I love traveling, exploring new places, meeting new people… But man, there is NO place like home.
A year ago this November I had the awesome opportunity to speak at the BLINK Conference, ran by the lovely and talented (and dear friends) Ike & Tash Photography and Motion, which took place in Scottsdale, Arizona. I had a blast meeting so many talented photographers from around the country and having the opportunity to speak on one areas\ of photography that I love and am passionate about. As a Portrait and Wedding Photographer, one aspect that I truly love is Newborn Photography and being an advocate and voice for newborn safety.
Shortly after attending BLINK in 2014, Latasha asked me to join the BLINK 2015 Team as the Conference | Attendee Coordinator. A little side note about me, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communication, which has a heavy emphasis in Business Leadership. My personality is “see a need, fill a need.” I thrive on schedules and lists, organization and workflow, and I love, love, love those nitty gritty behind the scenes details of event management; and of course, most importantly, I love people. This is probably why I love shooting weddings so much and assist my bride and grooms in make sure their wedding days run smoothly… But that is another blog post. :)
This year, BLINK touched ground in Austin, Texas and took place at the Lone Star Court Resort. I loved this hotel! So much character and Texas charm in one location! From the bright orange rocking chairs on the decks, to the relaxing fire pits, it was the perfect location for a boutique conference of 65+ creatives.
Heading to the conference I knew my days would be long and filled with helping make the conference run smoothly. And let me tell you, the team of ladies I had the opportunity of working with ROCKED it. Just sayin'. Annie, Emma, Catrena, Juliete - you know who are! :) I also knew the speakers would be excellent. What I didn't know is that I would walk away from the conference with a new direction and clearer vision for my business.
There were three speakers in particular that lit a fire where I have been needing it. I believe businesses ebb and flow. They hit peaks and they hit times of building. There are times when we can relax and times when we need to hit the pavement and begin running. And this was that running moment for me. To assume that I had "arrived" because I have spoken on many platforms or because I am an educator would be placing my ego in front of humility. I never want to assume that I am "safe" or that I can slack off. And to be honest - I had hit a frustrating moment personally within in my business, and hadn't understood why, until now. But those frustrating moments are what fuel me to work harder and begin dreaming and building a better tomorrow.
We have ALL been in this place. And let me just say, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you are in that place of frustration, use it to fuel your passion. Begin digging deeper into what needs to change. Change is not a bad thing. It can be extremely scary - but it often times leads to moments of GREAT success and GREAT opportunities.
Mary & Justin Marantz, Leah Remillet, and Katelyn James were the gasoline to the the fire I have been needing this year. Their content was inspiring and motivating. They brought back an excitement and momentum that I have been needing.
I left for the BLINK conference frustrated and not sure how to navigate a few things that I had felt shifting. And I left with a new passion, new motivation, and most importantly, new DREAMS.
I have been in business over 8 years, 9 if you count the first year I spent researching, business planning, and writing down my dreams, hopes, and plans. I have watched hundreds of photographers over these 9 years come and go quickly from this industry because it is NOT easy. And I had felt as though I had hit a wall. That I was the "old photographer." And I am SO thankful for the words and kick in the booty I was needing to push past those frustrations and begin planning new things again.
2016 better watch out. There's a new Michelle Newell in town!
I don't know who you are - what your dreams are - what you are striving for. But NEVER stop learning. Never stop challenging yourself. NEVER - STOP - DREAMING.