February 28, 2017

Creating Your Own Definition of Success

defining-success-as-a-small-business-owner-virginia-wedding-photographer-photo_7901.jpgWe’ve all been there. People in all walks of life will experience this at least once, but likely more than once. The ugly comparison monster. The thing that allows us to feel like failures or inadequate simply because of the success of people around us. No matter how successful you are, you still feel like it’s not enough. For me, this feeling was at it’s peak just recently.

When I was still working my 9-5 day job while also doing my photography business on the side, I didn’t struggle too much with comparing my business growth and success to others. I knew I couldn’t compare myself to people who were full-time photographers and were able to focus solely on their business when I was still at my 9-5 and only had a limited time to focus on my business. So when I would see other photographers doing big things, it didn’t really bother me.

I wasn’t until I left my full time job to pursue photography full time last year(YAY!) that that comparison monster starting to creep in. Now I had NO excuses for why my own business wasn’t growing leaps and bounds like other peoples. I am able to put all my effort and focus into my business and I don’t even have kids to distract me, so my business should be just as successful and grow just as fast as everyone else’s, right?? That’s when the feelings of inadequacy started to creep in. Am I not cut out for the entrepreneurial lifestyle? Am I not motivated enough to be my own boss? Am I a failure because I’m not booking X number of weddings or speaking at conferences or being featured on Style Me Pretty like everyone else seems to be?? When you start to think like this, there is literally no way to not feel like a failure.

So I knew that something had to change. I really needed to ask myself what it meant to be successful. This is my business, so whether or not it is successful is determined by me and no one else. When I sat down to think about what success looks like for me, I realized I didn’t actually want those things that I was jealous of other people for having. I have no desire to ever shoot more than 25 weddings in a year. I don’t want to have a million amazing projects going on at the same time. I don’t want to go weeks without sleeping in my own bed because I’m traveling all over the world for different opportunities.

When I started this business, my intent wasn’t to make a buttload of money and be a “famous” photographer. I started this business with a desire to serve while doing something that I love and am passionate about. And am I doing that now? Yes. Therefore, I am successful! I am doing what I set out to do! So how can I let what other people are doing make me feel like I am not??

So here’s my new measure for success. Am I bringing in enough money to put food on the table and a roof over our heads? Yes. Am I able to bring joy to my clients while also still finding joy in the job itself? Yes. And most importantly, am I able to spend quality time with my husband, friends and family on a regular basis. YES. If I was shooting 30+ weddings a year, I wouldn’t be able to say yes to that. If I was traveling all over the world, I’d be spending way too much time away from the people I love. So when I think about it that way, my business (and my life) is more successful than I ever could have dreamed!

So if you’re in a stage of your business or your life where you are watching what other people are doing and feeling inadequate, like what you are doing is not enough. I encourage you to change your way of thinking. Create your own criteria for what success looks like for you and strive for that instead of someone else’s version of success. And even if this blog post doesn’t reach crazy amounts of people and get all those nice numbers and stats, if it reaches and touches just one person, then I would consider it a success.

If you found this post helpful, you may like these as well!

Why You Should Be Blogging

A Lesson Learned in Self Confidence

The Best $5 I Spent On My Clients

Where To Invest When Starting Out

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  1. Jennifer says:

    This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m finding myself falling into this trap of comparing my situation to others when we are totally different! Thanks for this awesome reminder :)

  2. Love this & agree 100%!!! It’s so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing. Your definition of success is beautiful!

  3. manali says:

    wow this was exactly what i needed to hear today even though it was written so long ago <3

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