As a child, I would always challenge myself to earn As in school. I remember coming home one day and showing my mother a test on which I’d earned an A–I was feeling proud and sure she’d happily sign it.
Imagine my surprise when her reply was, “Couldn’t you have gotten an A+?”
Although I’d initially felt crushed, somewhere within I acknowledged that it was indeed an interesting question. Fact was, I could have gotten an A+. There had been a bonus question; but because I was overconfident about my replies on the “real” part of the test, I hadn’t bothered to pay full attention to the bonus question and therefore ended up getting it wrong.
I made a point from that day forward to always do my best and to aim high. On everything. No matter how small.
As an adult I’ve been called an overachiever more than a few times. I worked full-time and studied full-time…at the same time, and earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University as a result.
Although friends warned “No one ever gets published right away,” in the early 2000s a major publisher accepted my first proposal for a book on a topic I was super passionate about (Intercultural Communication); the book has since been quoted in numerous other books on the subject.
My first personal photography project was published in a major fine art magazine.
And in 2016 my second book by a major publisher will be released on my most recent passion–the cross-section between women’s body image, boudoir photography, and psychology (stay tuned for details).
Even as a business owner, I still have this same approach and attitude to perfection. I want to make every single client 100% happy. I want to give each and every person I meet an amazing experience they’ll never forget. And 99% of the time that’s exactly what happens.
But there’s always one…
In my almost 8 years shooting boudoir, I can count on one hand the number of problems I’ve had with clients because really and truly I try so hard, I work so hard, and most importantly, I always work from a place of love. I pour my heart and soul into everything I do. I’m uber-passionate about my work, and people see this right off the bat.
“You can’t make everyone happy,” my colleagues tell me. “When you work with people, it’s a risk you take.” And sure enough, they’re right. Every once in a while, no matter how many concessions I make, how much effort I put in, how much energy I pour into making others happy, there are inevitably the ones who will not be satisfied, who will still demand more for less, will expect that I will meet their near-impossible requirements/timeframes, who won’t appreciate my art or say “thank you for your efforts,” and who will create more headaches than I’d originally anticipated.
It breaks my heart. Given my partnership approach to my boudoir photography work, I really do try to vet those situations early on. It’s not uncommon for me to decide I might not be the right photographer for someone after a number of prospective phone calls where I’m just not feeling someone’s vibe or getting the sense that they’re feeling mine.
And here’s why: boudoir is such a personal niche! If we can’t connect early on, then this is, as far as I’m concerned, an automatic deal-breaker. I want the best for every woman, and if I don’t feel I’m the right fit, then I will say so.
Life is stressful enough, and as my near-8 year experience as a Long Island boudoir photographer has taught me: there are so many wonderful connections to be made with inspiring, beautiful women who will be drawn to my work and really benefit from the experience. So, why should anyone waste time working against the grain?
Looking backwards, I’m thankful for so many wonderful people and things that have taken place in 2015. Looking forward to 2016, I’m excited about a lot of things: getting my new gorgeous natural light studio fully optimized; introducing my new book which is literally a piece of my soul laid out in between two beautifully designed covers; to developing symbiotic relationships with new clients as well as nurturing ongoing relationships with loyal ones; to launching initiatives that will support women and enable them to support one another; to furthering my art; to challenging myself to aim higher in my work; and to learning from a couple of photography master’s I’ve long admired and held in such high regard. Just thinking about it renews the energy and fuel I need to get through this busy holiday season!
May you always aim high and never settle!
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family who GET you!