"Do you remember a time when you saw someone doing something and you said to yourself, 'I have to do that?'"
We sat quietly together, letting the words that Karen just spoke sink into our hearts. Tears streamed down my face. Unexpected emotion poured forth and there wasn't enough tissues in the room to keep up.
I remembered back to when I started my business several years ago. I saw others building their businesses, serving their clients, blessing their families and lifting other photographers up. And I said to myself, "I have to do that." That is the why I became a wedding photographer. That is where my passion lies.
But over the past year there have been times where I have lost focus of the why. Instead I focused my energy, my time and my self worth somewhere else entirely: in numbers. Twitter followers, Facebook followers, blog comments, site hits, you name it, I tracked it. And studied it. And over-analyzed it. And found my worth in it. And in an industry as competitive and popularity driven as the one I am in, it is hard not to be caught up in finding your worth in numbers. The more Facebook friends I have, the more credible I become. The more blog comments I gain, the better I am as a photographer. The more people who follow me on Twitter, the cooler I appear to be. It's attractive and seductive and tempting. But yet my real worth, as a person, as an artist, as a human being, is not found here. Why was I allowing it to rule in my business and my life?
So as Karen asked the question, "Do you remember a time when you saw someone doing something and you said to yourself, 'I have to do that?'" I cried. I remembered the why. I told myself to begin there again. Look to the reason why I started my business and find my worth, my value, my purpose there. Encourage others, bless my family, serve my clients, create art. If in the process I gain a few Facebook friends, great. But that should never be the reason why I do anything. And that should never be where I find my worth.
If you find yourself in this place, I've been there, I am there. It's a daily struggle to not be caught up in it all. I encourage you to go back to the beginning. Remember the why of what you do. Do you remember a time when you saw someone doing something and you said to yourself, "I have to do that?" Start there. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend a Pursuit 31 retreat in New Haven Connecticut led by Karen Stott. At it's core, it's a workshop about finding balance between your life and your business, something that has become more and more difficult for me as my business has grown. What I didn't realize was the impact that those two days at the retreat would have on my heart and my business. Those two days helped me to regain focus and move back to the core of my business and who I am. I feel so blessed to have been able to be there and to be able to have shared in the experience with such a special group of woman. It's something I will always be grateful for.
As part of the workshop we had a time of shooting, which I am SUPER excited to share with you below. We got to work some amazing vendors to create a Notebook themed shoot. The models ROCKED it out and it was such a blast to work with each person:) (For a list of the wonderful people that helped pull the afternoon together, please scroll to the end of the post)
Here are just a few of the awesome ladies doing their thing!:)
And the woman who brought us all together, Karen!
Heidi and Deedee from Always and Forever, LLC Styling by The White Dress by the Shore Makeup by Erin at Simply Gorgeous by Erin and Andrea at Makeup by Dileto A HUGE thank you to Alicia Candelora and Karen Stott for organizing the workshop and to the amazing models, Mackenzie, Anthony, Justin, Stephanie, Dan and Andrea for taking the afternoon off for us:)