While I am excited about the New Year, I have learned the value of reflection of the past. 2015 was a year of growth personally and professionally and I know that if 2016 is anything like this year, that it will be amazing. Today, I want to share a little about what has been going on behind the scenes as I reflect on what I learned in 2015.
- I Learned to Invest in My Business: I am grateful that I had my art degree as a starting point when I began this business but this has been the year of investing in my business, not just my art. As an artist and business owner, that can sometimes be a hard balance to strike as the two can sometimes have opposing viewpoints and goals. I spent the start of this year putting together systems and workflows to provide a better experience for my brides. This past summer I went back to school taking classes with the International Academy of Wedding Photographers. As a former middle school art teacher going back to school has been invigorating.
- I Let Go of My Fear: I love teaching but I hate public speaking which in the Photography world sometimes doesn’t jive. However I know I have the unique experience of moving every 4 years and that experience can help others grow their business. I took the leap back in the spring to teach for Learn Elite and created my first workbook. Both things I would never have thought possible this time last year. The more I step out in faith, the more I am amazed at where I end up at. Here’s to more “Let it Go” moments in 2016. (Sorry for the Frozen reference, my daughter is addicted.)
- I Looked Outside of My Bubble: It is easy to stay with what we know and so much harder to get out of our comfort bubble. The thing with bubbles is that they feel great and seem awesome when your in them but once you step out of them, you realize how much more is out there. I stopped reading industry blogs and attended my first conference that had nothing to do with weddings or the photography world and it was mind blowing. I went up to DC for a few days to attend an Abridger workshop and the value of doing that is truly priceless in my family life and my business. I spent the day with people from all over the world, in all walks of life as we learned about Leadership and Self-deception. Step outside of your industry once in awhile and see how much more you will grow and learn.
- I Learned to Take Time Off: This is the first year I have not worked during the holiday season, and it was so refreshing to take a break from blogging, shooting, and editing to just be with friends and family. It was the rest I needed after the busyness leading up to November. Time is the one thing we can’t get back and spending it with my husband and little ones was the refreshment I needed to head into the new year.
- I Learned to Surrender: In July I got a phone call that rocked my happy little world. I felt like the carpet got yanked out from under me as my husband called to tell me that the Army might be cutting him as part of the budget cuts brought on by the government. My husband loves his job and I love the adventure that is our life but I don’t like long lengths of uncertainty and this had been the longest one to date. In September the board met and looked over his and many others files to determine who to cut. We have waited for six months not knowing what 2016 will hold for us and I spent much of that time filled with an anxious dread of not knowing. God has used that season of not knowing to teach me to trust in His goodness and surrender to His will. We so often pray for what we want without the realization that God’s will may not be the same as ours. That doesn’t mean we stop asking for things but that we ultimately surrender to His will for our lives. To surrender our lives and my business to His will has been the biggest thing I have learned this year.
This is the first year I haven’t made a New Years Resolution but instead have chosen a word that I hope will be the theme for 2016. The word and theme for 2015 has been Surrender and Growth. What will your theme be for the New Year? How will you implement it? Comment below and join me tomorrow to find out what my word for 2016 is.