The actual biggest loss would be a ton of creatives who are burnt out and don’t love their lives or businesses anymore because the priorities got out of whack. I think we should CHANGE the industry by changing the way we approach it and interact with it.
I had a brief chat with a friend the other day who is struggling with burn out and exhaustion from all of the pressure to keep up with “the industry”. She asked if I’ve ever felt that way, too. And the answer was a big, resounding YES.
I love being a wedding photographer, and being part of this industry. I really do. But it can quickly start to eat you alive if you let it. It can steal the joy from your craft by causing you to keep looking left and right and wondering if you should be doing what someone else is doing. It can create jealousy because you feel like everyone else is in a clique that you want to be part of, but don’t seem to be. It can give you the false sense that everyone else is successful and you’re not. It can make you feel like you don’t do enough to get published, or don’t do it often enough. It can cause you to think about every little thing except how to joyfully focus on your own business and serve your own clients. Suddenly that doesn’t seem prestigious or important enough. But isn’t that why we’re all IN this industry to begin with?
There is a very important balance that we must find in our lives of how involved to be, and when to pull back. When going to meet-ups all the time, and workshop after workshop or striving for all the dream styled shoots ever is all you can think about, yet you always feel like you’re still lacking….you might be surprised to find that you’re actually burnt out on doing all of those things. You might just need some time to refocus on who YOU are in the sea of industry professionals. It’s so good to have community with other creatives, don’t get me wrong. It’s such a lonely road without that! But it’s also vital to know who you are and what you want your life to look like outside of the “industry life”, as well. Because it really is a beast. It’s ever-changing, trend-focused, high-pressure and fast-paced. You will NEVER be able to find your joy and worth from it. Because even if you feel on top of it all right now, at some point you won’t. And then you’ll be left with wondering why on earth you’re doing what you’re doing.
We have to stay focused on why we started our businesses to begin with. For me, I wanted a job that allowed me to pursue something creative that served a purpose, gave me opportunity to meet a lot of new people, and would give me the flexibility to work however much or little I wanted someday when I had a family. Photography was perfect for all of those desires! And I have lovvved pursuing creativity through this craft and serving amazing clients through my business. That was the goal almost 8 years ago when I started this journey – before I was even dating my husband – and has continued to be as we got married and started our family. But you know what the biggest struggle has been since having my baby? Feeling like I’m falling behind and being forgotten because I’m working less now and can’t go to all of the industry gatherings I used to be able to. When I was only 2 weeks postpartum I felt SO MUCH GUILT for being on maternity leave and solely focusing on snuggling my sweet boy. I felt like I should be working. I should be keeping up with social media.
Guys. That is NOT what I should have been worrying about. I had every right to SAVOR and enjoy my maternity leave. And that’s all I actually wanted to be doing. But I had to fight to get that mindset right in my heart and mind. To shut out the voice of pressure to “keep up”. Because that pressure was trying to steal the joy from the very moment that I was aiming for when I started my business: being able to have flexibility in my work schedule once I had a family.
There’s nothing like having a baby that will really FORCE you to take a step back and choose what you can and cannot prioritize. But you don’t have to have a baby of your own to do the same. The ACTUAL biggest loss for the industry would be a ton of creatives who are burnt out and don’t love their life or businesses anymore because the priorities got out of whack. The pressure became too much. They couldn’t deal with the constant stream of doubt and exhaustion anymore. Instead, I think we should CHANGE the industry by changing the way we approach it and interact with it. I think we should say, “You don’t get to dictate my life, or determine me my value”. I will not work 24/7, and I will not feel guilty about it. I will not attend every meeting that happens, and if that means I’m not one of the “cool kids” so be it.
Our worth as human beings is already set in stone by a loving God who created us. Nothing we do or don’t do will change that. Our worth as business owners is established by how well we love and serve our clients, not by how much the industry pats us on the back. If you love and serve and give of yourself genuinely to your clients, THAT is what matters. Whether you gain popularity amongst other creatives or you don’t, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. If your goal is to serve your family by contributing to the income through a job you’re passionate about, then you’re doing that! And if that’s the dream for you (as it is for me), don’t feel guilty about being satisfied with that. Not all of us are called to be industry “rock stars” and the pressure of thinking that we NEED to pursue that can sometimes knock us off course and make us forget what our own personal goals and passions were to begin with.
Whatever your goals, and whatever your business, give yourself room to breathe and remember WHY you started it all in the first place. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you think you NEED to be doing because the industry says so….then take a step back from all the noise. Unfollow some blogs. Cut back on social media. Whatever you need to do to refocus and find your own voice again. I promise, it’s worth it. And YOU deserve to be confident and fulfilled in your business the way YOU want to do it.