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    It’s Saturday morning.

    Your stomach churns, your guts twist up in knots, and thoughts of what’s ahead pour into your mind. You stammer out of bed and screw up your courage, ready to put it all on the line.

    weddingphotographylife

    You’ve followed Accuweather all week, you’ve got Dark Sky loaded, and your bag pulls like a ton of bricks with more gear than Batman and more cards than Vegas, because you’re ready to roll if the shit hits the fan, and you know what’s coming down the pipes.

    It’s hard, it’s bruising, it takes everything you’ve got.

    And you surely do know what’s coming, because you’ve cut out swaths of your life just to think about every single thing that could go wrong each step of the way. So much so, it sifts into your dreams and drifts into your head in the middle your days like a bolt from the blue. From the focus that won’t hit to the camera that could die. From filling your card right as the bride steps into the aisle to a flash running out of juice as the first dance kicks into gear. And despite that, something new goes wrong. Every. Single. Time.

    Aimee Mann said it right:

    It’s not what you thought
    When you first began it
    You got what you want
    Now you can hardly stand it, though
    By now you know
    It’s not going to stop
    It’s not going to stop

    Your world spins in perpetual motion, steady and ready on the outside, at the edge of control within, and in every moment of the day and every second that passes by, you’re forced to make the call. The information is a torrent, hitting your senses without a break. When’s the kiss happening? Are the place cards in place? And how much darker can it possibly get? A mom tells you not to miss this, your gut tells you not to miss that, and no matter what you decide and where you point and shoot, there will always be more to think about, more to consider, and more you’ll miss than you can possibly get.

    It’s true. It doesn’t stop. But if you’re in it and at it, you have to decide whether you’re really going to do it, because there are only two ways out. Either quit early and cut your losses, or you make your way through to the other side. Just don’t stand in the middle of the road, where traffic will plow you down.

    And it’s not just the shot that’s on the line, but your reputation, your livelihood, and every ounce of integrity you have. And integrity is no exaggeration, because it can bleed out faster than you can ask a bridal party to jump in the air.

    Who are you, what do you say, and where are going? There’s nothing but nothing that won’t define who you are, as you constantly search the depths of your soul. Are you going to play it safe? Are you going all out? There’s every reason not to do anything and no reason not to do everything. It’s all in your hands.

    It’s the middle of the road where you sell yourself short. The middle of the road, where you can’t do more than fight to survive. And there’s nothing wrong with survival, but you’re built for more than taking the hits. When you find what you have to say, every moment is an opportunity, and every act is a chance for self-expression.

    Every weekend you pit you against you against you in a match to the death, and only one person makes it out of the ring. It’s a high wire act with an empty stomach, a full head, and a once in a lifetime day every single week, where only one missed shot can send you into a tailspin.

    This is a world where everything’s a pitch. Five tips for this. Ten ways to do that. A single secret to conquer them all. You’ll learn how to spend more time avoiding work than doing it, which is the surest way never to get anything done, because the more you run, the more you feel the hurt, and the more you feel the hurt, the more you run. You create a cycle of detachment that exchanges the brilliance and clarity of the possible for a duller, more lifeless version of the now. Temptation will tell you to check your vision at the door for the promise of heaps of cash and unending ease, but muting your voice so you can just suck up the pain is too much to give. 

    And it only gets harder when the week comes along. After 8 hours of standing and ten miles of walking, your feet are a wreck, your body is in shambles, and you still have the rest of your business to run. A slave to little, red notifications and emails received, you have blogs to follow, people to read, and the unending keep of your manicured digital front.

    It’s never what you thought. It’s never what you’d hoped. Like love, reality is at its best and fullest when you take it for all that it is. It’s at its worst, when you can only wish it were something else. It’s never what anyone thinks, and that’s the beauty of it all. Only when you feel the texture of your life for good and for bad do you see how far you can go.

    You blow through a day and get nothing done. A week passes by, and you forget what took place. You clean out your gear and sync up your clocks. You sort, you tone, and Friday comes around. You sneak out for some drinks, but you know just what’s in store. You pull out your phone and take a peek at the weather, and you brace yourself, so you can do it again.

    Do it different. Do it fully. Dive right into the heart of it all, living and breathing every part of your life. Don’t focus on making more and doing less. Don’t think about just making it through. Steer into the skid, learn to love, and learn to find. Take problems out, leaving them down for the count, and don’t look for the answers you need. Answers curtail your options and limit your channels. Ask better questions, instead. Questions explode the possible, making the static, alive. If you’re chasing the dragon, the true high is never going to hit, but when you see the unlimited, you touch your purpose and feel your worth. Fun and fulfillment are the byproducts of a life fully lived. Live it all wholly and fully, and your Saturdays will never be the same.

     

    Man, that is one bad thumbnail. I’m not sure if I look more like I’m about to sneeze or pass out, but check out the video below to get past that thing, and find out my favorite sales technique. It’s dirt simple. It comes up time and again. And you can use it almost anytime someone asks you a question, no matter how hard the question is. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

    When it comes down to it, great sales doesn’t mean selling well. It’s connecting, and the best way to connect is questions, questions, and more questions. What sales techniques have worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

     

    I love beginnings. Shiny and new and oh-so-enticing, before an edge frays or the varnish peels, beginnings offer the promise of the perfect. And while old can have its own special charm – a well-worn, comforting companion with the battle scars of achievements hard-earned, how often do we really get there? How often do we stick it out and push past all the starts, through the hard and the hurt and finally make it to the other side?

    koolaid

    My life is closet packed with dreams that never came and hopes that didn’t happen. Brush aside the cobwebs, blow off the dust, and you’ll find this business here, that career there. A rebrand for a rebrand that never took hold, a world forever 3 simple steps away from success. Potent and seductive, chasing the chase, I inhabit a world of constant beginnings.

    But this is the question we have to ask: Are you getting it done? Or are you just surfing the Kool Aid?

    We think of disillusionment as a loss. Crestfallen from our once great heights, we hit the skids, as we pick up the pieces and come to terms with a life that ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    This is a world that loves the Kool Aid. That feeling of endless power and infinite hope that comes at the cusp of the possible right before you step into the soup. It feels so good. Why would you want to ruin it with reality? Sometimes, it’s easier to live in the dream than to live the dream.

    But dreams end and reality doesn’t, and if you care to make good on all the promises you make to yourself, you’ve gotta take the dive and plow headlong into the real, because infinity lives in the the belly of the beast.

    After all, isn’t disillusionment what we really want?

    In the simplest sense, it’s not betrayal or burnout or the end of the road. It’s the moment the air clears and the illusion lifts. But the exact meaning of disillusionment is being free of illusion, so it’s also the moment you can truly see what’s really been in front of your eyes all along, and if at that point, you want the dream and you want the blue pill and you want to go back, the problem isn’t the loss of the dream. It’s that you had the wrong dream to start.

    As Steven Pressfield would say, artists do the work. It’s not the hope that fills the void. It’s doing. It’s getting down and dirty, wrapping your hands around your life, and racking your brain each and every step of the way. It’s clarity and making it past the courtship, and keeping at it until the dream is gone, reality is there, and it is better than your dream. Not so much that dreams must die, but that to live, they must become more.

    Photography isn’t going to make your problems go away. Business won’t. Neither will a new USB drive with a custom logo, a new website, or the right film filter. In fact, most things create as many problems as they solve. But they’re also an opportunity to do the best thing the world is going to give you. To feel the texture of your life, to engage with your true potential, and to find open doors you never saw. Don’t run away from these things. See how far you can go.

    I love the getting and the going, and I love fresh new starts. But you can only hop from hope to hope so many times. You can only go so far on borrowed promises and the illusions we let ourselves believe in the face of the new. At some point, you need to break out, and instead of looking for the next big thing, learn to love the small things along the way. Because as wonderful as beginnings are, nothing beats being in the middle of it all.