🙋♀️ Raise your hand if your business has ever caused you pain? You know, the tough times in your photography business that nobody likes to talk about. Whether it’s a bride who “decided to go with someone else,” financial woes, an empty calendar, or a deep struggle with self-doubt & perfectionism one thing is for certain: YOUR BUSINESS WILL EXPERIENCE MANY SEASONS.
There will be super-high highs and super-low lows. And for me 2020 has been one giant LOW! Between health crises and COVID-19, I’m ready for 2020 to be done!
It’s not my first low… but even 7 years in… I still find managing lows difficult! You feel lost, like your world is crashing all around you and there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it. You feel hopeless, helpless, angry, and confused.
I was praying the other day, telling God that I don’t know how to feel, how to act, or what to do. And he reminded me of some of the tough times in my photography business that I’ve experienced in the past:
And while everything always turned out okay, and I knew it would this time to, that doesn’t really help me know what to do right now. Like at all! So I began to ask myself how I got through those tough times owning a photography business practically?
I analyzed what I found and compiled it into a list of 7 things to do during really-low lows. And now, I’m going to share it with you! Because if there is one thing I know for sure, self-employment never really turns out the way you plan and things change at the drop of a hat!
For me, I do this through writing and praying. But no matter how you decide to do it, I want you to find time to reflect. Taking the time to reflect on a regular basis will keep you from or help you uncover sabotaging thought patterns.
The best way to do this is to let your experience the negatives FULLY. Yes, being positive is important, but the truth is, you can experience positivity until you’ve walked through the negativity. Locate what hurts the most and then mentally dive into it. That is going to lead you straight to the thoughts that you are having that need to be adjusted or let go.
Sometimes even just acknowledging the emotional energy that you’ve been burying makes you feel so liberated. You no longer begin to identify yourself with that thought or possessed by that thought. But, it cannot be overcome until it is found.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, my business has lost over $60,000 so far, and it’s not even finished. I am the main income provider for my family of 5, but even more stressful than that is that I feel completely and utterly useless! Like my megaphone of changing the world had been taken from me. But that’s because inwardly, I struggle with defining myself by my work.
This is a hard one. But you can’t just assume the role of victim and stay there. Are you a victim, probably! But now it’s time to heal. When your reflection time is over I want you to focus on giving thanks intentionally. Practice gratitude! It’s not going to be easy! But I want you to try to come up with things that are still good.
It could be:
Gratitude isn’t always automatic in real seasons of loss or difficulty! But, that doesn’t mean it’s not there! Take the time to tune into gratitude and thankfulness on a regular basis. Because practicing gratitude will help you fall in love with your life as it is in this moment!
Life was not meant to be lived alone. And while we as a generation have the opportunity to connect with others with the click of a button, I want you to focus on in-person quality time with community.
In his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy cardiologist Dean Ornish says this about the the power of love and connection when it comes to healing/suffering:
“I am not aware of any other factor in medicine — not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery — that has a greater impact on our quality of life or incidence of illness.”Dean Ornish
Isolation is a prison. It breads illness and suffering while community promotes love, laughter, intimacy, and connection. Wherever you find those things… BE THERE! Connecting with others has profound effects on the brain. Just as we cannot succeed alone, we cannot suffer alone. We are meant to live life in community.
What I mean by this is… when crap hits the fan people like to do one of two things: sleep all the time, or give up sleep and try to work their way out of it. I am the latter.
During a low season I have to intentionally focus on getting QUALITY sleep so that I can continue to be clear headed, focused, and continue to show up for the other areas of my life like motherhood.
In the middle of this COVID-19 Crises these two things trigger anxiety: the news and watching some of my competitors get back to work even though I cannot.
Sure, news updates and the occasional social media scroll is fine. But being constantly fed with gloomy news headlines or comparing our negatives with someone else’s positives are not helpful. There is no need to feel that same stabbing pain 10 times in one hour on 5 different platforms.
Nearly all of life’s valuable lessons for me were learned in times of trouble. They were discovered in those seasons where I re-evaluate the meaning of things and what I’ve been attaching my life to.
This single activity is what gives me the power to grow during hard seasons and continues to fuel that growth when it has past. Looking for the lesson takes an event that previously made you feel shame and helplessness and turns it into something that makes it feel powerful and full of purpose.
The thing about healing is that it’s not magic. Instead, it comes in waves. You will step in and out of the chaos that is happening and that is okay. Remember, you’re not looking to escape this season, you’re learning to live here for a time.
These 7 things have gotten me through some seemingly IMPOSSIBLE times in my life; business and otherwise! And I know it will help you too!
Remember, this is an opportunity to expand your mind, love harder, be kinder, reflect, praise, discover, heal, rest, re-charge and begin again! Keep on keeping on and one day you will wake up and be where everything feels right. Your heart will be calm, your thoughts positive, your soul excited, your vision clear and you will be at peace with what you’ve been through and where you’re going.