I have been sitting at my desk lately trying to find the right words to say how I've been feeling with the most appropriate tone because I am not sure there are any words to describe the depth of my appreciation.
Over the past three years, I have experienced many highs and lows. I have met many people who have influenced me in one way or another. Whether our paths have crossed, forked, or intertwined, the effects have been longstanding and the result is where I am right in this moment in my personal and business life.
I am grateful for whatever end of the spectrum all of you have fallen on this beautifully amazing roller coaster.
There are three aspects of influence that I need to especially address in this season of gratitude:
1. My family. For the past, I don't know how many years now, they have been my practice subjects, sources of confidants to even the most minute fears and hesitations, and have gritted their teeth when I showed them work they weren't interested in. They sacrificed for me when I doubted myself but never quivered when I needed them. Especially my sister - She sometimes laid it out flat for me when no one else would. She did her sisterly duties a little too well. (Wink). But seriously, at any given time, I was (and still am) always backed by a loving support system who didn't doubt my abilities. Ever. Plus, I have a pretty hefty stock of models if I ever need them.
2. My clients turned friends. You are the main source of inspiration for what I do. Your stories fascinate me. The connections you have with each other are the most important part of this business and without you, NNP wouldn't be the brand it has become. You have shown me the type of business owner and person I want and strive to be everyday. The ability to learn you and see the bonds created is something that literally cannot be imitated. From the weddings to the family and senior sessions, every single one of you has made a different impact on me. Your hands mold and continually transform this business. What's even more awesome is you are passing the torch on to couples and families that come after you to gain an even better experience. Having these opportunities with you is also teaching me to be a better photographer and friend. I have so much to thank you for - you truly are the heart of what I do.
3. Lastly, the people who didn't or don't believe in me. Just as I have a loving support system, I do recognize there are those who don't have the same faith in me. There has been unkind things said and done directed at me at times. I do recognize it's inevitable to have dissenters- but this is what you have done for me: You have kept me humble and anything but boastful. You have taught me to sometimes be a gracious loser. I remember everything you have said and some of those things I keep in writing for the days I feel the weakest and most proud. I need YOUR words the most to seal that motivation to keep going. Your criticism is raw, honest, and I respect that. You have held me accountable. So, while I should probably have blocked you a long time ago to keep that small moment of sanity when I felt attacked, I will keep you around as a checks and balance. No, I haven't forgotten, but for a good reason. Your words are challenges to rise higher everyday. You have probably encouraged me more than anyone else. And in the most honest way, I am grateful because you have kept it real.
I know there are more things I could share in being thankful, and I am gracious for those. But, on the grander scheme of things, I run a business of service. I sell the experience and capturing you and the essence of your closest ones. The things I am the MOST grateful for are the people who continue to build me up the most, and in all sorts of ways. Without you, the equipment, time, and the work behind the scenes would be pointless.
I will always remember that.