A Tip for A Tuesday | Learning to Fail




1. lack of success.“an economic policy that is doomed to failure”synonyms: lack of success, nonfulfillment, defeat, collapse, foundering 

I really debated on writing this blog post, but decided that since I’ve been sitting on the fence about it for a while, it was probably time for it to be written. I want to talk with you today about failure and about the first time I received negative feedback on my photography work. Failure is a really hard subject to talk about because as creatives, our art becomes a part of us. So when someone criticizes it negatively or tells you they are unhappy with that work, it can really hurt. 

In the beginning of my business I had a lot of people use me. I was naive and had zero knowledge about running a business and people talked about that behind my back. While that stuff hurt, it wasn’t until last year when I got my first ever phone call from a client who was upset with the work I delivered, that I felt physically ill and disappointed in myself. It was one of the most challenging and crushing experiences, especially because I LOVED the images I delivered. I was proud of myself for not crying on the phone when I spoke with her to resolve the issue, but when I hung up, I was in tears for most of the day. My dad is kind of my go-to when I have business questions because he is just so dang smart. He reminded me that day that my work is a work of art & not every piece of art is appreciated by all. While that helped me put the situation in perspective it still really hurt. I felt like a really big failure. That every piece of work I had done up to that point was terrible & no one had the guts to tell me I am the worst. I bet some of you reading this know that feeling that I am talking about. Just the gut wrenching feeling that you have failed. I was worried about going to my shoot later that evening because I was certain that I was no longer qualified for the job.

Failure is something really hard to talk about because we all have felt it and it is different for everyone. We all have felt unsuccessful in our lives in some way or another and no one wants to admit it. No one wants to lay it out on the table and say, “Hey look at all this crappy failure stuff I’ve done!” That’s not fun, but we all have been there. What I want to talk about today is how our failures do not define us as a whole. That this one instance of an unhappy client does not bring down my business. That by resolving the issue quickly, professionally, and with my heart, I was doing successful business.

When we look at the word failure by the Google definition above it can help us put our “failure” into perspective. You can only fail if you do not succeed and you cannot fail unless you have defined your success. Success looks different for every person. While success may be being incredibly rich and owning all the fanciest things to one business owner, it may be keeping a newborn baby asleep for two hours for another.

When I started to look at this “failure” of mine in those terms, I was able to see a light. To me I am successful in my business if I am able to serve my clients to the very best of my ability. I am successful if I create everlasting memories for my clients in the experience AND the photos. I am successful in my business if it brings me joy and I continue to want to serve my clients well.

With my business success defined did I fail this client? Maybe. But after defining my success I realized that I do bring joy to the experience. I do get joy from my job & that even when I am feeling like the world’s worst photographer, I am still giving it my all. That is not failing. You can not fail if you continue to try. 

I wanted to write this post because failure sucks. But it only can suck for as long as you let it suck. We all fail. Nobody is the straight A rockstar they pretend to be on social media. Not everyone is going to like you or the work you put out into this world. AND THAT IS OKAY. If you have an unhappy client, resolve it quickly and professionally and learn from your mistakes. THAT IS OKAY. When you are feeling bummed and you believe your business is spiraling into the oblivion of worst photographers in the world, it is okay to sit on your floor, eat a pint of ice cream, and sob for a few hours – as long as you stand back up, pick up that camera, and give it another TRY. You only can fail when you no longer try. 


Biggest hugs of all today, friends!



If you liked this post, you may also want to read:

 A Tip for A Tuesday | For Beginner Photographers

 A Tip for a Tuesday | Creating Better iPhone Pictures