I was reading a blog post recently from Otto von Münchow called Patiently Painting Walls. It really hit home for me. I was struggling with my own insecurities of no longer working with a non-profit organization I have grown to love. I started with this organization with little to no experience with photography. I had a relationship with a person at this organization who felt something when she saw my photos and encouraged me to explore it. Through conversation I soon became the volunteer photographer for this non-profit.
Recently, however, the board of directors have elected to not have me volunteer anymore and are moving in the direction of putting the photography services out to bid. I am an artist so immediately this brought out all sorts of insecurities in me. I had to challenged myself to sit down and look at what I was being presented with, what they were telling me instead of looking at all of the negative self talk I am accustomed to. This negative self talk can often be my safe place to go. Can you believe that? Negative self talk is my safe place? My comfort zone? Ridiculous isn’t it? Well, fortunately Otto’s blog post came along at just the right time. It wasn’t just his post but one of the comments that really struck me; “I guess it’s important in creativity, photography or any other pursuit that you stick with it. I remember when I was doing martial arts that there were a few people who started around the same time as me, but didn’t train as often, or as hard, and then disappeared, only to come back a few months later. Sure enough, their skill level was way below mine, and their lack of practice meant a lack of progress and soon they quit. They didn’t have the guts or the patience to stick with it, even though they were surrounded by people at the gym who were local and national champions to inspire and coach them. I’m too old and too injured now to train, photography is far safer, but the lesson I took from martial arts is that there are no shortcuts in any activity worth pursuing!” This comment was important to me because one of the negative things I tell myself is “give up, this photography thing isn’t really for you”.
I now am looking at this with appreciation. I am challenging myself to continue my education, I am trying to find away to attend a challenging workshop that is my dream, AND I am reflecting on the appreciation and gratitude I have for this non-profit organization. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to work for them I wouldn’t have the wonderful relationships with the many incredible staff and their clients that I do and it was because of the work that I did that has provided me with the photography path I want to pursue. I also have to remember that I brought some pretty great things to this organization. I gave them photos. They never had their own photos before and this was a gift I presented to them. I also came up with the idea to have a video showing the work they do at their annual fundraising luncheon. This has become an annual thing for them and it was an idea I presented. Things happen for a reason and although we do not see it at this moment we will soon. Each experience we have is a stepping stone to more incredible opportunities to come.
These photos are some of the wonderful clients I met while volunteering my time.