On Eliminating a Scarcity Mindset

Two years ago, one of my biggest disenchantments when it came to photography was the inability to attain what practically every enthusiast aspires to secure at one point - a paying gig. Obviously I imagined the dry spell was a phase creatives went through in the early stages but when a potential client happens to come along, I recognize there’s this instinctive obligation to pounce on the opportunity irregardless on whether the assignment would align with the type of work we aspire to be known and hired for. I saw it as normal to take what you can get and figure it out whether you truly enjoyed it afterwards as long as you’re getting compensated for your time.

As with any creative pursuit there’s nothing more disheartening than working on jobs you’re not fully invested in. In the case of photography, if you shoot weddings because the pay is typically good and you’re tolerant towards the mental stress that’s inherent in them and yet care very little for documenting these type of life-changing ceremonies, could you take a wild guess as to the type of clients you’re likely to attract if this is the type of gigs you take on solely for the money and because you need it?

Luckily I had very little self-confidence back then when people were willing to pay me for a gig and what this insecurity did was allowed me to recoil from the type of work that spoke very little to me creatively. Of course the prospect of getting paid is alluring but not so much at the expense of clogging up your hard drive with purposeless images which are not representational of the work you want to brag to your friends about or ultimately showcase on your site.

Feeling the need to take on work you’re not passionate about but you do in view that you need the money is what Sean Wes refers to as having a Scarcity Mindset. He says, “you have to start by changing the way that you think even when you’re not where you want to be yet—even when the circumstances don’t reflect it.”

I’ve gleaned so much invaluable information from listening to Sean’s Podcast, specifically Scarcity Mindset episode. As for the rationale behind not me not opting to take on projects I’m not passionate about is that I don’t do photography for a living. I have a day job that supports my family and I so I never feel the need to compromise my passion for a quick buck. This is something I’ve been practicing for quite a while and unbeknownst to me, Sean has superbly titled this implementation The Overlap Technique which I highly encourage you to adopt if you’re the type that also has a side passion.

I get asked to shoot weddings all the time and my immediately response is "nope" and especially to friends. Worst case sceneario would be the couple is overaly amazed by the wedding photos and so their friends would possibly inquire as to who the photographer was and they'll tell them and then I'll look like the bad business person turnng down people who want to pay me to take on a job that doesn't fuel me creatively. It's best to say no.