Three Things I’ve Learned

February 24, 2010

This is from Jesse at Jesse Ryan Photography.  I think his message has a lot of food for thought, and I wanted to share it with all of you: 

1. You can do anything you commit to. When I first decided to leap into the photography industry I was told by many people that I didn’t have enough experience or that I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was also told that this was off of my path and that I was going to be distracted from what I was “meant” to do. It’s true… I did NOT have any experience and I did NOT know all that I was getting into. There was one thing that I DID know: I was going to be a photographer. I researched equipment, I asked the advice of photographers that I knew, I picked the brains of small business owners, and I sought counsel from those who’s opinions mattered most. I found the most support from my mother and my girlfriend. That was enough for me. I did the research, and shot as many people as I could (for free) to build my portfolio, and put myself out there. Nobody held my hand and told me to do this or to do that… nobody was patting me on the shoulder and saying “Keep your chin up! It’s all going to work out.” That was up to me. I believe my creator has already put everything that I need inside of me to fulfill the passions that beat within. Four months after I made the decision to leap into photography I had a website, business cards, a blog, a portfolio of at least fifteen portrait shoots, two weddings, and plenty more booked for the months to come. To a seasoned photographer that may not seem like success, but 4 months into it I felt that if I accomplished what I did, then I could accomplish anything! I had coffee the other day with an old friend who admitted that they didn’t really believe I would go far in photography… they thought it wouldn’t amount to much. I don’t blame them… so many people START things and never follow through. Why would I be expected to succeed? It’s hard to find people who truely believe in you… but you really only need one person to believe in you when it comes down to it…. and thats you. Moral of the story: You can do ANYTHING you commit to.

2. True fulfillment comes by helping others. Since the age of fourteen I have been involved in youth ministry. My experienced spanned the roles of worship leader, jr. high youth pastor, highschool pastor, college pastor, creative arts pastor, and even church janitor. If there’s one thing I learned being in ministry for the last 13 years I have learned this: There’s no better fulfillment in life other than giving to others. When I crossed over into the photography business I made it my goal to give and help others in whatever way I can. It has proven difficult because I don’t just want to give someone photos for free – I want to change their life in whatever small way I can. I don’t just want to become friends with another photographer – I want to give them that extra support and encouragement needed to go the distance. We all have so many things to offer… whether it be experience, information, encouragement, equipment, advice, an open ear, praise, money, a positive attitude, training, or just giving someone company during a hard time. In whatever business or industry you are in you need to make a commitment to look for opportunities to give. Better yet – MAKE opportunities to give. You’ll sleep better and others in your life will sleep better. But sometimes that still doesn’t feel like enough, which brings me to my third lesson…

3. Don’t ever be satisfied. I see too many people settle for the life that they live. Who wants a career that makes you want to bash your face into the wall by the water cooler every morning at work? I had those jobs… the jobs where I thought to myself, “This is not me.” I’m twenty seven and life is not getting any shorter. How many more years must I revert back to the jobs that make me want to throw myself off the nearest cliff? I wasn’t always “working” in churches. Most of the time I had a side job to pay the bills so that I could get by while I tried to make something of myself. Sometimes those “side jobs” are necessary, but those side jobs must never take the place of what you know you want to do. What does your heart beat for? What fires you up? Just a few months ago I was invited by the amazing Lara Casey to Making Things Happen, an intensive designed to fire you up and send you out towards your passions. I had lost sight of dreams that I have always had… desires to do great things that were always within me. Since the intensive I have been on a crazy, but amazing journey rekindling those passions that had faded away through years of disappointments and “side jobs.” I can’t settle anymore. I can’t wait for life to just happen to me. I have to make things happen. Like I said earlier, I believe God has gifted me and put everything inside of me that I need to do great things. Most people are always waiting on God, but I believe God is always waiting on us.

In closing, I have to relay the importance of having people in your life that inspire, encourage, and motivate towards the things that most people think you cannot do. If you can commit, focus on helping others, and refuse to be satisfied with the status quo I believe you can achieve anything.

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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