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We all want reassurance. I’ve heard anxiety defined as experiencing something bad that hasn’t happened yet. Who wouldn’t want to be told everything will be ok?
Around this time as I look towards the new year, I’ve always had this sinking feeling of whether or not I’d be able to keep doing what I’m doing. Would people want to hire me for the 11th year in a row to photograph their wedding? Event? Portraits?
My anxiety told me I could become homeless, fail miserably and bring shame to my family’s name. The way I dealt with my anxiety was a mixture of resignation and optimism by having a, let’s see what happens perspective on things.
It was a helpful mindset in some ways, because there were too many things outside my control I couldn’t will to go my way. Ever year I’d be surprised with the opportunities given to me, and the work I got to do.
But I also didn’t take ownership over what I could do everyday. I felt reassurance was something to find, not create for myself. I left too much up to fate. It’s given me a life full of excitement and gratitude, but it feels like luck more than anything else.
Then came 2020.
By March, COVID-19 dashed my optimism into the rocks and showed me how cruel fate could be. Faced with this reality, I had a choice of resigned optimism or actually do something about it.
I didn’t realize how narrow my worldview became over the years, thinking all I had to offer the world was photographs. When I hung my fate on that, it spiraled me into a mindset of scarcity where it was this or nothing else. And the years of it “working out” just cemented that notion even more.
It took having it all taken away, for me to see just how much possibility there was around me.
I allowed myself to explore and discover different interests. I started to try things without the burden of, “this has to work.”
And in my exploration I found coaching. I put my head down and went deep into discovering what this could mean for me. I went to dozens of sessions in a few months, finding the edges of this new practice.
Looking back, I see a clear, unbreakable thread from music, photography, and coaching but it only happened when I stopped playing the zero-sum game.
When everything gets taken away, even the possibility of reassurance, the only thing we have available to us is what we choose to do next.
This happened. This year happened, so now what’s next?
I can’t offer reassurance, only the abundance of possibility.
Follow Along Upstream
And feel a little less alone on your quest to your most courageous work.