Thursday, 10 September 2015
The Big Annoucement
A few of our friends know already, but now it’s time to make it official and tell the world.
And honestly I’m a little scared to make it official. To say the words I’ve been wanting to say for over a year….
I’m letting go of my photography business. Officially.
You see, I’ve been wanting to be finished with this role in my life since Lana was born and I’ve slowly let it go since then. Back then it was because I’d lost my solid 2-3 hours a day of work time and I felt like I was losing control and drowning. More recently I realized it was more about my heart. My heart was never fully in it.
I started my photography business not because I had a deep love and passion for it and wanted to make it a career. I started because I wanted to be home with Mariah instead of working a full time job. Nick asked I find a way to bring in a little income while at home, and I found out some moms start photography businesses to do just that. I spent months reading every blog and article I could get my hands on, learning how to use my camera and see the light, how to navigate owning my own business…I was going to be awesome at this. I could make this happen. I would not close up shop within three years like I read so many did. This was my new career path.
Then I started to see how this work-at-home mom/photographer thing, this beautiful dream job I’d read about, wasn’t anything like what I’d heard. Not for me at least.
I thought I’d build beautiful friendships with my clients that would last a lifetime. I thought they would love and praise my images and thank me in beautiful letters and refer so many clients to me I couldn’t keep up. I thought it would bring me so much joy to capture real life – to show clients their regular every day life was beautiful.
But in reality, I was just hired to do a job, I wasn’t their friend. They must have liked their photos, because they came back again, but I rarely heard more than a thank you. And most everyone wanted posed, smiling at the camera photos which didn’t make my heart happy.
And I felt so alone. Even when so many other women are in this business, a lot of them are catty and bash other photographers. I was used to a job where I had constant feedback and words of affirmation spoken to me. I didn’t like being in competition with other photographers and competing for clients.
More than all of that, it brought anxiety into my life. Major anxiety.
Days leading up to the session or wedding day are spent “in preparation”, which for me is playing out all possible scenarios, wondering what will happen and how it will go. I also ran through all the problems we might encounter. The day of a shoot I stressed out because I’m uncomfortable with small talk, looking like a fool in front of the parents while trying to make a kid giggle, worried the bride is taking too long to get ready and we won’t be finished in time…overall I had a mini freak out inside while looking calm on the outside. And my freakouts lead to stupid mistakes with settings on my camera, basic composition, poses etc. I froze up creatively. All the ideas I’d planned or imagined went out the window.
Then on the drive home and while editing the images, I beat myself up. I saw everything I left out, the shots I forgot, the angles I missed, the settings I screwed up because I was stressed….the list goes on and on. Until I’d finished every last step with the client – all the way to image delivery – these thoughts filled my head. Day and night. The kept me from functioning normally. I wanted to spend a solid day at the computer and finish with them so I could move on an relax. But that’s not an option if I want to give my family some attention.
I decided (with much prayer) the stress and anxiety and general lack of fulfillment isn’t worth it. Not worth any amount of money I might charge.
So Saturday I shot my last wedding. Once those images are sent off, I’ll get my accounting paperwork ready for taxes and clean out the office of my business items. I’ll even be selling quite a bit of gear too.
I’m really excited let this go. To be completely free of the anxiety and guilt and stress it brings. To live my life without this role. To focus solely on my family and home.
Some people might say I’m not giving it a fair chance, that I can work through my issues and overcome them and find fulfillment in this role. I tried that for awhile first. For me, it’s not a fit with my gifts, the way God designed me, and I have complete peace about letting this go. I’m excited to see what comes into my life as I obey what I feel like God is leading me to do.
Do you have something in your life you might need to let go? Examine those roles, or jobs or volunteer positions you said yes to, but don’t bring you fulfillment anymore. Really dig deep to find the root of why your heart’s not happy. Burn out? Not the right fit? Ready for change? Maybe for you, like me, it’s time to quit. Quitting doesn’t always mean you’re a failure at something you know. Sometimes it just means you’re moving on to a new phase. Or maybe letting one thing go will make room for bigger and better things. I love this article by Brooke Snow about quitting if you want a little more on the process.
I’m a big believer in finding joy and fulfillment in your career (as well as volunteer jobs and other activities). Sure, you’ll have hard days and you may not love every single part of the job, but when your heart is passionate about what you do it doesn’t even feel like work. It just feels right. If you’d like more direction about how to find what makes your heart happy read A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. A beautiful book I’m still reading and I believe everyone should read. Even if they’re not seeking life direction, but maybe want to find contentment in their current roles.
I’m not saying you should quit everything. Quitting isn’t the answer for all the things you might not like doing. I don’t like doing laundry and changing diapers, but quitting those things would make for a pretty stinky life. But if you have a tugging in your heart to let something go, don’t ignore that tug. Take your time to explore it, pray about it and trust your heart.