"Are you doing your best work every day?"
It doesn't really matter so much WHY you do what you do as much as it matters where your heart's at when you're doing it. Are you doing your best work every day? Or are you counting the minutes till you punch out?
My 14 year old son has expensive taste so he works. He's actually worked summers full time on our family farm for the last two years. Yep. You read that right. Do the math. At at 12, my son worked full time. He didn't get "summer vacation", he got "summer job". And he made great money pitching in on our family farm. It was minimum wage for a low-glory position but workin' full time doesn't exactly leave much time for wasteful spending so his earnings usually last him all winter - just in time to start workin' again.
If you slack off, you are
chosing that as your reputation.
I'm not an easy boss. I don't make concessions "cuz you're my kid". In fact, I'm even tougher. No screwing around, no video games while you're on the work computer booking orders. Nope. And if you have to do a task you hate, you better not do a shitty job. I tell my son " no matter what task you're doing, always do your best work. That is what you're known by. If you slack off, you are chosing that as your reputation. You conrol that stuff".
Luckily, he's not muckin' stalls or hauling silage (which is brutally smelly) but there is an expectation for him to give me his hourly wage in output. Does he shine at every assignment? Nope. Does he get hired back season after season? Yep. Here's why- he screws up lots, admits it and works his biscuits off to improve. Score! He feels good, and I feel good. I teach, he grows, work gets done. Looks like a hat trick!!
"I have always loved photography"
Now why do I do what I do... I have always loved photography. As a kid, I would go to friends' houses for playdates & sleepovers and always ask for them to show me their family photo albums. We had a few growing up by my parents were super young and hardly had two cents to rub together so luxuries like photos were scarce. I adored seeing images and hearing stories about the people who played parts in my friends' family history.
I always wanted to learn to use a camera but as someone who has learned to live with anxiety, it got in the way of many experiences as a young adult, including photography. It took one trusting friend to hand me her film SLR at the playground when my youngest son was a baby to really take a stab at shooting on a camera that had the ability to make images that I could see in my mind's eye.
I did the best I could with my husband's Sony Cybershot but the image quality was shit and without manual controls, the wrong things were in focus. I used many of my first digital images in my scrapbooks (like many moms-turned-photographers) but quickly found the images, exposure, depth of field and other elements disappointing with the point & shoot.
Enter the first D-SLR. I bought a Fuji S2 with about a hundred batteries and no technical knowledge. I kinda miss those days. If I connected emotionally with an image, it was always chemistry. Now, I can see the technical flaws (exposure, light source position, posing, composition...) and I'm much more critical of what I shoot.
I still have a passion for image creation but I'm really hard on myself. I am learning to love the art I make despite the technical imperfections and I have my clients and their 100% honest emotional response to my images to thank for that. I am slowly being kinder to myself when reviewing my work and am very hopeful that my early motivators - that love of personal histories- comes back into the forefront of WHY I do what I do... that and wanting the work I do, the art I make to be how my clients know me.
Why do you do the work that you do? Are the reasons you started the same as the reasons you are still doing it? Do you want to change and how do your early motivators for THIS work affect the work you want to try after this?? Tell me how this resonates with you.