My First Big Failure!

A woman-shaped icicle hanging from a mailbox

Who Wants to Fail?  

"I do, I do!" said no one - ever.

I have a hard time admitting failure to myself, let alone telling everyone else about it.

There's such fear of failing that most people never even bother trying to reach for their dreams. 

Sometimes I feel like the icicle pictured above - uncanny how much it looks like a  woman hanging on for dear life.

I've failed so many times in my life. And recently, I've failed again.

There, I said it!

One of the things I've learned over the last year in all the reading I've done about entrepreneurs is that some of the most successful people (in fact probably most of the most successful people) have failed - a lot.

Rather than view failure as an end point or a reason to quit, I'm celebrating and seeing it as a positive step toward my goals.

I used to let the fear of failure keep me from starting.

Not any more.

Over the last few years, I've lost so much that I've been forced to face a lot of my internal fears and emotional bogeymen.

I've struggled - a lot.

I've learned - a lot. 

It hasn't killed me. 

Now, I lean into the fear, recognizing it for what it is - my mind's way of protecting my body from the saber tooth tiger. 

A low-angle view of a geometric breezeway corridor.


Back to Failure!

What I've learned over the last few months through lackluster sales in the Christmas season, discussion with trusted mentors, research, and reflection is that travel photography is not the niche for me.

As much as I love to travel and take photos - so the travel photography niche seemed like a no-brainer - it's too large and unwieldy to get my arms around.

Do I travel to every state? Every country? Every continent? Take photos of monuments, bridges, cities, people, culture?

Who buys "travel" photos? What's the market?

See what I mean?

I've also had some new ideas bubbling to the surface.

My heart has been leading me in so many different directions, which is leading my art somewhere else too.

What I want to express in my art is layered and deep and aligned with my overall values and vision.

I'm still obsessed with travel and travel photography. But, my website is going to be more niche focused - drilling down deep into the City of Atlanta, especially the Old Fourth Ward where I live. It's a rich vein to mine for photographs. 

I'm doing a lot of soul-searching.

Probably not coincidentally, I woke up recently with my heart and head brimming with ideas.

I was furiously journaling about them and then called my daughter, Ellie (she's an artist), to run them by her - to see if I was in some crazy dream-fugue state, still asleep, or actually awake. Did any of this make sense?

Turns out, she loved the ideas. I wasn't still asleep.

It's going to be a while before I can bring all these ideas to fruition - lots of planning and doing, but it's exciting! 

In embracing failure, instead of being freaked out, my heart is already leading me where I need to go.

And you know what?

A huge part of the fear of failure is not wanting the humiliation of admitting it to others.

Clearly, I'm over that!

I'm going to fail my way into success! 

That corridor photo above?

It's a long path down to an unknown doorway at the end...and I'm okay with that. It means I get to be surprised when I arrive.

I hope you can be patient with me on this wild ride! 

You'll be seeing changes to my website, and if that doesn't work, then I'll roll with it and change again. But, eventually, I'll get it right. 

So there it is - my first major failure as an entrepreneur - choosing the wrong niche for my work.

I'm grateful right now, because I didn't loiter too long in the wrong place. I'm getting closer to my goals.

Is there something you want to do, but you're afraid to try?

Don't be afraid to fail!

You have so much more to lose by NOT trying.

I hope you're having a great week!

And, see you between the raindrops!