While You’re Doing WHAT You’re Doing… Do This, Too

POSTED IN : Branding & Marketing, Photographers

I’m reading Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I don’t even want you to finish reading this post. Just go read the book.


As soon as you start reading this classic, you’ll know why I love it.

I have PAGES of quotes from the book just like this one:

“The goal of business should not be to do business with everyone who needs what you have. The goal is to focus on people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek

And this one:

“Only companies that act like commodities are the ones who wake up everyday with the challenge of how to differentiate. Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about it. They don’t think of themselves as being like anyone else and they don’t need to convince anyone of their value. […] They ARE different and everyone knows it. They start with why in everything they say and everything they do.” – Simon Sinek

So yeah… right in my Dreamie wheelhouse, am I right????

It’s like Mr. Sinek is reaching into my heart and yanking on every single one of my creative-business-owner heartstrings.

But here’s what I want to share from the book with you, because I’m posting this on September 1st.

Simon says in this fabulous book, that authenticity is when you say and do what you actually believe.


It’s the clear correlation between WHAT you do and WHY you do it that will set you apart.


My friend, if you are in the middle of wedding season, does your life right now look like shooting, editing, delivering, shooting…editing…delivering…. shootingeditingdeliveringshooting….emailsemailsemails??

That’s what the life of a wedding photographer looks like on September 1st – just before the storm of Labor Day.

It’s the end of summer, the height of wedding season, and the cycle of work that needs to be delivered is pumping along at FULL STEAM AHEAD.

This is when your workflows are tested.

This is when your systems expand to maximum capacity – like blowing up a giant beach ball – and you see where the seams hold tight and where the seams burst with the pressure of the workload.

This is when all of that hard work you did in the off-season to set up your workflows will pay off.

Or this is when you will be promising yourself that this off-season you WILL dial in your workflows for reals this time.

(Side Note: While you’re experiencing your workflows at their max, start a log of the workflow tasks, systems, or emails that you want to change or make better in January. Don’t overwhelm yourself with changing your systems right now. Just keep track of the big or small things that you want to change, so that you remember to dial them in later. GAME ON)


In the middle of tackling your work, it’s tempting just to get it done.


It’s tempting to get it uploaded and delivered and checked off your list and then move on to the next one. And the next one. And the next one…

But Simon Sinek is reminding me that right now we are in the middle of our WHAT. We are producing and delivering our tangible goods, the products that our clients have paid for.


But what if in the middle of doing your WHAT, how can you infuse your WHY in just the smallest of ways?


During this time, how can what you SAY and what you DO be a tangible representation of what you BELIEVE?

Because it’s in our WHAT that our WHY comes to life.

A week ago, Jeff and I were in Boston shooting a beautiful wedding, but the timeline was tight. We had a LOT to get done in a very short amount of time.

We had a lot of WHAT on our plate, and we needed to deliver a great product – a product we were super excited about!

At one point, we had our couple stand on a balcony that overlooked their cocktail hour, and they could hear their guests laughing, celebrating, and toasting below them.

We were moving at a break-neck pace to produce the photos we wanted, but Jeff and I were both stopped by the sound of the cocktail hour coming through the door of the balcony.


I paused, took a deep breath, took a slower one, and then told our couple to listen…


It was only for a minute or two, but we paused and listened to the music and the conversation of their friends and family that had come from all over the world to celebrate their love story. It was bouncing off of the walls of the courtyard, swirling up to the balcony, and surrounding them in a big audio hug.

(You can check out the image over on our Instagram)

Screenshot 2016-09-01 12.53.18

It was only for a minute or two, but because I took a short moment to infuse our WHY into our WHAT, the couple will now feel something very powerful when they see the image I produced.


They will feel our WHY.


So if you find yourself at mach speed this Labor Day weekend with your cycle of shooting-editing-delivering-shooting-editing-delivering, take a deep breath… take a slower one… and remember your why.

Because it’s the crystal clear correlation between WHAT you do and WHY you do it that will set you apart from everyone else.



P.S. Seriously, if you haven’t already, check out Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why. There’s a reason it’s become a classic book on leadership!


Hi there! We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren, a hubby and wifey wedding photography team in San Diego. We shoot together. We travel together. We dream together. And we believe the best thing to hold onto in life is each other (+ a great glass of wine…)

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