Business

Getting Un-Lost

I didn’t intend to blog this today. I had planned a great post on pre-planning wedding poses, but that will have to wait. Today I need to share from the heart. Mom always said, “The beauty of a plan is flexibility,” and today I’m putting that into practice.

Do you know when you’re driving some place and singing along to the radio, or talking on the phone, or chatting with your co-pilot, and everything seems rosy and fine… and then all of the sudden you look up and realize you have no idea where you are? Like no idea? Sometimes that feeling lasts for a second, sometimes it takes awhile to find your way back to the right course, but however long it takes, that feeling that happens between lost and un-lost can be absolutely terrifying.

Earlier this week I realized I was lost. 

I’ve been chugging along just fine, working hard in my normal, busy-season kind of hard. A couple of weeks ago, though, it felt like I jumped onto a hamster wheel and couldn’t find my way off. No matter how hard I worked on projects, it seemed as if I was hog-tied in my attempts to complete them. To-do lists carried over day after day, growing longer instead of shrinking. Running in circles, spinning my wheels, stagnant, you all know that feeling I’m talking about. STUCK. Stuck sucks. It’s a terrible place to find oneself as a business owner. And I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

Earlier this week, a few things happened that showed me I was lost, but also got me un-lost at the same time.

First, I read another chapter in Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey. Second, I listened to my favorite podcast by Ligon Duncan. Third, I applied to speak about Intentional Business (from my workshop, The Intentional Photographer) at several wedding business workshops, and in filling out the application form, I had to go over my Core Beliefs again. Finally, I read this blog post, past along by a friend. Not necessarily connected, but they all reminded me of the same thing: WHY I DO WHAT I DO.

The chapter I read in Entreleadership talked about treating others as you want to be treated— people come first. That podcast reminded me that even when we don’t understand hard things, we still need to walk in obedience to our callings— people come first. My Core Beliefs reminded me of what I’ve always believed— people come first. That blog post reminded me that business always functions best when it’s run from the heart— because people come first.

Somewhere along the way, for some mysterious reason, I stopped believing that. I said I believed it, but when my actions denied that belief. My actions said, “I’m more important than my clients. I deserve xyz. I should be recognized for my hard work. I have more experience than that person. I deserve to be comfortable, happy, entertained, noticed, and in control. I should be able to take it easy— I’ve earned it. I should get what I want.” I’ve focused on myself, how I feel, what I want, how I prefer to work, what work I want to do, and that ugly egotistical downward spiral of selfish self-promotion … and in the process, I totally lost sight of my core.

Core Belief #1:”I believe that genuine, loving care and personal relationships with both clients and colleagues are the key to a successful and satisfying business.”

Core Belief #7: ” I believe that people are more important than projects, and that relationships trump the bottom line.”

This week, I realized I’d lost sight of my priorities, and those misplaced priorities had me spinning in circles, completely lost and bewildered. You see, when I make my business about the people I serve, everything else has this remarkable way of falling into place. I’ve seen this over and over again in my work— I focus on myself and I’m constantly frustrated; I focus on loving and serving other people, considering their needs above my own, and actually prioritize that, and all of my other to-dos happily fall into proper order.

I know it may strange to some, but it’s as dependable as the sunrise— if we make our work about serving others, we can never fail. I fully believe this, with all of my heart. The past few weeks I forgot what I believed, but now that I remember, I can get un-lost. And that’s just what I’m going to spend this weekend doing. (And now it’s time to print off my Core Beliefs and hang them on my office wall where I can see them.)

In other news, I’m SO excited to share Jason & Molly’s gorgeous wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty yesterday!!! SO EXCITING— they are a couple so abundant in their love for each other and those around them, and it just glows through every picture. So happy for them!!

Here are just a few favorites from their wedding. But sure to click over to Style Me Pretty to see more!!

Intimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw PhotographyIntimate Spring Wedding at Strong Mansion by Sarah Bradshaw Photography

If you liked this post, you might also love My Core Beliefs, The Intentional Photographer: The WHY, and 10 Steps to Find Your Core Brand

  1. Nastja

    June 26th, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Such an inspirational post, just what I needed. And great wedding photos to follow…congrats on the feature!!

  2. Renee

    June 26th, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    What a great post + congrats on the feature! So well deserved 🙂

  3. Kristen Browning

    June 26th, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Glad to hear that you rediscovered your purpose 🙂 it’s easy to get off track in this high paced world we live in.

    I’d like to check out that podcast AND the intentional workshop. When are you hosting the next one?

  4. Rici

    July 29th, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Words which most certainly resonated. Thank you for sharing!! And totally loved those sweet wedding images!

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Hello, I'm Sarah Bradshaw! Classic-obsessed, coffee-loving D.C. wedding photographer. I’ photograph because I believe that all of life is beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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