Serious question… when did we start trading out legitimacy for vanity?

Our social media is engulfed with individuals who are more concerned with appearing successful rather than doing the work it takes to become successful.

I am not going to spend the time or investment to develop a real portfolio – instead I am going to work with anyone willing to give me money to take my clothes off pretending I am building a portfolio. 

I am not going to take the risk of pitching to real magazines and clients – instead I am going to overly celebrate the fake success of being featured on an “online” magazine that no one has ever heard of.

Why do we concern ourselves with the validation of celebrating a success we know has no merit?

One of my favorite photographers here in Arizona, Tom Spitz, has literally no website and no social media presence. Yet he stays fully employed and booked as a photographer because his clients are obsessed with him, his work and his energy. His work has won countless awards, yet he personally has probably never submitted anything and certainly never attended the ceremonies. Instead he stays focused on the craft and making it as close to perfect as he can. That is what I hope to aspire to in my own photography career and why I interned and assisted him early in my journey. His approach to his work is what leads to his success.

Lindsey Schwartz is a best-selling author and now is coordinating her own series of motivational events. Amongst all that I’m honored that she is a dear friend of mine. When she was writing her book, Powerhouse Woman, she was genuinely writing to help others. When she gathers together a group of people, she is genuinely striving to improve their lives. In an industry that is often overrun with posturing and self-boasting, she is one who shines with authenticity and an honest mission. That is what leads to her success.

I’ve known and worked with Dave Dreas for close to a decade and our work together has been published in numerous magazines both as interior features as well as covers. Yet Dave remains one of the most ego-less people I’ve ever met. What does Dave focus his energy on? His brands. Growing his gym, growing his online businesses and providing better value and service to those who choose to purchase from him. He spends time thinking about solutions for his client’s biggest problems. That is what leads to his success.

I first met Karey Northington right before she was doing an NPC competition and we did a quick photo shoot together. Since then she has exponentially exploded her brand not just as a fitness talent, but as a trainer, as a coach, as a business guide and now even a restaurant owner. She is a serial-entrepreneur concerned about making great content and providing the best service possible to her clients. That is what leads to her success.

As you personally chart off on your course, pay attention to the decisions you make, to the actions to take and to the plans you set. Focus on your intentions and your goals. Where is it that you want your ship headed? The effortless path to the land of vanity? Or the uncharted course to your success?

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto