We all need a little inspiration from time to time. As creatives, our minds can sometimes hit the point where we feel "burnt out". When I first started photography it was easy for me to stay positive and stay encouraged. I was just having fun. When I decided to become a full-time photographer and depend on this career choice to pay my bills and put clothes on my child's back and food on my table... well that all seemed to change. It wasn't just about having fun anymore, now it was about taxes, marketing, business, clients, price lists, license, insurance, contracts, websites, SEO, portfolio building, editing technique, education, networking, and more. The fun seemed to be sucked right out of it all by that one word "Business Owner". Now the pressure was on. The pressure was on to be "M Y B E S T".
The more I would strive for P E R F E C T I O N and the more I would C O M P E T E with other photographers (this was all in my mind by the way, there was no real competition other than the one I created) the more miserable I felt. I didn't really enjoy my job. I found myself disliking my work, doubting myself as a creative, wondering if I made the right choice, questioning my value. Am I good enough? Do I charge too much? Do I charge too little? Do others even like me? Do I inspire others? ... That was it... A question I needed to ask myself...
DO I INSPIRE OTHERS?
This particular gift usually comes pretty natural to me. I love to lift others up and make them feel good about themselves. I would rather point out 50 things about you that are R I G H T than point out that one thing you could improve on. So instead of sulking miserably over what I was doing wrong, I chose a different path. I chose to get a new perspective. I made a decision to I N S P I R E others to be their best and B E L I E V E in myself while doing it. On my journey, I have learned some valuable lessons that I believe can help change the development of others around us for the better. I strongly believe these 7 points of inspiration are not just for photographers but they are for the stay at home mom, the small business owner, the hard working husband, the writer, and more.
I N F L U E N C E
" The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. "
One of the first things I learned on my journey was to I N F L U E N C E others. Nobody really wants to be told they aren't good enough. Nobody wants to feel like they are never going to make it. " W E - A L L - S T A R T - S O M E W H E R E ". Without a beginning, there is no end to our story. So be encouraged if you haven't "made it", you're in good company, none of us have truly reached our full potential.
The moment I realized that I have the capacity to effect other's spiritual and creative development was also the moment I changed my perspective on what being a photographer, business owner, mother, daughter, and friend really meant. At this point I learned to stop comparing myself to others and start highlighting others S T R E N G T H S, influencing them to be their best.
YOU DEAR FRIEND, ALSO HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CHANGE SOMEONE'S PERSPECTIVE, just lift them up and point in the right direction.
N U R T U R E
" Care for and encourage the growth or development of. "
The second stop on my journey was to understand to N U R T U R E. As a mom I am naturally good at nurturing others. When my little boy gets his feelings hurt or is struggling with something, I want to be there, I want to be the one that makes it all better. We are a reflection of Gods natural love to others when we choose to nurture them and comfort them.
As creatives we need to nurture others and care for them as we would have others care for us. I'm sure most of us know the Golden Rule " Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". We all desire to be encouraged by someone we look up to. So find those people that are looking for you to inspire them and lead them and encourage them! Encourage their growth! Tell them they are doing a G R E A TJ O B and you can't wait to see where they go on their journey! Remind them that we all start somewhere and we all stumble and fall but the only way we F A I L is if we never get back up!
And always remember there are others who need you to reach out and others still to build you up. You are not so low that you will never make it and you are not so high that you cant reach down and help someone.
S H A R P E N
" Improve or cause to improve. "
Next on this journey I learned how to sharpen others. The definition of sharpen says to "improve or cause to improve". Can we really C A U S E each other to improve? Absolutely! In my opinion, we all have a responsibility to help others improve in their character and skills. I love what the Bible says about sharpening one another.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpens iron. Hmm. That tells me that in order to be sharpened I need to have others around me that are willing to sharpen me and that have the capacity and the substance to sharpen me. I cannot be sharpened by a paperclip. I can't be sharpened by a tree. I cannot be sharpened by cotton. I need someone to team up with that has the same goals, the same drive, the same substance. I R O N - S H A R P E N S - I R O N . Resolve to be iron. Resolve to sharpen your fellow creative, brother or sister. Resolve to G R O W .
P O U R - O U T - L O V E
" To send (a liquid, fluid, or anything in loose particles) flowing or falling, as from one container to another, or into, over, or on something "
" A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person "
Next on my list was to P O U R - O U T - L O V E . My personal favorite example of this comes from Luke 6:38. The Bible tells us to, "Give & it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you".
In my experience this has always been true, the measure I pour out to others is the measure that is poured back to me. This is one way to inspire others and to be inspired as well. You will be blessed for what you give so don't hold back!
Some people may call this karma. I personally don't believe in karma but I do believe in the inspired word of God and I believe that what His Word says is true. So go on ... G I V E & it will be given to you! Don't hold back!
I N V E S T
" To use, give or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something "
Next stop on my journey I resolved to invest into others around me. I have always invested into my clients but investing into other creatives was a new step for me. I believe the investments we make in our lives say a lot about who we are and who we will become.
Invest into your art. Invest into your future. Invest into others around you.
D E V O T E time and effort into helping others around you but please don't forget that investing time into your relationship with God and your family is most important. Don't sacrifice these relationships for others as they are most important! However, we are created for community and relationship and I believe if you ask God to help you prioritize he will also open up a way for you to invest into others around you. .
R E J O I C E
"To be glad; take delight (in)"
Next on my journey I learn how to rejoice in what God was doing in and through me. I also learned to rejoice with others. Philippians 4:4 says...
"Rejoice and again I say rejoice!"
You may be able to get where you want to go without rejoicing but you are going to get there without joy. Don't you want to enjoy this journey? Don't you want to be glad? Rejoice in your accomplishments and rejoice in others achievements.
Rejoice on the way to where you're going and rejoice when you make it! There is no shame in it! Just do everything with a joyful heart. This one is pretty easy but I know some of us can get discouraged from time to time and forget how to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am going to be doing another blog about "F R A M I N G & F O C U S" Inspired by Steven Furtick. (Make sure you drop by and read that post if you struggle with seeing things in a positive light).
E N C O U R A G E
"To inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence"
Last but certainly not least; E N C O U R A G E others. I have found that encouragement goes a long way in life. It will get you so much further than correction, condemnation, and shame. If I want my fiance or my son to do something for me, I find that telling them everything they "they are doing wrong" doesn't exactly encourage them to want to do better. It only pulls them down and makes them feel like they aren't"G O O D - E N O U G H". But if I choose to encourage them and find all the things they are "doing right" I get a much better response. I am pulling out their strengths and choosing to give their weaknesses to God knowing that He will change them as He see's fit or He will change my perspective. I don't need to constantly point out someone's flaws to encourage growth. Being able to encourage others says a lot about who you are! Encouragement comes from those who are courageous enough to focus on someones strengths rather than their weakness. And please understand that if someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others I am by no means saying just stay positive and never confront them. Healthy confrontation is good for all relationships. I am simply saying we need to be more encouraging to one another instead of constantly making others feel as if they aren't good enough.
Just because you lift some one else up, doesn't mean your pushing yourself out of the race. Your still in it, you are just choosing to be above the "W I N N E R " status and taking someone's hand and running together. We can all be winners together. We can all run together. We can all be inspired together.
"So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." - Romans 14:19
So there you have it. 7 ways to inspire others! I challenge you today to choose one step and work on it this week. You can choose to work on one step every week or every month. Whatever pace you need to take. If you are already doing these things then you are an I N S P I R A T I O N ! Keep on doing what you are doing! I am so blessed to be able to encourage others. It's not something I have to do but its something I get to do and for that I am grateful! If this inspired you today, please leave me some love in the comments! I need to be inspired by you as well! Let's grow together!
We all need to feel loved and let's face it; from time to time, I know we have all dealt with the feelings of "not belonging" or "not being good enough for others". We have all needed someone to come in and pour love into us and remind us that we are enough. So choose to shower love upon others today!
I N F L U E N C E
N U R T U R E
S H A R P E N
P O U R O U T L O V E
I N V E S T
R E J O I C E
E N C O U R A G E