I recently had the opportunity to take a mini vacation to Lake Tahoe with 11 other amazingly talented and inspirational senior portrait photographers from ALL over the United States. Each of these woman are GIFTED, gifted in what they do and are cutting - edge in what they do in their parts of the world. Initially, I was nervous because I didn't really know any of the woman in real life and had NO IDEA what to expect. When women come together; it always interesting what can come out of it. I don't like to gossip or to be in mess - so I was nervous that this would turn into that, but because I didn't know anyone I felt it was a risk I was willing to take. There was no real history and only mutual respect so there would be very little foundation built for those things to take place. When I was picked up from the airport by four photographers I had never met (we had only shared a few encouraging posts back and forth on social media), I KNEW that it was going to be an amazing weekend. There was such a fun energy, instant hugs and laughs and excitement for what was ahead.
Over the course of those four days in that cabin at Lake Tahoe, I learned so many things. God originally put this concept in my heart last September after attending and speaking at Karen Stott's Pursuit 31 Conference. Karen and I had been great friends, so great that she helped plan my baby shower for Wisdom, you can check that out here. Time had gotten away from us and we weren't able to connect as much. She had really flourished with her Pursuit ministry and God gave me some things to carry out on my own. It was the one of the first times, over these past couple of years where I was face to face with the great impact that she had made and I was so proud of my friend. Although life had gotten busy, and we weren't able to as often come together, I could see that her "dream," her heart purpose, had come true. I remember her when it was just a idea and now she was/is impacting woman around the world and I was so so proud of my friend. Her success was her success and my success was my success and standing before her audience sharing what God had put in me, didn't hurt her or take away from what she was doing and me being there in support or her wasn't hurting me. It was real and genuine and I was so excited and inspired by how God had spread her wings to impact so many other woman towards their own.
Being in Tahoe reminded me of that moment. No person in the room was better than anyone else. We all had so much to learn from each other. We all shared the same fears and frustrations and insecurities. We all had "aha" moments and everyone was so humble. Her Success Is Not My Failure. Her Success is MY Success too. That is what God kept stirring in me. We all win when one wins! We all do better when we are all thriving!
Your only REAL competition is yourself! People can't compete with YOUR anointing! They can't add or take away from YOU!What would happen if we really decided to embrace and believe this? What would happen if we showed love when we were impressed, rallied behind each other's causes, believed the best in each other, answered questions when they were asked, closed our ears to gossip, greeted people at face value without pre-conceived notions? What would happen if we decided to actually believe this to be true? And then we made the decision to act on it? When an incredibly warm and caring and comfortable and inspiring industry we would all be able to rest in. I had a little taste this weekend and I KNOW it is possible. There is room for all of us to be great because #hersuccessisnotmyfailure. A candle that lights another candle doesn't take away, it simply shines brighter! Let's choose to shine bright! Run your race with blinders on and know I'm cheering for you all the way!
One of the coolest things that came out of this trip was the opportunity to meet two of the girls I was competing against for a national "Best of" competition. Ideally, competitions are created and often turn people against each other, and have a divisive nature, but this competition put on by Denim and Grace magazine, only brought us closer. The editor and chief, Heather Dunnigan, was so impressed by the sisterhood of the competitor that it inspired her to create a pledge "The Don't Hate Celebrate" pledge.
Here are a few of Heather's words:
"We believe in collaboration. In lifting our industry up as a whole. In rejuvenating the spirit of those broken and burnt out. In restoring passion…
We believe every photographer is worth celebrating."
You can head over and sign the pledge and show your support by clicking here.
having confidence of this very thing, that he who has begun in you a good work will complete it unto Jesus Christ's day. - Philippians 1:6
Below, my friends, affectionally referred to as the Tahoe Twelve! These are some of the most talented and amazing woman I know. My career is forever changed by their support, love and encouragement of me!
You can head over to Instagram to check out the fun BTS of our trip by hitting one of these two hash tags - #hersuccessisnotmyfailure or #seniortogstaketahoe
and if you want a more tangible reminder of our hearts moving forward I would LOVE to send you a "#hersuccessisnotmyfailure" bracelet.
photo credit: Terri Baskin - check out Terri's blog post about receiving her bracelet here.
Just leave your email below or shoot me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a custom bracelet with this message and a love note to encourage you!