At the beginning of 2018, I set a goal to read one book a week to broaden my mind and seek inspiration from new places. So far, I've stuck with it. Lee Morris, Mike Kelley, and I decided to sit down on camera and discuss the experience.
Throughout my journey as a photographer, I've had many moments of frustration with progress. Back when I was shooting as a hobby, I often compared my images to photographers who I aspired to emulate. My inability to reproduce quality photos that others were shooting often left me discouraged and I settled for mediocre imagery. When I started my own photography business, I encountered similar frustrations. My wedding photography business didn't grow as quickly as I wanted, I got stuck in creative routines, and at times I mentally accepted that I was doomed to be average.
I imagine these tendencies are common to everyone, especially creatives who try to run their own businesses. It's difficult to see beyond the work that's right in front of us, to get a broader perspective on our situation, and to create new sets of goals outside the rhythms we put ourselves in.
At the end of last year, I decided I needed to challenge myself to something big. I've never been a big reader, I generally averaged a few books a year at best. So, the challenge I gave myself was to read 52 books throughout 2018 with the goal of getting through one every week. I gathered a very wide list of recommendations from friends including inspirational, educational, and fun books with the intention of reading broadly.
One of the biggest things I've noticed throughout this challenge is the scope of how it's affected my daily routine and attitude. The simple act of reading almost every day has motivated me to improve other aspects of my life. Self-improvement choices that were easy to decline before have become easier to say yes to now. By pushing myself to stay on task with reading, it's easier to push my mind and body with other healthy choices. Most of the educational or inspirational books I've read have fairly straightforward points to them that aren't directly relevant to photography. As I've read, however, I've found an abundant increase in the number of ideas I've had with regards to photography and business.
Discussing my process with Lee and Mike led to some great conversation and generated more inspirational ideas. Though Lee and Mike haven't been reading a book a week, they've challenged themselves in other ways and each challenge has given them a bigger platform for success.
How have you been challenging yourself? What's a big goal that you can commit to shake up your routine and set yourself up for something better? You might be surprised how committing to a small decision might open up new doors for you.
If you want to read some of the books I mention in the videos, you can find them here: