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There has been a lot of talk about peer pressure lately in the media. It’s nothing new, nor does it seem to become less of an issue. The want for acceptance in society and the feeling of belonging helps to feed the need to conform. But what is it about ourselves that feeds into it? Is it the internal struggle to find who we are? Where we belong? How people will feel about us? With these and more questions to try to find meaning in life, I wanted to talk about something a little different that is closely related, and that is Fear Pressure.
Fear pressure is something I just made up, but it is a struggle inside of you. It really has nothing to do with how people feel about you nor does it judge. Fear pressure is more of mild to severe panic state that makes you think you need to do something when you really don’t. It has no smell or distinct taste… it just sucks from all the mind numbing thoughts you had in your head of worry. It distracts you from doing what you really love to do.
Looking at fear with a narrow mind can be a very limiting factor in the path of growth. Speaking as someone who has struggled with fear in the past and still do (after all, I am human), I can say for myself that my journey to where I am now would have been a lot quicker without my limiting fear. There have been many opportunities for me to speed up my process of becoming an advertising/commercial photographer if I had listened to my true inner self. There have been countless times when saying no to work was not an option. I would feel the need to lower my prices in fear that I would not gain a new client. I felt that my work was good, but I was afraid that my prices were not affordable to customers… but deep down inside, I knew I was worth every penny if not more. I needed to do these things to relieve me of my fears… but at what cost?
As a result of all the fear based decisions I made in the past, I contributed to the global acceptance of low priced photographers who last a couple of years and close up shop because they cannot afford to run their businesses. To run a business may be one of the hardest things to do in life. There are so many factors that you wouldn’t think go into a business. Permits, licenses, insurance, health codes, and so on. It all adds up to a balloon of time and money that may make or break you. I’ve said it before, It’s totally fine to charge a little when you first start to take photography more seriously, but at some point, you really do have to charge more. It’s all based on your self worth and how you feel about your vision. The fear of not making money and not getting clients has probably settled in if you were thinking of charging more. You’ve probably thought a few times, “What other photography can I do to make money? Maybe I’ll try doing weddings? Maybe portraits? Maybe new born photos?” But perhaps you are going at it the wrong way?
Through the years of dealing with the fear and all the growth I’ve had from the many personal challenges I’ve endured, I realized that fear is not a limiting factor for me after all. Fear is more of a measurement of growth that I will experience. Before I shot my first gig for Nike, I didn’t shoot what I loved to shoot. I shot weddings and events, new born and so on. They were easy and I could make some few extra bucks out of it. But did I love it? Did it challenge me? Did it make me think? It wasn’t until I sat down and really thought about what I really loved to shoot that made me feel happy, excited and challenged. I learned that I love to challenge myself. I love to solve problems and I’m really good at it! There comes a time when you have to put your foot down. So I did. I listed all the things I love to shoot, all the photo types I can stand and all the things I don’t like doing. I ended up eliminating weddings off my list. It’s a great way to make a lot of money fast, but I really dislike the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings and people getting married, but I don’t like shooting them and having to go through all the work after. Props to those who live for it though! It’s not my thing.
So how did this fear tie in to the measurement of growth I experienced? For one thing, it validated the fact that I didn’t need to do everything to be successful. In fact, the expression of less is more is quite fitting. Accepting that I didn’t want to do weddings anymore freed more time to interact with potential clients, saved me money on overhead, and freed up space in my universe to accept different opportunities. Opportunities that I wanted to invite! However, once you invite, that means, they start to come. Getting back to Nike… It wasn’t even a month later after my decision that I got a request from Nike to hire me as a photographer for an upcoming gig. Believe me, a gazillion (if that is a real word) insecurities hit me all at once. But fortunately (and I highly recommend you get one of these if you don’t already have one, you just can’t have mine!), my partner Leo comforted me and made me realize, they would not have contacted me if they didn’t feel like I could do the job. They obviously liked something if they wanted to contract me for the job. As you could imagine, right before, during and after the shoot, my fear skyrocketed. Talk about fear as a measurement of growth! Let’s just say that I have grown a lot since then and the fear of having corporate clients still there, but at a very manageable level. Ha!
Although fear may get a bad rep, it can actually be a good thing at times. But in terms of having it hold you back, that’s when we draw the line to fear pressure. If you find that you are not doing what you love because you are afraid that you will not succeed or you are doing too much that it does not allow you to do what you love, then it’s time to be aware that it’s just fear pressure that you are experiencing. It’s not until you look deep inside, that you will realize you CAN actually do it! You really can! So if you do have fear, try to look at it a different way and bring it on. You’ll be surprised of where you end up and how happy you are compared to before.
Awesome! You're a cool cat. My name is AJ, by the way. =)
Lol no problem! Nice to meet you AJ! I figured since your screen name is I’m-jean-valjean…. I should probably follow it and assume its jean lol
I follow your updates on Facebook and I really admire your talent. Is it okay if a pick a few portraits out to draw? I don't want it to be weird, since I don't know anyone you photograph other than Gloria lol. but you photograph some beautiful people, and it makes me want to draw them.
Hi jean! Thank you for asking. It’s very sweet of you hehe. Of course you can pick some to draw. If it inspires you to be a better and more creative artist… I say why not. Anything I can do to help would be my pleasure! I’m very flattered :) Anyway I can’t wait to see what you come up with hehe. By the way… Nice to meet you jean!
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