I can’t decide whether this post would be more appropriately titled Surviving as an Entrepreneur or How to Survive When You Feel like You’re Crashing. Let me explain and you can decide.
Being empty seems to hit us when we least expect it. Or at least this is my experience. Does anyone else feel that way? It’s like I’m moving along fine, my business is working and growing (or I think it is), and then WHAM!
How do we fill up when we are empty?
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur or working mom, I think we can all relate to exhaustion. In 2014, we spent a month filming and photographing Egypt. The first three days we were back home was all about recovering from jet lag, getting food back in our fridge, and turning forty. But by day four, I started crying like I haven’t cried in years. I cried, no joke, for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT. Pascaline yelled to Brian “build that boat dad because mom’s tears are making a SERIOUS river!”
Egypt was amazing, intense, challenging and life changing. And tears have always been my release. But at the end of all the crying, I was EMPTY. That WHAM hit me hard. Knowing I wanted to give all of me to the ladies at an upcoming CONFIDENCE Workshop, I went away–by myself.
I checked into a hotel for two days, and 60 plus pages later of writing, I’m thinking I had a few things to process. LOL!
But oh my Lord, what breakthrough I found after pushing my pen across 60 pages, pounding my fists against my pillows and then dancing in my underwear by the second morning! (Yep, that’s the woman behind this blog and Disney’s TV show “Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh”.) I have to laugh. I’ve got a deep need to keep things real. But surviving as an entrepreneur also takes a support system to be this honest when you hit empty.
I have to thank my husband; Brian pushed me out the door to runaway for two days.
I have to thank my Confidence Photography teachers who all sent me words of encouragement during that intense week of crying. I have to thank my girlfriend at church who prayed for me while I just cried and cried. I have to thank Kayla, my Director at SONY, who gave me crazy girl power through our phone conversations. And I have to thank Jeff Jochum, a man who I owe much to.
Jeff started mentoring me with our business in 2005. One of my best memories is arguing with him at his Colorado home during his first workshop (side note: I don’t really argue with many people, let alone yell at them in their own home. In fact, this was a definite first and only moment for me doing this in another person’s home. After ten minutes of him questioning why you do what you do, you’d agree.).
He was challenging me to risk making my focus all about empowering moms.
This was in 2009. I wanted to do it, but I was afraid to stop shooting high end weddings. I didn’t not how we would stay afloat and as you can imagine–a conversation that is about what you dream of doing and how to feed your family can get seriously emotional.
Surviving as an entrepreneur means choosing a focus. I am so glad I took him up on the challenge. The clear focus of our business made it that much easier for Harpo, Nate Berkus, Disney and Live with Kelly and Ryan to know whether or not we were the right fit for their own purpose and mission to moms. (To watch some of my TV segments: CLICK HERE)
He has challenged me time and time again to “choose” my focus, my vision…versus stay in the security of being generic and general.
He has equipped me with business tactics and wisdom that have directly impacted our successful partnerships with several large corporations. Seriously, the list of all the things his counsel has impacted is far to long.
Most of all, he cares. And even though it sounds simple, finding someone with as much experience and wisdom who deeply cares is a gift. He cares for the photo industry, and he’s making the industry a better place all the time with his coaching among photographers. If you ever have a chance to learn from him, get coaching from him, here him speak, you MUST take the opportunity.
It’s amazing. Jeff happened to be coming into Seattle for two nights when I called him while I was crying my eyes out. He was coming to support another photographer.
I was in shock when we sat down for dinner together–that he was HERE in SEATTLE. And for the next five hours, he did what he does like no other. He spoke to my fear of surviving as an entrepreneur by challenging my fears, anxieties, insecurities, ALL of it…and then reminded me of who I was–who I am–regardless of how distraught I felt in the moment.
The conversation had so many gems, and I wanted to share a few with you. I know that pulling quotes out of context of a five hour conversation is tough. But some of these quotes are universal truths that have to be passed on. I’m not sure how full or empty your tank is today, but I hope these truths will give you a little bit of energy, hope and vision to keep building your dream. I used many of them as journal prompts during my two days away and discovered more than I expected.
One liners of wisdom for surviving as an entrepreneur;
“Anyone can copy what you do, but no one can copy who you are.”
“It’s not what you do but why you do it.”
“You can’t get fired from your own life.”
“Retirement is what you do when you hate what you do. But if you love what you do, why would you ever stop doing it?”
“Everyone is either an Explorer or Discoverer. The Explorer is all about the process. The Discoverer is all about the result. Knowing which one you are helps you measure your success.”
Can’t you just journal about each one of these?!