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The After Effects of Imaging USA - PPA Today

The After Effects of Imaging USA

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DANIELLE BROOKS.jpg
Written by guest blogger Danielle Brooks 

Imaging USA gave me whiplash. 

Have you ever been in a car accident and experienced whiplash? It serves as a constant reminder of the event that caused the discomfort. Whiplash is defined as a type of motion that strains muscles of the neck beyond their normal range of motion. 

Yeah, I have Imaging USA whiplash. 

I was stretched beyond my normal range of motion mentally and emotionally. Let me explain: Attending IUSA is one of the best things I've ever done for my business and myself. So this whiplash, while uncomfortable, isn't a bad thing. It reminds me that I went through an incredible growing experience, and it drives me to be more.  

IUSA goes by in a blur. You are going a thousand miles a minute for three days and then it's over, and you're left wondering, What just happened? It can be hard to figure out what steps you need to take next. 

The greatest lesson I learned while I was in Phoenix was to be confident. I don't want to give you the impression that I am suddenly the most confident person because I'm not, especially when it comes to my work. But how am I supposed to sell myself to others, when I'm not confident in the product I'm selling? My first lesson in confidence came from my mentor, Paul Skipworth. 


We were paired up as a part of the IUSA Alumni Program. Paul is awesome. We met just before the expo floor opened and we were able to talk with one another while we walked around. Paul asked me how I was feeling and I admitted I was a little nervous to be there with so many better photographers. He told me that no one was better than me. They were just more experienced. 

What a freeing thought. No one is better than you. They just have more experience. That means that one day I can be just as experienced. That's why I went to IUSA, I wanted to add to my experience. 

My next lesson in confidence came on day two. It was one of those "It just so happened" stories. After the morning sessions, I was walking around the expo floor and suddenly became very overwhelmed with the decisions I had to make. I needed to offer print products to clients, but what products should I offer? What lab should I go through? Should I sell products online or do in-person sales? How do I sell products online or in-person? It was very easy to let my thoughts snowball out of control. I left the expo, found a quiet spot, and said a quick prayer. As I looked up it just so happened there was a big sign that said, "Be More Confident." It might have been a coincidence, but it gave me the assurance I needed to go back into the center of the expo and continue getting things in order for my business. 

My last lesson in confidence came from IUSA speaker, Kimberly Smith. She discussed where to find inspiration and how to keep your work fresh. She said, "Do not remain crippled at the gate of fear." 

We are photographers. There is no one else who sees the world the way we do. I'm learning to be confident. Every day I struggle with feelings of doubt and insecurity, but confidence is having the bravery to act despite those fears. Don't let your negative thoughts keep you from pursuing excellence. Don't remain crippled. Of course I'm going to make mistakes, but I can learn from them and be confident that I wont make the same error again. I will not let fear cripple me. 

At the end of my three days in Phoenix, I boarded the plane home a different person. 
Despite the fact that I was emotionally and mentally drained, my sore "muscles" remind me that I could do this. There isn't an athlete in history that can say they've never had a sore muscle. Those aches and pains reflect growth and progress. 

As odd as it is to say this, I'm glad I have IUSA whiplash. I have been challenged and stretched beyond my range of comfortable motion, and that's how progress happens. Making your passion a sustainable business is not easy. I have confidence in knowing that if there is something I'm struggling with, I am a part of a great organization that will help me in any way it can. IUSA equipped me to step forward in 2014 and make some changes for the better. 

What about you? Do you have IUSA whiplash? What changes are you making to have a better 2014?


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on January 21, 2014 8:56 PM.

To Be or Not To Be More Awesome, that is the Question was the previous entry in this blog.

5 Tips for Win-Win Vendor Partnerships is the next entry in this blog.

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