After talking lightly about this topic, I received some comments and messages asking me to talk a bit more about this.
Although I do not consider myself an expert on the subject and that all I have learned has come from experimentation, trial, and error, I have been managing my own job for 8 years and I feel that I may already have enough path and luggage to share!
And here I am!
When I started working for myself, I felt I had to be always working: the emails were to be answered immediately, the sessions had to be delivered before the deadline, and all the jobs that appeared were a gift and had to be accepted, indiscriminately.
I worked 10/12 hours a day, sometimes more, believing that being busy was a privilege and a medal of honor and far from imagining that, in a short time, this situation would suffocate me!
I often said no to anything that was extra-work because I didn't actually have time, because I had to wake up early the next day to photograph, because I was miles away from the next session or just because I was so tired, physically and emotionally, unable to jump in into any type of program.
Today I look back with no regrets because I know that all this was necessary to get here, and with the certainty that one of my biggest mistakes was my perception of what it was to be successful and my own definition of success!
Because yes, what is successful for me may well be different from the idea of being successful of anyone else! Even when we talk about people in the exact same business, with the same job!
Whenever I saw posts or stories of other peers photographing on saturdays and sundays, sometimes consecutive days of a whole week split between sessions and weddings, I thought that this should be the way it should be done and that it was the gauge that defined the place to which I should aspire, my goal to achieve! That was a great idea of success, but the wrong idea of success for me!
Gradually, and believe me, it was not a from-day-to-night change, but an accumulation of years always striving for better days, I realized how wrong it was and how different from all this is my version of being successful!
Then this incredible month of May came to prove exactly that this is my right way. The month in which I felt a balance that I had never achieved between the scales that weight Terra (my photography project) and Lucia (myself), work and life.
It was, definitely, a month full of work, there were 22 sessions/photographic reports, some with many hours of meetings associated (surprise wedding proposals require a lot of planning) but there were also four free weekends!
This happened to tell me that yes, it is possible to find a perfect balance between being an entrepreneur and having time for ourselves and for our people!
All May sessions/photographic reports are edited and delivered, some well before the deadline!
I went to the gym every week, had some free afternoons during the week that I spent with friends, reading or sleeping a nap, spent a few days in the hospital with those who needed me, and I still managed to (can you imagine?) take a Monday off, a whole day to go to the beach!
This is exactly my definition of success: balance!
Being very organized, disciplined and compliant with schedules, goals, and deadlines always with the purpose of exceeding the expectations of those who chose me to document the important and special moments of their lives.
But success, for me, also means having time to be present, to be who I am, to enjoy the life that passes by so quickly, to do things that I like and others that I don't like so much but that are needed.
Stop believing that tomorrow is guaranteed and that then I will enjoy...it seems that it doesn't always happen like that!
And my recipe for success, that is mine and that doesn't have to be yours! is so simple:
Not want to get every job that appears, sacrificing day by day with things that are not for me. To realize that there are people with profiles to do certain types of things that I don't like and vice versa and forward what is not ours to whom it belongs.
To realize also that yes, it is money! yes, there are bills to pay, but our well being and the joy and motivation that we get from doing what we really like doesn't have a price tag and ends up opening a lot more doors, windows... and even arms! then the jobs we accept just because, to fill up the schedule or to make money.
To stop measuring my success by others concept of success. Basically stop comparing me, compare my day off with someone else's workday.
To be thankful for being able to enjoy this feeling of balance and well-being, without missing my obligations but without feeling guilty for having free time and enjoying it the way I like it!
To say no much more often to what I should say no, so I'm able to say: yes, I can go! yes, I'm available to help you! yes, I will not miss your birthday!
And to be even more thankful for all the amazing people who chose me, who understand this way of living, who respect me as a professional but also as a human being and who, ultimately, accept to be at 7:00 am, on an August morning, in the Estrela Garden, with a few-months-old baby and who say yes to these happy moments that we share together and that are ours (theirs and mine!) best memories!
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