There’s a saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it”, which is based on the assumption that if you DO something for enough time, even if you’re not quite ready or good at it, you’ll end up doing it for real and even be successful at it. It can work on certain things (not surgery for instance), but I think the idea of “faking” it, the word used, is wrong.
What is true about what goes on in our brain is a bit more complicated, so bear with me as I try to get into a little grammatical nightmare to explain it. You may need to read some of this twice :)
Let’s say we’re stuck, or at a standstill, in our work. We’re not making much progress and we don’t quite know what to do. We know we need to change something but we don’t know what. We read stuff, watch tutorials, get a million conflicting information, and we’re still stuck. We want BIG changes, but all we manage to do is tweak things a little (this applies to any area of our life, not just work).
But how does change actually happen? What brings it about? What do we need to do to instigate change in our lives? As you can imagine, it doesn’t start from the outside, it starts on the inside, it starts in our brains and the way we think, but then… action is always needed. And here’s how it works.
We get ourselves ready in our minds, willing to change, ready for change, and in doing so we’re already changing somehow because we choose to BE by the way we think and believe (here’s maybe a little of the fake it, because we actually fake it to ourselves).
Our thoughts do shape our world, and even stronger than thoughts are our BELIEFS. But this is not mere wishful thinking, or the law of attraction, because those only become real in our BEING when we actually DO something about them, repeatedly and consistently.
We set intentions, we visualize or meditate or whatever gets us there, we start to feel what we want to feel, we make it more and more real in our minds and in ourselves, and we do change in the process, but then it’s the DOING that truly seals the BEING and makes sure there’s no going back from there.
The steps forward we have to take are always risks, are always out of our comfort zone, are always new, and always fitting to the new us, not the old us. They’re not so familiar, or easy, at all.
But those are the steps that make us BE different, and we find ourselves in them, and then we ARE, we don’t just DO.
BEING and DOING so interconnected and one necessary to the other, a total two-way street.
And some of the things we get to DO are totally dependent on how we BE (there goes the grammar), because if we ARE not different we would not have the opportunity to DO, but at the same time it’s the DOING that really seals the BEING, and makes it forever part of us, seals the groove, makes it alive and real and authentic, and that in turn is the basis for the next change, the next step, the next state of BEING.
And we find ourselves on the other side, changed on the inside, as we look around and see our work moving, growing, finally unstuck.
Confused? I would be! LOL :D Told you it might require a second reading… but now you know how it works. Our brains are intricate things.
And if you’re wondering why I chose a crappy picture of a bonsai snapped at a restaurant last night, it’s because - in the words of my daughter as we were discussing this post and I was wondering what to use as an image - “See that tree? It’s BEING there, but it’s not DOING anything!”
If you’re ready for change, I’m all about giving you the steps to move forward and take action (and promise they will be clear and simple and not at all confusing, and even grammatically correct).
You can BE at The next Outside the Box Workshop in Vienna in October, and start DOING stuff you never thought you would. Early Bird dies on 17 August, so jump in and save it!
Read all about it on
Read and watch testimonials on the event page
If you haven’t already joined, the professional photographers group is here
And if you can’t BE there, leave a comment and I’ll send you details of the new Mastermind online group, which might or might not get launched tomorrow, but only has 10 places anyway :)
I just spent two days on phone calls and planning and not much else, which usually makes me feel like I’m behind and lacking in some way. When not a lot gets done, I find myself feeling like I’m two steps behind and constantly need to catch up.
Being an entrepreneur means we set our own schedules and manage our own time, which is precisely why I chose this life, but then we have to actually show up and do the work with nobody to answer to except ourselves… and I can be a mean boss. I’m also not very disciplined, and I need high energy to work well or I get too easily distracted.
I remember a time when I was sick and always tired, and it took me ages to get anything done. Now I steamroll through stuff and enjoy the process because I love my work, but there are zombie days too. Yet, I’m learning not to beat myself up for those, the way I used to.
They’re just as necessary as the higher energy days, in fact I probably couldn’t work so well on those days without a zombie day now and then.
And I increasingly find that as I allow myself to have them, zombie days turn into planning days, new ideas days, very creative days when things hatch (like dragon eggs) and then find their way into the powerdays and come to life.
So I know that those days are important, and why feel like I wasted time? Time is such a personal concept. We know we all have the same time, but have you ever considered we have ALL the time in the world? Because we do. You have all the time you’re ever going to have. And everything you do will have an effect, but the biggest gamechanger in our battles with Time is our mind and our perception of it.
Thinking we never have enough time is a habit, it’s not the truth. We all have all the time we need. Yet, what our minds tell us is “you messed up, you wasted time, now you can never recover it again”.
And the feeling we’re left with, what we walk around with all day? It’s LACK.
Like we lost something we can never get back and now our life cannot be perfect, cannot be what we want it to be. But that’s a lie.
I married today, exactly 30 years ago. It didn’t go well, and I wasn’t happy for many of those years, but none of it was wasted time. Because this time made me who I am today.
Regret has no place in our lives, unless we want to stay stuck and keep blaming “something other” for the situations we’re in. It is what it is, and now I’m set to make this good.
I can hang on and regret, or I can let go and start every day new.
I can think of my unproductive day and feel lack, or I can take it in my stride as a necessary step to make today an excellent day.
Because today holds every promise, every potential, every dream, and ALL the power.
I can do anything today. I can BE anything I choose. I can believe everything today.
And I’m in the business of creating my tomorrows, not regretting my yesterdays.
What we think and what we believe will shape this day. We can monitor our thoughts, and if we need to change them… change them. Taking the time we need so that when we move we can be unstoppable (cue Sia song here).
We are our own powerhouses, and we need down time too, time to process, think, or just blank out. It’s all good.
And yes, dragon eggs are mentioned in this post.
...but at the same time it has to have space to grow. We can plant seeds all day long, but the soil has to be fertile and there needs to be air and light (my mom is a ninja gardener, I know these things).
Fertile soil is of course our skills and competence, or knowledge, but air and light are the time and freedom to be quiet and bring things to life, make your vision real, plan it, shape it, design it, write it, develop it, print it. It can’t happen when all your time is taken up by the daily grind, the endless hours behind a computer, the editing into the night, the neverending juggling of bills and expenses, and let’s not even go into our private life!
Yet to grow we need air and light. A good workflow that minimizes time and stress. A good balance in our books, for financial peace of mind. A good schedule in our days, to take the time off we need for ourselves and to nourish our creativity (yes it needs food too! Life is a lot about food hehe). A good team of people around us, to help, encourage, inspire us to do better. And good energy, enthusiasm, our batteries fully charged, our inner smile turned on, our light shining.
To spread beauty into this world, our own little drop in the ocean, which is really the essence of Life.
A few years back, in the middle of my darkest time, I vowed that I would not only turn my life around, but I would make it exciting.
Are you willing to join this adventure?
In the next few days I’ll announce something to move into a whole different direction… a small group of photographers motivated and committed to change their game and get their lives where they want them to be.
Outside the Box Mastermind is an online group of just 10 photographers working together for 9 months, going through all the OTB modules, in-depth and together, supported by me throughout the program.
Interested? Let me know and I’ll PM you the details before it goes public.
And if you're a professional photographer not in the OTB group yet, join here:
The other day on a fb post about turnaround moments (which you can find here http://www.fabriziacosta.com/blog/the-turnaround-point) someone commented that talent is necessary to get anywhere in photography. This is the view held by many photographers, and to some extent it's true but I believe that talent is overrated. Yes, you do need something special to be exceptional, there’s no doubt about that, but you don’t need that to be a success in this world.
We all have some talent, every single one of us, and the issue here is that many have not yet found out what their talent is and how to use it. In reality, hidden talent will emerge when we get down to work, take action, commit, learn, train, and put hours into it.
They say that if you do something for 10,000 hours you become an expert. And that’s probably true, in terms of learning a skill and gaining specific knowledge about something, but that’s only about 50% of what we need to succeed in our business. The other 50% is what goes on in your head, what you believe you can and cannot do, and being open to receive. We’re so bad at receiving, we self-sabotage a lot. Negative talk in our heads will undermine all the work we do, but if we do the work and keep those voices down, there’s really no limit to what we can achieve.
We all know wonderful talented people who are struggling to make ends meet, or who can’t make a living out of their art and have to work a 9-5 job to survive. So is talent the defining factor? It’s quite clearly not the case!
Success is not just for the talented, it’s for everyone who’s willing to step further and put themselves out there and dare to be great. Your talent will emerge, grow and shine as you do the work, but your ability to generate wealth, or whatever your idea of success may be, lies much deeper than what you’re good at doing.
Whether you feel you’re talented or not, be aware it’s not the deciding factor in a successful business and life. Some even use that as an excuse to hold back! For years I didn’t even try to do things that I wanted to do because I kept saying I’m not good at them. And while I may still not be very good at them now (you don’t want to hear me sing), if I invested time and I trained with a teacher I would definitely become better… and eventually maybe even good! (watch this space for updates on my musical career ;)
Are you where you want to be in your business? Whatever you need to improve, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I’m going to announce something in the next few days that will help you take your work in a whole different direction… I’ll be working with a closed group of 10 photographers motivated and committed to change their game and get their lives where they want them to be.
It’s Outside the Box Mastermind, just 10 photographers working together for 9 months, going through all the OTB modules in-depth and together, supported by me throughout the program.
Interested? Let me know and I’ll PM you the details before it goes public.
And if you're a professional photographer not in the OTB group yet, join here:
It’s like one ball in tennis. It can be the one point that turns the match around. One point, at any time, that comes just when it’s needed, and the effect is bigger than one point. It can define a game, a set, and even a match.
In a long match there are sometimes many of these, and they’re always BIG points. Memorable points. Emotionally charged. Points that are sometimes gambles, involving risk, to win or lose. Big risks sometimes. Like some of our decisions.
And they don’t always pay off, but playing it safe on those points is also no guarantee of getting them. In fact, it’s usually the risk-takers who win them.
The bold moves, the outrageous dares. The unexpected returns, the shots out of this world.
Champions train for these moments, when the pressure is huge and the stakes are high, but they (even they!) are only human after all.
Mistakes are made, and key points are scored. In tennis, in the end there’s only one winner. The match is limited, so many games, so many sets.
It’s not so for us, we can play as long as we want to… in fact we can play until we win.
No mistake is deadly, no mistake will ruin us (even if we think so), no mistake is the end of us. We can always learn and move on.
Recognize the big points, and be bold to go after them, and take risks if need be. And score. One ball at a time.
And if we feel fear holding us back we can focus on the game instead, nobody ever got anywhere by holding back.
Losing champions, they get to come back again next year. It’s never really over until they quit.
We come back tomorrow, and keep playing until we decide to quit, or win.
All it takes is a good set of balls.
I’m going to tell you a story today :)
A little over three years ago I set up my photography business in Austria: new country, new language I didn’t speak very well (still don’t), very different culture. After Milan and the fashion world, I was determined to do something completely different and photograph people instead.
I was a foreigner, didn’t have a studio (didn’t want one!), and Innsbruck was full of photographers offering CDs at 50€ a session. I was determined to be different, to offer high quality photography, to set the standard higher… but after some major personal disasters, 6 months later I found myself with a fledgling business, a broken family, and big financial commitments I couldn’t keep.
It was my darkest hour, of course, but also the start of the most exciting time in my life. I had to get down and study marketing and branding, figure out how to make a pricelist that worked, identify special products that set me apart from the competition. I had to work on providing the best service I possibly could, on creating custom shoots for each client, and a way to spread the message on the value of photography, because it’s not such a big thing in this part of the world.
Most of all, I had to dig deep and make changes within myself. Understand the value of what I do. Understand that money is not the be-all and end-all of everything, that a family book can be priceless, that photos are treasures, that my work can have a very deep impact and sometimes even change lives. It has happened, more than once.
I started to pour myself into my work and into my business, and my clients came to me. I started doing the photography I loved to do: documentary sessions, beauty sessions, relationship portraits, and producing beautiful books, fine art prints, images brought into the real world as something you can touch, feel, delight in.
Then I started sharing what I learnt with other photographers, and saw them changing, growing, prospering. This is not rocket science, it takes work and dedication and a willingness to take risks (we’re entrepreneurs!) and trailblaze your own path instead of dancing to everyone else’s music. But it works, it works for anyone who’s willing to take a step further, invest in themselves, get down to the serious business of running a business and making a success of it.
My deepest joy is to see this industry grow and photographers creating amazing work because their business is thriving. So at the end of 2016 I took a giant leap and Outside the Box became a reality. Everything I learnt, everything I discovered, every system I created, every struggle, failure and success are the building blocks of one of the most comprehensive business trainings for professional photographers. No matter whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for 40 years, this is about changing perspectives and developing new ways to move forward.
I had to change the way I saw everything, and as a result everything became new. New clients, new opportunities, new projects, even new eyes, because I could see ways I had never considered before. And all through this, my energy and my creativity have soared. I believe this is the life we are meant to live, to do what you love to do and kick ass every day. Go after those dreams and believe them into reality.
I was supposed to post the standard meme about the Vienna workshop here, but now this is the only possible image I could use. Yes, come to Vienna. You will not come home the same.
Find all the details and reviews here:https://www.facebook.com/events/455669044790626/?active_tab=discussion
And all the info and registration HERE
I'm posting mostly on facebook these days, but decided to resurrect the blog so that stories would be in the same place. Let's see if I get better at it :-)