Define Your Own Success

There are so many amazing talents in this industry. I know that my own Instagram and Facebook feed is filled with people whose talents I admire. A couple years ago, it started to become overwhelming to see SO much everyday. I began to compare myself to the people I would scroll past thinking, “How will I ever be as successful as them?” “I’ll never be able to create an image like that…” Self doubt would begin to sink in and I would hear that little voice that says “You will only be successful if you’ve reached _____ like them.” That blank space was a number of things. Having more followers, having a certain amount money in the bank, a number of sessions/weddings on the calendar, a certain amount of gear… take your pick.

I was looking at other photographers, setting up high expectations for myself, and believing that there was only one definition of success in this industry. Really all I was doing was setting myself up to be unsatisfied and unhappy. In reality, there isn’t going to be one point where we’ll reach the top, stand up there and say “I’ve made it!” The further you move in your career, I found that any time you reach a point of success or accomplish a goal, there’s still road ahead. It isn’t a one stop destination. There will always be room to grow – to revisit your goals, your happiness and business and make adjustments as you continue moving forward onto the next goal.

The first thing I did was clean up my blog reading lists and social media feeds. I kept my friends of course and a couple of people who’s work really inspired me. I can’t even tell you how freeing that was! My second step was to sit down and finally write out my goals and vision for what I wanted my future to look like. My whole mind shift changed. In reality, a lot of the things that I was chasing were only what I thought I needed to be doing because I had been watching what everyone else was doing. I realized the version of my success shouldn’t be defined by someone else’s.

By comparing where you are to other people and trying to keep up with them, you’re depriving yourself the chance to discover your own road and setting goals that reflect the life you want to live. So ask yourself some questions. What is it that drives you? What do you want to achieve? Where do you see your life in 1, 3, 5 years down the road? Take time to sit down, write down those goals both big and small, and map out the steps you need to take to get there. By making a plan you’ll give yourself a map to get there. And furthermore, it’s ok to switch up those goals as you go. Perspectives will change and you can give yourself permission to throw it out the window if you want.

Have you had a similar experience? What were some ways you changed your mindset on how you define your success? 

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