Growth Ain’t For Weenies

My biggest failure this year and what it taught me

Hi everyone, I am so glad you’re here! This story is a personal one for me, and kind of difficult to talk about. But I wanted to share this with you because no matter what business you’re in, we all deal with fear and failure. It’s my hope that this post helps you overcome these things in your work too!

2020 was the first year I took photography from side interest to full-time career.

(Quite the year to launch a business, right?!)

Out of all the wonderful clients I’ve gotten to work with, I had one who wasn’t happy with her gallery of images. And to be honest, I wasn’t happy with them either.

Long story short, I ended up spending a ton of hours editing these photos the first time, retaking them, hiring a photo editor for the second round, and then editing them myself in photoshop.

After all this, I was able to deliver a final product everyone was happy with. But in the end, I’d put in more work and time for these photos than I had for any other shoot, and it was only booked at a ½ hour session.

To say I learned a lot from this experience would be a HUGE understatement.

Some of it is specific to photography ~ like how going forward I’ll book longer sessions when I’m shooting more than one person at a time.

But the most important thing I took away from this is how to get back up after failing, and how to overcome that fear of trying something again after you mess up.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Write a list of all the things you learned from the mistake and what you will change going forward because of it. When you do this, you’ll see your blunder for what it really is: an opportunity for growth.
  2. Get back in the saddle right away. Whatever you failed at, do it again as soon as you can. That way, you won’t have time to talk yourself out of trying again. For me, this looked liked booking another photo session as soon as I could.
  3. Invest in education. That photo shoot didn’t turn out? Practice on your family and friends. Buy a couple of workshops, guides, and resources from other photographers whose work you admire. Do whatever you can to master this part of your craft, and I promise the next time around will go better!
  4. Give yourself grace. I had to remind myself that this is literally the first year I’ve had a photography business. I don’t have to be perfect at this, and of course, I’m going to make mistakes! There’s a learning process and a lot of growth that comes anytime you do something new. And like Jen Sincero says in her book You Are A Badass, “Growth ain’t for weenies.” It’s more than a little difficult when you’re doing something outside of your usual comfort zone. But that’s where the magic happens! So don’t quit. Give yourself grace, you’re just learning!
  5. Learn from it, but don’t let it define you. For every failure, I guarantee you have at least a handful of positive outcomes. It can be so easy to dwell on where you went wrong because our mistakes tend to stick out to us more than our wins. Your failure doesn’t make up who you are. Make a list of all the things that went well at the end of every day or week and you’ll see how amazing you truly are.
  6. Focus on your journey. I don’t know why, but whenever I feel like I’m not measuring up, it’s tempting to start looking at what other people in my field are doing. This is the worst idea ever! Don’t compare yourself to others or think you need to do what they’re doing. Where you are in business and life is exactly where you’re supposed to be. Stay committed to your own work and what you have control over, and it will relieve so much anxiety!

Thank you so much for letting me share my story and takeaways on fear and failure with you.

If this was helpful, or if you have another way of dealing with these things, that has worked for you, let me know in the comments!

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