Video Blog: Your Courage is Bigger than Your Excuses
Good morning friends!!
Today we are super SUPER lucky to be able to share with you a video interview that I recently got to do with the absolutely world-rockingly incredible Desirea Stott Rodgers, co-founder of Love 146. I first got to hear Desirea's story (and the story of the non-profit that she started, Love 146, and how it all came to be) when we were both speaking at the Pursuit 31 Conference last month in Georgia.
To put it in the most succinct of terms: she completely blew me away.
A few years back, Desirea was just getting her own photography business off the ground when she was invited on a trip to Thailand that would change everything. She was invited by a friend who had asked her what she knew about human trafficking, and if she would be willing to see what was going on first hand. A couple weeks and a plane ride back later, Love 146- a non-profit aimed at nothing short of obliterating child sex trafficking entirely that now has a multi-million dollar budget- was born.
I think what is really so amazing about this story, is that Desirea was just like a lot of you out there might be right now: just trying to figure out how the heck to get her photography business off the ground in the first place. Asking herself how she was going to pay the bills with it, how she was going to get her name out there. But what she couldn't possibly know, was that at that very moment she was being prepared for something so much bigger. She was being prepared to take up her camera as a sword in the fight for hope and justice in this world. Think about that now. in the midst of all that we worry about with Facebook likes and blog comments and rebranding and who's who...
What is it that you might be being prepared for right now as we speak?
**In this video, just some of the things that Desirea & I talk about are:
- The difference between a career and a calling
- How it's ok to have fear, as long as that doesn't turn into your excuse not to do something about it
- Pushing through the moments when you really just want to run away.
- The best way to do what feels like the impossible
- The definition of courage
- And so much more!
I invite you to first watch this video to introduce yourself to Love 146 & their mission (**but be warned, while it is not graphic it is definitely on a subject matter that can be hard to watch):
And then please join me as I have the HUGE honor of interviewing this incredible woman, Ms. Desirea Stott Rodgers, and finding out just how big we can go when we realize our courage is bigger than our excuses.
**Desirea, I can never thank you enough for sitting on my couch with me and sharing your beautiful, beautiful heart. I am honored to call you a friend.
This morning I want you to stop-everything- and ask yourself this question: What have you been telling yourself that you can't do?
When is the last time you told yourself: I can't. I don't. I'm not good enough. I'll never be able to. I'm not meant to.? If I'm being honest, the last time for me was when I opened up this blog post and sat blankly staring at the screen. Immediately, no less than seven different thoughts ran through my head of why I would never (or should never) be able to write a post like this.
And I guess that in and of itself is the reason it needs to be done.
How many times do we go through our days accepting these stories we tell ourselves as the truth. I'll never be able to shoot like so & so...I guess I don't have what it takes. or Of course I made that mistake, I always mess things like that up. or Of course I didn't get asked to do that project, I never get asked to do things like that. or I'll never have gear like that, a studio like that, get to shoot weddings like that, or be given opportunities like that. or It always comes so easy for her/him, but that will never ever be me. Sounds pretty familiar right? I know, because I've thought all of them too.
Throughout the course of our business, I can't tell you how many times I've told myself these stories about how we'll never be able to do this or how it always happens for someone else or how nothing is ever going to change. And you know what? It just isn't true. And yet, those thoughts still keep creeping in.
I don't know why our thoughts work the way that they do. I don't know why we're hard wired to say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to someone else. And honestly, I don't know why we listen to ourselves when we do. But what I do know, is that it's holding us back.
Every little lie, every cutting remark, every criticism we say about ourselves is holding us back from our ability to go out and shine. To run like hell toward a dream and to feel that rush when we finally decide to just let go and fly. To feel the warmth on our faces, to have that light from within. And to leap each time the ledge comes around. And yet....we lie.
I want you to do me this favor. As you go through the rest of your day, I just want you to keep a running count. Every time you catch yourself thinking one of these self-defeating thoughts, just mark it down somewhere or keep a count in your head. And then at the end of the day, see how many times you told yourself you can't. Heck, at the end of the hour see how many times it was. That will be step one.
Then tomorrow we're going to do it again. Only this time, every time you catch yourself saying you can't....I want you to find a way to turn it around into a can. Find a way to tell yourself the story of how it can happen. How it will happen.
Then go out and run like hell toward it.
Rock it out,
**This is a sneak peek of a super exciting shoot we were lucky enough to do...more coming soon!
On the first day she sat in the first row, and we went back and forth as I did one my impromptu (yes, ever so slightly Miss Cleo-esque) brand predictions on her. I told her I saw pink in her future. She told me I was crazy. And the two of us have been fast friends ever since.
As it turns out, I was more right than either of us could have ever known at the time. And it's one of the very few times in my life, I would have been more than happy to be wrong.
You see, Lauren did end up rebranding later that year and it did, in fact, end up including pink. But that's not the part I wish I was wrong about (her brand is totally killer and you can check it out here). The part that I wish I was wrong about, was when pink took on a whole different meaning in Lauren's life late last year as she found out she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lauren came to WPPI, just two months into her diagnosis when she still wasn't telling anybody. And while she was there, she came to sit in for support at our Platform class because that's the kind of amazing friend she is. While she was sitting there front and center in the first row, we played the Mary Ann video. And unbeknownst to us at the time, it struck a chord with Lauren perhaps more than anyone else in the room. Later during our talk we had people write down a list of their bHag's (big hairy audacious goals)....and Lauren knew exactly what was going to be first on her list. But I'll let her tell you about that....
A few months after WPPI, Lauren wrote this blog post. Unveiling to the world that she in fact reached that first bHag. She had faced cancer....and beaten it. And she told her story with a humor and a wit that only Lauren could do. I encourage each and every one of you to head over and read the full post in its entirety. But for now, I just wanted to end with these words from her:
'Since the day I started my business I was scared. Scared of doing something wrong. Scared of not being good enough. Scared of failing. Every big idea I had was stuck behind a bigger excuse of why I couldnít do it. Some reason as to why going after something bigger was too scary. But not anymore. I literally faced the scariest thing I can think of and I beat it. So what could I possibly be scared of now? What excuse could I possibly come up with as to why Iím not going after every single thing Iíve ever wanted. Nothing. To anyone out there who is scared. Or has a laundry list of excuses as to why theyíre not going after their dreams. I beg you to let go. Forget about the things youíre afraid of and just do it. Make them happen. I promise that even the scariest things really arenít that scary after all.
And you will come out on top."
Ladies & Gentleman of the blog world, I ask that you please help me thank Miss Lauren Wakefield for having the courage to be here.
And for giving us all the courage to fight a little harder.
For being an inspiration.
And for showing us all that even the hardest of scars, just make us that much stronger.
"A scar does not form on the dying. A scars says 'I survived.'"
The idea began percolating (coffee, ideas...a lot of things percolate in my life) while we were out in Portland to speak at the What If Conference.
And just like I like my coffee, the more I brewed on it the stronger it got.
It's something that's been on my heart for a while now, and when I finally had the space and time away to think and dream about it in Portland...everything started to become really clear for me.
I had at that point already done a couple of video blog posts on things photography related like the getting ready and shooting the ceremony. But what I realized when I really started to think about it, is that I wanted these videos to be about something more than that. That if I was going to commit to doing a video blog series, and y'know...showering, blowing out my hair and putting on clothes that are something other than yoga pants a couple of times a month :), then I really wanted those videos to come from the heart.
And while we were out in Portland giving our What If talk, I realized that the things that really get me fired up and the things that really come from the heart for me are more of the stuff that life is made of. Of dreaming big and doing bigger, getting back up when this world knocks you down, of falling down seven times but standing up eight. Of trying harder, fighting harder, and believing for more. And never ever once settling or backing down when it comes to this our one wild & precious life.
So if those are the kinds of things I talk about when I can write about anything in the world that I want....then why on earth wouldn't they be the kinds of things I would talk about here with you guys?
That's not to say that the photography posts aren't important, and we will definitely be doing a lot more of those in the Pancake Sessions and possibly even a few video posts here and there.
But for now, I wanted to give this a real shot. And who knows, maybe this will be a HUGE flop. That's definitely a possibility. :)
And right about now I'm pretty much shaking in my yoga pants as I hit publish on this.
But I'm going to push the button anyway so at least I can always look back and say I tried....and that it always came from the heart.
Happy Friday friends!
And a HUGE Friday congratulations going out to the winner of our PocketWizard giveaway....Miss Sara Adams!! Sara just shoot us an email at email@example.com and we'll get you all set up!
On Sunday, Justin & I got in our car and made the three hour drive to right outside of Philly for Kelly & Paul's wedding at the glorious Cairnwood Estate.
Yes, glorious. Because, really, glorious is the only way you can describe Cairnwood...trust me, it's magnificent. Ok, glorious AND magnificent...two, there are only two ways you can describe Cairnwood. But I digress. Because this post isn't really about Cairnwood.
It's about the three hour drive there. And then the full day of shooting the wedding. And then, because we're extra crazy (and because we had a project back home we were working on yesterday), the three hour drive back that night.
It was a lot. And at around 11pm with all of our gear still left to pack up and that drive looming ahead of us, I started to go all disaster movie about the situation: Leave it. It's too late for them. We have to go on without them. We'll find new lenses. Start a new life. But lucky for me and my delirious self, Justin was feeling way more Black Hawk Down. LEAVE NO LENS BEHIND! And so he went to work, and in record time our bags were packed and ready to roll.
Now a HUGE part of that credit goes to Justin and his completely OCD tendencies which means that every piece of gear we have has a place and was accounted for. But what makes THAT possible, are the two bags that have basically changed our photography travel lives: The Think Tank Airport International roller bags.
These bags are amazing. We take them everywhere we go. And since to say that we'll be traveling just a little bit more this year for weddings would be about the understatement of the century, we are feeling extra thankful that we made the investment to have these bags with us all the time. Here are just a couple of reasons these bags rock our world:
* The inside sections are fully customizable, which means that you can literally create cut out shapes for every piece of gear that you own. And once everything has a place, one quick look will tell you if you're missing anything. Which means that, literally, no lens is ever left behind.
* The Airport Internationals are specifically designed to be able to fit into any overhead compartment, which means we never have to check our gear bags and run the risk of anything getting lost or damaged.
* The bags themselves are designed to look like regular black rolly bag luggage, so there's less risk of them getting stolen. They also come equipped with a bicycle-type lock so you can tie them down to something when you're out shooting.
* They keep us incredibly organized and because we know exactly where everything goes, our pack up time at the end of the night has been cut in half.
* They also offer low rise inserts, which leaves room for a laptop to be packed in there as well. Which means we can cruise through airports with no weight on our shoulders.
Think Tank is actually running a pretty awesome special right now through June 17th where when you buy one of their rolling bags, they will gift you one of their laptop cases to go in it for free. So if you've been looking for a solution for traveling with your gear (or even just for being extra organized at your local weddings!) definitely check them out!
Because really, no lens should be left behind. And a pocket wizard is a terrible thing to waste.
**And since every post is more fun if a little contest is involved, we put together a little Think Tank prize pack to giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment in the box below to get entered and we'll pick one lucky winner on Friday to win a Think Tank card wallet, Gel wallet & the Retrospective Lens Changer bag that we just ordered for ourselves! And...GO!!