finding a voice
ok – after living in New Zealand and learning more about how you say things more sensible – Germans are not always known for that – I am now not writing I have “struggled” but I had “challenges that made me grow”. When I started my photography business in 2009 I had no idea that you don’t just start your own business and that is it. You also learn a lot about yourself – wanted AND un-wanted –
and through that (ongoing) process I become more myself.
Why am I putting this much personal stuff out there? Well I haven’t for a long time and has it done any good? Well nothing either way. But I believe we go through challenges because God wants us to grow and if I can help someone else on the way, why not? Or connect with someone in the same situation? Maybe someone out there can relate to what I am writing – hoping someone actually reads my blog post in the first place ;). You never know. Then I know I am not alone.
Starting your own business means learning about yourself – especially your weaknesses but also your strengths. I mention “strengths” as I also learned – from my husband – to think more positively and keep the complaining to myself 😉 That makes people around me happier and who doesn’t want happy people around? So lets start with the positive things I learned: I am enthusiastic. And I am infectious with it. I didn’t realize it until people kept telling me again and again. I didn’t even believe it. Like many other people, I belong to that same breed with a huge lack of self-confidence. But I guess when 50 clients told me the same thing and a 100 photography workshop participants, not to mention my husband said it to me thousand times, you kinda start believing it. So thank you everybody, who ever encouraged me – it meant a lot to me, more than you ever know. 🙂
But what about the challenges since I owned my own business? Balancing family and work life has been a biggie. Although my photography means the world to me and it does have a priority, it is not more important than my marriage. Where would I be without my husband? No where. full stop. So doing a night shift and working on our weekly date-night can only be an exception. Having a healthy relationship with my husband also helps me being better myself and that helps me to become a better photographer, too.
In that process of finding what my priorities are, I also found that my faith is important. The more I grew in my faith – which I kinda did with owning my business – the more I realized that I cannot exclude God from my business. Although following a certain ethic when you become a NZIPP photographer becomes mandatory, I felt like there is so much more to running a business than following those rules. For example: I found client and colleague interaction is a grey area a lot of the time and not really talked about.
Finding my way through that grey I figured, I just apply what I learn from interactions with people, who treat me badly. I would not ever want to do that to someone else. It takes me a while to get over the fact, though, that someone would hurt or treat another soul badly. But sometimes people don’t even realize they do. So the only thing left for me is, to learn from it and forgive. Very hard sometimes, but it makes my life more peaceful. So when I am talking to customers, other photographers, or vendors, who work with me, or really anyone I want to make sure I am not only following a business ethic telling me not steel or cheat on them, but going a step further actually. I want to working for their benefit and making them feel welcome and appreciated – and that should not even be something extraordinary. This should be a common practice in the business world. A friendly gesture and a smile gets you further than using your elbows, anyway, but that’s not why I am doing it.
So why I am I writing about this – nervously – for the first time? I am also trying to find my voice: Who am I as a person and as a photographer? My experience and where I am thriving to go, make me who I am. So my endeavour to find a photography style and niche of work that excites me and challenges me and helps me grow is what I want. I am not there yet, but I am on my way. I believe I can only find my way when I tell people, who I am and not putting up a façade. I am not very good at that anyway. I also like to surround myself with people, who are positive and supportive and excited about their passion and want to share it. I only find those people – possibly you – when I share about myself – and in the process I hope to find my voice. My style.
Hope you have sunny day in your heart, no matter where you are in life & in the world.
Oh and leave me a message 🙂 love reading not only spam but real people’s thoughts!
The photographs are from our vacation back home to Germany (Schloss Neuschwanstein, Kloster Ettal, Schloss Linderhof, Plan See in Austria, Fortress Hohenrechberg, Dresden’s Frauenkirche) and a visit to Prague, CZ.