Am I good enough? It's a question that has plagued my mind recently.
I've been a member of a photography forum called Clickin Moms for a few years now. I've not been super active on it, just here and there when I have time. (I mean, I have 4 kids...they take up a lot of my time!)
In the forum, there is a "Pro" status that you have to apply to and get a good enough score to get into. I spent 2016 working on my style and becoming better, with the intent of making Pro by the end of the year. I joined a prep group, I shot with intention, took classes and workshops, and even went to Click Away in October.
By the end of November, I felt I was ready to apply. I started curating a set of the required 150 images. It took A LOT of time. A lot of work, and a lot of emotion went into it. I put what I thought was my best 150 out there and I applied just before Christmas. So many of my friends said I was ready, that they'd be surprised if I didn't make it, and I felt confident that I'd make it in.
10 days later I got the long anticipated email. I opened it to read my rejection letter. I cried. A lot. Many negative thoughts entered my mind, and I seriously thought about throwing my camera away forever. I had poured my heart and soul into my work. I'd spend so much time and money on preparing myself for this. And I had failed.
I came across a quote by John C. Maxwell that says, "Your attitude toward failure determines your altitude after failure." Mind...blown.
Many emotions surfaced and still surface to this day. Some days I seriously want to throw my camera in the garbage. Other days I want to shoot and learn and continue on. And some days I throw myself a pity party, looking at other people's art and knowing I'll never be that good. But there are so many lies in that way of thinking.
I've come up with a list of 5 things to remember when I fail. And if you want to remember them too, that's great!
1. I can't compare my success with others. I don't know their whole story, how hard they've worked or how many times they've failed. It's easy to look at other's success and think it came easy to them. They do make it look easy after all. What I don't see, is the hours of time they've put in, the many mistakes they've made and the normal, boring and mundane everyday stuff. I only see the tip of the iceberg--their success. It's easy to get jealous of someone's talents and successes, and compare myself to them. But I shouldn't do that. I can only compare myself to myself, and as long as I'm improving, I'm succeeding!
2. Hard work and persistence do pay off. It may not be right away, but if I keep at it, it will pay off someday. And it may not be what I was expecting, but that's okay, because as long as I'm doing my best, that's what really matters!
3. It's okay to be sad about failure, but don't dwell on it. Attitude really is 90% of success, and if I have a bad attitude, I will never succeed--I will never move forward, only back. When I dwell on the bad, it only brings me down. Think about the successes I have had, and how far I've come! Then set my mind to success!
4. Numbers & labels do not define me. It doesn't matter what status I'm at, what my scores are, how many followers I have or how much money was deposited in my bank account. It may seem like they are important, but they will not have an impact on how I have served others, on who my children see me as, or how important I am in God's eyes. I am worth more than some silly little numbers!
5. Everyone goes at a different pace. Some people find success quickly and easily, but most only find it after hard work, patience, time and persistence. I know I am on the slow track to success, but that's okay, because my husband and children are my priority--not my photography or a certain status or label. I'm enjoying making memories with them and I'll never have that time back!
There's my reminders...now I just need to keep showing this to myself, work hard and don't be discouraged--it will all work out just how it's supposed to. And maybe even better than I had thought or imagined! I am good enough!
I'm a mom of 4 boys, in love with photography, especially landscapes, macro, and silhouettes.
"To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place...I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them." -Elliott Erwitt