Photographer Joie Takaki is pursuing her dream of building her own business. In this guest blog series, she shares her journey from beginner to expert with us.
It seemed as though days had passed without being able to shake off my sombre mood. And I couldn't figure out why. The usual things that instantly brought me great joy had lost their magic. Then, somehow, that all changed. All it took was an ordinary day and a coffee date with a long-time friend to discover incredible realisations about each other – and about life.
My friend and I live on different continents and don't have much time to be in touch with each other throughout the year due to the huge time difference. So it was such a rare delight to share this moment of catching up face to face, with stories of our most pivotal moments of the year. It's incredible how much we can learn about ourselves through the eyes of others. Through our friendships we can see greatness in ourselves, and in each other, that we might otherwise miss.
My friend was telling me details about her new job and all her high profile clients. I was so utterly impressed, that I was almost speechless to find out how completely unfazed she was by how much social impact her line of work created, and how unimpressed she was working for people who held so much power and influence.
Then it was my turn. I told her about my year, and my mini breakthroughs in my new photography adventure; the people I've met, the events I've shot. When I was done, I could sense that she felt a little sad. She told me how she really envied that I was so enthusiastic about my accomplishments and wished she could feel that sheer joy I was expressing in her own job and with her own clients. I was stunned by her response!
Perception is a peculiar thing. It is incredible how we each view things so drastically differently. Here I was talking like a starstruck giddy school girl about meeting all these super talented people who, on the surface, don't appear to be necessarily changing the world profoundly, but simply crazy passionate about what they do. (Which I personally think does affect the universe in a less direct way, but let's not get off topic). And I was over the moon meeting them. But I couldn't even fathom how I would react to even the idea of working with clientele of the calibre that she was describing! I was completely baffled by how nonchalantly she viewed her situation. And we both laughed at how vastly differently we viewed our own perspectives.
Her current experiences, and her comment about how she felt about mine, made a huge impression on me. Suddenly I came to a very important realisation; it felt like I had cracked the code of some underlying mystery lesson we were both sharing right there at this little coffee shop…
‘The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.'
~ Albert Einstein
I recognised that the real reason I was feeling stuck and unmotivated was that after such an eventful summer, suddenly I didn't have any ‘big' projects or photo shoots to look forward to in the next couple of months. It's nearly winter, which means it's down time and it happens to also be my first time experiencing it. And I'm not one to ask for advice. Essentially, this was the core issue of what was really bringing me down and causing uncertainty and anxiety because it was something I felt I couldn't solve on my own.
Simply reminiscing on memories of this past summer sparked something inside. All the surprises and excitement of the photo shoots and photography events from the recent past came rushing back, fresh feelings surging through me just as clearly as the first time they were actually happening. I was instantly feeling uplifted and ecstatic, because each of those moments was really precious to me.
I call them my ‘small wins'. They weren't life changing or epic or impactful to anyone else but to ME, yet they were MY challenges and MY victories. And I realised, too, that although I had been spoiled this summer with several major events, the key is that it is not about the size of your accomplishments but the frequency.
No matter how big or minute, they were each personal, extraordinary and momentous. Each was a step towards the right direction. Each was an individual achievement. Each step bringing me an inch closer towards my dreams. I am enthused by them. I deeply cherish them. And I excitedly celebrate having experienced each and every single one of them!
And that, right there, is the whole point.
To appreciate all the little steps along the way on your journey to wherever it is you want to be. To view every step as milestones, and to celebrate every little win. The problem had been that I had been so focused on the next step. And it wasn't until I stopped and turned around to look back at my tracks, that I could appreciate the ride and feel inspired again to carry on.
You need to keep moving forward, but it is equally important to look back to see how far you've come!
And that realisation was the ammunition I needed to snap out of my mood and actively start creating more opportunities.