Steve Jobs said that quote by the way. You’ll have to bear with me a bit on this one as it’s going to start with me rambling…
Every year I have a photoshoot done and the types of photos I have done vary but they’re all of me on my own. I know, that sounds terribly vain and self-indulgent, not to mention expensive and I guess it is, but I do it for a very good reason. The reason of course may not be a good one for everyone and it may still make your roll your eyes at me but it’s important me and that’s what really matters.
The reason I do it is for confidence; self-awareness and confidence – of my body, of me and of who the world sees when they look at me. I first started this ‘tradition’ after I had my first child- I felt invisible, I self-reflected whilst writing poetry about being invisible and thought a lot about my identity as a mother, as an employee, as an person. None of that helped really or made a difference, that’s when I decided to stop moaning to myself and to just get on with things – I wanted to reconfirm who I was and make sure I really knew what that meant.
That first shoot was awkward – a glass of prosecco helped but I don’t think I ever really relaxed properly. The photos are nice, I’m smiling but I look scared and I look uncomfortable somehow. So next year I did it again, different photographer and different set up but with the same purpose and I have done it every year since always changing the photographer and the style. Some of the photos I don’t really like- just because it may not be my best angle or whatever, but on the whole I have a catalogue of images which I’m proud of.
I just had my most recent photos back – and I realised something looking at them – how confident and how self-assured I look; when I compare them to the other sets you can actually seen how I’ve grown in confidence over the last 8 years.
It’s not just a surface thing though, something for appearances, it’s more fundamental than that. With my business I have noticed that I am more able to state my prices and not worry that they are too high; I am able to present ideas to clients and stand by them even when questioned. From a personal perspective, I stand up for myself more and am able to say no if I don’t have time for something. I don’t know if it’s age, responsibility, experience or something else but I will say this, it is singularly one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
I’d love to be able to tell you how to do it, like there’s some sort of magic formula but unfortunately that’s not the case. It really is a different journey for everyone – for me the photoshoots were just a part of it but a significant one; for you it may be something else. What I am saying is that confidence is important, not just the impression of it but feeling it deep down inside so you’re comfortable in your own skin, in your own company and with who you are. Then take a photo and I promise you’ll be able to see it all looking back at you.