Building Your Business To Fit The Life You Want
This is what I want you to think about. Some things, we're going to step through one by one, and I want you to write things down, and actually put some kind of thoughts in, you know, cursive or whatever you guys do. I don't know; apparently cursive doesn't exist anymore I heard. But, figure out a few things that you know for sure. For me, for sure, I never wanted to work weekends. I never wanted to shoot portraits on weekends. Part of it was because I was shooting weddings initially, but later it's because my kids, I wanted to be with them. When this little girl was born she taught me how to become a better photographer, because I couldn't get a good photo of her, and then when this little guy came along, our son, I realized, like he was getting into soccer and I didn't want to miss that. And by the time we brought this little girl home, these are my kids, from left to right, she had a lot of needs when she first came home. She was 3 1/2 and she just was trying to figure out how to cop...
e in this whole new crazy America. Caitlynn's from Ethiopia; my Anna Lisa's from Ecuador; and Sophie was born in San Francisco, from the belly. But when I started thinking about what I want, it was to wrap a lot of my business around them, like I wanted it to start there, and I'm so, so glad I did. So let's look at this, take five minutes and let's envision the life of your dreams. If that sounds dramatic, I don't care. Envision the life of your dreams: what do you want? We're going to take five minutes here, and we're going to step through it. And I really want you to answer these questions one at a time. First, ideally, scrap everything else that's on your life right now, that's in your life, or that you feel bogs you down, what does your life look like? What does it look like? Have you thought this through in any kind of detail before? Like, do you feel like, generally speaking, you're happy? You're living in a thriving kind of environment? Like very specifically, what's the pace of your life? Have you filled it up to be as full as possible? Do you travel all around the world? Do you want a really small, quiet space on the edge of a cliff where no one comes along except for maybe someone to pick up your manuscript? Do you have a lot of downtime? Are you working on multiple endeavors at the same time, because that's how you get your energy, that's how you fill yourself up? Or is it a careful mixture of these things at different seasons of your life? What do you want in that regard, ideally? I'm not saying where you are, I'm saying what do you want? Where do you live and with whom? Do you want to live with someone, do you want a partner in life? Do you feel really close to the family that you grew up with, do you feel really close to sisters, friends, like where do you want to live and with whom? For me, I had moved from San Francisco, which I loved, but now I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which I wasn't quite so sure about, and now I quite love, but I knew I could not give up the idea of walking to shops and restaurants like I'd had in San Francisco. So that was going to be a key thing no matter where we looked; I had to be able to have that. Because it's such a big part of what I wanted in my life. Are you in a small cottage in the forest? Are you at the top of a high rise downtown, urban? Are you on a farm without neighbors for miles? Are you in a submarine on the bottom of the ocean? Like, what do you want, ideally? You guys are writing down, right? Nice. How much do you work? Like, what's ideal for you? Do you want just a part-time job for x amount of time? Do you want a full-time here and you want to put in extra work on the weekends? Do you want to be working 24/7 and never breathing? I'd strongly suggest no to that one. And when do you work? Like, ideally? I have a friend who is a nurse and she loves working nights. She just loves it. She says she likes how quiet it is; she likes being able to not worry about daylight. I mean it's kind of like, shout out Melissa if you're listening. But you know, like what is it for you that really fits you? What I want you to be thinking about here is it's so often that we step into what we've been told is the life we're supposed to have, or what everybody else seems to be having, without actually consciously thinking about, like if you could create the life of your dreams, how exactly does it look? How does work align with your life goals? Some people just want a job. They want to surf. I really, really knew, early on, that I had to have meaning in my work, and when I didn't have meaning in my work, other than, you know, make good money, it affected me, big time. Like, I really really noticed. I remember one time, I think I told this story once before, when we did work-life balance segment on something, but my dog, my yellow lab Glory, who's the best dog who ever lived, ever, it was when we had the startup, we had the startup company, we were working with the dot-coms in San Mateo, California, and we worked crazy hours to get this business going, and I would bring her with me to work. And then she would sit at my feet underneath my desk, and I would work, work, work; I'd get up to take her for a walk; work, work, work; lunch; take her for a walk; work, work, work; go home. And at some point after months and months of this, I remember looking down at her and thinking (sighs), "This is no life for a dog." And I was like, "Wait, but this is my life too!" "Omigod, this is the life I'm living, "that I don't even question." So it's that idea of kinda stepping back and saying, "Let me question this; is this how I want to be doing this?" It's so easy to just slip into it. So does the work you do align with something that matters to you? Some people have a really strong desire to be part of a certain industry no matter what it takes. And how do you feel when you're working? Of everything, I think this part matters the most. How do you feel, day in and day out? Are you slogging through? Do you feel so accomplished? Are you excited to get there? Do you roll your eyes every hour because of how much you hate what you do? What are the feelings you have at work? What do you want the feelings to be that you have at work? Not right now, like, ideal life, what do you want? And if somebody's writing down "Absolute misery all the time," we should have a talk afterwards. I'm not saying it's not right for you. But you have choices. What we're doing here is stepping through an intentional reality, realizing that you care very much about what you want your life to be. You're going to slot your business into it, and that is the best chance you'll ever have of making it a reality. You can't make your life the reality, you can't make your life goals your reality without knowing what they are.