I have made an attitude choice this week to once again look at my failures with acceptance. For those of you who didn’t read it, on Monday I wrote a post about my most embarrassing business mistake so far. If you want to read, you can look here. But after posting that, I spent some more time thinking about failure in general and decided it would be useful to go ahead and discuss the benefits of failing! Sure, this is kind of a vulnerable act, but… well… oh well!
I rewatched “The Vow” a few weeks [and no I’m not ashamed of this] and I was once again reminded of how much I LOVE Leo’s [main character] theory on life about what he terms “Moments of Impact.” He states, “The thing is, each one of us is the sum total of every moment that we’ve ever experienced, wit hall the people we’ve ever known. It is these moments that become our history, like our own personal greatest hits of memories that we play and replay in our mind, over and over again.” He goes on to explain that we are made up from the sum total of all our moments. We are who we are today because of the previous choices we’ve made, either for better or for worse. Therefore, we can view failure in two ways: either as a roadblock that impedes our immediate goals, or as a stepping stone that prepares us to succeed at future ones. I choose the latter.
So here it is! Today’s Top 4 Lessons I’ve Learned from Makin’ Mistakes
1. You are only as good as you’re perceived to be.
My name is Daniel Jackson and I am a wedding photographer who REALLY loves eggnog and Hallmark movies. My favorite food is spaghetti [with Prego sauce] and I love to read. I am a TERRIBLE boxer and my goal is to one day become one of the best wedding photographers in the medical field! These are things that just about everyone knows about me. Even if they weren’t on my website, I talk about them CONSTANTLY.
However, A couple weeks ago… I discovered that the links of my website weren’t working… They were sending people to the Nothing Land of the website world…
I am a professional photographer… and so obviously when someone inquires about my photography, I send them to my website! If my website DOESN’T work, in the minds of prospective brides I have RIGHT THEN failed. My pictures look great but if my website doesn’t work, it literally DOESN’T MATTER how good my pictures are. I have instantly been perceived as unprofessional and unreliable.
What lesson have I learned from this? If I want people to take me seriously, I have to be PERCEIVED as a professional. Perception drives reality.
2. Operation Cost
For any of you who haven’t figured it out, you are reading this blog on my website! You would have no reason to know this but I have put it three months of work to get this site to where it is now… THREE MONTHS! And it wasn’t like I worked on it once a week. It is a culmination of all the work I DAILY put in for probably nine weeks straight. That’s… 63 DAYS of work! I do not even WANT to know how many days that comes out to be. Ridiculous! Why on Earth did I think that was a good idea?!
If I had put in all those hundreds of hours into marketing… like my sister told me to… I cannot even imagine where I would be. So, LESSON NUMBER TWO! There are people who specialize at what you are bad at, so let those people do that!
I mean, I love where my website is going, but I’m not a master at that. I could have easily passed that off to ANY of my really great graphic design friends and then focused on people, the part I’m really good at. I know this lesson is a little long winded… but lesson two is essentially, “It takes money to make money.” So, do what you’re good at and then outsource what you’re not great at. This not only will allow you to grow your business faster but will also give you your life back.
3. Creating Priorities Should be a Top Priority
I have a MILLION ideas for my business. To list a few, I want to put posters up in the nearby universities, collaborate with local vendors, hand out business cards to EVERYONE, and start blogging every day. I want my website to be the best on the planet, fully developed, and make time to continue photographing my closest friends for fun. I want to pamper the brides I am currently working with while also developing my pricing package. I need to finish some businessy type things to simplify my finances and also look for a discount on cameras. I’d love to develop some free photography guides that are easy for people to print out and learn from and I’d also really enjoy doing some mentoring with my photography to start teaches others what I’m up to.
Doing all these things take time and energy and I cannot accomplish all this in a day.
4. Sleep and Eat
Last week I managed to go three days without drinking any water or eating more than twice… Two meals: one of which was pizza and another was a hotdog… Two meals. HOW?! And then, on the third day I realized this error during a photoshoot of my friends, Grace and Josh, in the snow. I was SO tired that my hands were SHAKING while trying to take pictures… Then, when I got home I played volleyball and was getting lightheaded!
Your body can only do so much! Bottom line, YOU NEED REST AND FOOD AND SLEEP! God has designed us to sleep and refuel daily and if you don’t make sure to get those things, your work will suffer!
Looking back at it, I can now see multiple times in those three days when I would sit down EXHAUSTED and have to FORCE myself to stand back up. At the time I couldn’t figure out WHY I was so wiped out but now… yeah… Bad idea…
We are the sum of all of our life experiences, the good, the great, the bad, and the terrible! Every bit of it is part of who we are.
So I am SO glad I have made mistakes in life. They have taught me SO much about myself and this world. Without my mistakes, it would take me so very very long to learn a lot of the lessons. My mistakes have made me who I am just as much as my victories. And though I have an ABUNDANCE of lessons still to learn, I am happy with who I am.