Making things happen

Okay, it is finally official…I have a bit of an obsession with photographer blogs. Really. I’ve reached a level where I have to start putting timers in place so that I remember that I have to act on all the things that I’m learning and that I have to maintain some sort of balance in my life, for the sake of both my health and my marriage.

But I digress. One thing I love so much about reading photographers’ blogs is that each one leads to more resources and more sources of inspiration. For example, while reading Jasmine Star’s blog (there’s no denying my addiction there), I came across her appreciation for Lara Casey, motivation, branding and all around business guru. In a recent post, Lara talks about her personal process for setting goals in 2011. When I decided I should work through the steps she writes about, I thought I might as well blog my thought process to share a little insight and, possibly, motivation. After all, you deserve to live your best year in 2011, too! Please remember to be kind–it’s a little scary to share your thoughts with the world. Give a girl some props for having the courage!

1. Evaluate what didn’t work in 2010:

Hmm, well it’s difficult to say at first. In 2010 I knew I wanted to dive back into photography after what I consider “the dark years,” or my unintentional hiatus. I guess what didn’t work was that I was terrified to admit this, both to myself and to anyone I knew…even my husband. Who was I to think that I could be good enough to make it more than just a hobby or occasional fling? It was like when I was twelve and convinced that I was going to go to school at UCLA and become an actress (because no young girl ever thinks of becoming an actress, right?). Not much has really changed. I still question what on Earth I’m doing. But one thing I realize is that God gave me passion, interests and (dare I say it?) talent for a reason, and I owe it to both Him and myself to see what I’m capable of doing with it. So this year I will repeat to myself over and over until I finally believe it, “I deserve to act on my dreams just as much as anyone else does.” It sounds really good when I say it out loud, but I’m still working on convincing my brain.

2. Define what did work:

Listening to my husband. Oh, how I loathe telling him that he’s always right, but the truth is, he usually is (and if he ever wants to remind me that I actually admitted this, I will delete this blog post and pretend it never happened). For all the many reasons there are to love him, one is that he truly believes in me and wants me to be happy. He has been nothing short of supportive and is without a doubt my loudest cheerleader. When I take the time to look at myself through his eyes, I get my confidence back and I know I can do anything I put my whole heart into. He makes me become fearless, and for that I am eternally grateful.

3. Get clear and write out your fears:

Oh, Lara Casey, you make me laugh. As if there is enough room on my blog to write out all of my fears. But for the sake of this post, I will summarize. For one, I’m afraid of being revealed as a big fat failure. The girl who tried, couldn’t make the cut, and proved to be a one hit wonder. I know this sounds cliche, but there is an incredible amount of fear involved when it’s something that means so much to you. Another fear? Not making enough money to contribute to the well-being of my family, and this involves more than my husband and future children. I think about the future (a lot) and I think about making sure our parents are living well, especially as they age. I know it’s not everything, but that takes money. One more fear that I will shamefully admit: what others think of me. If I pursue photography, will they think that I don’t care about my current job? That I’m wasting my very expensive college degree by not pursuing a career in my major?  That I’m not good enough? I know I shouldn’t care, but this post is all about being honest, right?

4. Evaluate, cultivate vision and create an inspiring environment:

I am working on this. Another great thing about following the work of those I admire is that I learn my own style, what appeals to me and what I know want to contribute to the world. I am closer than when I started, though not where I should be yet–there is still some focusing to do. On my desk at home sits a collage poster that my mom made for my 21st birthday. It’s the way she sees me, and that inspires me. I take a little time to look at it every day.

5. Define your driving purpose:

As Lara writes, “surface goals fail; a rooted purpose will drive you.” There are lots of reasons behind why I want to do this, but the core reason is that I was not completely myself when I wasn’t doing it. There was such a critical part of me that was missing, and now that I’ve started, I can’t possibly go back to being the person I was before I took this step. I won’t.

6. Act:

Ah, yes, the hard part. The thought of acting will quite often cripple a dreamer. It’s so much safer to daydream, isn’t it? No risk, no failure, no embarrassment. And no dream come true. Every day, no matter how much time I spend dreaming, planning, learning, collaborating, I know I must take at least one small step forward or it just won’t happen.

In closing, I’ll share a photo (this is, after all, still a photography blog). Marlin took it on our anniversary trip to Winter Park, Colorado, just before I hit the ski slopes for the very first time. Was I terrified? You betcha. Did I fall, as I feared I would? You betcha…more times than I’d like to admit. But did I accomplish what I wanted to, and most importantly, did I have fun and make some priceless memories? You betcha!

Ashley Terry 2010

 

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