It was a brisk Friday in December of 2010. I felt exhausted and mentally drained after going back and forth with leasing negotiations on my very first studio space for Little Nest Portraits. I was ready for a weekend full of rest! Before launching into my Friday night, I thought I’d take a quick peek at my email. I saw an alert letting me know there was a new comment on my photography blog. As I clicked to read it, I saw:
You call this work professional? This is not professional photography.”
What a disturbing way to end a week, I sighed to myself.
And then I saw more. And still more. All negative reviews and comments from someone who opted to remain anonymous.
Mom guilt comes on fast, like the torrents of a flash flood or the destruction of an undetected tornado. In its wake remains an overwhelming feeling of disappointment and regret.
But most of all, wonder.
Mom guilt comes with a heavy dose of incessant questioning that ponders if we’re doing enough, present enough, caring enough, good enough, wise enough and everything else by which a mother has ever been defined. When so much rides on us, it’s easy to feel like we are never enough in every facet of our lives.
But recently, I made a massive realization.
Like so many entrepreneurs, when I started my business ego was involved. I wanted it to be big. I wanted it to be successful. And I wanted people to know.
But early on in the history of Little Nest Portraits, I was “this close” to failure. We almost never even opened a family photography studio at all. And the turmoil caused by looking fear in the face was enough to curb my ego and cause me to re-evaluate my motivation for having a business in the first place.
The minute I realized it could fail at any moment, my motivation for running a company reset.
I realized that the organization existed so that I could serve the people working in it and the customers.
For many years, I would hear the constant complaints from friends and colleagues about how people are treated in corporate America. I sympathized, but really couldn’t empathize.
Last month, our Glen Mills, PA studio was hired to photograph a few hundred headshots at a national bank’s local headquarters in Wilmington, DE. We understood an agreed-upon pricing structure and sent our team over for several days, spending thousands of dollars on payroll and technology to ensure a smooth running event.
So you’re working on something new. And it’s super exhilarating, especially when you’re first starting out! Lots of planning takes place. You get all your to-do’s in order. But then it happens.
At first you’re hopeful, but then that new project doesn’t work out like you thought it would. And you can’t figure out why. Things started off great, but then ended up so much more disappointing than you thought it was going to be. Joy always seems possible and exciting at first. But sometimes it ends up feeling like the pace car in a race–always slightly out of your reach.
If you’re feeling this way, I’d suggest considering the idea of responsibility.