I believe that I owe a large part of my success as a photographer, to self belief in my own work. I know that may come as a surprise, because traditionally success can be founded from the combination of skill, hard work, resilience and determination (among other things). Self belief, rarely get’s spoken about, because it is often assumed to be associated with arrogance or ego. This isn’t true, and I believe that this one aspect of someone (self belief in their own work), can be the difference between that person achieving their goals, and not. It’s something that isn’t really talked about in the creative world, and that’s why I want to start having this conversation now.
It didn’t start off this way though. I went through a long period of not being confident in my work, which consequently, affected my work negatively. There were a few turning points that allowed me to overcome this, and I’m going to share a few of those points and how you can start practicing self belief too.
Truth is, you can learn all the photography skills in the world, have the best camera, have the best mentor, and have everything in motion for you to become successful, but if you don’t believe in your own ability to actually execute it, than unfortunately you won’t get very far.
It’s harsh but true and I see a lot of creatives fall down this category of not being confident in their own work. It is something I think naturally, creatives are conditioned to feel. Whether we like it or not, we’ve learnt to absorb from other creatives the mentality of ‘I’m not good enough,’ or ‘no one will like this,’ so that when we do get someone who likes our work, it gives us the praise we naturally are looking for.
We have to unlearn this behaviour in order to achieve what we want in life. You look at interviews and videos of sporting world champions, olympians and successful business people, they all share one thing in common, it’s self belief. Each and every one of us, has the power to lean in to our own self belief. We can access it, if we’re willing to try.
Once we build up our self confidence and self belief in our own photography work (and personally too) we then have a platform from where we can essentially launch from.
Many people disregard the importance or work that has to be done to build self belief and self confidence because it does require effort, uncomfortableness and growth, often being put in the too hard basket, but there are some easy achievable things that you can do to help set you on that path, which I’lll share below.
3 Ways to Practice Self Belief Today:
- Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve already achieved in your photography career (or hobby career) so far. It’s easy to get stuck on the hamster wheel, not appreciating what you actually have done so far, which then makes you feel like you’re not going anywhere! How often do you actually take time to stop and reflect? Create a list of 5 things that you have achieved in your photography career up until now, whether that’s as simple as buying a camera and learning the basics or acquiring a dream client. Take stock of what you’ve achieved and make this a regular habit! This will help you become more grateful and aware of what you’re achieving with your work!
- This may be hard for all the perfectionists out there but imperfect action is super powerful. Performing imperfect action can create pathways to change, fast. I wholeheartedly base my business around ‘imperfect action’ and ‘doing’ and this creates forward movement, even if it’s not perfect. It’s about letting go of the fear and just starting, concentrating on getting things done and in motion. It’s about moving in a positive and forward motion instead of stewing over something, working on it for a long time, and losing motivation because it’s not perfect. Imperfect action could be something as simple as creating a website and launching it, even if it’s not perfect, or editing photos and delivering them to a client, even if they’re not perfect. or you’re unsure. Truth is, there’s never a perfect time to start anything (even if you might think it!) because life throws all sorts of challenges at you, all the time. Start now, and you’ll be forever grateful for it.
- Stop negative thoughts in their tracks. This one takes a little bit of time but it’s something that you can start doing right now. If you hear yourself thinking negatively or putting down your work or thinking that you haven’t taken a good photo, consciously stop yourself and become aware of it. Stop it in its tracks, and change that into a positive. Repeat after me, “I will not allow negativity to depict my self worth, my photography and my career.” Small changes here can be used to train your brain into having a more positive experience.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself either. Self belief and self confidence is an ever evolving battle, and there won’t necessarily be a pivotal feeling of ‘yes I have it 100%.’ It’s certainly a humbling learning experience for me, but I am grateful to be conscious of it and be able to point you all in that direction as well. The more work and energy you can put towards it, the better you can position yourself mentally for success as a Photographer. You can do it 🙂