2 YEARS/2 QUESTIONS & MY BIGGEST BUSINESS TAKEAWAY
Tuesday was my business' two year anniversary! I don't consider the date I acquired a business license as my anniversary. Instead, I choose to celebrate the date of my first session thereafter; an intimate elopement in Onancock, Virginia, where I was the sole witness to two of the best people on planet Earth saying their wedding vows. (I'd be willing to wager that C. & S. are two of the best people in the entire Milky Way. Dead serious).
I remember that day so incredibly vividly; how I felt driving to the Eastern Shore, over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge under skies the color of steel wool, a blanket of dense fog, wind, and drizzle. The world was gray, but I was bright. Electric.
I was in the process of working with Kathryn Duckett of Creme Brands. She had asked me what the playlist of my brand would sound like. (And let me tell you, I agonized over that question more than any other). My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday was number one on the playlist of my brand at the time. On that bridge, in that fog and rain, headed towards my first real-deal session as Lindsay Collette, photographer, business owner--#GIRLBOSS--blasting that song as loud as I could with my windows down and the heat full-force, I felt like I was flying. Soaring.
In all honesty, it was one of the best feelings of my entire life, and I hope I never forget that feeling. It was an intoxicating elixir of self-confidence, purpose, honor, and amazement. It's a feeling I hold on to when things get tough. And, in the two years and two days I've been a business owner, there have been some tough times. (Imagine that!)
HOWEVER! There have been far more wonderful, exciting, thrilling times. There have been days where I've been challenged far more than I ever knew I could be. I've met people who have forced me to answer questions about who I was, who I wanted to become, and if I was headed on the right path to get there.
I've learned how to travel alone, find adventure in myself, and open my heart to a variety of cultures, lifestyles, and alternate definitions of love, family, and happiness. I've reconnected with people from my hometown who have helped build my business in ways I cannot ever begin to express or repay. I've fallen in love with new people and places, and gained members of what I consider my extended family.
I discovered who I am at a core level--what I stand for, why I do this, and who I am serving. I've battled personal demons, and have come to far too many showdowns with my ego. I've also questioned my marriage, my sanity, and basically everything else there is to question when you're a business owner.
My greatest lessons came not from any one event, but rather a culmination of them all. One of, if not the greatest takeaway for me in the last two years in both my business and personal life has been to WALK ON.
I have had to accept that I will make mistakes, and if you're planning on becoming a business owner, or just living life in any capacity, guess what? You will too.
Yeah, yeah. It's something everyone says, right? But it really isn't until you've lived through those mistakes and busted your way to the others side that you will really get it.
I've made many mistakes as a business owner, mother, wife, and teacher in the last two years. I've said things I shouldn't have, behaved in ways that I wish I hadn't, and, on some days, I was not the woman I know that I am, and who I ultimately want to become.
I'm still here.
A few years ago, my mistakes would have crippled me. In fact, they did. I allowed my previous missteps, anxieties about the future, and fear in general to derail me from my passion for photography for almost an entire year. I came up with a lot of reasons as to why I couldn't go after what I love, and there was certainly no shortage of distractions. I obsessed over the coulda's, shoulda's, woulda's. I was living in the past, unable to move on, and allowed my darkness to swallow me for a time.
I'm still here.
These days, I accept that I will make mistakes and understand that they don't have to derail me. I know that I cannot beat myself up for being a human being. I try my best to find a lesson in the mistakes, to take what I can from a situation that may not be the brightest. I choose to walk on, acknowledging that I have yet to discover the ability to bend time, and can only continue with one foot in front of the other if I want this passion of mine to survive.
I recently read,
In order to go where you want to in this life, in order to reap the massive rewards that you've dreamed of your entire life, it's going to take irrevocable mistakes that may haunt you for weeks or months or years. Those little battle scars are also signs that you've played the game and you're headed in the right direction.
I'm still here.
Additionally, my husband Logan, who (bless him) has seen me at my most hysterical, snottiest, and haggard; who has witnessed my jealousy, anger, and some other not-so-pleasant traits, has helped guide my every move with two questions.
While I was agonizing over decisions, and the possible outcomes of them all, he simply told me to ask myself:
HOW DOES THIS HELP MY BUSINESS?
DO I FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT?
PS: He's the yin to my crazy ass yang.
These two questions have been integral to how I conduct myself and my work, and I believe they could offer insight to any entrepreneur.
I'm jumping head-first into this next season of my business and personal life. Spring is here, and the warmer weather couldn't have come at a better time! With the weather are some big changes which have already been enacted, and I can't wait to dive into further soon.