There’s a little story going around the internet right now. It’s piggybacking on the success of photographers who have made it. On those who are reaching for ‘success’ or a ‘6 figure business’.
It looks like this – SUCCESS IS A LIE. Or SUCCESS IS BAD.
It suggests that all we should be happy with is fresh air, the ocean breeze, time spent with others, a cup of hot chocolate wearing hemp slippers is all we *should* need in life to be happy.
That to aim for truly great levels of WEALTH is somehow bad and wrong and just a typical aspiration of a greedy individual created by a society in love with conspicuous consumption, capitalism, consumerism, and any other C-word that you Care to use.
Here is the irony of this. .
That OCEAN BREEZE? you think you get that for free? Well, perhaps if you are unfortunately homeless and live by the ocean, then yeah, absolutely, it’s free. (From a financial perspective). But if you have a HOME or want to have a home and it happens to be by the sea, or that ocean breeze comes from being on a holiday or day trip somewhere, then suddenly, that breeze isn’t quite so ‘free’ after all. Because you will at some point have to have PAID to be there. Whether that’s for your mortgage or the petrol in your car or your flight – the ocean breeze is very definitely not ‘free’.
Spending time with others? Guess what? That’s not entirely free either. Because the chances are you spending time with others will include some sort of food and drink, you will be most likely wearing some sort of clothing, possibly listening to music in the background… those sorts of COSTS we don’t usually associate with spending time with someone, but actually… they COST to do.
Ditto the hot chocolate and the hemp slippers.
Now comes in the negotiable costs, right? That we should be happy with the bare minimum. That we should drive in very old cars because to buy a new one is ‘showing off’ or a symbol of gross wealth. That driving down to the ocean should cost as little as possible, so you spend time making sandwiches instead of buying them, you take a flask of tea instead of buying it, and you spend time with others at home instead of out anywhere. Because true happiness is all about ‘being together’.
You make cheaper, simpler choices, instead of wildly extravagant expensive ones, yes? Like this is some ‘ideal’ way to live. Like those ‘simple’ choices bring you automatic freedom and happiness.
Seriously, let me tell you how that picture of ideal bliss goes in my house.
Making those sandwiches to take to the beach so I can drink in that beautiful wild air and spend that precious time together?
Generally, I am interrupted by one little body pulling at my skirt so much it falls down, accompanied by screams of MILKA! MILKA! MILKA! (Summer wanting to be fed). I have the other one running around screaming SUMMER TOOK MY MONKEY! SUMMER TOOK MY MONKEY! and then I have my husband saying –
are we ready yet? we need to go. Are you ready yet? Why are you making sandwiches, can’t we just buy lunch? Are you ready yet?
And in the meantime the dog is barking at the same time as running all over the house eating everything in sight.
Sure, I could treasure these times as I know they aren’t forever. But idyllic family bliss? Please. Don’t even go there. I would much rather save my heart failure for another day and just buy the bloody picnic en route.
And I would much rather drive there in a car that was spacious and roomy and was easy to park and drive and has brilliant air con and had next to zero risk whatsoever of breaking down… kind of like – wait – a new car.
That hot chocolate? Well, I’d like sugar free and vegan hot chocolate, if I can. Because I like to try to be healthy when I can. Which costs more than the cheap stuff. Eating healthily generally does. (I’m ignoring hemp slippers, for obvious reasons).
The point is, everyone is jumping on success as a VERY TERRIBLE THING to aim for.
What the TRUTH is, is that money is just a CHOICE! With money you can make CHOICES! You can choose where to live. You can choose whether you buy a picnic or make one. And the point is, you do what is BEST FOR YOU, not what is best depending on whatever anyone else says that your life SHOULD or SHOULDN’T look like!!
Personally, the idea of making a picnic, for me, is a waste of time. If someone could rock me up a ready-made picnic complete with wicker hamper and strawberries I’d snap it up in a second and happily hand over the money.
Because that brings me that extra time with my family that isn’t about making the perfect fabulous picnic but instead involves me giving all of my time to them. I’m sat feeding Summer, I’ve returned the Monkey, the dog is in his bed and we are just about ready to leave.
All because I made the FINANCIAL choice to make my life a bit easier and BUY the picnic.
Instead of aiming towards some equally idealistic ‘authentic’ view of life which right now, doesn’t suit our family or way of living.
Instead I aspire towards a financial goal and a level of success that supports ME and my CHOICES and my family.
Istria wants to go to dance classes. That costs money. We love living near the sea, on our beautiful island. That costs money. We love having a big car, because it means we save our friends and family time when they visit because they don’t have to hire another one and we can pick them up and drive them home and they don’t have to worry about finding a bus or waiting for one with a ton of luggage. (and yes, we are aiming for a hybrid). I love organic food, I love vegan food, I love yoga classes, I love the apps on my phone that enable me to stay in touch with family back in the UK, I love the smell of new books.
All of these things are lifestyle choices that I have made. They are financial choices I have chosen to make. And for these reasons, I choose SUCCESS and having a financial goal every single time over the myth of ‘you don’t need money to be happy’.
Which is funny because when you don’t have enough money to drive a car, buy organic food, or even pay your bills on time – you can’t help but feel stressed. You don’t need money to be happy?? Believe me, I have been in that place where lack of money = pure misery.
So not only does money actually, at least in my home, bring happiness, it also brings true JOY. We don’t need to feel stressed, worried, anxious about paying our bills or buying healthy food or ‘making ends meet’ or whether we can afford our daughters dance classes that she really, really loves.
Instead we are operating most of the time from a place of happiness, contentment, and joy and LACK OF FEAR.
That’s a pretty powerful thing to have in life, right?
but wait. This is just ME we are talking about. What about all of those business owners who are really GREEDY, who aspire to SEVEN figure businesses or even EIGHT? The ones who drive insanely expensive cars and wear watches that blind us all?
Here is what I say about that.
Seriously, if your obsession with success has got you concerned with the aspirations and lifestyles of OTHERS, the chances are there is something in your own mindset that needs addressing. Why are you WORRIED about what they wear, drive, do, or their levels of business + success? Is it because they aren’t donating that money to Save The Earth? Well how do you KNOW how much they donate to save the earth? And what GOOD does it do for EVERYONE to be at the SAME LEVEL financially??
Because when you sit down in your house, to enjoy your bargain hot chocolate, in the pleasant company of others, you’re still sitting within the walls of a home that SOMEBODY had to build for you. Do you not believe they deserve financial compensation for their knowledge and skills? For building an entire HOUSE for your family to live in?
Why do you not feel you deserve that equal financial compensation as a photographer? For the amount of hours you have SLAVED into learning your skill, the expertise you have built upon, the hours you have spent reading books, magazines, posts- the courses you have taken, the mentoring you’ve paid for? Why do you not feel you should have a six or seven figure business too? And be financially compensated for the work that you do?
Perhaps you don’t think of your work as truly changing lives.
Tell that to the bride whose father died shortly after their wedding. Or the baby photographer who shoots for a charity who capture on camera families after stillbirth. Or the woman you made feel beautiful again after childbirth changed her body in ways she didn’t expect.
Not to mention the photographers whose businesses YOU could CHANGE through mentoring, coaching, or providing books, programs, or courses. Whose LIVES could change as a result of earning more MONEY.
You don’t believe you should be financially compensated for those things?!
Nobody is saying you need to drive around wearing a Cartier watch and driving a Ferrari. Money and taste are definitely not the same.
But if you are guilty of falling for that ‘success is a bad thing’ or ‘why you should never aim for a six figure business’ type JUNK that is all over the internet right now, ask yourself this.
Who pays for that internet. Who made it available to you. Who thought to create CAMERAS and bring them to YOUR home. It was people with MONEY and VISION and people who used that MONEY to improve and TRANSFORM the lives of others.
Without money in this world there would be no house for you to sit in, coffee to drink, cup for you to hold, music available for you to listen to, screen for you to read this on, and if you know anything about the history of photography, you’ll know there would be no camera or form of photography whatsoever.
Without VISION and GOALS and dreams of SUCCESS – not for the sake of SUCCESS but for the sake of MAKING A DIFFERENCE with your PURPOSE and GIFTS –
We would be back right at the beginning of this post. We might be enjoying the ocean air. But we would most likely be doing it without any of the things that we take for granted – a home, time with friends, good food, fresh water- let alone any of the things we really desire and that make us happy.
And if money means that I can take my 3 year old to dance class and watch her laugh and smile with happiness, then give me that financial goal and that 6 figure dream any day of the week.
Because to have a dream, to set financial goals, to reach for the seven figure or eight figure photography business? That’s not just ok. That’s BETTER than ok. You fulfill not just your own life + purpose, but in doing so, you gift to others.
In a way that you could never do without MONEY.
So you choose.
What do you want your life and business to look like?
Have you set yourself financial goals? Tiny baby steps within an action plan to move towards them? Have you created a vision board of all of the things that are COMING TO YOU, that you can imagine, and that you DESIRE? Do you know why a vision board works?
Have you addressed your money mindset, do you know what the law of attraction is and how to use it to create wealth in your business, every single day?
You don’t serve ANYONE by playing it small. Not yourself, not your family, not the world, not your business.
Set your financial goals, and then create a plan for yourself to reach them.
State them boldly and proudly and without fear of judgement. (Over in Shining Lights we are reading this and it has been actually life-changing for some people, and if you want to take it to the next level you might want to give this a try)
Understand that YOUR business can look however you want it to, if you put in the work, and that there is only one thing standing in your way.
Want to completely attack your wealth-mindset?? Want to make big financial dreams + plans for your business and know how to actually make them a reality? Join the fastest growing group for creative and ambitious and purpose-driven female photographers on the internet, here.