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The Difference Between Can’t and Won’t

March 18, 2015


This post isn’t about a cute baby in a basket.

It’s about saying “no” to something for so long because I was afraid at failing at it.

Let me share with you that during one of my first newborn sessions, I tried to put a baby in a basket and photograph her beautifully and it went so horribly. The baby was cold, I didn’t bring enough blankets to fill the basket, and to be completely honest with you, I had no idea what I was doing. It was in that moment that I told myself I would never, NEVER EVER, put a baby in a basket again.

Y’all, it wasn’t putting the baby in the basket that made me fail at that session. Plenty of photographers photograph newborns in precious little Moses basket set-ups all the time. My problem was that I wasn’t prepared and I hadn’t had enough practice and education. I showed up to the session with the tools, but I didn’t know how to use them.

This weekend, I learned that there’s a difference between “can’t” and “won’t” when it comes to our abilities.

“Can’t” is a lie we tell ourselves about something we’re afraid of trying. “Won’t” is the choice you make as a result of believing the lie.

This weekend, I photographed Reagan’s newborn photos and they were a combination of lifestyle newborn portraits (which I love! The intimacy and newness of motherhood is my favorite) and a more modern newborn session which would require putting the baby into a basket while wearing a hat with her Mama’s favorite football team embroidered onto it.

So, I accepted the challenge and ultimately proved to myself that what I said I wouldn’t be able to do was possible.

Have you done this to yourself recently? Told yourself that you couldn’t do something, but what you really meant was that you wouldn’t do it because you were afraid of the outcome?

I’m giving you permission today to let go of that. To just try. Because you might surprise yourself.




  1. Lauren Swann says:

    There is so much truth to what you just said!!!

  2. Neža says:

    Thank you Nikki for this postitive words. I think we need this all the time 🙂

  3. Alicia Lacey says:

    Side note: That Alabama hat is about the cutest darn thing I’ve ever seen! But I 100% agree with you; my first newborn session was a disaster and I vowed to never do one again — I later tried a lifestyle session and saw this was more for me! So it’s just finding your balance and what works best for you — which in turn, is best for your clients!

  4. lindsay says:

    Yes! Completely agree, perseverance is key!

  5. Kristi says:

    Oh my goodness, Nikki!! YESSSSS!!! Thank you for this today and for sharing!! So true!!

  6. Kate Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom girl!! These words are so encouraging!

  7. Renee says:

    Soooo sweet! I just love this session and the message behind the post! Well done!

  8. Caitlin says:

    yes yes yes yes and just some more yes. This post is perfect

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