You’re a small business owner who pours her blood, sweat, and tears into her business. There’s no one else to do it for you. You’re it. You work tirelessly to provide a service that seems effortless, but in reality sucks up most of your time. Then it happens. Life. Things outside of your control that consume your very being. What to do you? Do you curl up in a ball on your couch and watch reruns of the Property Brothers? Do you binge eat every holiday cookie that comes across your nose? Do you dread looking at your “to do” list because you know it’s getting increasingly longer? Yes. You do all of those things and more. Because life happens and as much as you plan for it, it still kicks you square in the pants and throws you off balance.
I was doing so well! I had a great plan to shoot & edit weddings all while planning my own nuptial extravaganza (in 3 months time). It was going to be tight to stay on schedule, but I had every confidence that I could. I had even gotten ahead in some work! It was going to be exhausting, but doable. Then, the unthinkable happened. Just over a month after he married us, my dear friend Mike passed away. And my world was sent into a tailspin of emotion that I wasn’t prepared for at all.
wedding photography by Megan of MorningWild Photography
Granted my grief pales in comparison to his family, but his sudden departure hit harder than anything I had yet to experience. I found myself crying uncontrollably at random moments and the desire to do anything other than curl up on the couch disappeared. It’s still hard. At the cusp of a new year, the knowledge that he wont be there to experience it with us, to encourage others, to love his family, just devastates me. Gosh. Why did I try and write this blog now? Excuse me while I go grab my tissues.
Alright I’m back, soggy tissues in tow. I didn’t start writing the blog to get all weepy and share my grief with you all. That’s not what Mike would have wanted. Through this whole process Ami, Mike’s wife, has been incredibly transparent with everything and I in turn have tried to do the same. As I head into this new year of business, (partially exhilarated and partially terrified) I wanted to share with you some of the ways I’ve pushed on (just a little bit) with my business and life. Because it doesn’t stop, even though we want it to.
#1 – I REMEMBER Mike and all he stood for – You might think that this would make things harder for me and in some ways (and on some days) it does. However, most days remembering my friend who’s smile was infectious and heart was bigger than anyone I had ever met, spurs me on. If there was anyone who would have told me to stop mourning over him and start living, it would have been Mike. So every day I try to remember a “Mikeism” and apply it. Like “Live your life like everyONE matters.” or “Never put a period where God put a comma.” Little nuggets like that, applied to my business and life, keep things in perspective and help me return to “life.”
#2 – I COMMUNICATE with my clients and loved ones. There is nothing like grief that will make you want to shut out the world. I know I keep saying this, and I’ll keep saying it until it isn’t true. I have THE BEST job in the world because it has brought me into relationship with some of THE BEST clients I’ve ever known. Had I not communicated what was going on in my life tho, my clients may not have been as patient or understanding. The trick here is not to “over share.” I didn’t want to bring other people down or sound like I was using this experience as an excuse. But, people did need to know why I wasn’t delivering on their expectations. I’m so grateful that I learned this lesson early in my career. Communicate as much as you can, when the communication stops, that’s when fear starts to creep in. So stop it before it starts!
#3 – I LOOKED FORWARD to the future. As I said earlier, life doesn’t stop just because we want it to. And as hard as it has been to look forward, it IS one of the things that has helped me move that direction. At the beginning, it was forced. Bills had to be paid, people needed pictures for Christmas, holiday plans were in fulls swing. I had people depending on me. I slowly started to look beyond my emotions and tackle each task. Somehow, my brain slowly turned back into “production mode.” Though I couldn’t comprehend what 2016 would look like, I could at least see what today would look like and that was progress! Then today turned into tomorrow, and tomorrow turned into next week, and you get the picture. Now we’re here on the eve of 2016, and though it still looks hazy and I haven’t officially done any goal setting or business analysis I’m still optimistic.
2015 Has been quiet the roller coaster of a year. From fears, to joy, to sadness I’ve experienced the gamut of highs and lows and A LOT of change. One thing has remained the same though, I’m still a photographer who is passionate about capturing LOVE in all of its forms and I don’t see that changing any time soon. 2016 is uncertain, uncharted, and full of unknowns, but I’m excited to have a husband to journey those unknowns with and chart our New Year together!
wedding photography by Megan of MorningWild Photography
I hope this little gimps into my life will help others who are struggling with grief (of any kind) while trying to maintain a business on their own. It’s not easy doing so when life is great and you’re working at optimum capacity! I recently read a newsletter by Elsie & Scott of My Own Irresistible Brand and it was very appropriate for all of this. One of the things I took away was this quote “We, the entrepreneurial souls, were born to overcome.” We can RISE and overcome these hardships and face tomorrow with a confidence that we are held by an incredible God who see’s the entire picture. That brings me peace to keep going even when things get hard.
Thank you all for every note, prayer, and thought. You’re dear to me and I hope we can navigate 2016 together in a more open and loving way.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!