Imposter syndrome, self doubt, feelings of doom, am I doing the right thing… everyone who has taken the plunge to leave employment and go it alone will have had all of these in varying degrees.
In 2010 when I finally got my redundancy from “the job” I hated, I just started telling everyone I was a photographer, no longer a software engineer. Nothing actually changed other than my job title in the first few weeks. That’s when you have all those doubts about whether you’re doing the right thing. I didn’t really have sleepless nights, rather LONG days of nothing – literally nothing to do, unless you invent things to do. During those long days, you look at others doing your thing and wonder whether your good enough – and then often conclude that you’re not.
This is the time when you really do need a lot of help and encouragement. Help in working out what to fill your time with to get things moving. Encouragement to avoid falling into a whirlpool of self doubt and introspection.
I was lucky to meet some great people early on, especially people running their own businesses and going through the same thing. I’m still friends with most of them now.
One very random phone call just stands out though, and I was reminded of it today when I read some sad news on Facebook.
I’d known Kris Dutson on a website called EPhotozine for many years – just a happy looking hairy guy with a wicked sense of humour. Great landscape photos and some lovely product shots. He was doing pretty much what I would go on to do – make a living doing a mix of photography “stuff”.
The phone rang and I’d no idea who it was, so answered and got this south western accent saying “Hello Ade”.
“Hello…. ?” I replied.
“It’s Kris off Ephotozine – remember me?”
We’d never met, spoken or really done anything other than enjoy banter on internet forums (remember those?) – so was really weird to actually hear his voice.
Not to go into too much detail, he told me how pleased he was that I’d taken the plunge and gave me lots of tips and encouragement – right at the time I needed it most. You’re never really sure if you’re getting it right, so to randomly hear from someone you look up to, from 300 miles away was amazing – and to hear that what I was doing all looked good was even better.
I think we must have chatted about life, photography, business, Ephotozine and stuff for a good hour before we bid each other farewell. I’m sure you’ve all had those calls where you feel amazing after and it puts you right back on track; this was one of those.
Whenever I’ve seen him on Facebook I always remembered that chat with great fondness and thought what a top, thoughtful bloke he was.
So to hear he’s lost his battle with cancer today is incredibly sad. I never met him but I’ll never forget him.
Sleep well Kris.