Optimism

Being Generous When You Think You Can't and Why It Matters

Wedding at    Amangiri   . Photo by    Cameron Clark   .

Wedding at Amangiri. Photo by Cameron Clark.


Generous people change the world. Not because of what or how much they give, but because they are doers and see possibilities where others don't. 

There's a quote I love that says, "If you won't be generous with $10, you won't be generous with $10,000."

It's true. 

If you don't build up the muscle of generosity when it seems you don't have as much financially to give, that habit won't suddenly materialize when you have more.

If you're not used to giving or if it feels intimidating, it's okay. Just remember that nothing changes if nothing changes. Make a commitment to start small. Donate $1 from every sale you make this year, starting today. 

Smaller amounts do still make a difference to organizations, but more importantly, the act gets you in the habit of giving and begins to change you into a more generous person.

The phrase "give back" is often used in relation to generosity, but I'd encourage you to adopt a "give as you go" mantra instead. The world needs you and your commitment to an optimism that things can get better, now.

When Business Isn't Fair

If I ever write a memoir, I'm going to call it, "My Baggage Comes As a Matching Set and My Pity Parties Are Catered." While I have a dream job, I've definitely cracked open the Ben & Jerry's on more than one occasion. Sometimes it's been because of my own mistakes or errors in judgment. Other times it was because of decisions that were completely out of my hands.

I know I'm not the only one who's faced situations like this.

Not all planners, venue coordinators, retailers, magazine and blog editors, or conference producers have good taste. And some simply just don't know what they don't know. Sad, but true.

If you are counting on someone in a "gatekeeper" role to always see that your photographs/films/cakes/designs/insights/products are legitimately better in technical quality/taste/actual facts/materials, you will, at times, wind up disappointed and mystified.

Talent still matters in the long run, obviously. Never stop learning and pushing yourself to be better. But also, marketing matters. Networking matters. Being a team player matters. Being pleasant to be around for 8-18 hours a day matters.

You can be all these things, and sometimes you will still lose a wedding to a photographer with 100k Instagram followers who is charging twice what you are because of their popularity but whose photos are just plain bad. The saying "everybody wants what everybody wants" is true and sometimes that includes the wedding industry pros who are supposed to have better taste as well as advanced knowledge and insight into what you do.

It's rarely talent alone that lands the job, as seemingly unfair as that may be. Don't allow that to make you cynical. Throw yourself a pity party for 20 minutes and then get back to work.

What True Optimism Looks Like


A true optimist doesn't sugarcoat reality or pretend everything is okay when it's not. Optimists aren't delusional. They don't insist that everyone mask their feelings, they don't encourage you to "fake it 'til you make it," they don't tell you to "grin and bear it."

True optimists aren't ashamed to grieve. They do not consider talking about the real, raw aspects of life to be a sign of weakness. Instead they know that hiding these things and sweeping them under the rug and pretending everything is ok when it's not is a sign of pessimism because pessimism is defined by fear.

Optimists know that people and places and things change and that there are lessons to be learned. Optimists know that whatever is currently happening can be redeemed.

Looking on the bright side doesn't mean ignoring reality. Looking on the bright side means insisting that what is right now is not the end. Looking on the bright side means moving forward in a way that believes people are not defined by their circumstances.

The mantra to "put on a happy face" in the name of "positivity" is not optimism. Saying "this totally sucks right now but it's not forever and we're in this together" is.

True optimists know what real passion often looks like and that it's not always sis-boom-bah.

When it comes down to it, optimists are defined by hope. Hope is hard and it is messy. It sometimes doesn't feel all that great. It is "the long hard stupid way."

It is the better way.


Originally published January 2013