Normally I use few words on social media, but last night something moved me to share because I believe many can relate. A photographer I know recently commented they’d had a fully functioning photography website for a year before they told anyone it existed, because they were so insecure about their work. Wow. Let me count the ways can I relate to that. I can’t even remember how long it took me to activate my website, or how resistant I am to post anything on social media, or how uncomfortable it is to put myself out there. Out of fear? Fear of what? I’m not sure.
Recently I heard something life changing. During a marketing conference, two seemingly insanely successful business men asked if we wanted to know the MOST important secret to success as an entrepreneur. “Yes, please!!!”, we all shouted. Instantaneously the larger than life projection screen exploded into these words, in all caps:
”STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.”
Really? All I could think was, “Shit, I’m screwed.” I might as well pack it up now and ask them for a refund. If any of you other entrepreneurs out there have honestly mastered this “most important” tenant of success, please raise your hand, and please teach me.
But seriously, is that even possible? To totally stop caring what other people think?
My high school asked graduating seniors to provide a quote to accompany their picture in the yearbook. Want to know mine? “Be brave. Even if you are not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.” (I think I read it in “Life’s Little Instruction Book.”) I admit it was kind of a dorky quote for a high school senior, and I knew it at the time. All my classmates had way cooler quotes. The most memorable being, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. (I’m pretty sure you know where that is from.) But really, isn’t that the same message, wrapped up in thicker armor? Aren’t we all really the same deep down? Humans navigating our dreams and drives while being chased by our fears and innate need for self-preservation?
So, based on that I decided to write my own version of the marketing gurus’ wisdom: PRETEND TO STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. Yes, I think I can do that.
So, here is my commitment for 2019. To live by my own tenant of success for an entrepreneur (or photographer, or creative, or artist, or trend-setter) and “pretend to stop caring what other people think.”
See, the simple truth is I don’t take pictures or design things because I think I am good at it. In fact, every time I post one of my photographs anywhere, it kind of feels like jumping off a cliff, hoping I don’t fall flat on my face. I do it because there is a monstrous drive at the center of my being to make things. After too many years sitting at a desk, that blessed monster just got too loud to ignore. I do this whether I am good at it or not. I will continue to do it whether I succeed or fail. I do this because I can’t not do it. I heard it takes 10,000 tries to master something, so I will just keep feeding the monster my time and my tries, in hopes she will continue to be stronger than my fears.
So, that being said, carry on “brave” ones. You got this.