A few things I realized on this weekends seaside hike:
1. I forking miss living closer to the ocean
2. My "business" will not dictate my passion for photography
3. I define what it means for me to be "successful"
I think for entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs, it is hard to gauge your progress without comparing yourself to someone else. We have things like Instagram and Facebook that bombard us with the highlight reels of those around us. Extravagant overseas trips, 5 star accommodations, world class dining... Is this what it means now to be successful? Maybe. To some.
I've spent a lot of time comparing myself to other photographers. Not their work (composition, editing style, etc.) but to how often they post, what location they geotagged their photo, who sponsored that photo shoot (shout out to Andrew Kearns - no hate, all jealousy lol)... And why was I doing this? Because I thought that was definitely the way to be successful. I graded myself against this impossible rubric from the best of the best.
My amazing and wonderful cousins said something this Christmas that has really stuck with me. As I was telling each of them how proud I was of their success - completing grad school, finishing a nursing program, working on a teaching cert - they stopped me and said "But look at you!"
I immediately turned this down with a laugh and said "Yeah teen mom turned into construction supervisor slash failed photographer"
All of them chimed in with words of encouragement and reminded me of all the amazing things I have in my life. A roof over my head, a beautiful healthy family, a good paying stable job, and a passion for photography that I can use to supplement my income. They supported me 100% in everything I was doing and said to me "College is... whatever. Yeah that's what our parents want, but there isn't one path to success"
Holy shirt. (Yeah I've been watching a lot of The Good Place)
That's right. There isn't one path to success.
And my hike this weekend was a refreshing reminder that not only are there infinite paths to success, but SUCCESS is completely SUBJECTIVE.
I've realized that being successful for me doesn't have to mean I'm sponsored by Land Rover and Canon (but hey, no complaints here guys. I will gladly rep your gear!). Success for me, right now, is that I have the means to care for my children, we don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, and that I am free to pursue my passion for photography in the beautiful state of California. I was so jealous of the travel bloggers and I would be lying if I said I didn't just - this week - envy a young couple posing on the Amalfi Coast... again. But this trip to the coast reminded me, I live in such a magical and beautiful place and I need to take advantage of that.
It is completely human to feel down about yourself when you see others accomplishing things on your to do list. But we hurt ourselves when we start comparing our struggles with their successes. Each and every one of us have things to be proud of and we all have different motivators as well as obstacles. Start with positive self talk.
I AM successful.
I AM accomplished.
and I DO have a lot to be proud of.
Do not let the success of others define your journey or your worth.