I stood up from my desk and walked to the back of the room to grab my “special” book. I held my arm across it with deep concentration, determined that none of my classmates would be able to see the cover, this was my daily ritual. I had to hide the truth.
They couldn’t know.
I was in 5th grade, but while everyone watched the chalkboard and learned the new math concepts, I kept my head down and worked in my 3rd-grade book, and even this book felt too challenging for me.
I was stupid. All my life it had been evident. I was once told that I had better marry rich because I had too expensive of taste for my own good and I would never be able to provide for myself.
I believed that.
As the years went on, I accepted who I was. I was a failure. Things just didn’t click for me the way they did for everyone else. Things that others said were easy felt utterly impossible to me.
Defeated, I accepted my lot. I would never accomplish anything of myself. So I put all of my efforts into everyone else. Getting my hubby through undergrad and then graduate school. The kiddos learning to walk, or say ‘daddy’ or sleep through the night.
But there was a whole. One day after blogging for friends and family who were far away about what was happening in our lives, I got frustrated. I lay my head on the desk and started to cry. Nothing was my accomplishment. It was always something that the kids had done, or Taylor had done, sure I was an instrument in the process, but it hit me so hard at that moment. There was never going to be anything to celebrate about me.
I was craving something that could be my own – that I could be proud of. That’s when I stumbled on photography.
The expectations were low, really low. And I was grateful for that. I needed a camera and I assumed that was it. I asked my hubby to let us sell his laptop, and he agreed. Surely I convinced myself, I could make at least enough back with my photography to buy him another one. That was the whole goal in the beginning.
I remember sitting on the edge of our bed one day talking with Taylor, I dreamed out loud saying, ‘could you imagine if I could bring in $1,000 a month?’
That $1,000 would have made a huge difference for us and the idea that I could possibly contribute it, was a dream rooting all the way back to that 5th-grade classroom.
And then something crazy – and I mean absolutely insane – happened. I started bringing in that $1,000 a month. And then $2K, and $4K and $8K… a month.
I was in awe… and shock. My whole world changed. And the very real truth was that it had nothing to do with my photography. I was sub-par at best. The real explanation was that I had tapped into this idea of experience. My mind had never worked like everyone else’s, and because of that, I was an observer. I watched people, and I studied what made them do what they did, it’s how I survived. I had to be able to read people to know what they would want from me.
So when I set out to build my business, I would ask myself; what do they really want, what are they worried about, what are they afraid to admit matters to them?
The results that followed became a dream, and over and over I thought, I have to share this with others. There must be other photographers out there who need this as much as I do.
Creating The Thriving Photographer took a really long time! One thing I rarely share is that in recording the audios, my childhood stutter came back because my nerves were so raw. I would have to record… get about three words, pause and start again. What should have taken about 5 hours took months and months because I couldn’t get more than a sentence or two before stuttering and needing to try again.
Thrive has been a labor of love. It comes from the deepest purpose I carry, to empower others to believe in themselves and fight for their purpose.
Tonight at midnight, enrollment for The Thriving Photographer will close again. I will then start bringing all my new Thrivers through our nine weeks of modules to teach them how to build a photography business that empowers them to do what they love.
I would be honored to have you be part of this enrollment. I would love to show you what possible.
If you doubt yourself, I get it. I have spent a lifetime doubting myself, but I’ve also learned and believe with everything in me that there is greatness in each of us. Maybe it just takes someone giving us permission to unlock it.
The Thriving Photographer™ is open through midnight PT tonight (Thursday, June 22nd).
Thank you for being part of my story. Thank you for allowing me to touch your life, I hope that in some way I have helped your light shine a little brighter.