An open letter to creatives ♥
Dear patiently (impatiently) chasing your dreams.
To the dream chasers, the hard workers, the up all night creating just trying to get it right'ers - this one is for you.
Three years ago today, I took the leap and quit my full-time job to pursue photography.
It was not easy. It was hands down one of the hardest things I've ever done. But it was the best decision I could have ever made.
The original plan? To build my side-biz up to the point where it matched my wage, so there wouldn't be a financial hit. But it didn't work out that way. I was an anxious, stressed, depressed wreck who hated life, and eventually I had to quit for my mental health.
But then I realised something. There's never enough time. It might have taken me years to grow my side-biz on a part time basis. But by going full time, I suddenly had all this time. And it WORKED. I had an extra five days to open my calendar for extra shoots, do my editing faster, devote time to education and upskilling, invest in my social media presence - all of which helped me to increase my business faster.
It took time, a lot of time. And a lot of late nights, working 7 days a week, and a looooot of hours clocked at my computer. But not only have I waaay surpassed the income I was making as a lawyer, I am happy, fulfilled and I wake up every morning (mostly) loving what I do.
Chasing your dream is hard, and it's not always Instagram-worthy.
It's so easy to compare your life to someone's Instagram feed and think, 'Damn, that girl has it all!'.
But the truth is that we are all walking our own stories, and everyone's path looks different. Some path go uphill and downhill, some paths are twisty and windy and have you scrambling through bushes (rarely does anyone's path shoot straight).
My journey will look incredibly different to yours, even if we might end up in the same destination - I think so many of us follow our path with blinkers on that we forget to look at someone's path (rather than their destination).
Just because we might not share the bumps and road-blocks, doesn't mean they don't exist. Some of those things are private, things that affect us, but aren't our stories to share; things that just really f*cking suck, things that we haven't learned a lesson about yet.
And I know you are the same, so what I want you know today, is that you are not alone.
My journey hasn't always been rosy, or easy. Sometimes (many times) it's kept me up late at night, other times I've sat at my desk and raged and cried and pulled at my hair in frustration.
No matter where you are at in your journey, whether your path is difficult or easy, whether you are where you want to be or 500 million miles away - you are not alone and everything will be okay.
But if you are having a hard day today, will you do something for me?
Stand up, right now, and straighten your spine. Put your hands on your hips, and take one deep breath, in through your nose filling your belly first; then out through your mouth.
Go on, do it! It sounds so weird and you'll feel awkward as f*ck to start with, but it'll make you feel better.
And then I want you to dust yourself off.
Know you aren't the first to fall or fail or have a bad day, and that you won't be the last. And on the days when you think you can't keep going, or you feel stuck, or like you are in a rut, you need to KEEP GOING.
You aren’t the only one to have a voice in the back of your head, that says you suck, that you aren’t good enough, that you’ll never make it, that you’ll fail and flail and be the laughing stock of your community. Let me tell you something, we are all our own harshest critic, and you will NEVER be good enough to gain the approval of that shitty voice in your head. Stop letting that voice into the driver’s seat of your life, stop letting it make decisions about your life for you because that voice is not your voice.
This video, narrated by Ira Glass honestly changed my life and I've watched it hundreds of times since then - his advice never gets old and it always rings true.
Every time I've ever gotten out of a rut and arrived at the place I knew I wanted to be in, is because I did a large volume of work to get there. I worked, and I threw my hands up in frustration, and I cried salty tears of anger because it just.wasn't.working. and then I wiped them away, got back up and kept working. You really do have to fight your way through, but it's always worth it.
Know that comparison is the thief of joy, and that comparing your life against someone's Instagram feed will only ever end in tears (yours). Your life might not feel as glamorous as someone's Instagram feed looks, but it's all smoke and mirrors and if you were to pull back the curtains to see behind the scenes you would be so shocked at what people deal with quietly, and be so grateful, to be living YOUR wonderful, beautiful and perfectly imperfect life.
Your mindset is everything - if you tell yourself you are shit, you will find evidence of it. You will exaggerate parts of your life, in order to find evidence of it. On the other hand, thinking nice things about yourself isn't selfish, or narcissistic, it's a normal and healthy thing to do!
Something my husband likes to remind me of, and that I want to remind you of, is that worry is a waste of your imagination - instead of worrying about all the bad things, why not imagine all the good things that could happen?
And if you can't think of anything but worry - start with gratitude.
No matter how strong your sneaky hate spiral is, remember that you are not alone. Things will not always be this hard, or this wonderful, and that's okay.
We're all in this together ♥