What If I’m Not Good Enough?

Originally Published March 5th, 2019

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Hey Gang,

About a week ago I was asked a very thought provoking question. I’m paraphrasing but it went something like this:

“What if you’re just not good enough? Don’t you think that if you were, you would be doing it full time. Maybe it’s just a passion and not a career.”

Just what I needed to hear—I already doubt myself on a regular basis. Now I have someone close to me articulating the same thoughts.

I ask myself What If questions on the daily.

What if I’m not good enough?
What if I’m wasting my life?
What if I chose the wrong path?
What if I’d gone to school for engineering?
What if I never succeed?

Initially I was upset but I’ve since changed my thinking. I don’t want to dwell on this or cause it to discourage me from doing my work. Whenever we attempt to work towards something meaningful—there will be obstacles—it’s called resistance.

It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit & keep going. Thanks Rocky! 

Maybe you’ve had discouraging things said to you about your art, your ideas, your dreams. I hope that you find some inspiration from what I’m about to write. I hope that you can learn to drown out the negativity & focus on what’s truly important—creating something meaningful.

This is what I learned from the What If question and what I think about success.

What Is Success?

Success is subjective.

I’ve been taking photos for over 10 years. Many of those years were spent running a “successful” business. I photographed everything from weddings to gasoline hoses. I was able to support myself & my wife through art.

Is that successful?

After my wife decided to follow her calling of becoming a nurse, we slowly started booking less & less. At the peak of our “success”, we chose to stop booking clients.

Is that successful?

To this day I still receive inquiries from clients seeking a wedding photographer. I occasionally book shoots for close friends and family. But I’m more interested in pursuing other forms of photography & creating content to educate & inspire creative people.

Is that successful?

One Of My Favorite Photographers Was A Nanny

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Vivian Maier, a reclusive eccentric spent most of her life supporting herself as a live-in nanny. She chose this career because it gave her the freedom to make photos every day.

In spite of building a massive body of work throughout her life, she never published any photos. After her death, boxes of her film negatives were discovered, published, and made into photo-books.

Is that successful?

She’s dead now but her work is in museums and continues to inspire a new generation of street photographers.

Is that successful?

Success depends on your metrics. Maybe you think money defines success, career status, fame, notoriety?

For me success is working each day to become better at my chosen craft. Success is finding purpose in creating meaningful work—work that will still inspire others 100 years after I’m dead.

Criticism vs Discouragement

I’m all about receiving constructive criticism. In fact, I’d rather listen to creative criticism over flattery. You should surround yourself with people who want to help you grow and see you succeed—not tear you down.

I don’t believe there is any value in discouraging someone from following their calling. 

If you find yourself on the receiving end of someone else’s discouraging comments—it may be time to reevaluate the people that you’re spending time with.

We are the average of our five closest friends. Choose wisely and avoid surrounding yourself with people who don’t want to see you win.

What If I’m Not Good Enough?

I’m not.

That’s why I wake up every day, put a camera around my neck, and go find something to photograph. That’s why I read books on how to become a better photographer. That’s why I read philosophy, psychology, business—astrophysics. That’s why I watch how to videos. That’s why I write. That’s why I keep moving forward.

Being good enough isn’t the point.

You have 3 versions of yourself—your past, who you are today, and who you could be if you begin working towards a better version of yourself.

Somewhere out there is a potentially limitless version of you—waiting to be created.

Don’t let what if questions keep you from doing the most important thing—beginning.

Decide what you think is important and start working towards it now. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re not good enough. Trust yourself, your intuition, & follow your calling.

 

 

 

 

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