parking lot genius | showing up

“Do you have a minute?  I need to talk.  I’m submitting my resignation…”

It’s been four and a half months since that conversation went down.  It took me two weeks to work up the nerve to say those words, and it’s taken me every day since to wrap my brain around what a big jump I took.   Did I lose my mind?  Maybe.

The first few weeks, I think I was kind of in shock.  I went through the motions.  I signed up for theknot.com, the A-list and several other local avenues for advertising.  I sent lovely emails to the right people.  I sent thank you notes for the little things.  I looked at other people’s photos.  I brainstormed and nearly filled a journal with brilliant ideas and inspiration.  And after that, I curled up in the fetal position.

But let’s be clear about one thing—the first few weeks, I was still getting paid from my old job.  The first FOUR weeks, to be specific.  I was getting paid as if I was showing up to work.  “This isn’t so bad”, I thought. And then I stopped getting paid.  And the benefits ran out.  And what else was there to do besides curl up in the fetal position?

That’s when I started going to a few networking events.  Crystal was getting ready to launch Snappening and there was a series of lovely events packed full of event people. Turns out that I found all of these other gals that were rockin’ it out.  They were doing it, so surely I could.  They inspired me and they were having fun.  They planned perfect events, and designed stunning invitations, and took inspiring photos, and created gorgeous floral arrangements, and made amazing cakes.  So we had lunches and we had cocktails and I made an effort to listen more than I talked (shocking, no?) and I realized that I was learning a few things.

For example, I learned that it is easier to work at a corner table in Starbucks than it is in my office.  I now know that Pandora is the greatest invention of modern man (or at least modern man who does marathon editing sessions).  I found out that Lucy sleeps ALL day.  I came to realize that his Alexandra chick on Dr. Phil is a huge distraction and a hot mess.  Oh, and lets not forget the Casey Anthony-Nancy Grace thing?  That was intense, wasn’t it?  I decided that I needed to have one networking lunch each week.  Then I confirmed that networking cocktails are way better than lunch.

But mostly, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who gets scared and overwhelmed and curls up in the fetal position.  This is scary, amazing stuff.  Opening yourself up to do this opens you up to the rollercoaster that comes with it.  As they say—for better or for worse.

In the end, though, it’s just about showing up.  It’s about pushing past the obstacles and the stress and the fear of failure, and showing up for your life.  On the other side of those challenges is joy and success and triumph…. and more cocktails.

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Let me tell you about this image.  So, one of my very favorite photographer is a gal named Jasmine Star.  She is just wonderful and sadly she is far, far away in Southern California.  She’s real and amazing and isn’t afraid to share her successes and her failures.  She also doesn’t have any idea who I am.  The window that she opens up to her personal life and experiences is profound enough for me to believe that I know her—not in a creepy way (maybe a little creepy?).  She found her photography passion later in life and has just done amazing things and has found herself as one of the most highly respected photographers in the industry.  I’m not ashamed to say that her blog is like fuel to my inspiration.  Her photos are—literally—breathtaking.

So, one day I was reading her blog, and I came across this ridiculously amazing post about a shoot that she did with a gal named Whitney and her husband named Drew.  They had their photos taken on this amazing boat and Whitney’s dress was perfect and her jewelry was beyond perfect and these photos were gorgeous.  It turns out that Whitney is also a photographer, and like any good voyeur, I immediately went to her blog.  Who knew I’d fall in love with her photography, too?  Well, I did.  Not only are her pictures insane, but the prose that she writes for each one of her blog posts is so gorgeous and intimate that I am like a little kid filled with anticipation for her new entries.

Today, I saw this image as part of a senior photo shoot she did.  She stumbled upon a parking lot full of genius.  I assure you, friends, that doesn’t happen in Indiana.  Although, I might try to create one should I ever find myself in possession of a parking lot.  I’ve never been one to steal people’s stuff (note: borrowing a cute shirt for a really long time is not technically stealing), so I sent her an email asking if I could use that photo for this post.  I told her she rocked, and she wrote back the sweetest email imaginable.  “I smiled all the way through it.”

Thank you, new friend.

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