When I started WRITING about photography again? I fell entirely back in love with photography. I saw it through the eyes of a writer.
Through my eyes.
Not through anybody elses.
Anyone elses preconceptions. Of what I needed to ‘be’ ‘when I grew up’.
What do you feel is missing in your business right now? How can you get it back? How can you bring ALL of your passions and loves into your business, and if you’re already doing it how can you do MORE of it?
Me? I’m a writer, a coach, a photographer, a mentor, a business owner, marketer, I’m ALL OF THOSE THINGS PROUDLY Because I’m so fed up of having to be just ONE when instead, I love being all of those things and CREATIVE doesn’t sum it up either because I’m not quite sure businesswoman or coach or lover-of-all-things-marketing doesn’t fit into that box either, so if you want to know more about what you’ll find here let me tell you-
you will find kick ass mentoring and coaching, passionate and LONG writing, and some of the best marketing advice for photographers online anywhere, by a photographer that has DONE IT and who is LIVING IT and DOING IT every damn day.
From a photographer who has never followed a linear pathway, and been just ‘one’ thing, but instead who is running her own ‘photography business’ in her own frickin’ WAY.
YOU get to choose happiness.
You get to choose your life.
You get to choose whether or not to be defined by a box labelled, or to break through misconceptions and choose to design a business that suits you and who you are.
YOU GET TO CHOOSE TO CREATE A BUSINESS THAT SUITS YOU AND WHO YOU ARE AND YOU GET TO MAKE THAT CHOICE EVERY SINGLE DAY.
So go and make that choice.
And if that’s you? Pleased to meet you. Welcome here. To my corner of the internet, where fierce and free and ambitious and passionate and compassionate female photographers find their (unboxed) home.
Love + Light