Why do so many professional photographers fail to set concrete business goals for their future?
It’s not as if most photographers’ goals are unreachable.
And it’s hard to imagine someone deliberately setting a goal they didn’t actually want to reach.
If we assume that most photographers have at least some ideas of realistically achievable goals, why is it that so few fail to set finite objectives for themselves?
It’s Too Easy To Give Up
I think it’s fair to say that most photographers have at least one major goal they would like to achieve in their life or business.
Every year, like clockwork, many photographers adopt a New Year’s resolution for something they want to succeed at.
That said, the half-life of most New Year resolutions is about 10 days.
Sadly, many folks develop cold feet and back away from the challenge they set for themselves when their subconscious programming rears its ugly head. Their mind becomes filled with negative and limiting thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough…”, “I’m not smart enough…”, “It would never work anyway…” and so on.
The funny part is, those limiting thoughts then turn into a perfectly reasonable justification for not pursuing the results they desired in the first place!
The Four Horsemen Of The Personal Apocalypse
Most people don’t make it far down the path required to achieve their business goals because of insecurity, fear, doubt and worry.
These are the four big guns in the battle between our desires and our subconscious beliefs.
They’re often all that’s needed to prevent someone from taking action and remaining stuck.
This is an ironic real shame because the achievement of the goal or desire would, in most cases, eliminate much of the existing insecurity, fear, doubt and worry.
We’re Afraid To Fall Short
It appears, then, that the one thing that frightens people most about setting business goals in the first place is a deep-seated fear of falling short of the goal.
We grew up being conditioned to avoid failure at all costs, so it’s no wonder that we’re scared of it.
In addition, we’re also too concerned about what others might think as a result of not meeting our objective.
Nobody likes to look bad, or to stand alone with a failed photography business, so it’s a natural to shrink away from the challenge as a means to avoid the possibility of appearing less than perfect in the eyes of their peers.
The problem with this type of thinking and behavior is simply this:
If you don’t start, then you can’t finish!
Who Are You Really Competing Against?
Ask any athlete whom they believe they’re competing against the most, and the unanimous answer will undoubtedly be “myself”.
The race to our own future is no different, and the same principle applies.
Nobody else’s opinion should matter when it comes to chasing your dreams, or the fulfillment of your heart’s desire.
The only person or opinion you’re competing with is the one in your own head; there is no first, second or last place—only the act of finishing, which can’t happen if you don’t start!
How Do You Start Setting Business Goals?
In order to achieve your goal, you must first be willing to focus your unwavering attention on the desired outcome.
Then you start the race with the finish line firmly envisioned in the forefront of your mind and thoughts.
Doubts, fear, and worry from your subconscious mind must be swept aside by the faith you have in your own ability and the certainty of your result.
You must have absolute clarity in your purpose.
But how do you find the strength and the courage to start upon the journey when the challenge can appear so daunting?
Again, the answer is to look outside of yourself at others who make great achievements; for example, do what the athlete or the mountain climber would do:
Keep the end firmly in mind, and begin by simply putting one foot in front of the other, to the absolute best of your ability in every step, to move you as far as you can clearly see ahead. Repeat this over again until you finally arrive at your destination. It’s nor more simple or difficult than that…
You don’t have to be able to see the whole journey in perfect clarity.
In fact, if you did, you might feel even more daunted at some of the challenges you’ll have to overcome along the way.
Instead, take one small step at a time until the journey is complete.
The miracle of the journey itself is that it will naturally equip you as you go to face the new obstacles you encounter along the way.
Be True To Who You Are
If your goals aren’t synced with the substance of your heart, then achieving them won’t matter much…
Are you 100% totally in love with what you’re doing as a professional photographer?
You have to be honest with yourself when you try to answer that question because it has the potential to impact every aspect of your future success.
In other words, are you being true to yourself and what you believe in about the photography you create? Are you choosing your clients carefully, or going after anyone who will pay you?
Keeping your photography business goals in sync with your heart and who you are will make sure you stay on the right path to success.
Failure Doesn’t Exist
In reality, “failure” is simply an illusion, an abstract concept we create in our own mind.
Dr. Stan Beecham, in his book Elite Minds, makes the excellent case that there’s only one way to fail—that’s to quit altogether.
Check out my interview with Dr. Beecham for more on this fascinating topic.
As I mentioned, when we consider setting business goals, there’s no such thing as “failing”, only people who quit too soon.
For those who might feel unable to summon the faith needed to start in the first place, consider this final thought:
One simple step, or even the smallest shift in thinking, is all that’s needed to put you firmly on the path to finishing the rest of the journey, one step at a time…
Where will you take your photography business today?
What business goals will you set for yourself and your business?
Are you willing to do what it takes to make the first step on that journey in the faith that you absolutely can do it?
Being a professional photographer can be a real challenge, as can anything else that’s worthy of pursuit, but I believe you already have the ability to succeed.
I believe you can rise above the need to be a commodity-seller or the feeling that you’re in competition with everyone around you.
You have within you the beautiful and unique talents of an artist, someone born to serve others through the application of your own personal way of seeing the world around you.
Nobody else on the planet has the same combination of factors that make you unique, and nobody can say you’ve failed to reach your business goals except you, yourself.
So, get out there and do the thing that you excel at — dare to aspire to be the very best you can possibly be, and show the world what an amazing gift it is that you have.
If you need a little help along the way, I’m here for you.