...make my life what I want it to be?
This is a thought I've had for the last few days. I recently interviewed a bunch of potential interns, and made a hiring decision for JBe Photography. It's official, I'm a grown-up. I've got an intern, I'm paying someone to do stuff for me, for my company.
It feels wonderful and weird and awesome.
It's reminded me of the journey I have been on for the last four years, and what has led me to this point. It makes me wonder where I'll be in four or five years from now. It's also made me think of the people who hate their jobs. I get questions from folks quite often about how I started in photography, or if I trained under somebody, or how I ended up where I am. Honestly, I think these questions are far less about "how to start your own photography business," as they are, "how can I do what I want to do and be happy?"
I had a conversation about this very thing with a friend of mine tonight. She's in her mid thirties, and just started Law School. She's had tons of various jobs from bartender to esthetician, to you name it. She's just now at the point in her life where she's feeling happy with who she is and where she's going. I decided to chat with her to determine what might be good advice for people who are feeling stuck. STUCK. That's such a frustrating feeling. Stuck in your job, or in your relationship, or in your life. Stuck feeling like there's no way for you to start over, or no way for you to end one thing and begin a new one.
Kristin said two things to me tonight that really stuck out:
1. You can either do what makes you happy, or do what keeps you comfortable.
This is HUGE. This is so true. Now, I'll preface by saying that I understand how ridiculously lucky I am. I'm 28 years old, I own a photography business and I'm in a happy, long term relationship. I understand that to some of my very close single friends in jobs they dislike, they might easily think, "Jenn, you can shove it." But, I wasn't always this person.
I worked in Property Management for seven years, and I drained myself. Emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally. I worked and worked at a thankless job where my gifts and abilities were ignored and stifled. I was exhausted and frustrated. At the same time, I also worked at a "relationship" with a guy who felt nothing for me but the comfort I gave him on a drunken, cold and lonely night.
So, when did it change? It's cliche', but it was sort of like a light bulb. I was laying in bed and the thought suddenly and simply came to me: "Is this really what I want?" Do I want this man who doesn't love me? Do I want to keep pining after him until he drops me for the next best thing? Do I want to waste the rest of my life on a company that doesn't value and appreciate me? Do I work and work there until I retire, and wish to Zeus I'd done something that made me happy instead? Isn't there something I can do that will be of value to others and make me feel like I'm doing what I should be doing?
So I had to make the jump. I had to invest my life in something else, live it in a different way.
I had to choose.
So, I chose a man who valued and loved me. One who made me laugh instead of cry. One who did the dishes after I cooked dinner. One who I knew would be there in the morning, support me when I fell down and through any tears or tough times or fatness or anger or frustration or whatever... would tell me, "I love you, you're beautiful, you're worthy, you're capable. You're amazing."
I chose to look at what I loved to do and make a career out of it. For me, that meant building a company from the ground up on my own. For someone else, that might mean going back to school, quitting their job, switching careers, leaving a higher paying position for an entry-level spot in a totally different field and starting from the bottom. But sometimes, that's what it takes.
Kristin said, "I had to do something I hated for a little bit... but it was a trade off. Hard work and crap hours then, but happiness in the long run." She mentioned how much she'd sacrificed in personal comfort, her preferred lifestyle and her finances. She doesn't go out to eat much. She saves instead of spends. But it's worth it.
And this leads to the second thing she said:
2. What was I waiting for?
Kristen told me, "I spent my twenties waiting for things to happen. I was waiting for things I wanted to be... to be. And you know what? They didn't happen. Then I got into my 30's and thought, 'What am I waiting for?'"
I was waiting for things to happen too. I was waiting for the guy to "come around," to finally see me for the beautiful, wonderful person I thought he should see me as. To finally realize I was his saving grace and his one true love. I was waiting for this company to finally wake up and smell the freakin' daisies and realize my potential, my abilities, my talents. ...But after seven years none of that happened. Can you imagine how many more years I would have wasted if I didn't do something about it? How much more frustration and heartache I would have gone through? How much time I would have let slip by... unhappy, unfulfilled and unrealized?
So... I'll ask the question to you. What are you waiting for?