“I think that I’m confident and I trust my instincts and I am not afraid to fail. That is the secret. Everyone fails but it is the people who stand up again who want it the most.” - Elin Kling
As I sit down to write, I am overwhelmed with many other things I probably should be doing. They cloud my mind, and invade the thoughts I have at present. I have lectures to watch, content to absorb, dishes filling my sink, galleries to edit, prints to pack up, clients to prep, contracts to write. Work, and non-work related; these things both pull me away and draw me closer to the need to write this out.
I want to write about Illuminate and why I’m putting it together. I want to share it because it’s important. Most of the time, I feel very fortunate to have a job that involves working for myself. I love the flexibility, the creativity and the connections it creates. I enjoy being able to mould my work as I see fit. But there are downfalls too. And though I know they are common, I hardly read about them. I look up to so many people and know in my heart that they too would have their struggles, yet I never see any evidence of this. Am I the only one?
So let me be brutally honest. Speaking out about something that isn’t sunshine and rainbows and three hundred percent positive is not in my nature, but I’m swallowing that for now and opening up in hope thatsomebody will relate and perhaps not feel so alone. See, there’s a little voice in my head that feels like complaining shouldn’t be allowed, at least not in the public domain. Not when you love your job like I do. But if honesty is what I crave, honesty is what I’ll give you. Amongst all the good and all the great, and all the heart stopping amazing, there are rare days where I wonder whether I can actually ‘switch on’ and shoot; where I feel so exhausted in my own self and wonder how I can face a client meeting. In fact, there was a day last year when I sat in my car and cried before a shoot. I wanted to slap myself. I fear sharing this because I don’t want it to be interpreted as not loving my work, because I truly, really do. I am simply human and have my hard days too. I don’t have colleagues to lift me up, I work alone in my office. I am responsible for letting it wash over me and starting again in the morning. But the process can be isolating.
Illuminate stems from so many things but the core of it is care & connection. I have often spoken about the importance of self care and the many ways in which it can be practiced. In this last year of business, I have also come to appreciate my connections with others and the benefit this has had on my business. Bouncing off one another, sharing ideas and offering support is invaluable. I know that both care & connection are crucial aspects to the success of my own business. I understand that without either, I could not operate at my best. And when I can’t operate at my best, the work falls short and it’s all downhill from there. While I am a highly motivated, some of us are not, and we require a little bit more of a push. Or a pillar to lean on, just for a little bit. Until you’re ready to go again. That’s where Illuminate steps in.
Think of Illuminate as a warm, supportive hug. I gathered the people who support me, who are all, in some way or another, responsible for my success. These are my people, and with them, I created this. They deserve to be thanked and shared with the rest of you. Illuminate is about bringing people together, and individually lifting each one of you higher. It’s recognising that you have a passion, and although it won’t be smooth sailing, you are equipped with everything within you to make it work. And besides the inner strength, we’ll be the outer strength to help you along the road. Time and time again. Even on off days.
Several people have asked me whether you need to be a photographer to attend Illuminate. No. Our workshops, seminars and talks are more generalised, benefiting anyone in small business. In fact, perhaps your business isn’t live yet. Perhaps it’s sitting quietly in your heart. Let’s bring it out of you. And for those who have been in their industry for a while now, this is a little bit of a re-boot for you. We’ll refine your purpose, your goals, your intentions. We’ll refine your skills and better your processes. We’ll feed you nourishing food and take care of your body with some yoga & meditation. We’ve got you.
Anyone who has spoken to me about the retreat knows I’m most excited about the nights. I crave deep conversation. I crave connection. I won’t say no to wine and the fire pit and stories. So yes, I essentially created a retreat to connect with people. You got me.
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