Camera and Flask
The Photography of Steven Gray
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Camera and Flask // Steven Gray: Photographer. Storyteller. Artistic journalism and storytelling around the globe. Based in Pensacola, Florida.

Motivation vs. Inspiration

We’re in month two of entrepreneurship. Consider this my personal “state of the union.”

This week was long days, long nights, early mornings and one all-nighter. This isn’t the first time I had a week like this, nor will it be the last.

Search “motivation” on Instagram and you’ll find infinite variations on the theme. Lions, Harvey Specter, The Rock… and it’s all nonsense.

There is a difference between motivation and inspiration. Lots of images or thoughts can be *inspiring,* but *motivation* is different.

Real motivation is a pre-existing condition. It’s chronic. It never shuts up. It’s a gnawing hunger to accomplish something, make something or be something.

You don’t wake up on Monday and surf YouTube to find motivation. If you have to look for it, you probably haven’t found the real thing yet.

Executing a project, like a new business, is a lot like camping: everyone loves the idea of it. It’s fun to talk about. It’s Instagrammable. But once you’re in the middle of it, you realize that you have to assemble your own shelter, gather your own resources, and the parts that photograph well are only a fraction of the whole experience. Then, when you think everything is okay and you take a hike, it rains.

In that moment, can decide the whole trip was a mistake, and go home, or you can choose to embrace the elements and be enjoyably present in the experience.

I don’t work to the extremes of each day because I saw a picture of a Bugatti. I do this because I prefer to work 80 hours a week on my own terms rather than work 40 hours a week at a job that does not share my principles.

This past month, our bank accounts touched single digits, then rebounded back to surplus as we adjust to the new rhythm of farming our own clients, following up and invoicing. It’s fun and scary and stressful and rewarding all at the same time.

But my own motivation, my own hunger to make something of my life on my own terms, won’t let me slow down. It’s an express bullet train with no stops, and every time I try to throttle down, I burn my hand on the controls.

I’ve never felt more satisfied.

Steven Gray