River Dawn

As part of my SEE studies, I have just completed a module on Prosperity.  I would like to tell you that is the sole reason that I have been thinking about money and my photography business, but that would be a lie.  It’s almost all I have thought about since I first picked up the camera… but very much  more so recently.

I’m not sure that people who are not artists or crafts-people, would totally understand just what it means to us when someone actually appreciates our work enough, that they are willing to part with their hard earned cash to purchase it.  It’s a hard thing to put into words.  There’s a sense of accomplishment, sure.  And there’s a gratitude, definitely.  Perhaps even a little healthy pride.  But for me at least, the overwhelming feeling has always been that of validation.

It’s life affirming. It’s choice affirming.  It says to me that my choice to try and make a living from photography was not a complete waste of time, and more importantly it says to me that someone has valued what I do so much so, that they are willing to pay to have it in their home.  That’s an incredibly special feeling.  I get lots of compliments, and compliments are wonderful things.  They give me the impetus to keep on struggling and keep on fighting.  But a sale… well that just takes my confidence to a whole other level.  It means something.  Something really special.  It means I matter.  My choices matter.  My life decisions count for something.

Back to SEE…..

As a part of doing the Prosperity work, I have been giving money a great deal of thought.  As is often the case with us human beings, we tend to gravitate toward the easiest option.  On more than one occasion I have entertained the idea of what winning the lottery would do for how my life looked.  To be honest, it wouldn’t really change the exterior landscape of my life all that much, but what it would do is take the pressure off.  I would be free to create, and to write and to take pictures without all that troublesome pressure to make some money from it, constantly weighing me down.  I could just concentrate on creating the work that I wanted to create.  To making the contribution to the world that I wanted to contribute.  Money, and sales, and business would no longer be foremost in my mind.  What an incredibly freeing concept.

Laying in bed this morning, I was once again trying that fantasy on for size, when all of a sudden I asked myself this question, “if you had $20m in the bank right now, would you get just as excited over making a sale?”  And you know what the answer was.  YOU BET!!  Because it’s not about the money.  It has never been about the money.  I like to think that it is because money is nice and we all like it and we all want more of it.  But that’s not what a sale means to me.  People can’t understand why I get just as excited over making a 0.25cent stock photography sale, as I do over selling a print for several hundred dollars.

It’s the validation.

It’s the recognition.. that what I do matters.

It’s telling me that I am valued, I am important enough for someone to want my work…. and not just want it… I have lots of that.  But want it enough to pay me for my trouble.  And it doesn’t matter if they purchase a large canvas print or a small greeting card, or even just a download from my stock site.  What matters is they are telling me, that I matter.

People go to work every single day of the year, and when the do, whether they enjoy their jobs or not, someone pays them for their time and their trouble.  In my line of work that doesn’t happen.  I work just as hard, just as long, as anyone else and pour so much more of myself into that work, than I think anyone ever realises.  Sometimes…. just sometimes…. I want to feel like that matters…. and matters more than words.