Seriously, let’s talk about competition and the impact it has on us as not only photographers but as human beings.
One thing I have learned in this industry is that you can decide whether you have a GREAT experience with your peers, or whether you have a crappy one. I’ve selected a positive path for myself and in doing so, I have manifested relationships that I cannot imagine my life without.
Over the years, I have had both wonderful AND sad encounters with other photographers. It amazed me for such a long time how people could be so catty and condescending to those they felt were beneath them when it came to experience. After a while, I was no longer amazed and began to feel like that was “the norm” in the industry, which is a tragic mindset that I am glad I’ve been ridden of.
I have learned from watching first hand, how a bad attitude and huge ego will not only alienate any potential friends you can make though your business, but it can also quite literally derail your entire operation. I don’t care if you are the most *AH-MAZING* photographer in the world, if you have an attitude equivalent to that of a poopy flavored lolly pop, no one, and I mean no one, is going to stick around and wait for you to change. I could tell you a story about a time that my own business got a boost because of someone else’s inability to play well with others, yes, you read that right, their negativity put $$money$$ in MY pocket, but I won’t, because what was done isn’t worth the space on my blog. What I will tell you, however, is that making the choice to view someone as competition rather than as a peer, is going to make ALL the difference in your business.
Now, am I saying that you must be friends with everyone you ever meet in the industry? Of course not, just as in life, you’re going to get on better with some than others. What I AM saying, however, is how you decide to interact with your peers, is going to be one of the keys to your success in both business and in life. Find someone that you can connect with. Find someone who may have a similar background, family life, or desire as you, and work WITH them to catapult you both. Finding people in this industry isn’t hard, there are likely thousands of forums and groups out there that you can be a part of for free.
For me, if you know me, I can make friends anywhere, anytime, with anyone, and I realize this as I’m writing this ditty to you. That said, if you find it hard to make friends in person, join a group online, its a breeze to connect with your peers virtually. A few years back, though my business, I made friends with a girl named Nikki. We clicked (no pun intended) online, but when I met her in person (just last month), it was like meeting someone that I was destined to be family with. This girl, oh my, we laughed our faces off enough to last us until we see each other again, seriously. We sat for hours talking not only about shooting, editing, photography techniques, and all that jazz, but also about our children, our (super hunky) husbands, our goals in life (not all business related) and everything else under the sun. This business has not only brought me a great peer that I can share with, learn with, and grow with, but a wonderful life-long friend that I can also laugh with, cry with, vent to, and happy dance with, as any “regular” friends do! THAT is because I’ve made the choice to see those around me as “peers” instead of “competition.”
As I sit here and type this out, at 2:06am EST, I am waiting on another “peer” to arrive for a few days of much needed girl time. Tiffany and I met via a workshop that I hosted here in my hometown, she drove four hours to attend and the rest was history. Tiffany and I also have that “click” factor, we just get each other, and can absolutely relate to things OFF the business level. There is no doubt in my mind that the next few days are going to be filled with laughing, talking, and lounging around as much as anything else.
We all have choices to make, and making friends with these two ladies, among others, has been one of the greatest gifts of my business, BECAUSE I made the choice to reach out and not assume that everyone is out to get me. The opportunity for friendship and mutual growth is there, but you have to have the right mindset to make it happen.
I hope this post blesses you and encourages you to let go of intimidation when it comes to your peers and allows you to open your heart to the unexpected friends and love that your business can bring.