“It’s crazy what other people are drawn to! We’re just so critical of ourselves!!”
-Cari Sheriff Sanders
As a photographer, I’ve hit the delete button more times than I’ve actually shot photos. As a song artist, I’ve neglected more songs than I’ve ever written. Both may seem impossible, or like they don’t make much sense but if I told you it meant that I’ve killed my dreams before even dreaming would you get it?
All because I panicked.
There’s an anxiety to give our best that’s so strong that it sends a signal to our fight or flight response system.
When it does pick “fight”, it’s sometimes with people that constructively criticize your work. Mostly, that fight is with yourself. You start picking apart your own work, doing too much to make it right but to no avail, or doing nothing because to you, you would never buy it anyway. You tell yourself “nope. TRAAASHHH!” and you drag it to the little Wastebasket icon.
When you HAVE to show it to someone, you can’t get that idea out of your head.
You might as well nervously say “tadaaaa” and sprinkle a pinch of confetti you had stashed in your front pants pocket. Everything from that point on can be felt by the client while presenting your work... and sometimes, it’s true.
I’ll never forget working with a mentor when I first started producing music... I let him listen to my first track under his tutelage and maaaannnn! My fight or flight system kicked in like clockwork.
I started tearing apart my own creation WHILE the guy was listening to it.
“I should’ve slowed the tempo down.”
“The high hats are probably a little too soft here.”
“I wish I had a more realistic sounding piano effect because this one wasn’t too clean, yanno?”
“Haha! Ugh! My voice cracked a little on that part I was singing.”
I was beating my work up like it owed me rent for the past 3 months!
Finally, he looked at me, paused the music, and said “Bro... shut the f**k up! You’re telling me what not to like about the music before I even get a chance to decide for myself!”
I sat there in embarrassment. I didn’t know whether I should’ve cussed him out, or if I should’ve smiled.
He then said something that stuck with me, and has been quoted by me for over 10 years ever since.
“Stop trying to speak for your work. Let your work speak for itself”.
It was that simple yet that difficult. I had to stop undermining my own craft. I had to realize that, to the right person, I was worthy. To the right ear, right eyes, right heart, I was the one they had wanted to support.
He threw that CD out the window but needless to say, he ended up having me do a whole new set of projects, except this time I was not allowed to defend my work. My work stood the test itself.
Whether my photography is standing the test of my own standard or not, we have had so many clients that have poured out their hearts in gratitude for what we’ve given them. Continuous 5 star ratings on our Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/AuburnBluePhotography/)
We have had returning clients that have made us THEIR photographers. We’ve gone from bump to baby with families, and we’ve gone from dating to married with couples.
You’ve got enough people out there who expect you to fail...why join them?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”