Major breakthrough time.
Which means major letting go,
coming to terms,
Lindsay Adler must be my soulmate, because she has this freaky tendency to reach out to me at pivotal moments. I had just finished yoga and was sitting back down to write when I see a text from her. It simply said:
“How are you? Something made me think I should call you or text.”
I responded quickly, flippantly almost, saying that I’m good. And then, before pressing send, I added this:
“Just doing lots of writing and trying not to worry that I’m solidly not doing anything that makes money.”
Writing those words opened up a can of worms in my brain. I hadn’t really said that out loud until that point. I knew I was making a big shift in my business/career, I had discussed pay decreases with my husband, but I hadn’t really acknowledged that the fear I feel with my new creative endeavors is rooted in money.
I know, I know. Money is just NOT COOL to talk about when you’re an “artist”.
It’s a fact and a stress and it is necessary. So be it.
Our ideas of success are wrapped up in it. Our confidence is wrapped up in it. Sometimes, even our reputations.
Let me be clear about some things. My business makes money in multifaceted ways, from teaching and motivational speaking to print sales and licensing, and more. I’ve always excelled at diversifying and branding. But, for the first time since starting photography, I mentally ditched that. Even though I still have revenue streams, even though I’m doing fine, I stopped associating with money.
The last time I did this was 9 years ago when I started photography. I was fresh out of college, 21 years old, and just starting photography. I knew I had to make money, but I never considered that photography would be the way to do that. It was fun and exciting and I didn’t put any expectation on that.
Photography grew to be my career, unexpectedly.
And now, 11 years later, and nearly 10 years after starting my business, and 7.5 years since learning to rely on it for money, I’m slowing it down. I’m pursuing writing, and it feels just like before – when I started photography…
…with one main difference. I make a living for myself now. Back then I was fresh out of college and had no house, no income expectations. This time I do. I’ve taught myself, as we do when we become adults, to rely on ourselves to make money. We learn to measure our success in our bank accounts.
I’m not trying to say that I have lost any joy in photography or teaching, or that I personally put my confidence and success in money, but that it is tied together even when we don’t realize it. I’m just ready for change.
I’m overjoyed about dissociating my passion from my income. It means that I’m back to passionate basics. I’m doing something because I HAVE TO. Because my soul is pushing me to do it. Because I feel a calling to write this book.
If I am ever to do it right, I can’t let money be a thought, or success, or reputation.
None of that matters in passion.
What matters is that I put aside my former expectations and learn a new way of living, one that does the deed no matter what. Just like I did with photography, and just like I will do with writing.
One day I will tell the story of how I put all else aside – my fears, insecurities, doubts, and expectation – to write the novel of my dreams. It will be a beautiful story to tell.
So, Lindsay, to answer your question…
I’m doing freaking fantastic. I really am. Thanks to you and your perfectly timed text, I’m finally feeling free.