When Everything Goes to Sh*t: Overcoming Fear, Doubt, and Negativity with Sal Cincotta
As I sit here thinking about what to write about for our 8-year anniversary, you can’t help but reflect on the current state of affairs & negativity in the world. It is easy to look over the last 4–5 months and wonder, “WTF is going on?”
Trust me when I tell you, I am right there with you. Turn on the news, negativity. Go to social media, negativity. Family, friends, negativity everywhere. So what happens? This eats away at you, eats away at any creativity you may have left in you. It leads you to start questioning everything you believe in. Am I resonating with anyone yet? Or is this just me?
Over the last few months, we have all been through some shit. All of us. My fiancé and I are used to spending hours, days, weeks, months together alone. We work together, play together. It is truly something special when you can find that person on the same journey as you—as we like to say, “ride or die”—and we live every moment that way.
I lay all this out to say, as close as we are, as close as our network and beliefs are, we have fallen victim to the very opening statements I made above. We found ourselves thinking negativity. Fearing the future for the first time that I can remember in my adult life. Uncertainty, doubt, fear, etc. We were questioning everything aswe were forced to close our businesses, lay off employees, and tried to predict what the future would look like for businesses and photographers alike. It was a moving target. Every day, new news would come out and that new information would throw a wrench in the plans we just spent days putting together. It was defeating to say the least. Again, am I hitting a nerve with you at all here?
I want you to know something as you are reading this. You are not alone. As isolated as we can feel at times, there are like-minded people just like you. Who want to remain positive, who want success, who want to move forward. We are here and we need to find those people in our tribes.
This leads me to the next part of this. How do we overcome these feelings of doubt and negativity we are having?
Here is what I can tell you: humans in general struggle when their path is unclear. I find that I can deal with some pretty tough situations, but when I am faced with uncertainty, it really does a number on me. I believe most humans are the same way. We need to see light at the end of the tunnel. If this negativity is sustained for any period of time, the light gets dimmer and dimmer and we start seeing only the negative in everything. This is one of the most dangerous places to be, especially as an entrepreneur.
If you are in this dark place right now, here are some things you can do to get out of your funk. I’m sharing with you what I just went through, and how Alissa and I have personally gotten through this.
Get back to doing the things you love
Immediately. This is something you must do for your mental health. Get back to being happy even if you are forcing it at first. Remember, being happy is a habit just like being negative. Do the things you love doing. Is it photography? Get out there and start creating. Something. Anything. Get back to your computer, edit those images and post them. Share positivity with the world. Give the world something else to focus on.
You might think this advice sounds “tone-deaf,” but I’m telling you, we have dozens and dozens of emails from people thanking us for staying positive and giving them something else to look forward to. We need this for each other. Slowly but surely, you will find yourself more focused on the positive things you are doing and the happiness it is bringing vs. the negativity that is taking over the world.
Limit your time on social media
Posting images is completely different than spending two hours a day scrolling your feed with everything from conspiracy theories to fake news, to fake outrage, to actual news. Listen to me when I tell you something you should already know. There are a lot of stupid people in the world. Why are you suddenly using them as your new sources? Anything that starts with “My friend is a…” or “Someone I know…” is already wrong. Have you never played the telephone game as a kid? Where five people line up, you whisper a fact in one person’s ear and watch how that fact has changed by the time it reaches the last person? They do this to teach us a lesson as kids. What happened? You forget this?
Alissa and I would sit here and she would read to me the stupid crap showing up on her feed AS FACT from her friends. I would then spend five seconds or less to Google it and actually READ facts vs. glancing at news headlines that selectively present facts, to find out that whatever they were presenting to us was partially true 90% of the time. People refuse to read and love getting caught up in the sliver of truth being presented. If you want to live your life in the world of dumb that is truly your right, but I sure as hell don’t want to join you on that journey.
I consider it the great purge. We do this multiple times per year and I gotta tell you, it is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. Get rid of the nasty, vile, negative people in your feed. You wouldn’t allow these people to join you for holiday dinner, why in the world are you allowing them to infiltrate your brain, your thoughts, your life with their negative bullshit? That part is on you. And make no mistake, this isn’t about “tolerance” of different views. This is about your own sanity. Remember, we do not have to like everyone.
Get these people out of your feed because if you don’t, no matter how strong you think you are, it will impact you eventually when you are having a weak moment.
Build your support network
We all need a positive support network. People we share similar viewpoints with. People we can laugh with. People we actually care about. If your view of the world is only coming from social media or the news outlets that want to manipulate the masses, we are all screwed.
Alissa and I have used this time to spend with our family and loved ones. It got us back on track, focused on what matters most. Our families. Our careers. Our lives together. Sorry, but everything and everyone else is just noise.
Define what matters most
This is a very important step in overcoming all the fear and doubt. I think we can all agree that 2020 can go f-off. But what’s next? Are you giving up? Are you quitting? Are you giving up all hope? I sure hope not and the answer should be a resounding HELL NO! OK, then what in the world is the plan? You need a plan, everyone. This isn’t going to just go away.
Here is what Alissa and I did
- Sit down and craft out a plan for the next 4–6 months for your business. This is not easy and will require some guessing. The plan will be what we call a “living document.” This is important for you to understand so you don’t get frustrated when you have to change or adapt the plan.
- Look for opportunity in your market. For us, we launched a new headshot line because we knew as businesses came back online they would want to invest in their businesses to stand out. Headshots.salcincotta.com was our answer. In addition, we looked at the high school senior market. These kids have been locked in their homes, missed graduation, have not had their class pictures taken, etc. This is another huge opportunity for growing your business. Start putting your plan together now. Stop waiting.
- Build your business network. Businesses are all struggling and many will not survive. If you are in the wedding business right now, you are not in a good place financially. What can you do to work together? To help one another? To build awareness for your brands? Start putting your network together of hair and makeup, dress shops, florists, venues, and put a photo and video shoot together. You will be building your businesses and brands together and doing something positive for one another. This is a good thing! This is good for the soul and will get you back to doing the things you love.
- Be the change you want to see in the world. This isn’t anything you don’t already know, but negative people will always attract other negative people. Have you noticed that? Don’t you know someone who is negative all the time? Bad things always seem to find this person? We all know people like this. Get them out of your lives.
Wake up every day and start planning your life and trying to find a way back to normalcy. I know it’s not easy. I am not even suggesting it is. It’s one step at a time. Start being positive and doing positive things and slowly but surely you will be able to look back and realize you have impacted hundreds of people and spread love and joy to places of the world you never even imagined.
The first step is the hardest. In the end, small changes will lead to massive results in your life and your business.
Good luck and God bless.