Here's the thing-not knowing how to do something well can feel pretty horrible. And the awkward process of bumbling about, falling down, finding yourself in compromising positions as you learn how to do it well can feel more horrible still.
I have never been great at "The Learning Process."
In my younger years, I would simply quit when I couldn't do something well within a handful of attempts. Or I stuck with it for awhile, but pretended like I didn't care about it because that felt easier than trying and failing.
Photography was the first thing in my life that I attempted with disastrous results and kept plugging away at anyway. It hurt, it took everything I had, I failed more than I succeeded and still I kept on. And the victorious feelings from "conquering" that insurmountable learning curve were unprecedented indeed.
It was almost a decade later when I helped Jonathan start his photography business. At the time, I felt confident that between us we knew pretty much everything there was to know about the art. We'd worked hard honing our skills and I felt ready to take on the world.
I came into the world of running our business thinking we didn't need anyone except ourselves, that with hard work, the two of us could take on the world. I looked at every other photographer out there with suspicion and criticism. I railed against trends and upstart photographers who were charging just as much as we were, with our two decades of experience.
I felt as if I was passionately fighting for something I believed in-i.e. the sacred art of photography. But when it came down to it, I was simply on the fast track to becoming old, cynical and friendless.
And I have since realized, how very, very much I still have to learn.
As I stepped back and acknowledged I didn't know everything about running a business, nor about portrait photography, as I looked at myself square in the face and told myself I could learn a thing or two from these "upstart photographers," I saw how much pride I indeed had in me and where it was holding me back.
So I've decided to embrace humility. To listen to those around me. To applaud the great things other photographers are doing and truly believe that there is enough greatness in the world for us all. And I've learned so much-not only about business, but about photography and perhaps life too.
And it feels good, like a breath of fresh air, a new way to live. So I'll still give it everything I have, but through it all, I think I'll keep this humility close.