Failure has made me better.
I know, what an odd way to start a “best of” list, but there have been so many challenges this year and I would feel untrue to myself to skip over them.
Go on failures, take a bow. You’ve made me grow.
Here are a few of my failures that I’ve recognized this year:
- I didn’t invest in myself seriously. It has taken me nearly TEN YEARS of dabbling in photography to realize (and admit) that I am not a great self-learner. This year, I finally made the dive and invested in learning opportunities for myself. One of the first things I learned?
- I didn’t know how to pump the brakes. This year, I made a huge effort.. to slow down. I stopped booking every single weekend that I had on my calendar. It was so difficult. I had always said yes to everything. Petting zoo portraits? Done. Custom shots for branding your entire new product line? I’m your girl. I didn’t feel (and probably won’t, for a long time) as though I could afford to turn down ANY new business that came my way, or place myself in a niche so early on. But I learned to say no, and in doing that, I put value on my work and what was most important to me.
- I tried to do it all alone. My biggest failure. I spent the first couple of years in my business trying to fight this hustle entirely by myself. I would finish sessions, go home, see a fellow photographer’s work online and then immediately hate myself and everything that I had done. For years, I felt totally alone, treading water, barely finding enough energy to balance my passion with the hard work – not realizing until much later that WAIT MAYBE EVERYONE FEELS THIS WAY. So I reached out and found photography communities. Local meet-ups. Online groups. Entire communities devoted to learning and growing together. From the very beginning, they were all about #communityovercompetition. I no longer had to tackle everything alone.
Just as we need to recognize the bad in order to grow, it would be completely remiss to skip over the good.. which there was SO DANG MUCH OF. So here’s the quick-and-dirty list of the GOOD:
- Moved cross-country from Atlanta to San Francisco and had the best road trip imaginable
- Launched my website, which was one of the more technically-challenging things I’ve done in my life
- Celebrated my 1-year anniversary with my day job and am rapidly approaching 2 years!
- Took an amazing Thanksgiving holiday in China and Hong Kong
- Went sky-diving
- Discovered PhotoMechanic (this really deserves its own whole list)
- Drove 8 hours on my own (a new personal record) to see one of my best friends at Disney
- I started working with the amazing people at both Flytographer
- …and Once Like A Spark
- Ran my first-ever official 5k
So the takeaway: failure makes me better. Here’s to a brand new year and all the failures, successes, champions, love, and growth that it brings. Without further ado – 2015, recapped in my favorite photos.