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February 23, 2016

My Struggle With Being Not A Fit 5 Times

My struggle with being denied a feature 5 times by Christina Forbes Photography

Since becoming a full-time photographer almost 3 years ago, I’ve been constantly working on my goals to be featured & published with different wedding blogs and magazines. I remember when I first started submitting I would literally get sick to my stomach. Instantly regretting hitting the submit button. I secretly thought to myself “who are you kidding Christina? You’re really not that great. You’re TOTALLY wasting your time”. But I would still stalk my email waiting to see the reply. Maybe just so I could stop thinking about it. And if I was lucky enough, it was to celebrate. I know what it was, I feared reading the words “NOT A FIT”. Ugh that phrase…..it’s one that’s haunted me for years. Never feeling quite “good enough”.

After I got some really GREAT advice from Meghan the editor of Glamour & Grace, I understood the backend of the submission process so much more. Being “Not A Fit” actually wasn’t a bad thing. It honestly wasn’t a thing at all. OH the LIBERATION I tell ya!!! I left with all this awesome submitting for feature tips and I was ready to start submitting my butt off! And I did. The next thing I knew I had 8 ” Your Submission Has Been Accepted” replies in a row. Not a single “Not A Fit”. I mean can we just do a little dance?

Well….it came to a screeching hault. The first publication came back with “We love your work but it’s just not the style that we’re looking for right now”. OKAY that’s cool I thought….no worries. I mean Meghan said that it’s totally normal and that it’s nothing personal. And much like our own brand they have one too to keep. So I got it. Well onto Round 2. I get back “Sorry but we’re not running features on real weddings right now”. Well okay then. Why a wedding blog isn’t running real wedding right now I don’t know? So I went onto Round 3. This time the response is pretty much the same “Details are not the right fit stylistically” except there was no “but we love your work…keep trying”! Well by Round 4 I’m beginning to think “WHY”? Is this really worth it? Why do you want to have this publish? You’re getting yourself worked up over something silly. But anyone that knows me, knows that when I have something in my mind…I just don’t stop until I’M READY. Well here it goes again “NOT A FIT” this time with absolutely no explanation. So onto Round 5 we went! I just knew it was going to happen this time. I mean seriously there’s no way that I can get FIVE you’re not a fit right? WRONG!! I did.

That was FIVE no’s on one album! OH the pain!!! Here it was I had this gorgeous wedding. One that I was so proud of. It was one of my best weddings for the year. Was I just too emotionally invested at this point? Where was I going wrong? I honestly thought I was doing everything the right way. How embarrassing is it that I got turned down 5 times on one wedding? I was DONE. I wasn’t going to try again. I hit my max and I was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously what does it take to draw the line in the sand? When is Enough a Enough? So I pulled up the album and I was going to delete it from my account. I wasn’t going to try anymore. I felt like a total failure. I thought I had let my client down as well. But as I hovered over the album I just couldn’t do it. Maybe it was my pride, or my “Don’t ever give up” attitude or maybe I was a glutton for punishment.

I let that album sit there for awhile. Almost like a thorn in my side. I would sneer at the sheer sight of it. But one day for some odd reason I thought well maybe, just maybe I might get lucky today. And I went for it. I decided today was going to be my hail mary pass down the field. And just like that I hit submit. And backed away from the desk and said “it is what it is”. I can’t remember how long it took to hear back. I just remember seeing those words “Your Submission Has Been ACCEPTED”.

And the tears just started to flow. Anyone that knows me knows that I cry… a lot…it’s a weakness and positive attribute. After all that self-doubt, creative struggles, my self inflicted bullying and feeling miserable, there it was FINALLY. I did it. I may have had to take a breather but I NEVER gave up. And along the way I learned a few lessons. Important ones at that have made me grow as a person, photographer and a business woman. And I want to share a few with you.

These are 3 lessons I learned:

  1. Timing is everything! It’s not always going to be when you want or expect it to unfold.
  2. It’s NEVER okay to place your self worth in the opinions of others.
  3. Failure is NOT bad. It’s actually a great thing.

And 3 things I realized about myself:

  1. I am STRONG-WILLED! (no wonder where my little one gets it from)
  2. I know how to PERSEVERE!
  3. I am LOVED regardless of a feature on some wedding blog or a magazine. It DOES NOT define me nor my work!

I want you to know that it’s OKAY to be “NOT A FIT”. There’s a reason. We may not understand nor want to accept it right away. But there’s things that we can learn. And besides always being a fit means you’re playing it safe, you’re not challenging yourself or others. So I challenge you to embrace the “NOT A FIT”! Use it as a motivator…your own personal push. Don’t let it eat at you and tear you down, instead build from it! Continue to push yourself in more ways than you can imagine. And don’t stop. Because you’re going to learn some pretty amazing things about yourself! Do you ever feel like you’re not a fit? I would love to hear how you overcame it or what did you learn about yourself?
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I'm Christina, a destination engagement & wedding photographer based in NC, with a love for all things coastal, southern and preppy! Here on my blog you'll find my engagements + weddings, education for brides + photographers and my latest travels and personal thoughts!

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