Intro by Skip Cohen

Sarah wraps it all up in this post and it’s perfect for insight into what so many of us do when things get tough. We look for ways to escape the pain we feel, and most of the time it’s the wrong approach.

For me, I’ll numb the frustration of the challenges with food – grazing becomes a habit along with procrastinating on other things I should be doing. I simply lose focus and stop getting anything accomplished.

Now and then, I hit it right and do something to re-energize…taking a walk or a drive works, along with cranking up the music in my office. Other times, chasing down an old friend with a phone call helps – not to whine but just catch up.

But what I love about this post the most is the way Sarah wraps it all up in Next Steps. She reminds us that everybody has the same challenges, reactions and disappointments. Her comment of many of my best years in business have come on the heels of my worst years, says it all!

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Tool #2:  Buffering

Brooke Castillo says, “Here’s a little secret, constantly feeling pleasure and happiness is not natural.”

Part of the reason for this is because we’re constantly bombarded with ways to feel pleasure. You should go eat something, you should go buy something, you should go drink something, you should go pay for something that will bring you pleasure.” 

When we feel ourselves getting below that 50% line, we think, “Oh, my gosh, we’ve got to make it better.”

And we look around for these things so that we don’t have to feel the bad feelings. We want to numb those bad feelings with something, anything, sugar, alcohol, shopping, gossip. 

Where are you buffering?

When things get hard in your business, do you go mind-numbingly search social media? Are you going from kitty video to kitty video and just passing the time because you don’t know what to do and you’re just trying to get out of pain? Do you go to food, sugar? I know I do that sometimes.  Caffeine or alcohol? 

Know that it’s okay to be frustrated in your business or to be disappointed that something didn’t work out or you feel you failed a client, or you did something wrong, or you just aren’t cutting it and you aren’t making the money you want.

It’s okay to feel those thoughts. You don’t have to buffer and numb them with something that’s really not making the situation better in the long run. 

HOW TO APPLY THIS TO YOUR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

Step 1: recognize where you’re buffering.  What do you do in your business when things get hard? Where do you turn to numb the feelings of inadequacy or sadness? There’s something you do. We all do!

Step 2: think about, “What can I do instead?” You could go for a walk. You could put on soft music and read 20 pages of a book. You could jam loud music, you could dance, you could have an accountability partner, a friend who you text when you’re feeling this way, and that person texts you when they’re feeling that way so that you can get each other in a better place.

I’ve trained my students in my programs to have what we call a tenacity journal, a place where they go that they fill full of positive sayings, testimonials, and success stories, and gushing letters from clients, drawings and love letters from their kids and their family, and just positive self-talk so that they can remind themselves, “Look, you know what to do.”

And then, of course, my students who are in my programs have the tactics and strategies to go implement so that they’re not guessing. But they have to get themselves above the 50% line.

When you’re buffering, you’re finding a way to take that current discomfort away, but it’s not moving anything forward and it’s not helping the situation at all. It’s just putting you out of temporary pain. And I want you to know that in business, I’d rather you say, “Okay, I realize that I have these feelings because…” 

Figure out why you’re having those feelings, likely because you’re guessing in your business, you don’t have a program, you don’t have a mentor, you don’t have a system, and all of those things are fixable.

That’s the good news. Buffering when you’re below that 50% line and you’re just looking for a dopamine hit is not the solution that’s going to make your life better. 

NEXT STEPS

I hope these two tools come in handy for you because it’s okay to have negative feelings and emotions. Something else that other mentors of mine have taught me is that you never want to take an action when you’re below the 50% line.

When you’re frustrated or angry or feeling sad, any action you take is going to boomerang back at you as another negative reaction. If you’ve ever texted a spouse or a partner or a family member when you’re in a cranky mood, it doesn’t come back to you with love. So be responsible for yourself. 

Own your decisions, own your feelings, own that you’re in a negative place and that’s okay.

And then you also have tools to sit in that place for as long as you need to, and then you have tools to get yourself out of that place when you’re ready. Don’t put it on someone else. It is not other people’s job or responsibility to control your emotions. That is on you. 

It’s okay to be disappointed in how your year turned out, but it’s not okay to drag that disappointment into the new year, give up, or jump on a downward spiral of guilt, beating yourself up, shame and blame, anger, jealousy, depression, and all those negative feelings that come with it. 

Do what you need to do to get yourself to a space where you can get above that 50% line. Get yourself up there and then dig in and freaking fix the things that are broken. 

I want to give you hope today because here’s the thing, many of my best years in business have come on the heels of my worst years. I think sometimes things have to get really bad for us to stop settling for being broke, and for living in this place that we are not happy.

That’s where motivation comes from, right? Motivating ourselves to make the changes we need to get the life we want.

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