“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality … Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace

I saw this quote yesterday, posted for Martin Luther King Day.  It reminded me of why I love to teach.

Last night I had a dream that my old work was posted by a proud mother on Facebook and was being torn to shreds by other photographers underneath.  There were hundreds of comments below.  It was technically horrible.  How could I have charged money for it?  The dream was so real.

When I woke, the sadness of my dream was replaced by a comfort in knowing that I can make a difference.  We can all make a difference.

When I began my business, there weren’t many people willing to lend a hand.  There weren’t workshops, online courses, and Youtube tutorials everywhere you turned.  I put my head down and worked.  There were likely those that wrote me off, those that feared I was taking what was theirs, those that laughed at the possibility, those that stole what I had created.  It’s all good.  I put my head down and worked.  There were a few people who were kind.  I remember them and I’m grateful.

I hear the industry is even worse now.  People are more desperate.  More threatened.  Then there is the entire workshop industry.  Who should be teaching and who shouldn’t.  I don’t know the answer to that, but I don’t judge.  One person’s success does not take away from another’s.  Success of one raises the industry as a whole.  It shows it can be done.  It helps others see their own potential and worth.

I understand.  This is our lively hood.  For many of us, it isn’t a hobby.  It is how we are paying our mortgages and feeding our children.  It’s all good.  I put my head down and work.

The fact is, those who are going to do great things in life are going to do great things whether or not you are kind to them.  We are all connected.  Wouldn’t you rather be the one who gave them a helping hand?  One who they remember with kindness and gratitude?  Those that are going to do great things are going to put their head down and work.  They are going to figure out the right way to do things whether you support them or try to tear them down.

I ask you to look around into the faces of your competitors and see your own face.  They are you and you are them, whether you want to see it or not.  It only helps our industry to help others do things the right way from the beginning.  Teach people their own value and they will never feel the need to steal, cheat, and lie.  Of course if they do, that will come back to them, but it won’t come back to you.  Pretty awesome how the universe works like that.

You are all of value.  Put your head down and work.  When you see negativity in our industry, don’t fight it.  Turn your head away.  Forget it.  Put your head down and work.  When you see talent, hard work, success… celebrate it!  Celebrate it in others and you will see it returned to you.  I promise.

Your friend,