Four Reminders For When You Feel Like Quitting
If you've never felt like quitting before - and that can be quitting anything, not just photography - you likely either haven't been doing it long enough, or you aren't being honest with yourself. Because we all feel like quitting sometimes. That's part of being human, and it's part of being a creative soul. Even the most welcomed tasks can still feel heavy sometimes. We get tired, we get distracted, or our passions change. But today I have four reminders I want to share with you for the next time you feel this way:
#1 - Get To The Bottom Of It
There is a really good chance that whatever is making you want to quit, likely has nothing to do with the thing you want to quit. Meaning, that if you are wanting to walk away from photography, or blogging, or marketing, or your business - whatever the THING is... It's likely something else in your life making you feel like you need to quit.
You feel uninspired and like all your creativity is gone, so you never want to pick up your camera again.
You are frustrated that you aren't booking clients, so you want to walk away from your business.
Someone said something about your work that hurt, or discouraged you. Or maybe no one said anything good, which can speak just as loudly.
Those feelings are totally normal. But if you can get to a point where you can separate the activity from a perceived outcome - or better yet, get to the bottom of why it isn't working for you - you'll be a lot more likely to not only continue on anyways, but also identify the real issue and work on it.
You're feeling uninspired, and instead of letting your camera collect dust, you realize it's because you are spending too much time looking at everyone else is doing... So you grab your camera and make yourself take a photo walk.
You're feeling frustrated, but instead of saying "I'm just not a good business person", you take stock of your marketing efforts and realize that you aren't reaching the audience you want to... So you start a newsletter list and make some connections with other local business owners.
You're feeling like your work isn't good enough, so you spend some time with your portfolio, or ask a trusted, honest person's advice... And you identify what you can work on to improve, and you make a decision about which voices to listen to.
But no matter what you do, get to the bottom of it. Find the root cause, and then either call it out for the crap it is, or be humble enough to acknowledge where you are falling short, and do the work to fix it.
#2 - Fight Hard
That thing you do... Whatever it is - it's not always going to be easy.
If that is parenting, photography, getting up in the morning, or anything else - whatever it is that you want to quit or take a time out from... Well, if it were easy, you likely wouldn't love it so much. Things that are easy take minimal personal investment. And it shows. The things that are hard are often the things that are worth doing.
You have to fight for those things. The minute you start wanting to give up just because of a few unkind words or roadblocks is when you need to reassess your dedication.
Whatever it is you just applied to? You may not get it the first time. Work hard and apply again. Or apply somewhere else.
Those images you just downloaded that you "hate"? Well, figure out why. Fix the problem. Practice and practice and practice some more. Or just be kind to yourself and learn to love what you are creating right now, while still knowing you are getting better.
#3 - Know That It's Okay To Quit
Redefine how you think of failure. Quitting is NOT failure, if you are doing it for the right reasons. You can do anything, but not everything, and walking away from the things you can't do, or don't want to do, is not failure.
The past few months a lot in my life has changed, and I've had a couple of things happen that have me reassessing my priorities. And with that, I know that I need to walk away from some of the things on my plate. So I need to quit some things. And while I'm not thrilled about it, when the time comes I'll hold my head high because I know it's the best thing for my family and I.
That is not failure.
And remember that only you can define that word for yourself. And sometimes walking away, putting yourself or someone or something else first, is a success. If you are sleeping better at night, if you are more present for your children, if you are just happier, it's the right choice.
#4 - Know Why You Want It
That said... if this blog is getting you fired up, if you are finding yourself answering the hard questions and doing the soul searching and you KNOW in your heart that this thing is the thing for you... Find your why. And really, find a LOT of whys, then write them down.
I'm a photographer because it's the only way I know how to be creative.
I create photographs because I love the marriage of technology and art.
I write because I believe I am not alone in the struggles I face.
I'm in business because my family needs me to work, and I enjoy the challenge of being a small business owner.
I carve out time to follow my dreams because I want my girls to see that they don't have to choose between being a mother and following their dreams.
I mentor other photographers because I believe deeply in their potential and worth.
I teach because it's just who I am.
And so many more. Find your whys, and hold onto them. They are your touchstones, the things that will keep you going when you need it, and let you know it's okay to walk away when it's time.