That time a client shot me down

You find your passion. You create a job. You feel the liberation.

But without knowing it, you’ve just entered the fifth circle of hell, though I’m just going to call that circle…



Expectation from your clients, expectation from yourself. Maybe from family or friends or everything else. And, of course, from the market.

And the market makes it all the worse, because its real leverage isn’t that you care what it thinks. It’s that your damn living is on the line.

It’s enough to drive you to drink.

Though, who am I kidding, even when we don’t care what it thinks, don’t we all care anyway? Once in awhile I’ll get that email from someone letting me know they “went another direction.” I’m sure they mean well, but I’d rather not know.

“Oh, hey, we just wanna let you know, you’ve been DENIED.” Thanks.

There was this one time a client decided to “let” me shoot their engagement session, as something of a consolation prize, because they didn’t pick me.

First, why would you want to do that?

Second, uh, no. Just no.

Clean breaks are good.

So…right, it’s enough to drive you to drink.

But it really all adds up to needy heaps of expectation. Some abstract, nondescript entity that won’t stop nagging at you like Patrick Swayze in Ghost (What? Didn’t see it? Then you shall never understand pottery wheels…). A shrill alarm sounding, whenever you step outside of your “normal” self.

But step outside of yourself, you must.

Because if you let it, expectation will stifle the creative impulse and shut down your personal growth. It won’t so much stop you from becoming the person you’ll be. It’s worse. It will stop you from being who you are right now.

It’s too high a cost, no matter where its coming from.

The world knows you as you are.

It’s up to you to know you as you can be.

Clean breaks are good.

—Spencer Lum

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