Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For Love or Money? ("LOVE" part IV of V)

note: The "LOVE" series is posted on - I felt strongly about posting this here too so here goes:

Love. Money. Our dreams. Client needs. Security. Freedom. Purpose. Budgets. Jobs. Costs. Sacrifice. Questions. Lifestyle. Opposition. Freedom. True Love.

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” - Margaret Young

Sunday afternoon, on my way home from sunny West Palm, the couple in the seats next to me started asking about Amy & Joel’s wedding pictures and commented “it looks like something from a magazine ... you can tell you really love what you do.” I smiled my thanks to them at that observation and we chatted about life and photography and the difference LOVE had made when this woman had her favorite portrait taken years ago. A few hours later, on my way out the door, I received a heartbreaking call that one of my clients passed away. I spent the rest of the evening at a church holiday event trying to keep my eyes dry in the dark auditorium, failing miserably.

My world has been a bit of a roller-coaster the past few years and the question that has been in the heart of it all is “for love or money?” I spoke on the topic at five major conventions this year... as it relates to photography and doing what we love through our work. I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it was to hear the different reasons some of my peers do what they do. I have my own reasons... some that I shared with them... that I will share with you... soon.

There’s something unbelievably cathartic about finally being hit over the head with the realization of what your purpose is. I don’t think our purpose is ever very far off from doing what we LOVE to do... for all the right reasons. Doing it NOT for money but for the LOVE of it and how it touches the lives of others.

I have a little problem though... here’s where I got the roller coaster ride.... my purpose is not simple. I did not celebrate in the epiphany that I am only to be a full time photographer and to help others experience the beauty that is around them always. God didn’t put a period there -- he put a comma. It’s taken me YEARS of heartache, headache, bad jobs, good jobs, right jobs, wrong jobs.... to finally put in words what I know I’ve been put on this earth to do. I’ll tell it to you now, because I know you’ll start seeing and hearing it everywhere in what I do: “To help others achieve the impossible AND experience the beauty that is about them always.”

To tell you the story of how I came to this conclusion and how I know without a doubt what my purpose it... would take 500+ words. I know this because I typed it up recently. Perhaps a story to share another day ;)

Regardless, it hasn’t been an easy pill to swallow... because doing what I LOVE not only involves the fun, exciting part of my job called photography.... but it deals with money. It deals with sacrifice and facing necessary evils no creative person in their right mind wants to tackle. I’ve been charged with the challenge of helping creative entrepreneurs be better stewards of their money, and being able to actually make a living off of doing something they love. And it’s one difficult industry to do it in. I'm in Boston now with 8 amazing photographers who are making that sacrifice and doing what they need to do to lay the financial foundation for their businesses. I'm so proud of what they're doing, it hurts our brains, but it's so worth it. It will allow us to move forward and focus on doing what we love.

So I guess that is my question for you. Why do you do what you do? Is it for Love or Money?

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