We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Young and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in business is how to differentiate fear of failure and fear of not being good enough from the feeling of lack of passion in what I do. There have been a few keys moments in my career when I really questioned if I wanted to be a photographer at all. Did I really love this thing that I was pouring so much time and energy into? Did I really want to do this for the rest of my life, or the foreseeable future? These questions would come rushing in like a wave of doubt and I would spend days thinking maybe I was just kidding myself and I wasn’t really into photography that much and maybe it wasn’t really what I thought I was so passionate about. It would keep me paralyzed from making a move, too scared I was messing my whole life up. Then something amazing happened – I kept at it, sometimes barely moving forward at all, yet not giving up completely. And I started to see, usually in hindsight, that those moments when I was questioning my path and truly feeling like maybe I had made the wrong decision, I was really just scared of failing and of not being good enough. And the fear was so great in the moment, that it had taken on a life of it’s own that I was calling “a loss of passion.” However, I realized I had never lost my passion, I had only allowed fear to cripple me and to sabotage my ability to take action. Now, when I feel those familiar feelings showing up, I can call them what they really are, which allows me to hang on to that intense passion I have for what I do and to feel the fear at the same time. I no longer question if this is what I am meant to be doing because I know the answer. And the truth is, sometimes I’m just scared.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a portrait photographer. The journey so far to get to where I am today has definitely not been easy. There have been many moments of self-doubt, of intense fear, of self-sabotage. However, I was told a long time ago that It’s not the most talented people who always succeed, but rather, the ones who continue to show up through every failure and keep pressing forward. So that’s what I’ve done and continue to do. I’ve learned so much compassion and self-acceptance in the process. I’ve learned to be more present in the process and to enjoy the process rather than to be so focused on the outcome. I’ve learned to set goals for myself and review them often. I’ve learned to go deep into my beliefs around money and to work hard on removing the blocks that would sabotage me over and over. I’ve learned to dive into my trauma, my pain, my fear, and to do the work. It’s often times not fun, even excruciating, yet it’s necessary and it does get easier. If you want your life and business to improve – you have to do the work. I can now see how all of the painful experiences of the past have really prepared me for what I do today. And its all of this personal work that allows me to really be present with another human when they are in front of my camera. When it comes to what I do – I offer my clients the opportunity to really, truly, be seen. I offer them the experience to see themselves in a new way or to reconnect with a part of themselves that they may not have known for a long time. I offer them the ability to present the most powerful, authentic, version of themselves to the world in their business and even personal life. Durning a session where we get 1-2 hours together, I create a space where my clients feel very safe, where they are able to just be themselves which is when the magic happens. This translates into stunning photographs every time because I am capturing that authentic energy that everybody possesses. I want to capture a persons soul. I want people to really see how beautiful they are. I wake up every day just excited and grateful to get to do what I love and to create art for a living.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend was coming to visit I would show them around some of my favorite places in LA – We would spend a day at the beach, we’d go to a couple of the beautiful botanical gardens, We’d go hiking in Elysian park and take in that beautiful view of the city. We’ve eat downtown at Grand Central Market and at night have a drink at Clifton’s Cafeteria.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people who have helped me along the way. From the friends who talked me into staying in LA just one more month after I had moved across the country and was crippled with fear, sure I had made the wrong decision, to the friendships and relationships I’ve developed over the last 10 years in Los Angeles, who have seen what I am capable of and have mirrored back the powerful man that I could become, long before I ever saw it in myself. Therapy is something I’ve been doing for a very long time I would recommend to anyone who wants to heal, grow, move through trauma of the past, and become the most powerful version of yourself that you can be. You can’t have the life you want, or the business you desire without taking a hard look at yourself and getting honest about who you are, where you’ve come from, and what you believe about yourself. I’m also obsessed with self-development and learning about business and powerful people who work hard. A list of books from just this year that have moved me the most both personally and in business – “Relentless” – Tim S. Grover “Can’t Hurt Me” – David Goggins “Big Magic” – Elizabeth Gilbert “The War Of Art” – Steven Pressfield “Fanatical Prospecting” – Jeb Blount
Website: www.aaronjayyoungstudio.com and www.aaronjayyoung.com
Aaron Jay Young