Are you equipped to deal with trauma?

First published 16th April 2020 medium.com

Do you remember when digital cameras were introduced? The market for photographers dropped, everyone was a photographer as a result of having a gadget that required (apparently — though arguably not) a ‘point & shoot for the perfect portrait, landscape, adventure, family, event etc etc shot!’ I wonder now how many of you would trust aunt Betty or uncle Derek or cousin Rob to take the photographs for an important occasion for you?

Derek’s EOS just didn’t cut it… Not so happy memories!

Imagine it’s your civil partnership day…. you have both planned this for 2 years, you’re on a beach, the sun is positioned perfectly. Just the right amount of ‘shade’. The natural sunlight picks out the perfect details on your investment piece bespoke tailored outfits. You feel amazing. You both look amazing. Your family look amazing. Everything is perfect. All this time, money and planning has paid off — the perfect photograph is there for the taking. Who would you want, Derek with his ‘latest’ version of a Canon EOS or maybe cousin Rob who takes cool images for his local bands? Sit with that a minute. What does it feel like to hand over responsibility to a friend or relative to record one of the most important moments of your life when they are not a professionally trained/experienced photographer? Really sense into that feeling. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel? Is it hot or cold? Relaxed or uncomfortable? They do this for free.

Alternative scenario Eleanor has been a a photographer for 30 years. She has a portfolio of family/event/social photography images that sit on the mantelpieces of many homes around the world. Her clients book her 2 years in advance. She has back ups of everything, several cameras, lighting, assistants and charges accordingly. Her reputation is second to none — even when things don’t go according to plan Eleanor has always found a way to achieve the desired results. She invests in her own professional development, always learning and purposely limits her availability so she doesn’t ‘burn out’. Your occasion is the only one of two she has agreed to take on for the month. Sit with that a minute. What does it feel like to hand over responsibility to a professional with a rock solid reputation to record one of the most important moments of your life? Really sense into that feeling. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel? Is it hot or cold? Relaxed or uncomfortable? Eleanor does this as a professional and charges.

You have the potential to power down, power off, power up.

You decide.

The best laid plans… No one could’ve predicted 6 months ago that the world would be going through the current COVID-19 crisis. All your planning, potentially years of investment in yourself, your family, your profession, your business and lifestyle up-ended just like that.

Be mindful when faced with so many options at times of crisis, take care, don’t make unnecessary reactive decisions for yourself, your professional/personal life, your business, your staff or family. Stop. Sit. Breathe. Wait 24/48 hours or longer if you can before making decisions. Things are changing rapidly, stability is required. Circumstances that create chaos and increase stress require thoughtfulness, time and effort before committing to decision, a course of action or inaction — to sit with.

It’s definitely time to invest in yourself, professional world and business. Apply the same principles to choosing who you engage with for guidance, coaching, personal therapy or team support. Notice who invests in themselves, who has experience of trauma, who can develop bespoke interventions for you? Work out what you hope to achieve? Be mindful remote working is not automatically conducive to promoting well being. Explore what needs to happen to keep you and your teams well.

Choose wisely. Trauma responses impact on everyone. Take care not to buy cheap buy twice — the cost might be the loss of your relationships, professional reputation, business and mental health. Invest to prevent/protect. Now is the time to seek support.

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