Stop The Negativity Bias From Rearing Its Ugly Head
One of the biggest killers to building momentum for your photography business has nothing to do with your equipment, shooting style or client list.
It has to do with your head.
Not sure what I mean?
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar:
While conducting one of your portrait sessions, you captured a photo that felt really good the moment you hit the shutter button. When you take a quick peek at it, you see how delicious it is!
You show it to the client on the back of the camera, and h/she starts doing backflips with excitement over it. When you get home and process the photo, it looks even more magical than before!
You crushed the session by capturing this one beautiful portrait.
You’re happy, the client is over the moon…
…and the world is right, :)
Fast-forward to the next day, and you create a social media post that leverages this magical image.
Just as you anticipated, the post is showered with a ton of positive engagement.
It’s generating a sea of likes and comments that inspires the warm and fuzzies for you and your client. Colleagues, mentors and friends alike are offering their appreciation for your hard work.
…later that day, you scroll through the comments section, and happen to notice one, random comment in the thread that is screaming for your attention.
But, not in a good way.
The commenter talked about how the photo was “simple,” “run-of-the-mill” and not deserving of such praise.
In the time it took you to read that comment, all of the positive momentum you gained from this posts’ popularity completely washed itself down the drain. To make matters worse, you now find yourself questioning your effort.
This negative thought leads you to other ones that live down a dark rabbit hole where you ultimately question your decision to be a photographer in the first place.
Just like that.
One random comment completely dismantles your confidence in who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.
Talk about a swift kick to the…well, you know where, :)
The good news?
You’re not alone. We’ve all experienced our emotions being thrown off the rails in this way before.
This line of thinking is referred to as exhibiting a negativity bias.
why the negativity bias sucks
Despite overwhelming success, our brains ignore the 99 things that went well in a given scenario, and harps – rather, it obsesses – on the ONE THING that counters everything else, or went wrong.
To the point that this negativity bias upsets, paralyzes and depresses us with no clear end in sight.
It’s incredible how our mental makeup is always operating at a handle-with-care state, especially for photographers.
Our work, which also is our art, is shared on social for public consumption on a daily basis. So, we’re putting ourselves out into the world in multiple ways.
And if someone doesn’t appreciate the photo, copy or whatever else about the post, we’re taking the emotional hit on both a professional and personal level.
Rather than merely brushing it off as someone’s opinion to which they’re entitled, we ruminate.
And get pissed off.
And then rinse and repeat this horrendous cycle until we’re physically exhausted.
This reaction is a choice and it doesn’t have to be this way for you…
…provided you maintain a realistic perspective, and have a practice in place to move past the negativity that’s hijacked your present moment.
Rather than allowing someone to piss on your parade, the best way to handle these negative responses is with a positivity-inducing process that involves self-awareness, self-compassion and self-care.
Self-Awareness – negativity bias killer – step 1
Be aware that despite the overwhelming positive response you receive for your work, not everyone is going to like it – or you – for that matter.
Understand that whatever you put out for public consumption, including your photography work, is not going to be received by everyone in the same manner.
Self-Compassion – negativity bias killer – step 2
When the negativity bias begins to creep into your consciousness, be compassionate to yourself and your feelings, and allow yourself the space to digest their opinion without judgement onto yourself.
Don’t allow yourself to engage in a negative mind-chatter frenzy that leaves you in the corner of the room in the fetal position, staring at the wall, wondering why you suck so much.
Process the moment by remembering that not everyone loves your work, and that’s totally okay.
Remember, your work is respected and appreciated by those you serve. And, I’m not just talking about people who kiss your ass with compliments…
…I’m talking about the people who actually pay you money for your services.
To them, it’s simply not a question about taste; your work moves the needle for their businesses.
Focus on them, and not those whose lob cheap shots from the cheap seats.
Self-Care – negativity bias killer – step 3
Now, self-care can present itself in a variety of ways, such as stepping away from the computer, taking a walk, have a cup of tea or coffee, vent about the feelings with a friend, or, meditating to reset and find your way back into the present moment.
The key is to find out what works best for you and do it so that it expedites flushing out your system of toxic thoughts and gets you ready to go on about your day in a positive and more productive manner.
The morale of this story – you can’t please everyone.
Don’t let those who don’t serve you take control of the wheel of your emotions and drive it off course.
You know why you’re here on this Earth.
Keep doing your thing.
Those who need the magical work that you do need to be able to discover and hire you.
Long story short – F the haters and gravitate towards those you serve.