Goal Digging 2018

So at the beginning of the year I posted about my NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS. It’s been a little over a month and I just wanted to check in with how I’m doing. My power word for the year is FLOURISH. And in the last month I feel like I have flourished a little bit. I’ve been learning from my KJ All Access subscription. Which is amazing and if you’re an aspiring photographer, or even an established photographer, you should look into it because it never hurts to pick up on tips and tricks and keep learning as you grow.

My first wedding of 2018 is done and blogged and just about ready to be sent off to the bride and groom. I’ve gotten a few inquiries for more weddings and booked some family sessions for the coming year and I CANNOT WAIT for those!

My blogging and business goals could use a little work. But that’s what these check-ins are for.

But I did want to tell y’all about one more goal I added to my list for the year. My reading goal. I didn’t decide on this until after my original New Year’s post. I was finishing up a book I’d been reading before Christmas… okay, it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and yes, it was my third time reading it. But when I’d finished, I was completely overwhelmed by how much I loved reading. Anyone who knows me knows I had my nose stuck in books when I was younger. I loved to read, especially during the summers when I had absolutely nothing else to do. And then I realized I didn’t read much anymore except for summers when I went on vacation.

So I made a plan for myself… thirty books this year. That averages about two books a month except for the summer months of June, July, and August where I add two more books because I’ll have more free time to do so. Maybe I’m overreaching, maybe I’ll go above and beyond my goal. Either way, I want to try and just read more. And so far I’ve read three books and am on track.

So anyway, I just wanted to give a small insight into how I’m doing on my goals. And also just a little recommendation–if you’re a woman trying to break out into business, or if you have an established business, or even if you don’t have any interest in having a business, you should read Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba (pictured above). It’s a short and easy read. I finished it in two days and highlighted a lot of important words of wisdom and advice. It doesn’t just help in your business life, but in your personal life as well and features some pretty inspiring women. I’m willing to lend my copy if anyone is interested!

 

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NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS

BLOCKING OUT NEGATIVITY

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Blocking Out Negativity

I wanted to speak on this a little bit because it’s so important to address this at least once (or fifty) times when you have a blog–especially in this creative line of business. And this doesn’t just apply to the creatives, but to everyone. Because everyone, at one point or another, is subjected to negativity–whether it’s from others around them, themselves, and even friends or family. Negativity happens. We’re humans, so every once in a while someone is going to voice a negative opinion, or not like something you’ve produced.

That’s okay. Well, really, it’s not okay. In a perfect world, that wouldn’t happen. But unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world. There will always be critics. There will always be someone playing “devil’s advocate.” And there will always be unhappy people just wanting to bring the happy people down. It’s not fun. It hurts. It stings. And it makes you just feel downright crappy.

But don’t let it get to you. I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes and mumbling about how it’s “easier said than done,” but I promise you, all you need to do to block it out is your own positivity. I haven’t always had thick skin. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve begun brushing off the negative comments. Because I came to a point in my life where I realized those comments don’t matter. They just don’t.

I don’t want to get preachy and I don’t want to try to sound all inspirational. I just want to be real with you and tell you what’s worked for me–in my business, in my personal life, and just in general. Here are just a few things to consider and think about the next time you’re exposed to a little negativity:

The first thing I always consider–Do you know this person? If this is some stranger posting on social media, forget about them. Did they post a rude comment on your Instagram? Delete the comment, block them if you need to, but just move on. Is this person an acquaintance? This is probably the hardest one because you may see this person on a semi-regular basis, or run with the same crowd, and you don’t want to make waves, but still, don’t want to be subjected to continuous negativity. How you respond just depends on your personality. I’m the kind of person who tends to grin and bear it. I hold my tongue, but in my mind, I know that I’m worth more than their comments and know that I’m proud of what I do no matter their opinion.

Continuing on with the first thing to consider, is this person close friends or family? If you tend to be on the quieter side, this one might be scary. This hurts–this hurts when negativity comes from those you care most about. Family and friends should lift you up and support you. But there are a few things to consider too when confronting negativity from the ones you really care about. First–you have to decipher if this is negativity or constructive criticism. And when you have a creative business that you’re so proud of, sometimes you have tunnel vision and it’s hard to hear others’ opinions. But hear them out. They’re saying this because they love you and want you to succeed. If you really don’t like their criticism, then you can politely let them know. But don’t automatically assume it’s negativity. Now–if you’ve taken the time to think about it and you find that it really is negativity, then this is a great opportunity for you to speak up. It’s hard. It’s so hard to press back against them, especially if it’s someone you really love. But here’s the thing–you standing up for yourself and just saying a simple, “This is who I am and this is what I love. You may not like it or understand it, but if you love me and support me, then you will have to respect this aspect of my life as well,” will not only make you feel better and stronger but also cause whoever you’re talking to think.

I know, I know, easier said than done. But friends, I promise you, you can do it.

Another thing I consider when exposed to negativity is just thinking about where it’s coming from. Because almost always, negativity comes from a place of hurting. You know the phrase, “misery loves company”? Well, it’s true. Hurt people hurt people. It could be coming from a place of jealousy, or neglect, or just pure unhappiness. But wherever it stems from, you need to know it is not your fault.

And finally, the most important thing I consider on a daily basis–how am I talking to myself? The way you speak to yourself matters so much more than the way others speak to you. Because you can brush off others’ negativity. And you can stand up for yourself. But the way you think about yourself and speak to the person in the mirror, that’s the voice that’s going to make or break you. So think positive things. Speak words of affirmation to yourself. This goes for anyone, whether you’re a business owner, or a stay at home mom, or a student, or a normal person with a 9 to 5. The way you see yourself matters. And it affects how others see you as well. If you wear that confidence. If you let yourself be happy, that will radiate to those around you and stop the negativity before it even happens. So the next time you think you “screwed up”, don’t think about how bad the situation got, focus on how you made it better, how you fixed it or can fix it. The next time you look at your beautiful face in the mirror and point out that one big flaw about yourself you can’t stand, ignore it and focus on the things you love about yourself.

Life is too short to be unhappy. Life is too amazing to let others get you down. I really hope I could give you just a little perspective on keeping things positive. And I hope you speak to yourself a little nicer and let those negative comments just roll off your back. Because you are worth so much more than that.

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NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS

New Year, New Goals

Happy new year! I can’t believe 2018 is already here! This past year went by like–snap–that. And it was a pretty good year for me. I started by photography back up again and really started to get serious about it as a business. I booked some awesome sessions this past year and for the coming up year I have some things booked–with my first wedding of 2018 coming up in just two weeks! I’m beyond excited, and beyond ready. I’ve been itching to take pictures since I finished editing my last session for 2017.

So with the new year obviously comes resolutions. And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen my POWER WORD for the year is “flourish”, and so all of my goals for 2018 revolve around growing and flourishing in my business, as a photographer, and as a person. I have a long list of ways I want to flourish this year so I won’t list everything out, but I did want to share my BIG goals.

For my business, obviously I want to grow and book more sessions, but the only way to do that is to enhance my presence on social media. I want to be present more on Instagram, Facebook, and most importantly this blog. When it comes to blogging, my posts are few and far between but that is changing this year. I will post more frequently, even if it is more personal posts than photography at first.

As a photographer, my biggest goal is to just learn–from my own experiences, from other photographers, from webinars (and I’ve been signing up for every free webinar I come across!), etc. I want to grow and develop my style, as well as my equipment.

And finally, as a person, I want to grow as a Christian. 2017 was about my relationships. I got back in touch with friends I haven’t seen in forever, cultivated my close friendships, and even went on a few dates (but that’s another story for another time). But 2018 is about my relationship with God. I’ve neglected church, neglected praying, neglected reading my bible, and that all changes this year. I even purchased THE STORY OF REDEMPTION BUNDLE from The Daily Grace Co to help me dive back into it. And I’ve already made a list of the other bible study books I want once I finish this one.

So here I go into 2018 with big goals, big dreams, and a newfound motivation to GET STUFF DONE. Farewell, 2017. You were good to me, but 2018–as my coworker told me yesterday–will be “twenty great-teen.”

Being the “Fixer” Friend

As a person, I like to think I have a big heart. While I don’t always cry at movies or at sad or sappy articles like some people do, when it comes to my friends and family, I always want to help. So when a friend has a problem, I always strive to be there for them. I’m always willing to lend a hand or some advice. (I don’t think I’m the greatest at advice, BUT I am a great listener, and sometimes that’s all you need.)

But when there’s a problem that isn’t fixable for whatever reason–because it’s bigger than me, or because it’s not the right timing–I feel so helpless. Like when my friend has work troubles or personal troubles and they’re sobbing on the other end of the phone, and I can’t do anything other than say, “It’ll get better,” I feel so helpless. I know it’s not my responsibility to fix everything. I can’t fix everything and I know that. And I also know they’re not expecting me to fix everything–they just need an outlet, somewhere to rant, or a shoulder to cry on. But sometimes it just hurts my heart that I can’t do more to help.

I call this being the “fixer” friend. The desire to help or fix or resolve any issues loved ones’ lives. And it’s definitely me.

As I talked to a friend this past week about some issues she’s been having, I sat there wishing I could snap my fingers and everything would be okay. Every worry that she had or obstacle she was facing would instantly be gone and there would be this huge bright light at the end of the tunnel. But life doesn’t work like that–and it’s not designed to work like that. Sometimes you really need to give it all to God and let Him work it out. It’s hard. It’s incredibly hard to just lay everything in front of Him. And as the “fixer” friend it’s hard to sit back and watch the people you love go through something that you can’t touch even in the slightest. But sometimes, that’s what you have to do.

So for all of my “fixer” friends out there. It is OKAY. It is okay if you don’t have all the right words to say. It is okay that you can’t fix the problem for them. You can’t put a band-aid on it and pray that it will heal up the scar. You CAN, however, be there to lend an ear, or a hand, or a shoulder, to take them out for queso and margaritas and a movie. To take their mind off of it for a little while so they can get a little peace. No–it doesn’t fix everything, but it will ease their minds for a little while and hopefully let them think more clearly about any decisions they need to make. Sometimes they’ll want to talk about it, and sometimes they won’t. Whatever they choose, don’t press the conversation, let them lead.

This got a little deeper and rambling-er than I meant for it to get, so I hope I didn’t lose anyone! But I just want to tell everyone out there kind of on the same page as me that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one who feels like this, and that you simply BEING there for friends means more to them than anything else. So the next time you find yourself in this type of situation–don’t let it wear you down. It’s hard to let those feelings go. Trust me, I know. You might feel like a bad friend, or a failure, or helpless. But don’t let it. Just be there. And be all there. Listen. Advise. And let God do the rest.

Hatteras Island, NC

 

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Hey y’all! This is exciting, right?! An actual blog for my actual photography. Why am I saying actual so much? I have no idea. Probably just because I’m really excited. This year has been absolutely amazing! I shot my first wedding since 2013, bought a new lens for my camera, attended my first styled shoot (EEP! I can’t wait to share all of the pictures with you!), and TA-DA established this big girl blog. My old blog was more for personal use, this one is purely for my business, with a few little side posts thrown in every now and then.

Such as this one. As I write this to you, I’m still reeling over the past week. Last Friday, I packed up (probably a month’s worth of clothes) and hauled it all to my bestfriend (yes, one word) Gentry’s house. You’ll hear me talk about her a lot. She’s basically my sister and we’re joined at the hip. It’s cool. And on Saturday morning, at 4:30 am we headed to the beach! I’d only been to Hatteras Island once before and it’s been about ten years, so this was awesome. We crammed six people and three dogs into a cute little house, drove out onto the beach every day. I got a major sunburn, but now it’s soaking in and my normally-porcelain complexion is a wee bit tanner. My mom even says I look so different now that I have a bit of color to my face. I just hope it stays around for a while!

While I was down there, of course, I took my camera, but I really tried not to have it out all the time. I really wanted to just have a laid back week. But I got some good shots, took some pictures on my phone, and while I was relaxing, even read three books. Three! Okay, to be fair–I finished one I’d been reading while I was at home, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m rereading the series for the third time. But after I’d finished it, I read Lauren Graham’s book Talking As Fast As I Can. It’s a really cute memoir of her acting career, especially reflecting back on her show Gilmore Girls, if you’re really into it as much as I am (hint: It’s my favorite show). And then, I moved onto Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. All I have to say is AMAZING. And I will be watching the movie as soon as it comes out. And then on our last night, we went to Quarterdeck for dinner and as we pulled into the parking lot, I saw one of my co-workers there with her family. We both knew we were on the island the same week, but for us to actually run into each other accidentally–small world!

So… if you’re still here after all of my rambling, please enjoy these pictures from the week, the first few are with my camera — the ones I like to call professional — and then the last few are iPhone pictures.

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Look at my beautiful sister from another mister!

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We were laughing because of the mini-shoot on our deck. Someone mentioned the “engagement ring” shot and then… well, this happened.

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We never pass up the opportunity to take a selfie!

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And sweet Miss Stella loved her vacation. No matter how tired she got, she still wanted to play ball in the waves.

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We headed to the point to check out this new Shelly Island that’s getting so much attention. We wanted to wade across but after hearing about the sharks and the strong current, we figured “mmm betta not”.

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And pardon the Honda, but I fell in love with these rainbow houses. I’ll move into that teal one, if you don’t mind.

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