Taking responsibility

Bali

Ever since I started working full time as a solopreneur last Spring, I felt hesitant about sharing my personal doubts, emotions and struggles here and on social media. I was convinced that it would be best, from a business point of view, that I left that part of me out of the equation. Lately, I've come to realize that this is a mistake, or at least not the way I want to run my business or live my life (those two are very much intertwined). My photography, my writing, they are 100 percent me. So not sharing what's really going on inside my head, would result in shallow words/images. At least here. 

I don't quite know how this realization came into being. These past weeks, I've had some time to reflect upon my work and started to think about the future. What would I like to work on in 2018, what do I want to achieve and what kind of journey will it be? I am trying to be more disciplined, write down tasks & goals, keep promises, and I would like to grow. Not in the "get more projects/followers/achieve stardom" kind of sense. I really don't care about that. Of course that's nice, but in the end I just want to make enough money to make ends meet. Perhaps evolve is the better word here. I want to develop my photography (both style & skills), focus more, only say yes to projects I truly want to invest in, take more unforgettable shots, create beautiful editorials, travel, and make myself proud. That's what I care about.

I am currently reading "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" and it's a revelation. On many levels. One thing the author writes about is that people who are exceptionally good at something, love the pain, the process, the struggle, more than the goal (i.e. succes). I am not saying I am exceptionally good at taking photos - though I can't say that I'm dissatisfied with my shots either - ;) and I still have a long way to go, but I sure do love the journey so much that I don't mind working from morning till evening. Or even after the sun has set. 

However, my job also comes with a lot of insecurities. And I am not just talking about the money. Or the fact that it's not easy to buy a house or start a family when you own a small business. I mean personal doubts: the fact that I care too much about what other people might be saying/thinking etc. The pressure of having to constantly deliver, the pressure of that infinite grow of followers or the number of clients. Because growth nowadays seems to be the biggest indicator of succes. And this mentality is bugging me. It deprives me of the joy I feel for my field of work. Also, I just don't think it's true. Some of the most talented and experienced photographers I know choose to not go down this path. 

And this is something the book is also teaching me, I have a choice in all of this. I have the choice and therefore also a responsibility in how I will handle my business and my life, in what I choose to focus on and deem important. Or in the author's words: I get to choose what to give a fuck about. I choose my values and the metrics by which I measure them. The rest is irrelevant. A girl who I really admire in this respect is my friend Agnes, who decided to quit writing her successful blog in English and will continue in her native tongue Swedish from now on. I think it's such a good & brave decision. I applaud her and will need a crash course in Swedish asap. ;)

So that's what I am going to do from now on. Or at least trying to do. Focus on what's truly important, take responsibility and stop avoiding hard decisions. And also, realizing that my job, how fun and challenging (in a good way) it may be, is not the only thing in this world. There's more to life. And I am so lucky to have more in my life. A man who loves and supports me in everything, my dear family, good and patient friends. They are the most important. Just like listening to music is, or playing games, or enjoying the October sun. Thanks Jen Moulton for reminding me of that. 

Alright, that's it for this today. If you'd like to, please share your thoughts/experiences below in the comments. I'd not mind chatting a bit more about this with you guys. x

PS: I am going to post the recipe for the elderberry cupcakes later this week. ;) 

Ingrid Hofstra1 Comment