Some of you may have seen my post from a few weeks ago, but last Saturday I got the amazing opportunity to have a mentoring session with Justin and Mary! I first found these two several years ago, when I was telling my friend how much I love black and white imagery. She suggested I follow them because that's what they are known for, and I'm so glad I did. Since that time I've been to their posing and lighting workshops, with everything culminating in the time I got to spend with them recently.
So what does it mean that I had a mentoring session with them? Well, they sat down and combed through my business for over 3 hours. They looked through my whole website, recent blogs, and gave tons of suggestions on what I could be doing differently and better. What I appreciated about them was they suggested changes by pointing out the GOOD, rather than the bad. Not only is this encouraging, it's extremely exciting to hear photographers exclaim over your images when you've been doing the same over theirs for years!
After that review, we talked through the whole business structure - everything from pricing to my recent rebrand to my goals for the future. They showed me how I can make the most of every interaction, from the first email I sent a potential bride to the very last point of contact. They looked at my brand and what makes me unique, and gave some action steps to take my business to the next level.
One big game changer for me is that Nathan came along. I'll talk more about that later, but this was huge. He has always been as involved as I've asked him to be, but when he looked at how Justin and Mary evaluated my website, he realized a new way he can help me. I'm excited that he WANTS to take a bigger role in my business and while that's a little scary for me - I've always done this thing by myself! - I couldn't be more thankful to him. He's truly an amazing person...and I'm sure an amazing business partner :)
While I'm still processing everything they told me, I had a huge light bulb moment towards the end. I asked how they go about dreaming big dreams. Mary's answer was simple: nobody will ever give you permission. Nobody will call me up and ask me to take the lead, or speak publicly, or write my story. Nobody will tell me to take that leap. I have to be the one to get comfortable with a little bit of fear and just GO for it.
In all honesty, I struggle with being afraid of fear. I can do a good job with blogging, shooting, editing, and everything else, but it takes a leap of faith to try something new. To create just for the sake of creating. To take a big leap and know that there's a chance this idea might not work out.
But to move forward, to be better, to follow the big dreams I want to have...I HAVE to be ok with fear. I have to embrace it, get uncomfortably comfortable with it, and stare it down until I'm more afraid of not pushing myself. I need to be afraid to not be afraid. So here's to 2016. Here's to dreaming big dreams, but leaving them all in God's hands. Here's to being afraid and taking leaps of faith. Here's to giving myself permission to do big, bold, things - and be ok with whatever happens next. This - and so much more - came from sitting down with these two amazing photographers and mentors. I can't wait to see what comes next.