How to please your customer every time? This feels like a universal and unattainable goal. But wouldn’t it be great if we could do this. My inspiration for this post comes from the writing of my favorite photography teacher, David DuChemin. David is unique. His teaching is much less about the technical aspects of photography and instead focused on the human side. Even if you are not a photographer, you will find something of value in his writing.
Anyhow, back to the plot. David wrote an article recently titled ‘How to please your audience every time?’ In the photography world, acceptance is a huge deal. You publish your work online and seek feedback. I’ve done this many times only to be left frustrated because ‘they’ didn’t like it. And so the journey begins to try to figure out what they want, which is a frustrating activity. Trying to understand why others work is popular and how to make yours fit the same mold.
A Different Perspective
In David’s article, he shares a different perspective. Your success is not about pleasing others, it is about doing work that resonates and pleases you. He describes it beautifully:
If you search for joy in the applause or recognition of even one other person before you find it in yourself, not only might you never find it, you might discover the art you make begins to have less and less of your own voice within it.
You are your own North Star—your own demanding audience—and the only one that can make the art you most want, or need, to see in the world. Let that be enough. Let that be the bold source of your own voice.
This translates to the business world. I spent most of my career trying to figure out what others wanted from me. What was my boss expecting? How to please them? When I figured out I needed to please myself, my world changed. If others didn’t like my work, maybe it wasn’t for them. I had to find the people it did speak to, who shared my values.
Taking Care Of Myself
I left my corporate job three years ago and that was my first big move to focus on what I truly cared about. My journey continues and I learn through doing, project by project, engagement by engagement. I am learning what doesn’t light me up. In contrast, I find exciting new things that are extremely satisfying. And guess what, when I find the work satisfying, so do my clients.
Who is your work for? What if it was for you? How would that change what you do?