This time last year, I was wading through gorgeous photos from styled wedding shoots, preparing to use them to build up the wedding side of my photography business, and to help a local farm I was contracted to break into the wedding venue scene.
The photos were truly beautiful.
But there was a big problem. They felt empty.
Because the stories they were telling were fake. There were two exceptions, friends who agreed to get dressed up and model for me. Because the story I was telling was of their authentic connection, and the way the farm could provide the perfect backdrop for a love story.
But the big shoots, where a hundred photographers were jostling for position, rushing to get their shots before moving to the next station….I realized that was most definitely NOT my scene. The only part of my participation in those that I really enjoyed was creating photos that fellow business owners could use to grow their businesses. Bakers. Caterers. Florists. Make-up artists. Wedding rentals. Planners.
But do you know which business owners have constant access to eager photographers available to work with them and provide drop-dead gorgeous marketing photos?!
Every. Single. Entrepreneur. in the wedding industry.
They have access to so many photos that their biggest pain point is knowing how to organize them and use them effectively in their marketing.
It just didn’t feel like the right path for me, for my business.
Then the farm canceled their long-term contract with me because they were rethinking their venue plan, which effectively cut off my single biggest source of income.
And my 23-year marriage was in a painful limbo, I was waiting for my husband to decide if he was in or out.
I was in so much emotional turmoil that it created a tangled mess within me that left me feeling nothing but numb. I withdrew from everything that I could, trying to figure out what to do. Then God gave me a wake-up call that sent shockwaves through the foundation that I thought my life had been built on.
For a time, that discovery sent me into deeper retreat, deeper fear, deeper numbness.
That’s when Covid hit. And locked me down with all my turmoil, having no idea what to do. The constant internal tension between fight or flight left me completely paralyzed.
That’s the scene for the biggest battle I have ever fought. The battle back to myself. The battle for the future I wanted. The battle out of the corner I was being painted into.
I had to shed external expectations, external identities, external constraints, and ask myself some really, really tough questions. I had to face the reality that my life was not going to look ANYTHING like I thought it should, nothing like the life that I thought I had been building for decades.
But you know what? Something really surprising happened in the aftermath of that battle.
So many beautiful and strong things began to take shape within me as I settled into a deep, deep acceptance. There was nothing about the past that I could influence, so all that was left was to decide what meaning I would create from it, and what I wanted on the other side of the mess.
I threw myself into the deep work of building an identity of MY choosing. I ejected the voices in my head that did not belong to me. I navigated the neverending business education cycle and found a way to serve fellow entrepreneurs that awakened gifts I forgot I possessed.
I rediscovered my passion for storytelling, for writing, for seeing how someone’s journey aligns with their purpose in life and the way they choose to serve their tribe. I found the place where my journey, my skills, intersect with a need in the market. And I leaned in. Through the uncertainty. Through the overwhelm. Through the instincts shouting at me to withdraw.
And each new day that those things came knocking on my door, I faced them. Some days they beat me and I had to get up and try again another day. Other days I felt fierce and full of joy. But all those days strung together to form a year of unparalleled growth in myself AND my business.
This is the journey that gave birth to my origin story process, to my ability to help business owners find and use their stories to create more impact in the lives of their clients. To serve bigger.
To love deeper. To hope harder.
Did you fight a battle to get where you are today in your business? If you need help figuring out how to tell that story in a way that aligns with who you are, who you serve, and what you do, reach out to me