TRUTHBOMB…I LOST MYSELF…THEN I STOPPED TRUSTING MYSELF…AND THEN I GOT OFF TRACK…
When I started my business six years ago I studied photographers who were years ahead of me; Joey L., Peter Hurley, and Sue Bryce to name a few. I admire their work. I admire their business models. I admire them as individuals. I felt exhilarated in knowing that if they were making a living doing what they loved, then I could too eventually.
I wanted to go into fashion photography. I wanted an agent and big jobs all around the world. I wanted to go big right away—from 0 to 60 in one fell swoop. Well, that isn’t how the industry works. And it isn’t how my mindset works. I didn’t feel worthy of taking beautiful fashion style photos. I didn’t feel as though I’d ever be good enough to stand next to the greats who came before me.
SO I SETTLED.
Instead of following my heart and working hard to move into classic portraiture with a fashion flare, I took what came to me—families, high school seniors, weddings, and events.
While I enjoy photographing families and high school seniors, I quickly learned that weddings and events are not my thing. I’m an introvert ya’ll. I’d rather be home reading a book, then running around taking photos into the late hours of the night.
So I started saying no to things that didn’t light me up. I felt guilty at first and I worried that I wouldn’t have enough work. Just the opposite happened, however, and I received more of the work I enjoyed. I kept moving forward one step at a time—finding my way through the unknown within the photography industry.
SOMETHING WAS STILL OFF THOUGH. I WAS STILL STRUGGLING.
Then last fall I had a mini breakdown—the breakdown before the breakthrough they say. I was so burnt out. I was doing too much of the ‘settled’ stuff and wasn’t following my heart. I was holding myself back. I was in my own way.
And in that moment I was angry at myself for not following my heart. I was angry that I hadn’t stepped up. I was angry that I had gotten in my own way. I was angry that I had allowed myself to falter.
There are two things about entrepreneurship that I did not expect; the level at which I’d have to confront my inner demons and the exponential growth that not only just happens, but is required. It was so easy for me to push forward while working at my desk job. When others held me back, I felt a fire in my gut to prove that I could do whatever it was they were saying I couldn’t do—to push forward, to move ahead.
Building a business would be the most amount of confronting inferiority I have ever experienced in my life. I have never had to stand up, stand out, be noticed, and have people judge me, criticize me, and tell me anything negative about myself more than after starting business. It is the one thing that will significantly move you to change in your life. –Sue Bryce
Now, I don’t have anyone holding me back expect myself and that paralyses me at times. Go figure. I remember walking out the front door of the Product and Development Center with an orange folder in hand, experiencing unemployment for the first time in my life and thinking to myself, “Now I can go as far as I want. I don’t have anyone holding me back anymore.” I didn’t realize then that I’d get in my own way.
So I did some soul searching over the past few months. I journaled, meditated, spent time alone, did a lot of inner work, and this is what I know right now.
Even though I got off track, even though I settled, I feel that everything happens for a reason. Maybe I needed this time to get used to this new role as a photographer and entrepreneur. And in looking back, I enter into all new things with trepidation. I sort of hang out on the edge observing, semi-participating without going all in until I feel the pull get stronger and begin to feel that fire. And then all of the sudden that’s it—I’m all in.
I’ve always done that. My whole life. With making new friends, snowboarding, every job I’ve ever had, with everything. I don’t know why I operate this way—maybe it’s the introvert inside—it doesn’t matter, it just is.
GROWING IS PART OF THE JOURNEY. PATIENCE IS KEY.
I’m excited about the future. I’m following my heart. I’m shifting my portrait business into women’s portraiture, headshots, and personal branding. I’ve also started a personal project allowing space for photojournalism and travel.
For now this mentorship site will be a place for writing my thoughts, learnings, and to share my experiences. I will not be mentoring anyone in a one-to-one or group setting this year, nor will I host any photography workshops for a while.
I’ve made space for growth, and created space to create. I’ve given too much of myself these past six years.
It’s time to find my way home.