To summarize Making Things Happen is difficult. I mean…really difficult. I have struggled for the past two weeks to explain it to anyone. It was amazing…transformational…fantastic…eye-opening. I went knowing this was a crucial point in my business, knowing that I wanted to take it to the next level…and that I was going to make some big decisions. What I didn’t realize is that they (meaning Lara, Emily and Gina) could actually tell me nothing. I had the answers to those questions. I just needed to start realizing they were there and more than that…I needed to refocus on what matters.
My family and my daughter are my entire world. Spending time with them. Snuggling…Laughing…coloring…going on walks. This is what makes my days bright. THIS is what matters.
The past 3 months have been PACKED with sessions. We are talking two sessions a week and a wedding on the weekends. Everyone’s response to that is…”Wow that’s awesome!” I often smile and say yes. I mean…a year ago I was convinced I could never be a full-time photographer and here I am over-booked and I am SO grateful. But I am secretly saying in my head… Is it? Is it awesome? Is it awesome to drain yourself? It is awesome to chase after something when you aren’t sure what that something is?
The answer is clearly no. I have not been joyful these past few months. I have been over-working myself. Over-tired. Desperate to sneak in a nap. Short with my family. No time for my friends. And anything additional to work and mandatory family has just been too much. So despite one of my busiest seasons of my career…here I am…struggling to keep it all in balance and entirely empty.
If I could share one piece of advice from MTH it is this. If you are not living your BEST life then what are you doing? If you are not chasing after the things that make your heart happy with everything you have…then…you aren’t actually living. A year ago today I was terrified that if I left my job that I would lose everything. Well let’s think about that…what’s everything? Was I afraid nobody would book me? Yes. Was I afraid I would then become poor? Yes. Was I afraid I wouldn’t be able to take care of my child? Yes. Was I afraid I would not be able to balance it all? Yes. I was afraid of it all. But here I am…alive and well and living in fear and solving it by over-booking and working tirelessly. So if I step back…if I stop being afraid… what would happen if I just lost it all?? I would still be me. I would still have my family. I would still have what matters.
Since Atlanta, I have committed myself to joy. I want to be a joyful person in all of my roles in life…first wife…then mom…then photographer. And I can’t do that if I am focused on booking and THEN squeezing in family time. If I am living in fear. It doesn’t make me happy….it doesn’t make me grow… and it isn’t what matters.
The changes I have made to my personal life and business since MTH are not easy ones, but they are on intent focusing on what matters. They include a new website, studio hours and a more specific focus on the services of my business. I can’t do it all. I can’t be an awesome kids/wedding/studio/on-location everything photographer and still be where I am happiest…with my family. Changes also include deleting facebook from my phone. Let’s be real here…Facebook and social media isn’t real life and we all fool ourselves to think it is. (I seriously challenge you to delete it from you phone today and think about how much it doesn’t matter.) Instead of reading my email every spare second I have…I check it twice all day and definitely not right before bed. It goes off at five and my phone is turned off entirely at 7. In the past two weeks, I joined a gym and I am getting up early to go. It is something I have been putting off, which now seems crazy because working out is something I love and it is worth making time for. Our family now has a set schedule to make sure both mom and dad have time for ourselves and each other. With two businesses in the home, discipline is a priority, but endless hours of work is not. And this…it’s only the beginning.
My life and business will have highs and lows. I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy journey balancing being a wife, mom, business owner and photographer. But it was my dream…and it makes me happy and I am going to give it everything I have…but what I can not forget is that at the end of the day…I am me without my business and the “success” that comes with it.
And so are you.
Regardless of that you “do” at the end of the day…you are who you are. You are not defined by your business, or your success or your Facebook friends. You are defined by who you are at your core and the decisions you make to live the life you live. And I don’t know about you, but I would prefer that person to be a joyful, happy, kind person who focuses on what matters instead of an over-worked and tired momma who is living in terms of what the rest of the world and industry think is “successful”.
So what should you do today. After you read this…turn off Facebook. Dream really big and think about what makes you happy. Create a plan. Do those happy things. Face your fears….do what matters.
Make EVERY SINGLE DAY joyful. GO AFTER IT.
I will have big changes to my business in the coming weeks. I will also have more stories from MTH about joyful people that are going after what matters. They inspire me and I hope they will inspire you too.
My love for Lara, Gina and Emily and the MTH experience is only summarized in one word…thankful.
So here’s to new beginnings and a life jam-packed with joy and over-flowing with what matters.
A very joyful Brittany