Hello friends, it's been a while. So many things to want to update you on but don't want to make this a seriously long post and have nothing to write about for weeks after. So here goes a new chapter of my life. It may be a winding road but hold on to the end and it will all come together.
Every year, I start planning for the new year with goals, tasks and direction for our business. I say "our" business, because I'm not alone in this journey. Of course, you are jumping right to the conclusion I'm speaking of Terri - my partner in love, life & photography - and you would be partly right. I'm also talking about you. You reading this post being family, friend, client or event the aspiring photog. Each of you plays a part in the business success.
Ok, back to planning for 2016 during the busy Christmas season of 2015. So many things get pushed during that time of the year and the boring goal planning seems to be the first to go. Funny how that works. We were preparing for return engagement to ImagingUSA, PPA's national convention and trade show extravaganza, so many of the back-burner tasks we're pushed. Never far from my mind, I continued to dream and fantasize about improvements in the coming year. How things would be different, better, more profitable, more ideal clients, etc.
ImagingUSA was a blast as always, filled with some hard work, long hours and re-energizing the passion. No, I didn't attend a single class, workshop or presentation. I was there to co-host the FotoFacts Podcast with Jim Felder. It's work, but rewarding in so many ways too long to list here. I hope you listened, as we worked our way through gifted, talented and successful photographers, vendors and PPA staff. If you didn't, jump over to the website to look for the ImagingUSA 2016 episodes. Click here for hers. The special of the bunch was with Ana Brandt, interviewed by Jennifer Tiffany. We jumped on towards the end of the show and maybe it was the exhaustion talking, but still the only episode to make me cry. Don't worry, there was no sobbing on air as Jim ended recording just in time.
Cry? Me? The happy Robert? Yes, this truthful interview with a rockstar, successful and creative photographer. Refreshing content that talks honestly about success, the cost of such and the struggle we face internally. It's not about buying a nice photo kit, a retro bag with matching camera strap, fashionable clothes and shoes that's near impossible to actually shoot on location with. It's not about attending class after class, internet stalking your favorite professional or bragging about your first print case competition. It's about one simple, strong, undeniable and horrifying word. WORK.
Ana, without intention, slapped me hard with her honesty and poignant message. You have to do the WORK. I was floored and overwhelmed that no one is really broadcasting this message. Everyone is too busy looking for the A+B+C=Success formula that we are missing the true reason behind success. I'm not just talking about having a profitable business, but the driving force behind anything we hold valuable. You have to do the work. And doing the work, there will be days you win as a photographer but fail as a dad. Other days might find you succeeding as friend but face planting as mentor. I feel that most days are chalked up as mediocre in my personal life despite an amazingly successful photo shoot. Have you been there?
As the hours, days and weeks have passed since that moment, my mind has been preoccupied with so many thoughts and feelings ranging from rage, anger, sadness, relief, guilt, with brief moments of joy. It's crazy to think that, with years of experience and knowledge, I would not have everything figured out. That I could quit the rat race to enjoy those close to me or I could finally focus on personal projects long ago written in the deep pages of my mind. But, it's not true. I struggle. I re-invent. I learn. I try. I fail. And once in a blue moon, when the stars and planets align... I can see a better version of myself just over that hill towards the sunset.
So now what? I honestly don't know. I'm not sure of the direction to turn or even if I'm sure of exactly what I want success to look like. Ok, honestly that just rolled off the keyboard but I'm totally passionate with weddings so that part will not change. I have narrowed down two important things that must be done post hast. Improve my health so I can have the strength to do the work needed. The last three weeks have been plagued with illness for me and I'm actively looking for the culprit as my doctor helps me find ways to improve my well-being. This isn't going to be easy. I never expected to live this long. Seriously. Part two of this plan is actually harder, focus quality time for those I love and hold dear to my circle of life. I say harder, because I will need to eliminate other things to open up time to spend with my family and friends.
Albert Einstein is quoted as defining Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I'm so tired of being insane. Are you with me on this? Follow me here for more honest content as I find my future. Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
PS: I'm not sharing this post on my social media platform. If you are here reading it, Thank You for following me and caring. If this post moves you, then share it with those close to you. Please leave a comment.
PS2: OK, it's longer that I planned. Ha,ha,ha