The Greatest Thing I Learned

It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts, friends, but I was really inspired today!  It’s funny, it doesn’t make sense, because I’m SO busy processing images right now (and will have more to share later!)  But last week, I photographed an engagement session in NYC and was asked a really important question. I had a lovely assistant with me, Siobhan Margaret, who just moved to NYC and asked to shadow one of my sessions! We were sitting on a bench in Battery Park, and she said, “Tell me, what is the greatest thing you’ve learned about yourself in becoming a photographer?” I thought this was such a wise question! And I wrote about it on Instagram, but realized I had more to share with you. I truly hope this is inspiring!

The greatest thing I’ve learned about myself in these last 7 years is how much grit (courage and resolve) I have, which I’ve seen in building my business. I really didn’t know all of that was inside me, but now, without a doubt, I do. When I first started my business, I was scared as heck. I didn’t know if I was good enough, I was looking around and trying to do what I was “supposed” to be doing, I played the comparison game, and I struggled with thoughts that said I didn’t have what it takes. And one particular time I remember struggling really hard, and having to face who I thought I was.

There was something that endured all of those questions, all of the waiting, all of the “fake it till you make it”. And that was my belief and conviction that this is what God wanted me to do. That there was something in my heart longing to express itself to the world, and something valuable I could give other people. Through my camera I have found the greatest passion I have ever felt before, and I became so determined to somehow make this dream work.

When I first started my business, someone told me, “let your fear become your fuel” to keep pushing harder. I think to some degree I did learn that lesson – but really, I learned that even though I had fear, the courage I had was greater.

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In looking back, I see that more than anything else. That determination and resolve.

I’ve seen that in other areas of my life, like when I’m at an indoor climbing gym and hanging on to the wall after I’ve become too weak to go on. My belayer holding on to my rope says, it’s okay to let go. And you know what I do? I don’t know why – but I fight the letting go. I start holding on tighter. It makes me laugh, actually, seeing that reaction rise up inside me out of seemingly nowhere.

But I’ve learned that it doesn’t come from nowhere – that fight, determination and strength – is a part of who I am. That’s helped give me build so much more confidence in myself these last several years, a confidence that I didn’t have in my younger years.

I have also learned in building a business that fighting isn’t always the answer. Fighting for the right thing is.

I can’t fight for clients, opportunities, or things that aren’t for me. In fact, fighting for them takes away the grace and the joy that is meant to come when the right thing comes along. I had a hard time with this when I first started, but as I developed confidence, it also helped me have the grace to let go.

That grace and gratitude is something I am still learning, but leaning into that has made the journey so much more enjoyable.

I hope this encourages you – this comes from a little girl who didn’t have much confidence, to a woman and business owner that sees the strength and determination and grace that lies within me. I’m not perfect, and still learning every day. But I’m trying to lean in to what I am called to do, and the courage that requires.

I hope this encourages you, too, to find it within you.

 

Image by: Laura Rose Photography

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