In a couple weeks, I will be presenting to a few hundred professional photographers and other creative entrepreneurs at the WPPI 2015 conference in Las Vegas. I’ve been going pretty much every year since I stumbled into the wonderful world of photographers in 2004, as head of marketing at Pictage. Over 10 years snuggled into the arms of some truly amazing and talented peeps.
For the last 5 years, I’ve dedicated myself to coaching these same photographers in the ways of Marketing, Personal Branding and Specialism… and that Being You is the best place to (re)start a successful business life as a creative. This is a job I’m most grateful for and have never taken lightly. I see most of the scores of students I’ve worked with over that time as family. Seeing myself as a “dad” to them is critical to my own professional happiness, even if it isn’t how they see me.
So, in all the presentations, coaching, consulting, discussions, arguments, achievements and mistakes these last many years, there is a story of my life that I’ve never shared – with anyone. Even though I spend vast majorities of my life promoting, convincing and cajoling my student-children to SHARE, even it it hurts… I have held back. This story for me has always been TOO personal and, in reality, too scary to sacrifice on the alter of fear.
Yes – I am a hypocrite. I was afraid. I’m sorry.
On the last year, as I have watched so many of my family bare their souls to show their vulnerability, strength and authenticity, I’ve become increasingly disquieted by my own silence. Ashamed of my shame, I guess. So, a few months ago, I personally vowed to break it – on stage at WPPI. Yet, I told no one I was going to do this – enabling me to back out, if needed – probably because of some residual cowardice that comes from fearing that I will no longer be “good enough” to help others once I reveal this part of me.
No more. Today, I finished creating my WPPI presentation… and it is everything I meant it to be. And everything I feared would be revealed about me.
FTR, I’m not a criminal or a liar or a cheat, so those of you looking for some salacious, reputation-destroying on-stage confessional will be sorely disappointed. Rather, what I have vowed to offer to my WPPI attendees is more valuable than simple reputation. It is much more personal, than that.
And, I am petrified.