When it comes to self-doubt, I'm intimately familiar with the toxic patterns that plague women in business-you've got no alternative but to face the inevitable inner turmoil head-on, especially when it's standing in the way of your ambitions.
Cut back to 2016–I was smack dab in the middle of my third year of art teaching. I felt that familiar spark in my heart that every entrepreneur knows. That summer, I decided I was finally going to my photography business.
I was in the thick of researching how to make it “official” when the unthinkable happened: My mother unexpectedly passed away from lung cancer that was too advanced to treat.
The worst part of all? Our relationship was on the rocks at the time of her death, and it had been for years.
Despite the complexity of our relationship, I grieved my mother’s death (as any daughter would). In fact, the loss was infinitely more challenging because we’d barely spoken for years prior–it was a double whammy of grief, knowing we’d lost our relationship while she was living and that I’d never have the opportunity to reconcile.
You deserve a lot of things, but above all?
You deserve to shuck off self-doubt.
The season that followed would challenge me again and again, but here’s the good news: Somewhere between the numbing, the tears, and the despair, there was healing. I won’t beat around the bush–there were times it got really, really dark, but I didn’t succumb.
I was a smidgen away from hitting rock bottom when I realized something had to change or I was gonna be stuck here for good. The inner dialogue looked a little something like this:
“I have to figure something out. I need to approach life from a new perspective...or this shit just isn’t worth it anymore.”
Then, almost daringly (and with some good old fashioned TLC and grief counseling), my mindset evolved:
“You know what… There’s got to be more. I have to believe there is.” And I clung to that thought like a life raft. I knew I had no other choice than to live my life to the fullest. To honor my mother’s life (and all that was to come in mine).
That’s when I decided to go balls to the wall with my business. It was a sink or swim kind of moment–not only did I decide to swim, but I decided to rise + thrive.
Here’s the thing: The intensity of this grief and my healing experience helped me realize how I want to make people feel when they’re in front of my camera. Stick around–promise this will make sense!
When you’re in a community of folks who are grieving with you, everyone’s coming to the table with something different. No matter where you’re at, you arrive with the desire to be seen. For some, this may be the first time people are listening to their story (not just hearing it). In a circle of grief, you are heard, validated, and seen–good or bad.
As you stand before my lens, you are seen. You are loved. You are encouraged. You are supported. Come as you are, and consider me a witness. I’m not here to judge you. I’m here to uplift you and support you during your time in front of the camera–and beyond.
Being photographed is a vulnerable experience, but here’s the thing: You have everything you need to succeed. It’s right there inside of you! And because you’ll be vulnerable with me, I thought I’d make myself vulnerable first, right here, right now.
And hey, maybe we haven’t even met yet, but I need you to know this (if you’re willing to take a stranger’s two cents)–you and I are a lot alike. We show up, do the work, and we serve our clients well.
And in between all of that, we strive to figure out who we really are in the middle of the messiness. For all the progress you’ve made, you deserve every moment of clarity that comes with it. At the end of the day, know this… I can’t wait for you to see yourself the way that I (and the rest of the world) see you. Spoiler alert: You’re a force to be reckoned with.