There’s a woman named Bonnie in my town whom I read about a couple years ago in our local newspaper. She twirls a baton and skates for exercise but had been asked to leave a sparsely used indoor mall where she’d been exercising. There had been complaints about her being in the way and almost running other patrons over. This was in the winter so the only reason she was doing her routine indoors was to avoid the bitter cold, freezing rain, and snow. So instead, she went back to the outdoor park and concrete basketball court she’d been using despite the cold and snow. Since I first read Bonnie’s story, I’ve seen her out performing at her park. Sometimes when I’m stopped at the stop light there, I will stop and marvel at her bravado, confidence, individuality, and ability to march to the beat of her own drum without caring what other people think.
[Editor’s note: Since I first wrote this article, I decided I felt better about publishing it if I actually stopped and introduced myself to Bonnie and told her what I was doing. I drove by several times this summer, but it was always blazing hot so of course she wasn’t out there. Then this morning after a headshot session, I happened to pull up to the stoplight and there she was! I hustled to find a parking spot and then stepped totally out of my comfort zone and asked if she was Bonnie. She was very welcoming, but even more so when I told her I wasn’t with the media (ha!), and she was honored that I writing about her. I told her how inspirational she is. And now I’m crying!!]
I want to be more like Bonnie. I want to do what I want, when I want, and where I want, without worrying about what other people see, say, or think. And that goes for both my personal life and my business. How freeing to ignore the haters, naysayers, and gossipers! I know many friends and colleagues are recently choosing to unfollow their competition and inspirations on social media to get back to the basics of why they started their businesses and find their creativity again.
Have you ever been told no before? Of course you have! We all have. Bonnie was told she couldn’t use the indoor mall to exercise. Did she take that “no” and quit? No, she found another way to keep doing what she loved and what she needed to do. The circumstances weren’t ideal, but she wasn’t going to let the word “no” stop her.
So think of one area of your life or business where you can stop concentrating so much on what your peers, competition, or community think about you or your work. Twirl (or edit, shoot, sell, create, etc) like nobody is watching!
Holly Birch Smith is a wedding, commercial, and senior photographer, and as of today also a podcaster! She loves hot tea, socks, lobsters, vivid colors, community, networking, and nice people.