Life has a way of just moving on and on with no care or concern for the fact that you very well may need it to slow down! Things happen that are completely out of your control, people treat you in ways that are unexpected and you find your calendar jam packed just as your entire family come down with colds.
For me, there are days I am right on top of my to-do list and I even have time left over to exercise. Then there are all those other days when I wake up late, and my to-do list laughs right in my face while it’s kicking my behind.
Everyone has a “busy season”, and for photographers, October has to be the hardest month to deal with. Everyone wants fall family, senior, engagement pictures and of course weddings. Just the business alone is enough to put me over the edge, and that doesn’t include family life and running another business as well.
I get so many texts and emails that start like this…I’m sorry to bother you. Or: I know you are so busy. And honestly? I hate it. Not because the people are saying that, but because I have allowed my life to become so busy that people who are important to me start feeling like a bother. So this brings me to my question:
How do you know when you are at your breaking point? I mean…don’t you usually find out you are at your breaking point once you actually break down?
Tuesdays are usually the longest days for me. I have late nights on Monday, and then early mornings on Tuesdays. This past Tuesday at about 5:00, I found myself staring into a half gallon container of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. It was either eat the entire thing, or lay on my bed and cry. And actually, I didn’t have the option of laying in my bed to cry because I had to pick up AJ at 6 and be at Young Life by 6:30…with a smile on my face. And it was at that very moment when I realized…something has got to give. And sadly, the things that were “giving” were the things that I cared about the most.
The thing that is hard for me is the whole mentality of not turning away business. Of looking at every single inquiry as an obvious gift of God and not stopping long enough to think about it and maybe say, ya know what? Just because someone wants to book me does not mean that I have to take the business. (I think that was a pretty long run-on sentence. ha!)
So here’s what was happening.
*I was booking everything that was requested even when I didn’t want to shoot it.
*I was finding myself despising the thought of picking up my camera, even to photograph my own kids because that would mean I would have to spend more time on the computer editing.
*I was not spending time working on the things I wanted to for The Porch, and other ministries.
*I was not exercising at all, which I love doing, which then made me feel fat and miserable.
*I was definitely not spending enough time working on school with the boys.
*I was still smiling and holding it all together every single day.
*I was on the verge of tears, almost all the time.
*I hated how I was feeling.
I talk about that like it was all in the past, but the reality is, it was this week. It is today. And it was just this week that I realized some things have to change.
See…here’s what happens. It is so easy to get into a routine, and to get into life that you don’t even stop long enough to see if what you’re doing is actually what you want to be doing. Big difference. I don’t even want to be shooting certain things. But because it pays, I thought I was supposed to do it. That could not be further from the truth. When Adam and I bought our house, we decided from the beginning that we would make our budget based entirely on Adam’s income. I love being a stay at home mom, and I take that job very seriously. We didn’t want to get to the point where I had to work for us to pay the mortgage. Somewhere along the way, I started feeling like I had to work. Like I had to take any business that came my way. That I had to shoot things I didn’t want to shoot because it was what would pay the bills. These thoughts were all self-imposed, but if you aren’t careful in life, that’s what can happen. The life you think you are intentionally living can consume you and suffocate you. I was feeling suffocated. I think I was pretty close to my breaking point…whatever that even means. My break down would be in the form of either an ice cream eating binge, or a shopping spree. Or a shopping spree while going on an ice cream eating binge. Either way, not the best result.
So my philosophy is changing. Not my philosophy in life, but my philosophy in business. My philosophy in life is always that God comes first. When God comes first, he directs my steps, and whatever comes into my life he is in complete control of.
My philosophy in business, which used to be: I will shoot anything, anytime, anywhere. has been changed to: I will shoot what I love shooting. And that is that and that is all. And I won’t apologize for it.
So when you find yourself staring into a half gallon of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, you realize that something has got to give. I am so happy to be able to be at the place in my business where I feel confident in my work, and I feel like I am finally at the place where I can be selective in what I accept. Starting in January, my business is going to look a lot different. I am going to be offering more classes (I love teaching.) I am going to be offering more styled shoots, and will potentially be looking to hire a stylist to assist me. These are just a few of the things that will be changing.
This will hopefully lead to me eating less ice cream.
What is taking over your life? Is it going along with what your plans were supposed to be? Are you able to spend time on what you really want to spend time on? Life is too short to be spending time doing things that take away from what is really important in your life.
Don’t stare into a half gallon of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Take control of your life.