We sat in an over crowed coffee shop right next to the window. We caught up on life & laughed over our $5 iced lattes. Then there was a pause, she looked up at me with eager eyes and said, "Shea how do you do it? How do you just chase your dream? How have you risked so much to do what you love?" I looked back with tears swelled in my eyes, because it had never hit me until that point that I was considered a dream chaser & a risk taker. All the worry, fear & uncertainty that was draining me for months faded... because at that moment I realized I wasn't just trying to figure life out, but I inspired others to do just the same thing I was... chase their dreams, overcome fear & live on purpose!
To the girl with the dream, but can’t get over the fear of chasing it… You are not alone! If there is one thing I've learned thus far in life, its that you will go on multiple adventures…. some are easy, others are hard, but your taken on them for a special reason...
The past few months I’ve met multiple people who express to me that they have a huge dream to chase, but fear has taken over their motivation to start. Although I think I should have some profound answer ready for them, I feel so inadequate to give a response. I to DAILY struggle with getting over my fear, putting aside my doubts and actively chasing my dream. The internal battle in my mind often times overtakes the truth that others have spoke into my life. Fear overtakes my vision and passion to do what I love.
Four years ago I took the leap of starting an Etsy shop where I sold hand painted canvases, turban headbands, vintage signs, etc. Truthfully I never thought it would turn into anything. I opened the store for some extra cash to help pay the bills while I was working at a non-profit. To my surprise customers started purchasing my paintings and responding with e-mails that made me cry because of their positive response to my art. This was my motivation to keep going! Through opening my Etsy store and observing both parents who own their own businesses I learned some key essentials to starting and running a business… but then again I had NO idea what I was doing!
There is something about photography that has always spoke to me. The ability to capture moments & emotions and be reminded of significant times in my life because of a photograph. For some odd reason I have TERRIBLE memory… not even kidding its really bad! Most of my childhood moments are forgotten but because of photographs I am able to remember the tender moments between my family & friends. Perhaps this is why photography has always been an interest of mine!
Two years ago I was gifted my first DSLR camera on Christmas morning (the one day miracles come true). I never expected it to turn into anything until I began playing with my camera, learning how to shoot in manual, and watched YouTube video after video. I showed my closest friends and family my images and to my surprise they really liked them. I was told “you have an eye” more than I could keep track of. I traveled to Chicago the following Fall. My sister mentioned she had some friends looking for family photos, so I connected with them and learned that I actually LOVED and felt so ALIVE while I was working with clients. I vividly remember her grabbing me off the couch one afternoon, taking me to her office, opening a notebook and handing a pen to me. I sat in front of her computer and she turned on Jenna Kutcher’s webinar on how to start a photography business. I looked at her and chuckled… she responded in that sisterly voice, “I’m serious Shea, you have a talent and you need to do something with it.” One thing after another I bought my domain name, started social media accounts, and continued taking new clients. I quickly out grew my first camera and bought a new one as well as some fancy new lenses. This is how it all began...
I tell you this to show you how easily things fall together when we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Not just in our careers, but life in general. There are so many paths I've taken and quickly learned they aren't the right one because the doors close pretty quickly. However when the pieces of the puzzle start to form together and we are serving people and Christ well, this is where we are supposed to be!
Some people believe that there is only ONE route for us to take in life. One career path, and we have to get the perfect answer or feeling to start this path. HOWEVER a very wise college professor once told me in terms of dating a very key fact to life… here is it... He once told me to date every guy I was interested in (surprised to hear this, I was to!) Here is why… if we do not show interest the guys we are curious about, in the back of our mind we may always wonder what would've happened if I had dated that guy? We will always wonder, would things have worked out, could we have been a good match? He said, when you look at the man you are walking towards on your wedding day, you want to know without a doubt that he is the BEST man for you! You will never know what could happen with a guy if you never give it a try. BINGO! This is so key to anything in life, we will NEVER know if we don’t give it a try… This is the very approach I have taken on starting both small businesses and other ventures in life. I didn't enter into it with the expectation that it'll turn into something really great, rather I knew I was along for the ride... whether that ride was long or short I was & am eager for the adventure. I tried to not set expectations so that I wasn't disappointed if I did not meet them. I wanted to be proud of myself just for giving it a shot!
When taking the first steps to start my photography business I had to identify my fear, seek truth & jump in head first. I’ve put in more hours than I can count, invested money in equipment & had sleepless nights that it'll all fall apart. But I rest in knowing that this dream is worth chasing… that I am serving a God that is sovereign, that He can close the doors at anytime and take me on a different adventure. I am along for the ride! I am going to show up & I am willing to risk it! There aren't five steps I can give you to successfully following your dream, but I can tell you to JUST START. However that looks for you, however much time or money you can sacrifice. Just take the first few steps & allow for things to fall together. You will never know until you start. Identify the lies that fear is telling you, defeat those lies, feed yourself some truth and DO IT! It’s so worth it, I promise!
To the girl with the dream, chase it with full force! Don’t look back, hustle hard… you never know whats around the corner. You never know what doors will open. Break through the fear of failure, listen to the truth others are speaking into you, put yourself around people that inspire you! Do not sit back waiting for your dream to magically appear at your doorstep, because I guarantee you it won’t! You’ve got to give it a try, so that you wont go on always wondering, “what would've happened if I chased that dream of mine.” So what are you waiting for?! Get out there! Chase your dream, fearlessly pursue what sets your soul on fire! The journey is so worth it, I promise!
- A huge inspiration to get started was Lara Casey's book "Make it Happen." You can buy the book on Amazon by CLICKING HERE
- If you are a creative entrepreneur and need some business advice/direction then PLEASE follow Jenna Kutcher. She offers extremely valuable content that has transformed my view of business! You can read her blog HERE