I was at a Seminar for PPA a while back in Seattle and I ran into an old friend (hi Heidi). As we talked she said something that I haven’t forgotten. It was along the lines of, ‘I wish they would talk about the fact that you don’t have to be working full time, 24/7 to be successful. It’s okay to be part time.’ My friend, Heidi Lawson of Wishful Thinking Photography is more than just on to something, she’s absolutely right. Success should never be defined by someone else, it can only be defined by you.
Let’s start with a simple question. What does success look like to you?
Is it how much money is in your bank account? How far out you’re booked? How many L series lens’ you have or how many people ‘like’ your Facebook page?
Take a few moments and define your version of success. Because yours might be different from mine and that’s okay! I hope a few thoughts came to your head, I was able to compile a pretty long list… It included somethings like my dream home complete with interior decorator, having the savings for all of our three kid’s college educations, and in my mental list I just looked smarter too. But those are temporal and their shelf life isn’t eternal. It’s in no way bad to have temporal goals. I love goals, I write them out and review them all the time.
But… I believe true success can’t be measured by checks on a list, it can only be measured by a feeling. The only way to measure true success is to look at the relationships that have been created. It’s important to remember that success can be easy to fake, don’t be fooled by those who appear to have it all together (nobody does). Success can be most honestly measured within the walls of your own home. So remake your list… What is success to you now?
I am a mom but not just that, I’m one of the very lucky ones who gets to be a stay at home mom by choice. This is exactly where I asked to be. In front of Dora and smelly diapers, teaching the alphabet and wiping up spilled milk.
I am the official ‘owie kisser’ and story teller. I am their biggest cheerleader. I’m not perfect, and sometimes I forget it. Sometimes I look at the numbers and start playing with the idea that if I did more than my one session a week, if I took on just a few more sessions each month, I could clear multi 6 figures and that sounds like that should be success. To the world it sounds like it should be worth going after. And I’ll admit that I’ve felt my head trying to convince my heart it’s a good idea.
But than I think of them. I think of who I am and what that means and I realize that although I’m a big fan of it, money will never define success for me. Anna Quindlen said, “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
So today I will forget the numbers and ignore the inbox. Today I will look only at them. And I will access my job performance with them! When they look back in years to come will they be proud of my work or will they resent it? If I’ve found success on the world’s terms but have forsaken their needs their will be bitterness, and than I will realize that I have ultimately failed.
I can’t make that mistake, the price is too high to pay. None of us can, so define it, and be proud of where your values are. Of course I have many goals and I’m going after them one by one but it can’t be at the expense of my success in the home.
I’m a mom with a camera and I’m proud of it! My definition of success is to have a great marriage with a husband who knows I’m crazy about him, kids who know they’re adored and walls that are filled with pictures of happy faces in a home full of laughter and love.
What’s your definition?