Let’s create a relationship, not a one-night stand.
I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and business owner to name a few important attributes. Each of those characteristics in itself comes with a load of responsibility. You’ve heard me say that parenting is hard …life, in general, is a game that you have to learn to play in order to “succeed”.
Now “succeed” in this context is not being the best in your field, having the nicest house or car, or children who are getting the highest grades in class and making the most goals in the game.
No. Succeeding to me, now, is living a life of happiness. I knew this…or let me rephrase, I know this now…after a lot of soul-searching. And the soul-searching began from acknowledging unhappiness.
I want to preface by saying, I was not clinically depressed and life, in general terms, is great. But I think so many times we get caught up in ourselves and the comparison that we are unable to recognize and acknowledge others’ feelings…empathy is a struggle for many of us. But please know that I am on a journey and I am fully aware that my path is different from yours. Right now, I want to invite you to walk with me down mine. I’d love to walk with you down yours at some point too.
So back to where I was…succeeding by being happy….you may be thinking what prompted this topic on this photographer’s blog. Well, my happiness was linked to, among other things, my photography business. No surprise there as many folks yield happiness or unhappiness from their jobs and the stresses that it creates. And I was unhappy. I was a stay-at-home mom who takes pictures of people and who scrambles around like a crazy person trying not to drown.
Pop culture Example: If you’re like me and prepare for a weekly cry-fest by watching This is Us, then you saw Randall get so stressed from his job that it was affecting all aspects of his life and eventually led to his breakdown. Now, why do so many of us identify with this show? It’s such a simple story and it is all about relationships. (Let me apologize quickly to my loyal client for using this adorable photo of her baby girl, but crying photos are also a sweet memory and it made me giggle.)
I recently came across this article referencing an on-going study that has identified the secret to leading a fulfilling life. Nowadays, I love reading self-help books and gaining motivation from wherever I can, so I clicked.
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year old study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” – Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.
DUH! We all know that. I asked the three small humans who live under my roof what they think makes people happy in life. “Being kind to others and having friends.” See. They get it. They weren’t really excited when I shared that the study found that sibling relationships were particularly important, but that’s my job to cultivate for them.
What was happening in my life?
The title probably drew you here. And it’s true; I don’t want a one-night stand. That’s just a silly way to express what I was getting from my work-life.
Not literally…get your mind out of the gutter!
I was experiencing the photographer’s version of the one-night stand. I had a few good relationships with clients who’d trusted and invested for years, but for the most part, just a bunch of one-night stands.
You contact me and we agree on a date. We meet on the said date for an hour. A couple of weeks later, I send you an email with your photos. And then, we were done. Very rarely did I ever hear back from a client. And because I hadn’t cultivated a relationship and lacked self-confidence, I was too nervous to ask for feedback.
I kept on going to the next “one-night stand” and I was unhappy.
And the true realization came with one statement from my daughter when she came to my office to stand beside me and wait after repeatedly asking me to come to her. “Mommy, you work all the time. When will you stop?”
I’d like to say that I stopped right there, but I didn’t. Instead, once again, I asked for one more minute.
I was unhappy at home too. I was stressed. I didn’t take time for myself and I certainly didn’t take the time to nurture my most important relationships.
“Prioritizing what’s important is challenging in today’s world. The split focus required to maintain a career and a home, not to mention a Facebook feed, can feel overwhelming.” (Happiness article)
What has changed in my personal life
Last year, I picked up a booked titled, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero and I haven’t looked back. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick swift kick in the booty. She helped me so much and led me down an entirely different journey.
I started taking my personal growth seriously and this amazing thing happened. I gained confidence and I recognized what I needed to be happy. I seek it out every single day because, if you stop, it’s so very easy to slip back to your old ways.
I want to be specific with you, my friend because you need to give what you want. I want courage. I need to encourage. I want love. I need to give love. I want to succeed in life. I need to help others be successful.
Personally speaking, here is what I’ve changed over the past year that has truly impacted my life:
- I read something encouraging or positive every morning and/or night. I recommend you start with something from The Miracle Morning Series by Hal Elrod. It will lead you to other resources.
- Bullet Journaling – Besides it being the place where I track my to-do list, I also keep a habit tracker and a daily gratitude section. I try my best to journal every day and set goals.
- I set hours to work so that my family knows when I’ll be working and when I can spend time with them and most importantly, I am vocal about it.
- I make sleep a priority. I use the bedtime app included in the iPhone. It’s a visual aid to help me see how many hours I am actually getting. People, sleep is important.
- I get up early instead of staying up late and I love it. I always thought I was a night owl, but wow, I feel a million times better in the morning than I do at night.
- I try to not to be on social media often. I am still on there every day, but I’ve made a couple of adjustments. I have chosen a few specific pages to follow and set them to display first in my news feed. They are pages that encourage their followers and offer positivity. I always see those first and as I scroll down. I also try to “like” or comment on friends posts because we all want that, don’t we? Give what you want.
- Exercise and eating healthy are priorities.
- I attempt to reach out to friends and make connections. I want that, so I can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen. I even created a little Facebook group for people like me who are home during the day (or can take time off work) and might like to meet up for some outdoor fun. I’m excited that I’ll be able to do that again soon with some warmer days coming. I work nights and weekends, so I don’t feel bad at all taking some time to spend with some girlfriends climbing a mountain or riding a bike.
- Instead of listening to the radio in the car or at home, many times, I listen to podcasts. I have a list of ones that I follow to keep me surrounded by encouraging words. A quote that opens one of my favorite podcasts each time:
“You’re what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind. You can change what you are. You can change where you are and what you are by changing what goes into your mind.” Zig Ziglar
Obviously, I’m not even close to perfect. I struggle every single day and I have to remind myself constantly to keep doing what I KNOW that I NEED to do. I surround myself with constant reminders. That is the number one thing that you have to do…YOU NEED CONSTANT REINFORCEMENT. Find what that is for you.
What changed in my professional life.
When I got things lined up in my personal life, my photography business followed suit. I invested in myself and I actually started to respect my business. I created a way to have relationships with my clients.
No more one-night stands.
I know that if I take the time to meet with my clients before the session, make clear expectations of our time together, and then follow through by giving them someone to rely on and squash their fears, we can create a great working relationship.
And coming to the clients’ homes during the Reveal Night has been so very rewarding for me and I think they enjoy it too. I love talking to families, learning more about them, and hearing stories. I find out what they like and don’t like and I am more in tune with how to better serve them, further grow our relationship and provide exactly what they want.
I love my job, but I was starting to think that I didn’t. And come on… I have the best job! It’s a fantastic combination of all my interests and degrees. I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication and Theater and a Masters of Education in Psychology. And I get to combine all that knowledge to create ART! Helllllooooo! That’s amazing.
I get to spend time with people who want to create memories. They want to have fun and see their inner beauty shine all the way through. I can’t do that for them if I don’t know what that is…we need a relationship.
My challenge to you, dear reader
Strive to be the best version of you that you can. That’s really all that any of us can do. Life is so very short, so take the time to create relationships. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy.
“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship,” says Dr. Waldinger. “It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
I wouldn’t be your friendly neighborhood photographer if I also didn’t challenge you to invest in preserving those relationship memories through photos and videos.
Find a way to love yourself.
“You are not a selfish person for taking care of yourself. Just a happier one! LOVE YOURSELF because it is the Holy Grail of happiness.” Jen Sincero .
Loving yourself will allow you to cope with life so that you don’t push away the love from others around you. The best life is built on good relationships.
Lastly, examine the different choices you can make that allow you to live a life of happiness. Make them a priority.
Have a conversation with me
I would love to hear what you think? Sharing these thoughts with you really helps me, but I would love to hear your thoughts or struggles. Comment below or send me a message. Let’s connect!
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