The Rumor, The Truth and My Ambulance Ride

This is the true story of one mom (me) and her camera. I’ll admit that it’s a long one but I actually think that’s a good thing. All the hobbyist will be scared off leaving only the truly passionate and determined to learn the secrets.

THE NASTY LIE THAT I BELIEVED

Tell me (please don’t leave me alone on this) if you can relate…I am good at being busy, seriously it might be a talent, or more likely a curse when I consider just how good at being busy I am! I can sit down at my desk and work till my head very literally has hit the keyboard and still have a never ending list worth of “more” to do. I can go from cleaning, to blogging, to carpool, to dinner, to homework with the kids, bedtime routine and back to working and then crash on my pillow and wake up and do it all again. And the crazy thing is, I can sustain this kind of life for a long long time. I know because I did it for years.

As women, we are hardwired to be care takers, nurtures…givers. I like this about us, but if we are not careful these wonderful attributes can be misconstrued in our own minds to start believing that our worth is in our to-do lists. We feel guilt – a lot of guilt if we’re not being busy.  So we fill our days – every last moment of our days with stuff and then we feel better about ourselves. Or do we?

It turns out that despite all that I was doing, all that I was seemingly accomplishing…I didn’t feel better. In fact I felt worse. I now had a whole new guilt to be consumed by and this guilt was so much more heart-wrenching then the first…I was terrified that I wasn’t giving enough. That my kids weren’t being given the mom that they needed, that my husband wasn’t getting the wife that he deserved and my business, (despite all of those countless hours) wasn’t showing any signs of growth or to be very honest wasn’t even offering any real contribution to my family. So I had to ask myself, why was I even doing photography?

I could try to say that I was doing it for the love of photography if I wanted, but that was a lie. If it was really just for the love then I wouldn’t be charging. The love hadn’t been my only motivation, it was the idea of possibilities that got me to begin my photography business. The possibility of being able to create better experiences for our family through my supplemental income, that was what first planted the seed for me. But back then, that wasn’t even close to happening if anything their experiences had gotten worse because now I had work to do, all the time. 

THE EPIPHANY IN THE BACK OF THE AMBULANCE

So why am I telling you this? Two years ago, the kids and I were at the zoo. I was trying to take them to more and more fun places to curb the guilt of so often allowing my computer to take first priority. We were looking at the Alligators…I started to get hot so I walked us outside. I felt the world starting to pull away and everything was beginning to go dark. I left the zoo on a stretcher and I will never ever forget the look on my oldest face. The shear terror in her eyes as her mommy was rushed to the hospital. My body had betrayed me, I guess it was sick and tired of being forced to work on overdrive all the time. But in hindsight it was a major blessing. I hated that moment, I hated what I had let myself become, I hated the constant busyness, never ending guilt and shear exhaustion I felt all the time. I resolved to change.

Being busy is not an accomplishment and it does not make us better women. In fact it hurts our progress. When we are busy for the sake of being busy, we make for lousy wives,  so-so moms and over extended business owners… And not surprisingly – Everything suffers!

There is a very vast difference between busy and productive. If we as women can learn to let go of busy and instead embrace the right kind of productivity we can enhance every aspect of our lives.

THE TRUTH THAT SET ME FREE

Now here’s the thing… I DON’T WANT YOU TO LET GO OF YOUR DREAM! That’s the ‘be reasonable’ answer, and I despise being reasonable. No, I’m saying you have to get better, more defined dreams! When I was trying to figure this all out, I kept hearing things like, ‘well, it may just be too much for you’ or ‘this may not be the season for you to be running a business’ but something in me just couldn’t accept that. I loved every single thing in my life. I wanted to be it all, but I had to find that better way, otherwise I would have to quit my dream.

Since you’re reading the post, I’m sure you can guess what happened…  figured out that better way. I learned how to work smarter, harder and more productively. I learned how to organize my time and my priorities so that I could make sure that the people who matter most to me, felt it. I came to the realization that while I can be it all…I can’t do it all.

IT CAN BE YOUR REALITY TOO

Let me share with you what has happened for me…I have gotten my photography business to where it only takes about 12 hours a week to run but can bring in $8,000 a month and I started working with the kind of clients that I had only dreamed about before. I was able to begin funding those experiences and not just once but many times over. In fact my passport finally got some use…and then it was used again!

My Friday nights are now reserved for date night with my husband and my weekdays are filled with laughter from my kids…and my business – well I am the original test dummy for The Thriving Photographer.

Now before you try to tell me that this can’t happen for you….let me ask you. WHAT IF IT COULD? Photographer’s from all over the globe and with no experience to 10+ years of experience have taken the challenge, invested in themselves and guess what. They are Thriving! (you can read there testimonials here, here, here and even more here

What do you have to loose, I mean really loose? Not the money, since there is a money back guarantee. And what do you have to gain, I mean truly gain if I can change your photography business and the way you experience it forever? What would that mean in your life?

Leave a comment and tell me what experience you would love to create for your family through your photography business…

Happy Mother’s Day. This year give yourself your life back!

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  1. Jeremias says:

    Hy dear leah…

    i´m from argentina and i can really relate to this post, i´m following the blog since a couple of months and ths is the first time that a entry move me!

    i give up univeristy, to dedicate my self and all of my to my photography business, i love what i do, and in this past 2 months i have been working in my marketing, financials, workflow, and so much other things, i move to a big city to find new clients and rght now i´m living my dream!

    the only thing that has been left behind a little bit is my photography, i´m not taking as many photos as a wish…but i hope everything in the future will grow up…

    greats from south america!

    keep on writting and inspiring people!

    jere

  2. Beryl says:

    Thank you so much for this Leah. I needed to hear this and needed to read these words today. I am that women harboring the guilt or long hours and building a dream. I am no longer building a business shooting other families anymore (I’m teaching locally and online) but finding that balance is so so so very hard. I know there has to be a better way and I am hoping to find it before I have an experience like yours ended up on a stretcher from sheer exhaustion. Thanks for sharing so candidly and inspiring us that we can reach the top of that mountain one day. xo.

    • You’re so welcome Beryl! I’m really glad I could be a source of encouragement for you! I hope you have an mazing Mother’s Day and feel from those you love, just how cherished you are!

  3. Leah,

    My husband is currently unemployed. We are struggling. I wish more than anything that someone would hire me. I know I am not even close to marketing enough or anything… but I don’t have any money to spend on the marketing or building up on my business. I raised my prices recently and haven’t had one person hire me since. I am frustrated and at the end of my rope. I have a dream of actually helping my family with money… but at the same time I have NEVER EVER EVER wanted to be a business woman and I am close to shutting the business down because of it. I don’t feel like my kids ever have my attention. I am overworked and not getting payed anything. So frustrating. Someday I will be able to afford Thriving Photographers. I wish more than anything that day was today. My family could really use the income…

    Thank you for continued encouragement through your posts. 🙂

    • You don’t have to have money. You just need to be creative! When I was building my business, my husband was a student. We had NO MONEY at all so I had to be creative, really creative! It was that creativity that is now what I teach in The Thriving Photographer, it turned out to be the golden ticket! Start getting creative, I’m sure that marketing is what scares you which is why it’s what you’re not doing enough of BUT it’s crucial. If you don’t market, your phone doesn’t ring and I want your phone to ring!

      I totally understand. I was literally selling stuff on eBay and Craigslist to try to buy what I needed for my business that’s how much we didn’t have. I believe that the reason women don’t want to be ‘business women’ is because they don’t believe there capable. Cause I promise you once you realize that you are not only capable but that you can be dang good at it, you’ll learn to love it!!

      I hope I’ll get to show you just how capable and promising you are soon! Happy Mother’s Day Heather!

    • You don’t have to have money to get clients. You just need to be creative! When I was building my business, my husband was a student. We had NO MONEY at all so I had to be creative, really creative! It was that creativity that is now what I teach in The Thriving Photographer, it turned out to be the golden ticket! Start getting creative, I’m sure that marketing is what scares you which is why it’s what you’re not doing enough of BUT it’s crucial. If you don’t market, your phone doesn’t ring and I want your phone to ring!

      I totally understand. I was literally selling stuff on eBay and Craigslist to try to buy what I needed for my business that’s how much we didn’t have. I believe that the reason women don’t want to be ‘business women’ is because they don’t believe there capable. Cause I promise you once you realize that you are not only capable but that you can be dang good at it, you’ll learn to love it!!

      I hope I’ll get to show you just how capable and promising you are soon! Happy Mother’s Day Heather!

  4. brianna says:

    WOW! This is me to the core…….simply put, I am there. I am currently saving for the Thriving Photographer. I am ready to take my business to the next step, to be profitable and full time. Cannot wait to get it!!! Tha k you for all of your encouragement and inspiration here Leah!!!

    • Oh! You’re so welcome Brianna! And thank YOU for sharing a little comment love!! I always love getting feedback and getting to start real conversations! 🙂 I can’t wait to have you in THRIVE with us!

  5. Keli says:

    This post really hit home for me.
    I am a single mother of 2, one of which has medical problems, I work a full time job, I run my photography business, I somehow manage to fit in helping friends, spending time with friends, work on my computer until the wee hours of the morning, wake up at 7 for work, take the kids to any and all fun places I can possibly think of…on top of normal daily chores and responsibilities. My son has tons of doctor appointments, a therapist that comes to the house once a week, plus school is about to start. My daughter is in ballet/jazz/tap, trying to get my son in baseball, they are both in gifted classes in school, and the list still continues.

    But over the past couple months, I find myself becoming dizzy and disoriented. I start having major migraines at certain spots in my head and behind my eye. I do not have insurance for myself (i have it for the kids) and my job does not offer insurance. Being a single mother, i (literally) have less than $20 left over at the end of paying bills, food, and gas. That being said, I have not been to a doctor, nor can I plan to at this point.
    But when does the madness stop? It looks like I really need to slow down before it’s too late. The sad part is, when I’m not doing anything I’m just flat out bored. I LIKE being busy. My “me” time IS working. Which leaves me wondering… when did that start???
    Thank you for sharing your story, and for opening my eyes a little wider to what actually needs to be done in my life for my health and for my children! Before I end up in the back of that ambulance!

    • I think that we convince ourselves that we LIKE busy because it makes us feel important. It’s how we justify that we are legit. BUT when you find a new way to justify, like making really good money and having a full schedule. You can slowly begin to let go of the busy legitimacy and start looking for balance. Once I found balance, I really began to feel peace.

      It’s really fun getting to know you through your comments Kelli! Thank you for sharing. I’m excited for all that you’re trying to accomplish! I don’t know if you’ve seen Thrive yet? But this is the blue print, step by step of how I changed it all! How I got my life back, became crazy profitable, filled my schedule and had time to volunteer in my kid’s classrooms and have dinner on the table every night. 🙂 http://thethrivingphotographer.com

  6. […] use to think that I had to do everything myself and it literally took an ambulance to convince me to change. It was inside that ambulance that I realized I had to stop trying to do it all myself. […]

  7. Sara says:

    Dear Leah,
    Exactly how I feel. I feel that I am doing everything. Running small antiques booth where I show my photos, to trying to take care of our home, prepare 2 meals each time due to picky 9 year old with aspergers, clean up after everyone & the only together time with my husband is after our son has gone to bed. I’m zonked!
    The photos I take are not people photos. I take what I call quirky photos. Those photos that if I’m walking down a street & see something that catches my eye photos. Does your ThrivingPhotographer cater only to those who shoot people or is it for all photographers?
    Thanks ever so much,
    Sara

    • Hi Sara, Thank you for reaching out. I completly know what ‘zonked’ feels like. Keep your head up! <3 It sounds like you focus on fine art photography in ehich Thrive would not be a good fit for you. Thrive is a hot to for portrait phtogoraphers.

  8. […] TN. I spoke on Building Balance and shared my journey from spiraling out of control which led to my ambulance ride to living the life I’d been dreaming about all along. I shared my strategies and systems […]

  9. […] but the reality is that eventually “never being able to get enough of it” landed me in an ambulance.  Lessons… so many lessons have […]

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