As you may have read in some of my past Strictly Business blog posts, I’m a huge fan of learning how to manage your mind. Gaining the tools to optimize your internal world helps you better manage your external business world. And a better-managed business creates a better bottom line. On top of that, who couldn’t use the peace of mind that is one of the major benefits of acquiring this skill?
Here’s why I recommend that photographers acquire internal skills:
Focus. We’re living in the age of endless “bright-and-shiny-object distraction syndrome.” With so much incoming information to distract you (how many social media updates and text messages did you receive just today?), how can you hope to deliver a focused, on-target, non-reactive message to your prospective clients (or anyone else) when you can’t focus for more than a few minutes?
The skills that you get from meditation will help you concentrate and focus on any aspect of your business– especially those that take many focused steps to achieve results (e.g. implementing a marketing plan).
Emotional resilience. Strengthening your resilience will help you keep working productively, even when you lose a bid or a project doesn’t go as planned. Instead of getting derailed by disappointment, anger or frustration – emotions that can be real career killers – regular meditation will teach you how to recognize that negative feelings are just a response to a thought (e.g. “I’m not good enough”). Those feelings do not represent the truth about You and you can learn how to let them go. Mindfulness training and/or traditional meditation provide you with that important skill.
Empathy. A natural by-product of meditation, empathy makes it much easier to see your clients as people who are just trying to do the best they can with the limited resources they have instead of thinking of them as the enemy trying to get you to work for unreasonable fees. Empathy is a far better place to come from when you need to negotiate. It takes the edge off. Clients appreciate that vibe of understanding; it opens up doors to win-win agreements.
Here are some resources you can use to hone your internal skills:
- Just 20 minutes per day invested in regular meditation will increase both your creativity and your business skills. Here’s what the venerable LifeHacker.com has to say about All the Benefits of Meditation.
- There’s an easy way to start. Tens of thousands join in the quarterly (and free) Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21-day Meditation Series. The next one focuses on the theme of Beliefs and starts Nov. 2, 2015. Join in any time.
Once you’ve acquired this skill, put it to greater use. Much has been written about the value of doing pro-bono work and connecting with clients outside of their office. One place where lots of highly-creative entertainment industry people are engaged, is the David Lynch Foundation. They do incredible work that benefits thousands of lives in at-risk populations.