Statistical science has proven that whenever you flip a coin, it is just as likely to show heads as tails. This may be a method to make frivolous decisions, such as who rides shotgun and who sits in the back of the car, but you wouldn’t use coin flips as the basis of important decisions in your life or photography business.
Unfortunately, individuals and small business owners (including professional photographers) seem to make daily decisions that are just as likely to lead to failure as success, and they don’t know why or how, or even conscious they are doing it. The secret to turning science into magic, and transforming the coin in your pocket to one with success on both sides, is by making the future an important part of your decision-making.
Just like success, failure is a process, not a single act. A minor mistake or poor choice today doesn’t typically result in an immediate consequence. Without that feedback warning, it’s easy to make another small error in judgment tomorrow or the next day. You picked X when you should have picked Y, but it didn’t seem to matter anyway. The first subtle steps in the process of failure often occur when business is great and you feel like a success. That is one of the reasons so many business owners are surprised by the eventual collapse of their business. They don’t recognize the danger of those seemingly minor moments of poor thinking and bad decisions because they are too focused on basking in the glory of today with no concern for how their wrong decisions will affect the future.
This is exactly what physicians tell patients that eat too much, drink too much alcohol, smoke too many cigarettes, and don’t exercise much. “You may be enjoying it today, bub, but your future health is in great jeopardy if you continue to make daily mistakes about diet and exercise.”
For professional photographers, and all entrepreneurs, who are trying to generate income from a small business, one of the worst daily mistakes is failing to continue their education as a professional and entrepreneur. You need to delegate some part of every day, even if it is only an hour or less, to improve your photographic and business-growth skills. As a professional, you should know which of your technical skills need improvement, lighting, composition, etc.
Too many professionals, in all fields, including photography, don’t come to their professions with much education or knowledge about how to manage a business, generate clients with sales and marketing methods, train a staff, etc. It’s never too late, however, to gain the entrepreneurial knowledge you lack. You simply must have the discipline to schedule the time to read books on business growth, attend seminars, etc.
There is the other key concept: discipline. Just as failure becomes a daily “discipline,” or habit, so does success...if you choose to do so. The transition is not actually that difficult. All you must do is spend a few minutes of your daily business-education period is to develop a success philosophy, or business approach, that becomes the basis of your decisions.
Your first step is don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the problems of today or elated by the rewards. Instead of spending time wallowing in problems or celebrating success, use that time to develop a new discipline that allows you to recognize the potential future harm of the decisions you make today. With this insight, you can re-focus your energy and decision-making, so you are more likely to experience success in the future instead of failure.
One of the benefits of developing a success philosophy (practicing a few simple disciplines everyday, such as a daily business education session) is that you often don’t have to wait until some future point in time to start to reap the rewards. Transforming your seemingly inconsequential daily failures into small daily disciplines will make a big difference almost immediately. An overweight person may not lose much weight initially, but just the act of exercising will make him or her feel better, physically and philosophically, from the very first day. You may learn a rather easy-to-implement sales/marketing technique previously unknown to you, but discovered during your daily reading, that could generate more new leads for you within a few days.
Once you begin to discipline your thinking and give the future more weight in your decisions, your goal changes from existing day to day to creating a future of great abundance. You will become richer both, professionally, in terms of reputation and respect, and financially, so you and your family can enjoy more of life throughout all your lives.
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