I read Seth Godin’s blog somewhat sporadically, and am always absolutely astounded by what he writes. The wisdom he imparts. Today was no exception, but there was one post in particular that struck a chord – and created a series of events that led to an epiphany. Or, if I’m being honest, a fist-pump-phany.
“Stand out or fit in.
Not all the time, and never at the same time, but it’s always a choice.
Those that choose to fit in should expect to avoid criticism (and be ignored).
Those that stand out should expect neither.”
After reading those words I discovered that all of my fears and all of my doubt do not exist because I’m afraid to stand out. To the contrary: I’m not afraid of being different or opening myself up to criticism. I realized that my fear, especially in this business, is that I’m just going to always sort of…fit in. That despite my best efforts, I am nothing more than mediocre. Which happens to be the perfect place to reside…if you like being ignored.
I was wholeheartedly preparing to throw a Single-Guest Pity Party, but then…I didn’t. Just as I was hanging the streamers and pumping balloons full of helium, I realized something else, too. Something amazing: I (and every other artist, photographer, writer, dreamer, etc) will always be ignorably mediocre to some, no matter the quality (or quantity) of work I produce. But I also run the risk of being amazing – and maybe even brilliant and wonderful and exciting! – to a few. It is because of those few – those who see me (as well as my work ) as something more than just ordinary – that I am able to create images – and a life – that is everything and anything but.
So thank you. To anyone who’s ever looked at my work and fell in love. To anyone who’s felt moved, or caught themselves staring perhaps a moment longer than expected. And especially to everyone who’s ever trusted me enough to live their life – out loud – in front of my camera. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to stand out.
Amongst a sea of fitting in.