Giving Your Passion a Purpose
Yeah, so this kind of, um I wanted teo close up creative live really? Just for me, like kind of the bigger picture, just some life stuff. Um just cause if I say be true to yourself when you are like, this is really where I'm at right now, so I want to talk about giving your passion and purpose and to start off with that. I actually have a video that time of it, a lot of it because you've spent three days with me, it's not all going to new information, but, um kind of condenses it, I think very well, so maybe our business is about twelve years old it's vey gallery. Now it actually started as the tire if you buy the qi and wei ran it out of our home for about two years and now we're in our current location. We've been in for the last ten and it's no bowling alley that we rented and eventually bought the building been hearing, especially last few years lots of feedback on a lot of harper's feeling really burn out just working too hard for what they're getting paid and the hours there work...
ing and trying to find that beyonce between, you know, maybe it's being a mother and running a business um and for me, the business was my baby I could put ninety hours in um, this suffering came in with the relationship with my husband because, you know, we're working that hard at our business. We're not probably spending as much time with each other as we should be. Uh, but we were ready to start a family. And so about four years ago, we actually started the process of adoption, international adoption to adopt a little girl from nepal, and so, gosh, for three years, it was every day I'd goto work, but I'd have in the back of my head, like it's today, the day I'm gonna find out I'm a mom. Um, so about a year and a half ago way actually did receive a photo of our daughter, and a couple months later, weii received the information from nepal that we could come and adopt her, so we went through the process, we adopted her, and we actually brought her to live with us in our little apartment in the fall, and then it was getting closer to the time we were supposed to go home, and our daughter didn't have a visa, so my husband actually flew home without us, and I stayed, um, and end up being basically, I was raising her like a single mother, without my husband in the country that is so devastatingly poor, they're so money just things you take for granted that you have here and so eventually january twenty third and we gotta be sent as able to fly home with my daughter by being removed from my business for six months. I saw it differently. I saw where my energy was going, I saw where my priorities were, and I also saw how I could be really content and happy with having a lot less. Um, I saw what I have surrounded myself with, um with the studio are home, and I realized that I could simplify my life when I came home. So, um, we ended up just thrown it out there building for rent, and then we actually were able to run out half of the space which covered our overhead, which freed me up to work just a couple days a week and spend the rest of the time with my daughter still have a business still service those clients that we've worked with for twelve years, you know, make we're making less money, but we're spending less money. So in the end, um, sure, the numbers that we're playing with art is big, but it's still a good living and it's something that I love and I enjoy don't catch yourself in that rut of thinking that's like, oh, if I just do this oh, if I just buy this that then I've made it then I'm really a real photographer oh, I have to have a studio space it's a balance act and I think that that's something based on conversations I've had with numerous photographers whether it's family life or just whatever that is for you your hobbies, your personal life, your business finding that balance of where you're going to spend your energy and your time prioritize them and so that you're not maybe striving to it whatever level you wanted and you're happy. So does that tear you up a little bit? What I am so excited to see my daughter I feel like actually into it's almost been a two year anniversary from meeting her and adopting her I actually feel like the last couple weeks it's like the least amount of time I've spent with her just between, you know, just being busy and preparing of being here, so that just made me really excited that hang out with there the next few days in seattle and take her to go see flying fish and all kinds of fun stuff. Um so really I think part of the message of that and we started out with this on day one I think it was when you don't love what you're doing make a change like we actually have a luxury we live in a country where we have that luxury so you know, for some people like myself that I usually have to learn the hard way it took kind of a force out of the country for six months, tio finally decided to make some changes, almost cause I had teo, but it really now that we're kind of over that hump, and things are where they're at it's like, wow, like it's amazing it's amazing, it actually was like a blessing and a really cool thing, and things were really the way they need to be, and they should have been just took a little challenge to get to that point. So the other thing, though, this relates to what we talked about pets on day one, which was when I said I was in a position that some of the types of sessions I was photographing, they weren't really doing it for me anymore. I really wasn't enjoying it. I was kind of burn out, and that was actually when I started focusing on children and family and that's when I added the pet sessions and did the dog days of summer because it made it a creative challenge, and it made it fun again. So your turkeys, you know, there could be a turkey market, I don't know there could be, or you'll monster market, I don't know, maybe um so yeah, you know, I think the big thing to that I realized from that whole experience was that in my life I can only speak from experience but uh I just had a lot of misplaced energy like I was spending so much time on things that really in the long run weren't matt, you know didn't matter that it just kind of like re prioritizing restructuring reef figuring life out and that will never be done like jen, I talked earlier like that'll change and priorities priorities will keep changing and absolutely like there's different responsibilities that you are going to require me tio you know, maybe what carter then I want to work sometimes or, you know, go with less sleep than I wanna have sometimes and that's okay, but, um, the big thing that I've realized is that I stayed so busy for twelve years early prime my whole life has just kind of really busy for thirty whatever years and, um, that when I was forced to stop and live in a country where it's like, wait, we told power for eighteen hours and what I can't like do anything with this phone wait there's, no internet, so I can't even talk to my husband or skype that although it's frustrating there's a part of it, that was like I was really like culture shock overwhelming. I came home like I don't want any of that stuff like I don't even want a phone. I don't wantto facebook and twitter and do all these things and be accessible like there was something beautiful about just the simple nous of life and I was okay let's, sleep on a apartment on you know a mattress on the floor and wake up and be like past. We've nothing to do today. Let's go to the park let's, go play in the sandbox. And honestly, if I had come home and only been in nepal the month I was supposed to be, I was so intense and my business at that time, it would have been like, okay, well, like neema after the baby center and I would be, you know, working, working, working and if that's what I had to be like, it would have been okay, but oh, my gosh, like rather than take that six months of being this horrible thing so kind six months like I have nothing to do but just photograph things I want to photograph and be with my daughter and it's been like she's been so incredible and I think that's part of the reason why, like we were able to bond in her country for six months so thie other amazing things that happen though it's all a sudden I was somewhere where like I wasn't I wasn't always on the go and had to be somewhere and do something that, like all these opportunities started to rise were like my photography skills could be used in other ways to help people and you don't have to go to another country to do that like helping the animal shelter with the dog food awesome there's things you can do right here and I just stayed so busy here, I really wasn't in touch with that, whereas over there it's like, well, what else am I going to do? So for the first and only time in my life, I became school photographer, I was over there, michael, I got my camera might do some stuff and I got connected with people and I photographed all the kids in the school, local school and all the teachers and guess what, one of the inn and actually end up being one of my best friends over there. They say she worked at the school and they had photo shop, and I don't know how you do that with no power, but they have photoshopped and needed didn't know how to use it, so judd taught photo shop for a couple days to the teachers to the kids and so it's just I think if you make yourself available and just our kind of aware of your surroundings and what's going on, those opportunities will will just kind of rise to the occasion and paul is a country where I think there's more nonprofits and ngos than anywhere else in the country, but what that also means is there's tons of people who would love the gift of photography to help their cause is so that just kind of became my mission, like I was just finding out with different organizations and what their needs weren't. I got to work with so many different organizations that helped rescue children and kids that have been trafficked into the circus is in india and just these crazy scenarios and everybody was just so grateful, and, you know, I actually I didn't know I was coming home six months my husband, I thought it could be two years or longer, so I actually got to the point when I came home for a two week trip to see try to save the business of wass I shot like fifty something sessions in two weeks taught a seminar, somebody came over family came over to baby sit my daughter just so, like we wouldn't have to, like, lose the building and fired employees, you know, the harvey community like props to you because they jumped like all over the situation and helped us like I had retired for suit drove in and flew in and helped stewart sessions and let us know what you need so that we could stay afloat so that was really, really, really incredible, andi and actually got very connected with home through our adoption agency that we actually sponsor multiple kids here in this photo and we go spend time with them and took the kid bowling for the first time and I got to do all these cool, cool fun things and I actually made it my mission that every time I would be with them, I'd want to take portrait's of them and photograph them and I'd bring them then prince that again it's really hard like you go shop photo lab tech no power for a day I'm like, okay, you know, you can't print anything if there's no power, but eventually we got prints made for the kids and we designed this collage that the walls are just really bear there that's one thing like just kind of everywhere, just concrete and just it's kind of cold and I just wanted to, like decorate the home for these kids and so um we printed up this was like a think a twenty for thirty or whatever I could get that we presented to them and I'll tell you what those kids spent an hour just staring at it and looking at it on looking, looking, you looking just like I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I think that made him feel like gave them value in innocence of bean and like felt worth it and loved and we do that for our clients here again, you don't have to go to a foreign country to do that like I think every single day that we walk into our studio and that we photograph our pets are clients and we really give them one hundred ten percent it doesn't always go well you don't know is get the award winning images but you gave your hundred ten percent you connected with that client that makes him feel loved and special and it's just amazing it's actually amazing that we get to get paid for doing that like really if you think about it um so you know, just making yourself aware this opportunities I know I kept referring to the osha fund that's actually the fund that my puzzlement I started once we got home. And so again, people just been so awesome and generous with this. And so from this actually w p p ay this past year a couple of tyres has really helped us out from our program and dane sanders and actually dade union with after dark that within I think it was a week ext time frame or week and a half, we raised enough money to help fund and open home. This isn't an orphanage just actually there's a family willing to take in and actually raises their own, so not really adopt a kind of unofficially adopt foster five children in the one area, and we were able to with mostly photographers, help give them enough money to fund the home for the year. And jen and I've committed like this is ongoing for us, like we're funding the home like they're starting the home because we got the funding, but we'll continue to support that. So, like that's, where haven site that ten percent and like the sales of our posters and here's, somebody won this, so someone is getting shipped this but like, with jewelry and handbags, all kinds of fun things from nepal that I know one of the audience members online oneness, that all that money is going over to the ash of fun as well. It's like that's, really, where my heart is, but I'm like so excited because because of the avenue, that tire fee is a kind of taken me on it's opened up these doors like, I think it's all like, related, like, I still want to keep doing my photography in what I'm doing but like I'm being able to balance it with this too that's really were like my passion my passion is and you guys know there's there's like so many amazing organizations if you're sitting here thinking it's nothing have to start a fund or you've to start something like they already exist like toe help out jeremy cowards help portrait I know sandy pushes coming here in a few weeks her now I lay me down to sleep thirst relief people charities operation smile I mean there's a million options you could just get online and find people doing great things in ways you can I can get back um you know, I mentioned this in the video but I do this I do this a lot so that's why I put in there don't catch yourself in doing that once I do this then I'm successful once I do this then I'm a real photographer or once I do this then I'm happy once I buy this I mean I do that in my life I definitely do that and I have to kind of step back and try toe put myself back in that place of okay no what's really important, you know, re prioritized re prioritize those things and this even goes back to me to that first story I shared with you I think on the first day which was one hundred thousand dollars seminar which was the photographer you know teaching me and saying like, you really don't need all this stuff like that stops great, but you don't need it to be doing what you're doing, so I think that's really, really important I actually have a little project for you all, and it actually would be fine if you guys feel free online to share this in the chat room or to tweet or to think about this and share this later, but I have kind of something for you guys to think about or if anyone here in the audience I'm gonna ask you a few questions you're willing or you want to want to share some information if you come up with an answer to some of these questions and if not just kind of tuck it away back here and and at some point maybe think about some of these things but um, I I basically would ask you to think about one goal just won like just keep a simple um one goal that you wanna have for yourself on and this is for the year so think for the one goal for the year one change one thing you want to change and that could mean when I say simplify declutter like that could be taking something that really negative in your life for something that's really bottlenecked in your workflow that's bogging you down um an employee that's not working out like what's something you kind of need to fellas clean in one word and is actually my friends andy and kaya bondurant that now I think three years ago maybe share this with us but they said every year they pick a word and that keep a simple like I know people have their new year's resolutions and write all these big things but if it's one word like you can kind of carry that with you it's really simple and you know it and so I think at the time when we did this I know one I had was, uh, piece because it was when I thought our adoption wasn't gonna happen I just wasn't very peaceful so my word for that year's piece and then it was to be content on dh then this year especially was truth just you know we're going to be true to myself and what I'm doing and make the tough decisions and do the tough things that that that requires and that means so my goal is to start fund the children's home interpol so when I actually virtually wrote this like it happened within weeks of doing it so that's really exciting the change is to shoot and actually teach less so I can spend more time on relationships and helping others in need and so that's actually really help happen to I've actually turned down quite a few teaching opportunities and things so not that I'm not going to do it I'm obviously here creative lives but you know, picking and choosing that a little bit more on dh then the one word is truth so I I don't know if anybody here I know that's a lot to throw at you do not feel like you need to share any of those things, but if someone has something, they want to share it not all of them or one of them or none of them we can keep going teo so you guys can I can think about it or yeah okay, yeah, I mean, you don't yeah, I don't want to pressure you, it's not I know it's kind of personal um I've met andy and I follow hiss collective a lot and so I'm still working on a word because I've got four five, but the changes for me this year has definitely been simplifying like trying to just get rid of all the junk that it seems to just clutter up and not just workflow but just everywhere I feel like we walk into a room and I'm thinking, where did this all come from? So that's kind of my thing this year's just definitely simplifying, giving stuff out and just needing just what's the basics to get the job done awesome I'm kind of doing that too I've had like four garage sales like the actual physical clutter of this stuff yeah I'm doing that too it's driving my scene my husband over there it's driving him crazy but yes well wonderful you have anybody else you know decide they have something they want to share great or feel free to throw that in the chat room um and really um where that puts us I actually have one last light show I want to share with you guys and um you know, I think a lot of this has just been and part of this story but really for me it's why I've done a lot of things that we've done in our business why we've chosen to do the things we chosen to do in our business but kind of there's been this change in mindset change in perspective um and we all know like there's no guarantees like it's just one day at a time so and life can change in one day like that's the photo we got you know what it's like are you kidding me? Mike my whole world was rocked my life changed that day, so I actually have one less video I want to share with you because it's also some of my fine art work that I've done in didn't know paul and I I have to tell you actually was sharing with someone yesterday about I actually had a legitimate fear of ever having children like I always knew I wanted kids like that was never the question, but like I had a business like it spent all my time doing this, like, I never could understand how that all would work out and fit together, and then all the sun is like a weight I'm thirty something and okay, yeah, let's have kids, and actually, jen and I have talked about adopting since we were in high school, so I always knew that one of those part of something I wanted to do and and it's, just, um, I don't know, I don't even know if I'm gonna be able to talk about all this, that I I actually just had so much fear that I would be able to do it like I was just too scared of it. And, um, I had a friend, a client, actually good client who one day came in for a session, I photograph all our kids, and she said, hey, I'm actually going to visit my child, I can't bring her home, but I'm going to visit my child in guatemala, and I just talked to I would love to go so, like within a week, like I went with her, it was just like random. I went with her for a weekend, and it was on that trip that it's, like I called judge from down there, or maybe even skyped him and is like, I'm ready, like I'm a mom, like I knew it, like I knew I was right, and it was right. Came home from that trip in the very next day after started the process. Yeah, I'm just super, super excited that thiss week went so well and just very thankful. It's, very thankful. So thank you guys.