Power in Vulnerability

I remember attending the Come Together event that Amy & Jordan Demos held in October 2015. They shared such great content but one thing really stuck out to me that I will never forget. They were talking about mixing your personal life in with your business life, on social media. I have always felt hesitant to do so because most of my life is family, and those little ones don’t have a say in sharing their images. Jordan started to mention a way that I could still be personal on my business social media without being too personal.

He shared a story about a hard time that they both went through together, but found themselves feeling uplifted and empowered to move forward, striving to be better. As he’s telling us this story, he goes in the direction of being who you are online. Jordan said, “It’s okay to share the negative things as long as you end it victoriously!” (or something along those lines… right?) Seriously could not have said it better myself.

There is power in vulnerability in a victorious way. —Jordan Demos

That left me with a lot to think about. I don’t like to share this on my business side of things, but it will be victorious when I do. I’ve always been very open about my emotions and experiences. It is something I’m comfortable with and find strength in doing so. When I decided to create a photography business for myself, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Late nights, tears and endless tears, jealousy, envy, comparison, self-pity and so much more. I never felt good enough.. like I was wasting my time! I’ll never forget when I read a blog post on another photographer’s blog, where she mentioned something about free education.

I won’t quote her exactly because, I can’t remember.. ha! but what I do remember is basically that you can’t truly learn if it’s for free. If you are serious and you want to really make a difference in your business, investing ($$$$) in education is the best way to do it. I honestly can’t even tell you how many free e-books, worksheets, videos I downloaded and free webinars I watched. In fact, at one point I had a webinar every single day in one week. That’s how desperate I was. I was looking for every opportunity for someone to tell me how to do something that I so desired to accomplish. But after reading that blog post, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m done with free.

Ashley Ziegler Portrait - Power in Vulnerability by Ashley Ziegler Photography

Photo by Abbey Kyhl with AK Studio & Design

Back in November of 2015, I made an announcement that I was taking a break until the new year to be with my family for the holidays. I knew this would affect me and I knew I would have to rebuild my business from the bottom up. How was I ever going to come back from this break? Will people ever book with me when I’m back? It was scary. Fast-forward to January 2016. I had already had so many discussions with my dad about my business and my feelings. He was the one person I’d always go to about my photography. We shared that passion together. He always mentioned that if I wanted to do this for real, I need to just do it. I need to go full force and push myself. That I wasn’t going to get anywhere by complaining and crying that it wasn’t working out like I’d hoped it would. I told my dad that my decision was going to be education. I was going to take 2016 and learn as much as I could. That was that.

Don’t compare to others’ situation! You’re one photographer, not a wedding duo! —Jordan Demos

I second-shot 8 weddings in 2016, and solo-shot 5 weddings. It was an amazing year of growth for me. I felt like I was finally starting to understand my style, my editing was getting to where I wanted it to be and I felt happy again. My dad passed away in April of last year and all of these opportunities I had really gave me something to learn and to do and feel positive about it. I can’t thank my dear photographer friends enough. Now, we’re here in March of 2017 and I’m again back at a break.

Remember how I said there is power in vulnerability in a victorious way? This is my victorious way. I will never regret taking that first break in 2015. It served me so well and all of that time I was able to spend with my dad is something I cherish. The year of “firsts” has been really hard. I feel like my emotional connection to my photography isn’t healthy right now which is why the break has begun. I am very vulnerable when I publicly tell others that I’m not booking clients until further notice. It’s scary and after the amazing year I’ve had, I just wasn’t sure I could do it. But I have and it has been everything I need.

I’m giving myself until June 1, 2017 to figure out what exactly it is about photography that sets my soul on fire. What is it that makes it the only thing I can think about? Dream about? I know that it can hurt my business and people are probably wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? WHY SO MANY BREAKS? I can never make up my mind. But, I just know in my heart that I need to, and I wanted all of you to know that I’m trying to do this in the most honest and healthy and healing way that I can, so that on June 1, I can come back recharged and ready in a healthy way.

There’s no way I could ever give this up 100%. To my clients, the referral program is still going strong! To all of my photographer friends, if you’re looking for a second-shooter, send me an email! I’d love to come! :)

Until next time my loves,
xoxo
Ashley

Ashley Ziegler Portrait - Power in Vulnerability by Ashley Ziegler Photography

Photo by Abbey Kyhl with AK Studio & Design

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