Happy New Year!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you’ve seen someone you know posting all about their 2016 goals. It’s all over social media, particularly among wedding photographer friends and those I follow. I’m seeing so many pretty posts with their 2015 recaps (and don’t worry – mine is coming) and their goals for the New Year. I closed my studio down for two weeks for the holidays, partially to spend time with my beloved family who never sees me, and partially so I could reboot and reset myself for 2016. In the last several days of soul-searching, planning, and digging really deeply into my heart, I realized something: I hate goals and I just won’t set them anymore. I also realized, my “goal” list was looking more and more like a long-term “to-do” list, which is not the purpose at all!
You’re probably thinking, “What wedding photographer doesn’t have goals?!?” Well, this one. From today forward. But let me explain to you why. The word “goal” and all of the connotations that accompany it just don’t fit well into my perspective of a healthy personal and professional mindset, and I’m truly just understanding why. For years, I didn’t know why I hated that goal-setting process at the beginning of every year, or why when I finally did set my goals, I was either not fully satisfied when I met them, or deeply critical of myself when I failed. With the help of a book called The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte (more on that later), I started digging into what would really make me feel fulfillment, and picking apart those things that I did out of obligation or because I thought it was the right thing to do. Like goal-setting.
Wow…just looking at that definition in black and white on my computer screen makes me all squirmy. No pressure there. None at all. /end sarcasm Thinking about it, I realized a goal is concrete, limited to two outcomes: success or failure; a goal is very tricky to set and assess, and not very open-ended. That doesn’t sound like something fun, or that I want to pursue as either a person or a wedding photographer. I also feel deeply that setting goals is not the same as setting yourself up for success. No one reaches every goal the first time they try, or the second, or even the tenth. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and the impact of failure can be devastating.
I started thinking about other ways that I could phrase the desires and dreams that fuel me (again, personally and professionally). I had a “goal” last year to live my life “more intentionally.” I thought I knew what that meant, but I really was clueless. However, what I’ve been searching for has been right under my nose for over a year now….the word:
And there it is. I don’t want to work towards a goal. I want to be flexible, allow plenty of room for growth and adaptation when my needs and dreams change; I needed the freedom to evolve with an open-ended intention.
Now I want you to pause for a moment and really mull over the two words – goal and intention. Say them outloud. Think about the feelings you get from each one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wedding photographer, an accountant, a student, or a stay-at-home parent. I bet those two words evoke a pretty powerful reaction when you take the time to think about them.
A Wedding Photographer, Without Goals, Without Hesitation
Back with me now? Awesome! Why do I want to create intentions for 2016? I want the potential for limitless personal and professional growth, that doesn’t have to fit into a mold or a preconceived idea of the things that are best for me and my career. I want flexibility – the ability to scale back or grow when needed. I want to get to the true core needs and wants that drive me as a woman, a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, a member of society, and strive towards becoming that person I envision. Intention allows me to realize when something isn’t working, and to revamp without giving up, or give it up entirely when I realize it isn’t the best thing for me, possibly just for the present, but maybe forever. I don’t need to feel failure; intentions are empowering us to maintain control, even when things don’t go the way we had hoped or planned.
I came across a second definition that moved me as well:
intention (n): a process or manner of healing of incised wounds. Merriam-Webster.com
Ok, so I’m taking a little more artistic liberty here, but I thought about my personal wounds: my preconceptions, my failures, everything I could have done differently last year, the comparison game, and so on. Healing those wounds, or at least administering some serious first aid is a huge priority for me. The Desire Map helped me identify those true needs within myself. I’m not completely through the program, but I’ve already learned so much about myself and what drives me to be better. If you’re into a quick, great read, with far-reaching benefits for yourself and those who surround you, I highly suggest you check it out!
I look forward to this journey of intention, and know it won’t be something that takes 12 months to accomplish, and I’m ok with that. Abandoning my goals and setting myself up for success is the first step. I’m excited to share more of my journey with you all, and will start something of a personal series. Next time, I’ll tell you more about why I’ve chosen the word “connection” to drive my thoughts, actions, and even intentions for 2016. And, because life is better with a pretty picture, here’s a sneak peek at a holiday wedding from a few weeks ago. I’ll be sharing the full post soon!
Things are about to become really personal, and potentially interesting, here on the blog. Stay tuned in 2016 for more of my journey as a mom, wedding photographer, wife, Gen X-er and more!