Five years ago when my husband left his nine-to-five job for the ability to work for himself, I think I silently panicked for what felt like, well forever. Although I knew this was a smart move for him to quit his job because creatively it was a crime that he wasn’t out there sharing his talents with the world, the illusion of the security that his survival job brought our family made me second guess his decision. It would fascinate and simultaneously irritate me to watch how his immense confidence in his ability to succeed never faltered. While I could be found in the corner counting to ten wondering how certain bills were going to be paid, trying not to internally combust; he remained calm in his conviction that we were always going to be taken care of. I have to admit, I envied his control and belief that he was already a success with our without clientele knocking at his door.
At the start of his business when clients were nonexistent, he still conducted himself as if though he ran a million dollar corporation. He never cut corners, he never treated anyone differently regardless if they were a paying customer or someone who was bartering services with him and he always went above and beyond in regards to customer service. It didn’t take long before word got out about his exceptional talent and soon paying clients were lining up to photograph with him.
One evening we were sitting out back and I asked him what his secret was and how he knew that he was going to make it. He just smiled and in a calm voice he said, “I didn’t”. The shocked look on my face had him howling in laughter until he decided to elaborate a little more for me to understand. He proceeded to explain that for once in his career; he was at a place where he was doing what he wanted to do rather than what he needed to do. It wasn’t that he was now a name brand in the industry, nor was he was making millions; it was much simpler than that. He was just simply doing what he loved. He chose to no longer come from a place of need, which inadvertently can turn into desperation if you’re not careful. He understood that there was never any guarantee for financial success, but the personal satisfaction in doing what he was meant to do was worth the gamble. If he wanted others to believe in his brand, his talents and what he had to offer, then he needed to be the first person to whole heartedly believe in them too. He realized that when he was photographing he was in his sweet spot. That there was no other profession out there that made him feel more exhilarated, more alive and more at purpose in knowing that his photographic creative eye was making a positive difference for other people, and that became his driving force. He truly came from the angle that when you do what you love, that in itself is the truest gift; the money that follows is just the added blessing that someone appreciates your worth. Even though logically he understood he needed to work to help provide for our family, he chose to make a simple shift in his thinking and understanding that is far healthier to come from a place of want rather than a place of need.
In the days that followed, our conversation had me thinking. How many other people go into any business with the wrong intention? I think we’ve all been approached by that pushy salesperson who was desperate to sell us something they didn’t believe in or that we didn’t need. Either we cave in and buy what they are selling just to get them to go away or get angry and slam the door. What about the actor that goes into auditions or meetings with agents or managers from a place of desperation? I completely understand that burning desire to sign with an agent you really want to represent you or to book that great paying role you finally got an audition for. Just keep in mind that when you allow yourself to let the desperation settle in your bones, you stunt your ability to let your true essence of who you authentically are shine through. When you can learn to separate the need to succeed versus the simple want and desire to do what you love, you open up the doors for so much more abundance and opportunity to come your way.
I found this poem on the wall in my husband’s photo studio and it made me smile. I thought it was well written, so I wanted to share it with you all.
“They say for every light on Broadway there is a broken heart, an unrealized dream. And that’s the same in any profession. So you have to want it more than anyone else, and you have to be your own champion, be your own superstar, blaze your own path, say yes to opportunity, follow your instincts, be eager, and passionate, keep learning, nurture your real and lasting relationships, don’t be a jerk, and free your imagination so you can become all that you want to be.” – Sutton Foster
Over the years, unbeknownst to me, my husband was teaching me this very simple, yet valuable lesson. When he decided to open his own photography business, he chose to be his own champion blazing his own path and doing it from a place of love rather than from a place of need.
My wish is that you all find that sweet spot in your personal journey through this crazy world we love called show business.