Do you ever find others being really really critical of you and your work, in a mean and not helpful way? It can be hard to hear such harsh words from others, especially others in the industry, and not let it bother me. How do you handle this? Help!
Ahhhhh, yes. I wish I could say that I have never been the subject of harsh words and scrutiny from others, but the truth is I have. Especially when I was newer to the industry. I can say from personal experience it's really hard to have folks that you have admired and respected say such hurtful words... words that were not helpful constructive criticism. Their lack of encouragement and zeroing in on my weaknesses as a photographer was really hard to just let roll off my shoulders. When I was first starting out my confidence was about the size of an apple seed and this negativity seemed just sooo big.
The sad reality is that there will always be people that will be mean, right? There will always be people that will doubt you. They will question that you can do this. They will focus on your weaknesses and insecurities, pointing them out and reminding you of them... over and over again. These people will always exist. But the amazing thing is, their words don't have
to bother you. They don't have to cause you to question if you really can run this race. I made the decision a long time ago that I didn't have the time and energy to listen to and /or worry about these people. But more importantly, I wasn't living this dream for them.
One of the biggest things that has helped me when these sour winds have blown my way, is to take the time to refocus on WHY I am doing this. WHY I became a photographer in the first place. I will take some time to read through the sweet emails and notes from my past couples about what their photos mean to them. I will go back and look through some of the photos from their wedding day. I think about how incredibly lucky I have been to get to know them and their stories... That they chose Chris and I
to capture the memories of their wedding day. No one else. Our why is grounded in reminding couples and celebrating with them the unique beauty of their stories. I'm not looking for the approval of other photographers... that's not part of my why. Never has been, never will be. So like rain rolling off the feathers of a duck, into the water their sour words fall. Pour your energy into becoming a better photographer and serving your clients on an even higher level. Celebrate and refocus on WHY you are doing this, how far you have come, and how lucky you are to do what you love.
And as you refocus again and again and their words fade away just as fast as they came, don't forget how small these mean spirited words made you feel. Let them fuel you to encourage other photographers, especially those that are just starting out chasing their dream. Be that person that inspires and motivates them, cheering them on and telling them they can do this.
Or in the wise words of Taylor Swift, haters gonna hate, so try and "shake it off." :)