My beautiful friend Katie had a bright idea and within a week or so of pitching the idea to me, we set it in motion. Several women photographers were brought together and challenged to create a project with Katie and I, Project Life in Color. An easy premise in reality, where once a month we link up our blogs to promote each other. But it is bigger in that it’s a project that would encourage creativity and sharing and community among us – which is something that photographers, business owners or not, long for but is sometimes considered taboo. In only about two weeks, conversations having been fluttering between the ten of us and I don’t mind saying that Katie had a swell idea indeed. :)
For my Life in Color contributions, I really want to focus on my life; the things and people around me, my concerns, my weaknesses, my growths… something that would allow me to think outside of the box not only for my photography submission, but something that will make me stretch out of my writing comfort zone as well.
So here goes…
I’ve been doing a lot of personal reading the last few months. Most has been learning more about marketing and brand influence since I recently re-branded my photography business, but my latest trip to the library had me floating near the self-help section. I feel like when you browse these shelves you always divert your eyes from the person standing next to you, but I was hoping to find a book that would help me revitalize my positivity. I am by nature somewhat pessimistic (I often refer to myself as a realist), but there was something in my gut that was telling me to try harder… that by focusing on myself, maybe everyone around me would be a little bit happier too.
Now this book didn’t give me any “A-HA” moments, but it did make a few things click. It refers to positive and negative attitudes as adding to or taking away from an invisible bucket. Your bucket. And how you’re not the only one that affects your bucket’s contents – the people around you have just as much of an influence. The author not only provided examples, but talks about influence at home and at work. And my day job, where I’m a marketing analyst, is where I struggle the most with staying upbeat and living in the land of rainbow-colored marshmallows.
Now I need to clarify my struggle isn’t because I don’t like what I do or the people I work with – analytics is fun [for me] and my co-workers are fabulous – but it did shed light on how I prefer to be recognized for my work (because it’s motivating) and how I interact with my peers. And this is very important because of the fast-paced and high-stressed environment that comes with working at an advertising agency; we often point out mistakes or the lack of this-or-that because of deadlines we all face. It’s how the industry works and after being a part of it for seven years, you hear “it is what it is” regularly.
But think about how a compliment or an”attaboy” could prompt a smile and keep positivity running high. And those could cause more compliments and high-fives to be passed along, thus spreading encouragement further. It all makes sense (therefore no “A-HAs”), but the unfortunate part is that I can only control what I do right now because, frankly, I’m a minion. But when good is set in motion, it’s usually paid forward. Right? That’s my hope at least.
For the past several years, I’ve made it my daily goal to compliment at least one person and be honest about it. Whether it’s the shoes they’re wearing, a blog they’ve written or something I saw that happened on Facebook. And I’ve succeeded. I’ve even complimented strangers just to meet my daily quota. But it isn’t enough. I’ve declared this month “filling buckets” month, where I hope to approach situations with positive outlooks and provide hopeful feedback – because I also fill my bucket as I fill others’. A small little change that may not be noticed at all… but may make a difference in the end.
So the great thing about this project is that everyone can interpret it how they like. So while I’ve taken the focus on a personal wins and struggles, others may have focused on their family life, looked around them for inspiration or set their theme in a completely different direction. Either way, it’s a fantastic little project that’s moving us all forward and bringing us closer together.
To see the next interpretation of Project Life in Color and continue through our group’s links, visit Sarah’s blog here.