We humans tend to make the worst decisions when stressed or overwhelmed. Our lives are so busy with constant deadlines and crammed schedules. The pace itself can create stress and burnout over time, but even worse it can clutter your focus and dis-connect your senses.
Some old sayings state that “life happens when you are busy making other plans” and that we should “stop and smell the roses”.
I’m sure you´ve heard it before – but the thing is, we tend to forget it when life gets busy.
Don’t get me wrong, slowing down is not about moving through life at a snail’s pace. Slow living calls for you to bring intention + attentionto the tempo of your life and your mental state.
It’s about slowing down to make things right – for you and your loved ones!
It’s about finding a “sweet spot” for living; a personally optimal rhythm for life that serves YOU the best. So you can be challenged without being overwhelmed and you can feel recharged without being passive.
When life get’s hectic, you begin to miss out on the nuanced textures of life – the delicious taste of a good cup of coffee, the subtle changes in a flower, the quiet beauty of a Sunday morning, or the feeling of a warm bath. Time and mental space is critical for this absorption and for stimulating your senses + it improves your creativity!
The truth is that to re-connect with yourself and find more peace and calm in life, you don´t have to make BIG changes. Think baby steps. Just breathing deeply and becoming present in the moment is enough to activate calmness and positive change.
Pay attention to the small stuff. When you take little moments during your day to notice these “small” everyday things, you will automatically reduce your fast pace and live more mindfully.
When you slow down and become present you make better decisions, because you´re able to focus on what matters most.
Growing up, I was a creative, sensitive, free spirit trapped in a super organized, controlled environment full of rules. Now, don´t get me wrong, my childhood was good, and my parents loved me.
But being put in such a strict, disciplined zone made me feel like I was the black sheep of the family. I was always the problem, the trouble maker, the rebellion, the rule-breaker.
It turned me into a person who hated discipline, and at the same time, I had to show extreme self-discipline to get attention and love from my parents. It was hard work, to be honest, and my mind was always on overwork.
I firmly believe I was born to do creative work. From a very young age, I constantly had a ton of ideas and creative projects lined up in my head. And when I wasn’t in school I would spend all my time creating, drawing, painting, designing, writing, photographing, dancing and the list goes on.
My parents did not believe it was possible to make a living as an artist or creative entrepreneur, so I had no support when it came to my artistic abilities. They believed in hard work and high education – and they also believed that you should be happy for whatever job you could get.
I knew in my heart that I wanted more for myself. I wanted a fabulous life and a career I would be madly in love with – nothing less. For me, it was all or nothing.
As a young adult, my life turned into a battle field between my creative self and my inner perfectionist. Instead of setting myself free of my childhood, I started to think, live and do as my parents taught me. It totally killed my creativity, and I ended up being super depressed.
Later in my twenties, while I was studying psychology, human behavior and coaching I began to see the world differently. And I discovered two things that changed my life:
1. To be happy I had to let go of the desire to please everybody and stop following other people’s vision of the perfect life. I was born to honor my heart’s desire and follow my dreams.
2. Discipline, planning, and rules are not enemies to fight, they are resources. By using these resources to my advantage, I became more creative, happy and satisfied. I was able to blend my creative soul with the resources of discipline and create my dream life super fast.
Since then I´ve used self-discipline, healthy routines, and planning to design my dream life, build a 6-figure business and live a happy life with my family.
You see, here´s the thing: success comes with a price called self-discipline – especially for creative solo-entrepreneurs and reality is that many creatives hate the idea of self-discipline, routines, and planning.
Nevertheless, embracing positive, healthy lifestyle habits can help you achieve incredible success with your business.
So if you have BIG ambitions (as many creatives do because they dare to dream big), then here’s some SUPER POWERFUL habits to include in your daily routine:
#1: Wake Up Early
I know it’s tempting to stay in bed for as long as possible, but getting up just one hour earlier gives you 7 hours more a week and 28 hours more a month to work on your creative business. Imagine what you can do with those extra hours.
Let your competition sleep while you build your empire at high speed. Most people work more efficiently and focused in the morning, so you will be able to double your productivity.
#2: Eat For Optimal Mind Performance
What you put into your body first thing in the morning will impact your whole day. Feed your brain and your body only the best. I recommend drinking lemon water, or green juice and take some supplements. Personally, I´m a super fan of Omega 3, for optimum brain function and a positive mood. And just to be clear – there´s no need to live a strict diet or be fanatic.
Go for the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, well prepared food and 20% well..not so healthy. I love wine, gourmet food, and lazy days in bed with Netflix eating chocolate, and for me allowing myself to do this from time to time, are important aspects of living a quality life.
But, I also know that the brain and body needs POWER FOOD to help you be the happiest and the most successful I can be. It´s about finding the balance and eating for optimal mind performance.
#3. Do Your Most Important Task First
Before you go to bed at night plan what 1-3 things you will prioritize the next day. Then when you start working in the morning go straight to that list.
Follow through because this is truly the key to building a successful business. Make sure your most important tasks are related to your goals. For optimal focus shut down social media + phone while you work.
#4. Take a Break Every 90 Minutes
Psychologists have discovered that people can only focus on tasks for about 90 minutes at a time. This explains why we’re prone to falling into the social media vortex after working for awhile.
Instead of attempting to push through, go for a walk, stretch your body, jump on a trampoline, eat a healthy snack, drink water, meditate or dance to some funky music. You will come back with a fresh mind and a happy body.
#5. Study Something Every Day
Close the gap between where you are and where you want to be by learning something new every day. Choose topics related to your creative field and type of niche.
Take courses, read blogs, and books. Look for ways to incorporate learning into your daily routines. For example, I like to listen to podcasts when I walk my dogs, it´s the perfect way for me to grow my knowledge while getting some fresh air.
#6. Move Your Body
Many tests have shown that the most innovative, creative ideas come to you while exercising – especially with endurance training. When you move your body, your creative mind will automatically follow. All the endorphins that release during exercise will help you stay focused, happy and get great ideas.
#7. Look at Your Goals Daily
This is super important. People who look at their goals daily are 70% more likely to reach them. Looking at your goals daily will ensure a sharp focus and keep you on the right track. Where attention goes, energy flows.
#8. Organize and Systemize
Find ways to organize and simplify your life. Make it easy for yourself to get the right things done. Find systems that can run by themselves so you can focus on more important things.
Prepare in advance, delegate what you can delegate and say no to all things that´s not inspiring to you or increase your income.
#9. Make Celebration Your Fuel
If you don´t take the time to celebrate and live a fabulous life, you will lose motivation and momentum. Celebration is the fuel you need to keep going.
Find ways to turn your life into a party. Laugh, go out, eat gourmet, drink champagne, travel, go to a spa, a hotel, give yourself a present, buy flowers and so on. SPOIL yourself! You deserve it.
#10. Be Your Own Best Friend
Be mindful about how you talk to yourself. This is crucial. If you´re always criticizing yourself, you´ll never ever be able to create the successful life you desire.
So no matter how you feel about yourself, make sure to TALK nicely and kindly with your inner voice. Think of yourself as your own coach.
How would a coach talk to you? Find that supportive voice within yourself. It changes everything!
The purpose of this list is to inspire you to think differently and to help you focus on what´s most important in your photography journey. We all need to be reminded of good habits, and positive thinking from time to time, right 🙂
Are you ready? Okay, let’s get started…
1. No matter the situation, there is always a way to make it beautiful. Sometimes you just need to look at the world from a different view, and suddenly it will all make sense.
2. You don’t need, to tell the truth in a picture, but you need to be true to yourself when you shoot it.
3. Focus on being you and bring YOU into your pictures. If you look too much at others work, you will bring too much of their vision into your own work.
4. Most photographers are not born great. They become great by growing into their potential. When you put in the effort, put in the work, when you keep experimenting, learning, testing and when you keep playing with your camera – you will grow, and you will become better.
5. Failing is not failing – it´s learning. Failure mostly happens when you step out into unknown territory and experiment with things – what you learn from this is valuable. The sooner you fail, the sooner you can not fail.
6. In a portfolio, a few beautiful photographs will have a better impact, than 100 average pictures with a few winners. Make sure your portfolio only showcases your best work.
7. You don’t need to be an annoying sales person to get people to book you, all you have to do is to express enthusiasm and excitement. Nothing is more attractive than a person who oozes passion and energy.
8. Don’t be scared to start something you don’t know how to do (yet). You´ll learn along the way.
9. To run a successful business, you need to avoid stress and make sure that you are happy and relaxed. Remember, an over-stressed mind cannot think creatively, and your inner passion/creativity battery will shut down.
10. Trust that the answers are coming to you; sitting in a workspace isn’t necessarily the best place for that to happen. Get up, get out, and maybe your big break is outside waiting for you.
11. Have fun. You always find a way, even when you think you won’t.
12. Specialize! It not only helps you become more skilled, but it also allows you to increase your prices and charge accordingly for the services that you offer.
13. When there is trouble coming your way, the best way to handle it is to do something about it right away! The best time to solve a problem is now – not tomorrow or in a few weeks – but right now.
14. Help those who are starting out. Nothing you do is precious enough to be kept hidden: the real value is in the way you do it.
15. When something doesn’t feel right, that’s reason enough. And that is the only reason you need.
16. Being the best also requires you to take breaks when needed. Make sure you rest when needed. Doing so lets you walk the longer mile ahead.
17. Learn to say “I’m a photographer” out loud with a straight face. If you can’t say it and believe it, you can’t expect anyone else to, either.
18. Spend money on equipment only when you’ve outgrown your current equipment, and you’re being limited by it.
19. Don’t try to sell yourself. Focus on serving and adding value and your business will grow.
20. The moment you realize that being creative is about enjoying the process – not the end result, then you´ll truly boost your creative mind! Getting caught up in perfectionism will slowly drain you of creative energy!
21. Don’t photograph for perfection – photograph for emotions. The emotions people feel when they see your work, is what makes them buy.
22. Do not undervalue your work (selling yourself to cheap won´t give you success – only the wrong clients). Make sure you charge what your worth + charge for your time.
23. Love your network. Don’t ask what your network can do for you, but what you can do for them.
24. Be sure to shoot what YOU love. Do what you feel in your heart to get it right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.
25. Never compare your journey with someone else’s. It’s a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every photographer has his/her own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never “arrive.” No one ever does.
26. Being grateful boosts happiness. Happiness enhances creativity. Make sure to count your blessings and do activities that put a smile on your face.
I hope you enjoyed reading this inspiring list. Now it’s time for a little assignment!
I challenge you to pick the 3 statements that actually speaks to you.
Write them down on a post-it and hang them on your wall or computer screen. Get used to them and repeat them daily so you can become stronger and more confident.