Becoming a success….. It’s the american dream, right? We all think so at least, but what you may not know is that big paycheck may actually be your worst nightmare.
When I started my business as a Wedding Photographer, here in Winston Salem, NC I only charged 300.00. I was a novice, and knew I would have to “pay my dues” while gaining experience. But as the years rolled by I began to get better and better and I raised my prices from 500.00 up to 1500.00 , and then back down to 500.00 again. Even though I had no problem booking weddings for 1500.00, I still lowered my prices back down…why? It took me a long time to figure it out, I was petrified at the idea of someone paying me that much money.
After lots of reading and a little help from Oprah I figured out that I am afraid of success. That’s stupid!!! Who in their right in would be afraid of success? It didn’t seem to fit, being a go-getter, an optimist, a thinker, creator, and an overachiever with a type-A personality why wouldn’t I be destined for success?? Here are three reasons I found that were keeping me from “grabbing the bull by the horns”:
1. Self Esteem.
I couldn’t imagine someone paying me that much money because I had a very poor upbringing, which made me feel like I am only worth minimum wage. As someone who shed well over 100 lbs, I naturally thought my self esteem was great…wrong. I looked better on the outside but still had the same junk on the inside. Fixing self esteem is a life-long project that truly involves physical, and spiritual aspects but if you can make some effort to improve your self worth, you will be able to lessen your fear of success. I am beginning to learn that my clients do not pay for me, or my time- they pay for my skill as a photographer and an artist.
With Great Power comes Great Responsibility. That’s what Uncle Ben says to peter Parker right? If you are a person who has never been responsible for a large task or amount of money, just the thought can be anxiety inducing. I made excuses to keep myself small so I wouldn’t have to photograph really big fancy expensive weddings, because I knew I would have to graduate to a new level of responsibility and professionalism. By forcing myself to face these fears and photograph larger weddings I have gained even more experience. To this day, I am afraid before every, single wedding but It gets better with time and experience.
3. Fear of Failure
I feared that if I tried anything new with my business it would blow up in my face, ruin my business reputation and I would have nothing left to fall back on. But without risk there is no reward. What helped me think past my fears of failure was to embrace failure, as a learning experience, and learn to laugh at myself. Reading about famous people who were great failures like Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling and Steve Jobs.
This year I am trying new things for the first time, and finally charging enough to make a profit, but the fear of success will not just go away, it takes many years of re-learning how to see yourself.