I’ve made crazy decisions in my business, but I don’t think I’ve ever made one this crazy.
The past year, so much of my life has been in tension. I want to rise to a new level in my industry, yet I want to grow our family. I want to travel more of the world, yet I so long and desire to have more capacity to be at home with those I love most. I want to grow and build new avenues within my business, yet I want to step alongside my husband, Andy, and cultivate a really important message over there, too.
I’ve always said, “I won’t be a wedding photographer forever” (I literally told my original brand designer this as we were crafting the first version of CMP). But what I didn’t expect was how dramatically that chapter would come to a close! The tension has grown so strong in my heart and soul over the last months, that something had to break. Something had to give.
From last summer until a few months ago, I’d been working away at an extensive business plan that I fully intended to accomplish. But here’s the question Andy brought to me that made my heart break:
“I have absolutely no doubt that you are capable and will accomplish exactly what you’ve set out to do. But at what cost?”.
What’s it going to cost you to achieve those things?
As I began to wrestle with that question (like, some days it was hard to get out of bed), I found I didn’t like the picture that was being painted on the other side.
I could start traveling for more weddings and serving an ultra-lux market as I planned to. I could become a nationally recognized educator. I could do all the things I was planning on, but what would it mean? Less nights at home to put the kids to bed. Less emotional capacity to invest in my marriage. Having a high-pressure pregnancy and postpartum (as I’ve had before) when it comes time to add to our family. Continuing to shoot on the weekends while my littles enter M-F school. And how the heck was I going to find time to invest in building an entirely new business (our dream since we got married 9 years ago) alongside Andy?!
I could see the answer so plainly. Yet, it took awhile for my heart to catch up and find the courage to let go. So, I’ve taken the time I’ve needed to sit in it. To grieve it. I’ve truly loved this business. It hasn’t been easy to let go of.
The hardest was finding the courage to turn down a few incredible opportunities that drifted right into my hands. Things I’d worked so hard to earn. But I think that’s how you really know, right? When the things you’ve always wanted are staring you in the face, and you turn and walk away.
But that only lasted a minute. Somehow I knew in my heart and soul, “I’m choosing the better thing. I’m choosing what I really want for our family.”
I’ve used this candid statement to express my internal experience with close friends a handful of times: “20 year-old me is wondering why the hell I’m doing walking away from everything I’ve built, but 40-year-old me is already so stinking proud of the choice I’m making right now.” And that gives me the courage to do the hard thing.
It was in prepping for the Elevate Workshop that I had a very important realization. I was prepping for a lecture titled “Why”, asking the attendees their “why” for showing up, their “why” for pursuing a luxury level business. It prompted me to write out my own “why” that propelled me on that path 5 years ago (you can read my list on that blog post). After reviewing it, I had a shocking realization: I had accomplished every piece of that vision. I had done it. And as I sat with it, I felt God start to reveal to my heart the sense of something new. My family was in a new season. I could see that this business wasn’t the right fit for all of us and where we wanted to be anymore. I remember finding this verse in Isaiah 43:19 in this season, and feeling so struck by it:
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
It was time to lay it down.
So what now? That seems to be the next question from friends as I’ve shared my process with them, so I assume you’re asking it, too :).
After wrestling the last few months, I can confidently say I still feel called to work. I contemplated being a full time stay-at-home mom for a hot second. I’m glad I did. But I feel confident that God has given me a call to create and cultivate outside of my home, and I’d be in the wrong for not continuing to express that part of myself. I’m just so jealous for my weekends. I’m so jealous for my time at home.
Here’s the plan for now:
But now, how do I wrap up a post that is closing such a huge chapter of my story?
I’d like to celebrate.
To celebrate all the clients I ever had the pleasure of serving. The ones that allowed me the honor of telling a piece of their stories. Of all the times this business provided for my family; For all the times we thought we might not make it, but then we did because God provided a client at just the right time. For moments like when we got a huge tax return and I could finally invest in my dream camera that really took my work to the next level. To the times I got to stand on stages and share my perspective on the industry. To the amazing business owners I got to coach. To the podcasts I got to record. To each and every platform that God gave me to share my story and encourage someone else. But mostly, I want to celebrate the people that make up this industry. I have so many friends in the wedding world, you have been the hardest to leave! Thanks for uplifting me, making me better, and supporting me through the crazy world and business of weddings. I love you all.
To the next chapter!