Why It Matters with Sal Cincotta
Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the January 2018 issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.
“Why?” should be a simple question, shouldn’t it? But “Why?” carries so much weight. There is no easy answer. It’s probably one of the most complicated questions we can ask ourselves. We need to slow down for a second and ask ourselves a few simple questions to refocus our energy. What better time than now? Let’s start the year off right, and understand the things that should be motivating us in the year ahead.
Do you know why you do what you do? Have you ever stopped to reflect on this?
I wake up every day knowing that I get to work on my terms. For better or worse, this is my business. I control my destiny. Think about how empowering that is. Sure, it’s also incredibly scary. If things go sideways, I own the failure too. I can’t really blame my boss, can I?
Why do we love this incredible profession? I know exactly why. I have two roles: educator first and professional photographer second.
As a professional photographer, my job is to document the lives and moments of my clients through my eyes. They are hiring me to tell their story. I take tremendous pride in this task. I know that the images I create will be among the most cherished things in their lives and shared across generations.
Have you ever stopped to think about that? The images you create will be viewed by their great-great-grandchildren! Holy shit. That is an incredible responsibility cast upon us. I never take this for granted, never lose sight of the importance of what we do. I am more than just a photographer. I have an incredible job to do.
As an educator, I love when I see that lightbulb go off in another creative. I teach because I love sharing my knowledge and my experience as a business owner and a creative. There is no better feeling in the world. My reward is knowing that by helping other creatives reach their potential, I am impacting people around the world—their clients. I take pride in knowing the people I am helping perfect our craft will be providing their clients with images that will be shared and cherished for generations.
This is why I push myself and my team each and every day.
So ask yourself: Why? Why do you do what you do? Come up with your own answer. And by the way, there is no right or wrong answer here. We each have our own reasons. Knowing those reasons is what matters most.
How will this question help us in the months and years ahead?
There will always be ups and downs.
Life is filled with ups and downs. We all know this, but sometimes we lose sight of the obvious, that the sun will come up tomorrow and a new day will begin. We all burn out. We all forget to take a deep breath. Knowing the “why” behind things helps me when I am having a bad day. It reminds me why I love this job.
We have all had that nightmare client who makes us swear off everything we have ever loved, but we have to remember the good clients, the ones who make us feel good in our soul about what we do. When you have that bad day, remind yourself why you love what you do. Trust me, it will put a smile on your face and give you perspective.
Knowing your “why” gives clarity to your personal mission.
Understanding the “why” behind what I do helps define my mission, both in business and my personal life. Why would I do something that doesn’t make me happy?
Use your “why” to better define your personal mission. We have decisions to make every single day about the things we want to work on. I don’t enjoy working with children. It’s just not my thing. It doesn’t make me happy. I find it challenging without reward. So, you guessed it, I don’t advertise or market children photography. Do I photograph children? Of course I do, but I get to be selective in the people I choose to work with. I always make damn sure I work on projects that I enjoy.
I love weddings and high school seniors. I love the results, I love the creative process, I love the challenge. I know exactly why I love it. So this is where I focus my time and effort.
Focus on what matters most.
Now, having clarity and doing something with it are two different things. Don’t waste this valuable information. Do something with it. Everything you do should be focused around your “why.” We must do what makes us happy. There is nothing worse for a creative than waking up every day and driving to a job they hate. Find your way.
Does that mean you should quit your job? Well, as a person who did quit his job to pursue a dream, I am inclined to say yes. But think long and hard before you turn in your resignation. What makes you happy? What is the one thing you can’t stop thinking about? What is your passion? Whatever your passion is, whatever you love doing, I encourage you to chase that dream.
There is no greater tragedy than to go through your life doing something you dread day in and day out. My only regret is not figuring this out sooner. Figure out what it is you love and why you love it, and pursue it with every fiber in your body. The work will be hard, but the rewards will be many. Focus on what matters most to you.
Put your plan together.
If this article has resonated with you at all, then the time is now. Start putting your plan together to achieve your dreams in life and business. What will you do each and every day to get you closer to your final dreams and goals? Everything you do should be aimed at that goal, whatever it is.
Start by writing down what it is you love and why. From there, start a bulleted list of the things you need to do to get you closer to doing what you love. It’s about the destination, but the journey is what matters most. Every day, I am focused on doing the work I love with the people I love doing it with. They are my partners in this life journey.
I know my “why,” and I live it each and every day.