After counting down for the past month, today marks the official 10 Year Anniversary of DFinney Photography! It’s really the “unofficial” official anniversary 😆I was laid off the day before I turned 22, so I decided to make my business anniversary the same day as my birthday so that I would remember lol.
The past 10 years have been full of highs and lows, both personally and professionally, but I can say that I am incredibly thankful for the journey and the lessons I’ve learned. Today, in celebration of 10 years, I want to share a few of the things I’ve learned along the way:
10. Everything can’t happen at once.
This one thing could be numbers 1-10 because this is a near constant reminder. My default is to want to do everything NOW, but I’ve learned that 1) not only is that not feasible, 2) it’s extremely frustrating and overwhelming, and on the occasions where I am able to do a lot at once, 3) it’s not sustainable. So I’m still very much learning how to pace this brain of mine to get plans in place for maximum effectiveness.
9. It’s okay to move at my own pace.
This didn’t used to be much of an issue for me because for a long time, I DID move at my own pace and I was okay with it! Then the sneaky comparison monsters crept in and I started second guessing myself, being critical, and generally feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. But I had (and have) to remind myself that my journey is my own. I deal with my own unique challenges and it’s okay to slow down or take a break when I need to. In the moment it can be tough to overpower the negative thoughts, so I have to remind myself of this often. Which leads me to #8…
8. It’s hard to stop comparing myself to others.
Harder than I would like to admit, honestly. Social media has become such an integral part of our lives, especially for photographers, and man. If I’m not careful, with no effort, I can end up in a mindless scroll and end up feeling like a terrible failure! So how do I remedy that? Well a few things: I have to be mindful about who I follow and the content that I consume. I unfollow/mute anything that makes me feel bad. And often it’s not the content itself that’s the problem- it’s me! So that’s really only the first step. The next is for me to think about why it makes me feel the way it does (instead of dismissing the uncomfortable feeling), and see how it connects (or if it does) to something I need to work on. Now I’m not saying that I do this perfectly every time, but it is my goal because managing my mental health is really important, so I need to be intentional with how I use my time on social media to minimize the impact of comparison monsters.
7. I really value the work that I do and the people I do it for.
No, it didn’t take 10 years for me to learn this, but each time I work with a new or repeat client, I am exceedingly grateful that I have the privilege of doing something that I love AND helping others in the process. It brings me so much joy when clients tell me how much fun they had during their session and how much they love their photos, when I see brand clients’ photos in action on their websites and social media, and when I’m able to work with longtime repeat clients again and again. It really never gets old, and I feel at a loss for words for the deep gratitude that I have.
6. It’s okay to be vulnerable.
Prior to 2016, I may have felt differently about this one. But deciding to open up about my mental illness and being willing to #talkaboutuncomfortablethings has really been one of the best things I could have done. Because of sharing my story, I’ve been able to connect on a deeper level with others, receive (and provide) support, and in general be a more authentic person. The human experience is not one dimensional and it’s a privilege to not only share my experiences, but to hold space for others when they do as well. Although it’s not easy, I highly recommend it.
5. It’s important to honor what I like.
Overall, but specifically when it comes to my photography style, service offerings, etc because if I don’t enjoy what I do, what’s the point in having my own business? In the early years it was easy to allow myself to be swayed by what potential clients may have wanted from me, but I’m so thankful that I learned the value in leading with what I like because that has helped me align with the right people.
4. Try not to worry about making everything SO perfect.
This is still very much a work in progress. A while ago, I read some variation of the thought- “perfectionism is procrastination in a suit”. It’s not a direct quote (I looked it up for who to credit, and I can’t find it) but either way, it stuck with me. I am very much a perfectionist and although it can serve me well at times because I’m meticulous and very detail oriented, those same qualities can be a huge hindrance. It’s taken me entirely too long to get the ball rolling on certain things because I want them to be PERFECT. Knowing that perfect doesn’t exist, matters not lol. I’m still learning that done is better than perfect, but it’s a very deeply ingrained habit that’s going to take some time to overcome.
3. I really like making lists.
I feel so inspired and organized and on top of things when I’m making lists. Planning things out, getting logistics in order… “yeah, this is gonna be so great!” and… well, actually doing the things? 🤦🏽♀️It’s only recently that I was honest enough with myself to admit that it’s a fancy procrastination technique. While I haven’t figured out how to remedy it just yet (because lists are important), I have become more aware of the need to be realistic and try not to make super ambitious to-do lists.
2. Taking care of my health needs to be a priority.
For a long time it wasn’t and then I had no choice for it to be top priority. Now that I’m not in a crisis, it can be easy to bump to the back burner, but man. So much will suffer if my physical, mental, and spiritual health are neglected. It is still hard to manage everything that I need to be well, but I’m learning firsthand that wellness is a journey. Finding the working style/schedule that works best, the right therapist, exercise routine, diet, etc… it takes time to find what works. And I’m learning to be patient with myself and celebrate small victories.
1. I need help.
Despite what I’d like to think, I can’t do everything alone. And honestly, I’ve known. But actually DOING something about it? That’s new. That’s new new. This is number 1 because honestly it touches almost every one of the aforementioned points, but I HAVE to move past my fears and get a team in place before the end of the year is out. I literally don’t have the bandwidth to do everything myself as I did in the beginning and my way of operating is currently more of a hindrance than a help. So next week I will finally share what this looks like (I need 1-4 people) and the application will be available if you’d like to work with me.
Whew. Those are my 10 things!
It was hard to narrow them down initially because I had so many things in mind, but I think this is a really accurate reflection of where I am currently. I’m immensely grateful for my wonderful family, friends, clients, mentees, and colleagues for their love and support over the last 10 years. And if you don’t fall into one of those categories, I am thankful for you too! Thank you for taking the time to read this post and for keeping up with my work 🖤
Over the next few weeks, I have some more cool things to share with you so I’d be honored if you joined the mailing list to keep up with me!
Now this post has officially gone on much longer than I anticipated, but I thank you again, truly.