I spent the better part of July off social media. With that, I spent a good chunk of time watching Gilmore Girls and finishing 5 seasons in about two weeks. Needless to say, I'm on track to finish the whole series and be ready to watch the revival of it on Netflix this coming November.
Can we say, "Who needs Black Friday when you've got Gilmore Girls!?"
You think I'm kidding, huh? Well, I'm not.
Yes? Haha ...
Yes. HAHA. I mean, "haha."
Really though, the month wasn't just dedicated to Gilmore Girls, but more so I took the time to just rest and reflect on things of this year so far. I mean, I've grown as a person and a photographer in this last year and I've become more comfortable with who I am in both of those areas. I grew in these areas because I told myself that this would be the year that I would invest in being a better me.
I think, at the age of 25, I'm coming to find that being stale isn't my cup of tea. I don't like the idea of complacency in my personal life or my creative/work life. That doesn't mean I'm constantly looking for something to do because it would defeat the idea of rest, but I do know that it means that I need to find time to make myself better.
The best part of it all was the fact that the more I became comfortable with who I was becoming, the happier I was with myself. Myself as a person and myself as a photographer.
Anyway, I wanted to take some time to share three thoughts with you guys about this idea of investing. For me, the three points are more about myself investing into my photography as a business and as a talent.
Take them as you will.
Take them with careful strides.
1. You find out how unique you are
As a photographer, it can be overwhelming to know that cameras are at the hands of every person. Especially DSLRs. I truly remember a time when it seemed exclusive to own a DSLR, but now I blink and someone new has one. I blink again and they now have an up and running business. With someone like myself who has a fragile self-esteem, this did not help me one bit.
Please, don't get me wrong, but with all the blinking happening, I found myself feeling less unique. Not as a special. I began to wonder why I had the clients I did or why I did the thing I do. When I took this year, and July especially, to truly sit down and invest in all of it, I began to see just how unique I was in the sea of cameras. I stopped comparing myself to others. It was what made me unique that made my photos special to not just myself, but also my clients.
CHALLENGE #1: What makes you unique? Capitalize on that because that's going to carry throughout your work.
2. You're only as good as you allow yourself to be
What. A. Cliche. Haha. Real talk though, it's true. There was a point a few years ago where I thought I had learned all that I could about photography (really silly of me). It was during that time though that my work took a standstill. Nothing was exciting about the photos. Nothing was special about the moments. It got to the point where I almost put my camera away - for good. Now let's take a few steps forward and we'll realize how crazy of a thought that was knowing where I am now. What I'm trying to say with this is that with anything we put our time and efforts into, there is so much more to learn. I found that I needed to put aside the mentality that I knew it all because that wasn't the case when I finally opened myself up to learn. To learn from myself, or even better, to learn from others. Through welcoming the learning process into my talent, I not only expanded my work, but I also expanded my capacity.
CHALLENGE #2: Take some time to think about the new things you've learned this year. If you haven't, it's ok because there's still a few more months in the calendar year!
3. Take some time to rest & reflect
This one almost comes to you as a no brainer simply because it's what I did during the month of July. The truth behind this is without the rest and reflection, or taking the time to rest and reflect, you don't give yourself the opportunity to see where you've come from and not where you want to go, but rather where you need to go. I went into the month of July with a pretty laid out game plan of what the month was going to look like for me, but Gilmore Girls happened and that changed things. I wanted to get X, Y, and Z done, but in reality I needed rest to allow myself to reflect most effectively. Gilmore Girls provided that and with the rest that I got, I was able to still get X, Y, and Z done. Just not on the timeline that I originally planned. Much like photographer has been for me, the end result is the same as I planned it to be for the year, but the process wasn't what was planned and it took resting and reflecting to make those adjustments and be ok with them.
CHALLENGE #3: Rest. That's it. Take some time to rest and reflect.
Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to continue to rest and finish up Seasons 6 and 7 of Gilmore Girls. I mean, after all, I need to be ready for November 25 when it comes around!
Much Love - Rick Andrew