I posted on Instagram the other day about my mantra for 2018: Embrace the New.
I've never been a huge fan of change, but I know it's a natural (and inescapable) part of life. Ten years ago I had no idea that I would live on the West Coast or the Mid West (I hadn't ever left the East Coast!), I never thought I would become a professional photographer, and I probably wouldn't recognize the person I've grown into.
Embracing change and enjoying the new experiences is what 2018 is going to be about.
So for all of you making resolutions, mantras, goals, and plans for the upcoming New Year, I wanted to share a simple piece of advice that changed my life.
My husband is one of the few people who I trust for advice and someone I turn to when I am feeling really shitty about myself. He's my biggest cheerleader and he usually knows exactly what to say to put my mind at ease and not be so hard on myself.
He also knows the exact things to say to frustrate me. And one of the most memorable times he did this ended up being the best piece of career advice I could've ever received.
It was summer of 2012, my grandmother (who I was incredibly close with) was dying, I was in a dead-end career, I had zero idea what I wanted to be or who I was. I wasn't living up to my potential, and my husband was fed up seeing me, day after day, complain about my job or cry because I hated going to work.
I had recently dusted off my camera and was trying to teach myself how to shoot again, and I took a few photos at my friend's wedding. Looking back at those photos now are embarrassing from how bad they are compared to my work now, but my friend loved them and I loved taking them.
I mentioned to him one night that being a wedding photographer sounded like so much fun.
And that's when he said it.
"Well, if you want to be a wedding photographer, then be a wedding photographer."
He made it sound so easy. It really pissed me off!
If I knew how to be a wedding photographer, don't you think I'd be one already?
But once we talked about it more, I realized that I was only seeing the end goal. There was a lot of work between where I was in 2012 and where I wanted to be.
So I broke it down into steps.
I read books on freelancing and business.
I researched wedding blogs and magazines and saved my favorite photos to vision boards on Pinterest for inspiration and guidance on posing and lighting.
I invested my free time to taking more photos, with a heavy focus on couples and portraits (aka, I made my friends pose for me when we hung out).
I bought a cheap wedding dress off Etsy and made my pretty friend model for me in it.
I kept a full time job and dedicated every second of free time to being a wedding photographer.
I didn't let the fact that I didn't have any clients or experience stop me from being a wedding photographer.
Less than six months after that conversation with my husband, I booked my first wedding.
So, in a toast to a new start in 2018 (whatever that means for you) know that there isn't anything stopping you from following your heart and goals.
If you want to be something, then just be it. And if you don't know HOW to be it, figure out how. Use Google. Read books, watch tutorials, get to work.
Break it down into steps, even if the first step seems so simple or small or far away from your end goal. Any step forward at all is a step closer than you are now.