Near the end of 2015, I had a conversation with a fellow photographer who asked why I had all but given up and put my camera away. I remember telling him that I didn't feel the spark anymore: that my photography business no longer felt like the right path for me and that I would likely soon close up my business for good.
At that time, I had just released an album with my band and was on tour in Gros Morne, supporting myself by working long and late nights in a restaurant in St. John's, and I was desperately unhappy. I had become a stranger to myself.
I realized almost immediately upon uttering the words that I WAS LYING.
It's so plain to see now looking back how thoroughly I was governed by fear. It was fear that whispered to me over and over, "you're not cut out for this." Fear manifests itself in a hundred forms, and for me that time frame was so saturated by fear that it filled every space. Fear that I could never fit a "professional" mold, that my progress wasn't matching that of other photographers or entrepreneurs, that I wasn't original enough, that I didn't have the guts to follow through with my ideas, that I wasn't extroverted enough to make it in a business like this, and mostly fear of the vulnerability it takes to build a personal brand. Fear of getting to know myself well enough to find out what I truly wanted and who my target clients were. Fear that my rock and roll friends would think I was terribly lame for wanting to be a wedding photographer. (It feels so silly to write but this was a big one at the time).
Once I started succumbing to fear in any one aspect of my life or business, it rushed in and sank me.
I am forever grateful for that conversation in Gros Morne, because it pulled me away from my fear for long enough to see myself whole from the outside, to take an honest look at who I was and who I wanted to grow into.
2016 rang in cold and bright and so full of the heart that had been missing from my intentions for so long. There were so many ways in which it was one of the hardest years of my life, but I am choosing to look back with gratitude at the ways in which 2016 helped me out of the dark.
Making the decision to open bookings again, and to rebuild my business out of love rather than fear was one of the best decisions of my life. I re-opened with a commitment to being unapologetically authentic to myself, building a brand that could match that, and committing to connecting with clients that share my beliefs and philosophies, and as a result I have spent the year with some of the most wonderfully adventurous, wild-hearted and genuine couples and clients and I could not be any more grateful.
"DON'T ASK YOURSELF WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS. ASK YOURSELF WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE AND THEN GO DO THAT. BECAUSE WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS IS PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME ALIVE." - HOWARD THURMAN
I found this quote in the beginning of 2016, in the early days of restructuring and designing my new brand, and hung it on my office wall. It has become the mantra that keeps the fear at bay.
I have never felt so alive. I have never felt so free. And I am so grateful. Here's to 2017, glowing wild and bright before us. Here's to another year rising above the fear that holds us back from what makes us truly happy. xoxo