How To Be A Professional and Not Feel Like A Fraud

I’m human. I think that anyone who looks at me would say duh. I don’t think this was a statement to any of you more than it was a statement to myself. I have weaknesses like the next person and I’m not perfect. As hard as it is for me to believe that. I am an awesome person, but I still have moments where fear can turn me into a bit of a control freak. Sometimes, I can say the wrong things at the wrong time. And, sometimes my blunt honesty can leave me feeling very isolated from the people around me.

But with all of the imperfections and icky stuff, I am still me. I can’t help how I feel, I can’t help saying what I need to say, and I probably could use a new filter :) But in the end I can’t help being myself, and I know that hasn’t always been popular. You just have to accept that.

I tell you this because, though you don’t have to always show these things to the outside world, you shouldn’t go about acting as if they don’t exist. Least of all to yourself. And, not for the sake of looking “professional”. No, you’re not always going to get it right. Sometimes you’ll share too much. As a photographer, I’ve missed the boat, and I have compared my inside to others outsides. I’ve have felt jealous. To the point that I procrastinated putting my work out there all out of the fear of not feeling good enough.

I know I am probably coming off as one of those droning writers, but please know that I am not trying to be. Mainly I’m writing this to express myself and to say that being professional in business or upstanding in life doesn’t mean you have to hide who you truly are to look a certain way to the outside world. But I know how it feels to do that, because I’ve done it. Even though it’s not a new idea that blogging is a personal journal, a way to record a journey, up until recently I have never felt that I could ever be THAT personal.

Some might say, but there are plenty of photographers sharing their personal lives and thoughts out there. That is true. But the thing is, I have never been comfortable with it. I may have always wanted to journal. I may have always wanted to put myself into my work. But I have never know how to go about it. I have always wanted to put what I feel out there, to truly share what I am interested in, but have never had the courage. Why? Because I come from a place of “professionalism”. I have been a photographer/business owner for about 13 years now, and even though the world of business has become more personal over the years, I still prescribe to the notion that you must always be professional. Always put your best foot forward and never let them see you sweat. Always share the highs, never the lows, to stay above your competition. Don’t show your tattoos. And, blue in hair, that’s a big no no. Honestly, part of it is old business sense (I’ve listened to WAY to many “experts) and much of it is my upbringing. But I’ve had to learn to move beyond it. Because where it ended up leaving me was with a feeling that there was something missing. I bet you know that feeling too?

My honesty and left turn comments aside, please know that when I write on this blog I will always be professional. Like I would anything else I do. But there is a difference between posting what you think people want in order to be “professional”, and you being yourself in your business and your life and doing so professionally. No, I don’t think I will get too personal about my personal life here. And, I can’t say I will come here just to bitch or complain (because really I am just not that kind of person). But there are many ups and downs in business and in life, and though I can promise to be honest about them and share any lessons I have learned, I know there is a line and I will honor it. That’s professionalism. But I’m not holding myself back. I’m not leaving myself out of the equation.

I am always going to do my best to be honest, true, deep and real. Because that is who I am. And, in the end, I hope to find wholeness. But know that I am writing with alot of fear, alot of doubt, alot of could care less and even more what ifs than I could shake a stick at, but I need it. Even if this blog is not seen by anyone. Even if I never tell a living soul about it, I need this space. I need this freedom to express. I need the room to discover, to uncover and to share all. And I know, that somewhere out there it will liberate someone to do the same.

That’s why we do this. That’s why we live the lives we do. To inspire others to do the same.

I, for one, don’t want to think about any “rules” or marketing techniques or to wonder what the “experts” would think. I don’t want anyone or anything or any rule telling me what I can and can’t do. That is full expression. But still with tact and professionalism.

So, that is all that I will say on this subject for now, but what about you? What do you think? I’d love to hear your take on the matter. Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time,

Stefanie