Yesterday, I learned about the death of Paula Lerner, and my heart broke a little. She was so young and such a defender of photographer’s rights. I knew, liked, and respected her.
I learned that news after hearing from a very close friend that one of her other best friends has cancer, again–a woman who just got her divorce papers on Sunday. Divorce and a really bad form of cancer. Ugh.
All this bad news got me to thinking: why am I complaining about anything in my life right now, especially work stuff? Why are any of us?
Business is hard. To paraphrase a favorite movie, anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Business is work and doing the stuff you don’t want to do. Business is hiring accountants and lawyers and making pitches to potential clients and doing research and paperwork and making trips to Costco.
Oh, and making your art, too.
It’s sacrifice and frustration. It’s making tough choices like to take what may be a hit now for the possibility of a long-term gain (the subject of my latest Manual that subscribers & app owners got yesterday). It means having to say “no” to a lot more than you ever imagined, like to buying you or your kids stuff because you need to pay your over-priced health insurance.
It means having to smile to clients who are driving you nuts.
But it’s life, and you chose this path.
Stop and think just how great that is. You are Here, as the sign says.
No matter how tough it gets, no matter how much you struggle in your business and to make your art, you are here and doing it. No matter how psychotic the client demands, how long the hours, how much you miss your life partner because you’ve been locked in post for the past week, or how frustrating the airlines are being about your gear, it beats the hell out of the Alternative, as my 86-year-old father puts it.
I hope we all take a moment to remember those who have inspired us, like Paula, and then honor them by recognizing that we’re all here temporarily and need to embrace the fantastic opportunity that presents. Play your music a little louder, do the drudge work with a better attitude, and push your art more.
And stop complaining about any of it.