Christmas came a few days early for me last week. It wasn’t something I was anticipating, but there it was, an unexpected gift in my inbox. When I first read it I thought it was fake, but upon further investigation, it all checked out. I had actually been selected as one of the top wedding professionals for The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2016! I couldn’t believe it…little ol’ me! I immediately did a happy dance, excited and also in disbelief!
Now I’m not writing this post to toot my own horn or brag about what an honor it was to be chosen, but to get real with you. This little award means more to me than anyone knows. I have never taken one single compliment of my photography lightly and I pray I never will. The truth is, I am a HUGE critic of myself and my work and I have been my whole life. It’s the perfectionist in me that never does seem to fade away! Don’t get me wrong, perfectionism has been a great motivator for me, but it’s also the voice inside that constantly tells me I’m not good enough. So often I believe I should be better, I should be working harder, I should have accomplished more by now and that ultimately all this I do for my business will amount to nothing. Yes, I am my harshest critic. This is why satisfied clients are not only my goal, but my invigoration to keep going. All the wonderful people I’ve worked with have been blessings upon blessings! I can’t even tell you how amazing it feels to read the things that past clients and brides have written about their experience with me. It fills my heart with so much joy and encouragement and reminds me that I am doing something right, even when I feel like I’m doing everything wrong sometimes!
I went into 2015 with a lot of hesitation and uncertainty about my photography business. I felt kind of lost and really unsure of where this year would take me. Without a lot of bookings early on, I honestly was about to throw in the towel. It broke my heart to think about giving up on my goals, but I just didn’t know how to make it all work. But the Lord provided. He always has. The wedding season I thought would be dangerously slow, actually filled up and I was also shooting more portrait sessions than I ever did in the past. People from out of state were finding me through the power of the Internet and referrals were coming my way. It was like a switch was flipped! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I became insanely popular or anything, but the work I did have coming in was a testament to how God was leading me in the path I should go and how He brought back a spirit of hope in me.
Then came the tough decision. I’d say the hardest decision of the year. Amongst all the shooting, editing, marketing, blogging, accounting, emailing and so on, I was juggling a job as a nanny to 3 wonderful children. I had hit my 3 year mark with them in June and it was amazing to me how fast the time had flown by. They all seemed so grown up from when I first started! But I had come to a crossroad in my business. I had to decide if I should keep the status quo and continue to stretch myself thin, giving the bare minimum to both of my jobs, or make the tough call and pursue a dream I had been working towards for years. The Crosby’s were the closest thing I had to my own kids and I had shared so many tender moments with them all, which is why it was so hard to say goodbye. Like, really hard! Yet I knew if I didn’t go full-time with my business, I would always be wondering, “What if?” I had to take the plunge and just go for it. So I did! This August I took a leap of faith and it’s been an adventure ever since! I can’t say thank you enough to the Crosby’s for being so supportive of my decision to pursue a full-time business. They will forever be like family to me and luckily they live close by so I get to see them pretty often, which is always a treat!
Now I face a brand new year ahead, full of possibilities. I’m definitely not cured of my perfectionism nor have I silenced the harsh critic in my head, but I have hope. I have drive. I have support from friends and family and I have the Lord. Ultimately, wherever I end up this time next year and whatever I experience in the months to come, it will all be part of His perfect plan. Again, I am beyond grateful for this award from The Knot and don’t take it lightly in the least. I feel like maybe it’s a sign that I’m on the right track. At least I sure hope so! Thank you to everyone who has believed in me and my work. I can’t end this post without saying how grateful I am to my amazing husband who has stuck by my side through my entire career and has cheered me on in my lowest of times! Also, to every client, friend, family member and even stranger who has supported me in my journey, I honestly couldn’t have gone this far without you! Cheers to great new things in 2016!!