This past weekend I turned 27 years old. Late 20's kind of feels like that floating age. I am in the middle of holding onto my child like imagination and striving to be a successful adult. Being an artist sometimes makes me feel that pressure even more. I have to hold onto my child like dreams and yet find a balance.
This can be hard for anyone who decides that what they want to do is dive head first into their craft. Now, when I say 'Rules' I don't mean that you should work hard everyday that is just a given. I don't mean that you should have a strict list of to do's that will help you become successful at your art but rather rules that can help your soul.
We all go through the up and down emotional roller coaster of going after our passions. We read articles that tell us how to be more successful. Articles that tell us the early bird gets the worm and we should wake up at the first sign of light and get to work. We read articles that tell us what successful people do that others apparently don't. All these books and articles telling us how to be better, more successful but nothing to help us ease our stresses when we are ferociously going after our passions.
That's why I try very hard to remind myself of this list. I made this list for myself this year. To help my heart when it feels broken and to help my mind when it gets lost in that dark place. I want to share it in hopes that it can help others.
1. Embrace the chaos
I found this so difficult to do especially at the beginning of last year. I was working on my wedding business, shooting editorials, trying to figure out what it was that I wanted and also planning my own wedding.
You can imagine my head felt like it was going to explode and pop right off my shoulders. That's the thing about life no matter what we do it always catches up with us. We stress out about deadlines, we worry about every little thing. We can't sleep at night because our mind runs a mile a minute.
It's hard being an entrepreneur. Learning everything on your own, desperately hoping things will work out then having to deal with everything else that the stresses of life have to offer. I was trying hard to surpass the chaos. Like it would go away if I planned everything to a T.
I finally learned that the chaos is there and it's not going to leave. I have to throw myself into it and be okay when some things don't work out. I have to be okay when things are so crazy and out of my control. It's not to say that I just throw my hands up in the air and say to heck with it. It's saying that I am okay that I have a million e-mails and msg's to get to. It will be alright I will get to them in due time.
Chaos is sneaky it wants you to be caught in its wave. Be easy on yourself and embrace it. When you do this you are no longer chaos's slave you are it's equal.
2. Dream big!
It's that saying "Go Big or Go Home".
I need to remind myself that if I want things to work in my favor I need to have big dreams. The Wright brothers invented and built the very first airplane. Can you imagine how BIG that dream was for them? Can you imagine the doubt and laughs they must have received when they told others that they dreamed to fly?
If I'm not dreaming big someone else will just dream my dreams and even bigger and they will achieve them. Sometimes when I feel my dreams are ridiculous and unattainable I remind myself that I am dreaming big and this is a good sign.
It's just that simple. You don't try you get nothing.
I said to my husband this was the year that I was going to try. I would try to say yes to as many ideas and opportunities as possible. There are sometimes limits to things and bad timing which does happen but for the most part I am proud of myself. I have already tried more things photographically in the last 3 months then I think I have in 7 years.
Whether it's an idea you have had, or an opportunity or a change just try it. You will be surprised what doors you might just open when you apply this one simple thing to your life.
4. Have courage.
This one and 'Try' are the two that really go hand in hand for me this year. Because you need courage in order to try things.
Can you believe that I almost didn't start up the Secret Garden series again? Yup that's right I didn't have the courage. It wasn't with me at one point. I had many doubts about doing the series because I didn't know if I could follow through with the demands, I didn't know if others would be on board with my ideas. I was afraid that people wouldn't understand what I was trying to say with my art. I was afraid of being compared, I was afraid of negative comments I was afraid I would fail.
Something happened to me after many months of having a creative block. I found my courage. It was with me the whole time buried under my negative thoughts. Those negative thoughts that stirred within stopped the light of my courage from shinning. It took time but just changing the way I thought on a day to day basis helped my courage to rise again.
Maybe you are in this place now. That place where you are finding it hard to discover your courage and if that is so remember that it's always with you and you can change the way you think. Wake up every morning and tell yourself that you and your art are worth it. Tell yourself that today you will be courageous You'd be surprised how sweet words to yourself can help.
5. Push through the negative stuff and let it go.
You just can't move forward with negativity in your heart. You just can't. It's impossible. I allow myself a few minutes once in a while to vent when I truly need it. It's usually with trusted photographer friends who understand my position, my husband or my family.
Once it's done I breathe, I compose myself and I tell myself that's all negativity gets from me today and I move onward. We are all only human. Things will make us angry, things will make us defensive. We will have reactions we just can't hold back. However I believe there is a time and place for this. It is with someone who you trust and love. Who can tell you when you are going off the rails.
If you are constantly holding onto negativity whether it is your own negativity towards something or someone or maybe even yourself, or if you have recently had others being negative towards you remember that negativity wears the same smile. It doesn't care why it's there it's just happy to be alive like a little infection. It likes to fester within you until it takes control.
There's just no reason to be so angry. It will stop you from achieving your goals. It will make you feel small and meaningless. It takes away from the amazing things you could be achieving. I know it's hard. I'm not claiming that negativity doesn't get the best of me some days. However I am working on it everyday reminding myself that I need to let go of it. You can be truly happy when you give yourself a moment to breathe let go. Give it try ;)
6. Be kind.
This is just something I think the whole world needs right now. Especially now that the internet has become a way that people can sit behind their screen judging others and saying harsh and sometimes evil things to one another without any real consequence.
Be kind to your clients, be kind to those who follow your work, be kind to those who you work with, be kind to your haters and be kind to yourself.
Believe me kindness goes a long way. It opens up doors it creates friendships. Being unfriendly can ruin a potential relationship that could help you in the future. Even if someone is unfriendly to you show your sympathy to their negativity. You can only come out looking the better and you will feel better in your heart for doing so.
and stop being unkind to yourself. You need your own kindness to help you get through the dark times.
7. Take time for yourself.
It's so important to remember that you are a person. You are living right now and who knows how long this life will last. It's easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. As much as I love taking pictures, creating and making my clients happy I know that I will not be able to go on doing these things if I don't take moments for myself.
It doesn't matter what that time is. It could be a long quiet walk alone, a party with friends, a night of watching netflix with junk food or even a nice vacation. Taking time for yourself helps keep you sane. It keeps you in tune with you. It reminds you that you are alive.