We Can All Be Awesome

A few weeks ago I returned from a lovely vacation at my parent’s house in Colorado. Some of my favorite things about being there are slow mornings, coffee, and long chats in the kitchen with my mom. One particular morning she was telling me about a horse show she was at recently. There was a group of more seasoned ladies competing for the very first time, and my mom remarked at how much fun they were having and how supportive they were of one another.

Rather than being concerned with who was ‘best,’ they were consumed with making sure each and every lady knew she was great and had a great time. That kind of attitude has far reaching consequences, doesn’t it?  How cool would it be if we lived like that all the time? What if we all treated each other with the same uplifting, life-giving attitude?

I started playing the piano at a pretty young age, and I was involved in competitions and festivals for over a decade. Striving to the best pianist was a constant goal; the rank of 1st place a fabulous source of motivation to practice more than I really wanted to…  But sometimes that healthy motivation to be excellent at something can turn into something kind of ugly. It can become an inner craving for others to fail so that we can more easily reach the top.

Sadly, just a few months in I am already seeing this attitude in the world of photography, and in disappointed or insecure moments, even in myself. It is so easy to find ways to put down other people’s pictures, or styles, or editing, in order to feel better about our own art. Rather than lifting each other up and celebrating each others’ successes we crumble under the burden of comparison and we lose so many great opportunities to learn and grow ourselves.

I say no way. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I am learning this huge, life-changing secret that will change your world:

We can all be awesome.

Your pictures can be fabulous, and so can mine. They can be different as all get out, more appealing to some personal tastes than others, they can garner more Facebook likes or less, and still all be awesome.

And we can learn some awesomeness from each other, if we’re willing to get over ourselves, admit where we’re weak, and open ourselves up to the advice and encouragement of others! I have so, so much to learn when it comes to photography. This is not an arena where I have any temptation to think that I’ve arrived. But I’m human, and the reality is I don’t even have to be good at something to start tearing others down to make myself feel better about it.

I am blessed to have many friends in the photography world. Some are light years ahead of me, some right by my side, and some just a couple steps behind. Some with similar styles, techniques and packages, and some who take an entirely different route. Lets take the example of those 50something horse lovin’ ladies and work on lifting each other up while we work toward our best – and not just in photography, but in every area of life!  Because photography isn’t the only area where we tend to crumble under the burden of comparison, is it?  And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be the reason someone is holding their head high and courageously trying something new, than the reason they’re staying safe on the sidelines.

Sometimes all we need is the encouragement of each other in order to be brave enough to strut our stuff out in that ring.

So I think there is no more fitting way to end this post than with some beautiful pictures taken by a handful of my photographer friends. I am committed to celebrating their successes, applauding their work, and making sure they always remember that they are awesome.

Life is much too short to have it any other way.


IMG_2299-Edit-Edit-2portraitureMarisa McDonald @ Marisa McDonald Photography

014editKari Maines

11831279_10207633102295084_137485258_oAmy Tripple @ Amy Tripple Photography

2015-08-04_0008Valerie Howell @ Valerie Howell Photography

2015-01-31 Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve (3)Patti Wheeler

IMG_0808RACKKristin Phelps @ Kristin Phelps Photography

2015-08-05_0007Laura Brod @ Laura Sue Brod Photography

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