Our family resolution this year is “to become a better version of yourself… by doing the next right thing”. Thanks to the influence of a recent book I read by Matthew Kelly called “Perfectly Yourself”. I placed this resolution on our refrigerator so that each time we pass by, we are reminded that we are all individuals created uniquely for our own purpose in this life. I believe it is our job to become the best version of ourselves so that we can ultimately find out what that unique purpose is. Who did God create us to be? How can our purpose serve the world?
You may ask? How do we find out what our purpose is ? Why are we here and what could I possibly bring to the table… the table called life?
You will know the answer to this when you look deep inside. Find out what sets your heart on fire, what you are good at, what is your passion and what special talents do you have? Everyone has something to bring to the table. I often hear women say, that they have no talents, or no special gifts. This is so far from the truth. Everyone has a gift or something they are good at. This is not an overnight answer, this takes time and growth and a lot of inward examination. Sometimes it may even be a process of elimination, where you can say you tried something but it just wasn’t fulfilling or wasn’t coming together. If that is the case, then maybe it is not what you were truly meant to do. Maybe it was not meant to be a part of your path and purpose. Keep looking, keep searching, it is there and usually right in front of you.
During your search for your purpose, do not get caught up in the cultural trap of perfectionism. Doing what you are good at doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. There is always room for growing and learning your gifts as long as you just begin to take that step forward. Don’t get sucked in to thinking that I am only going to be successful if I am making six figures or if my Facebook or Instagram feed has two hundred, two thousand or two hundred thousand followers. Do not fall into the trap of believing that you are not a good or successful student unless you rank in the top of your class, or get into your first choice of colleges or maintain straight A’s through your high school or college careers. Success is not perfectionism. It is not climbing the corporate ladder competing to make more money than your peers. It is the accomplishment of your purpose in this life, doing what you are meant to do, to help make this world a better place and ultimately being content in that place.
Let me share my story with you. It took me many years to figure this all out and I am still a work in progress, still learning every day and things are far from perfect.
I knew my purpose first and foremost was to raise and be there for my family and to be active in my faith. But then there was a gap, a missing piece where I could express my creativity, share my talents, and bring something to the table that I was good at.
Realizing now, at 52 years old, that this was not an immediate discovery, nor was my passion for photography. For those who did not know me in the first half of my life. I studied biology and landed a job in pharmaceutical and clinical research. At the time, it was, where I guess I was supposed to be. I do not regret my path as I also have a passion for science. (I believe I am a right brain/left brain combination:)
Little did I know that at 40 years old my life would change dramatically from corporate world to launching a photography business. It was a lot of hard work and late nights as I built my business from the bottom up. My hobby of photography was what sparked my passion for starting a business. And now I consistently get to enjoy the purpose of my work by witnessing the tender smiles of parents viewing their child’s portraits for the first time, by bringing families together to create lasting memories for the walls of their homes, and by helping people to see themselves as the beautiful, perfect individuals that they are, through my lens. For this, I am ever grateful and this is what keeps me fueled for the road ahead.
H3O Women’s Ministry (Offering a Hand, Heart, Hope and Outreach)
I was able to fill another gap in my spiritual and volunteer life through a women’s outreach ministry that a team of women and I created called H3O. I have been leading this group through my church for almost 10 years and it has brought me much joy and many fruitful experiences and connections. There were times in those years when I was very close to breaking the cord and stepping down as leader. But the presence of this work in my life felt so much greater than the absence of it. Although it can be very time consuming as I manage my own business, while keeping my family life afloat, it has been very fulfilling spiritually and socially for me. Through this role, I was able to discover that one of my gifts, not only being photography, is connecting people and helping to inspire and lift up women and girls so they can see their own gifts and talents and use them for a greater purpose. This group has been a place for me to meet women of various backgrounds, exactly where they are in their faith and in their lives. A place where they can openly share, make connections and grow in faith, all for a greater purpose of giving back to the community.
What is your story?
I have met some amazing women through both my business and volunteer life who have overcome some of life’s most difficult obstacles. They each are at a different stage or transition in their lives searching or building upon their unique purpose and sharing their gifts and talents with the world. I am inspired by the stories and journeys that many of my clients are on.
What is your story? Everyone has a story to share that would inspire someone.
(below is a collection of black and white images from a few women and girls I photographed who are working to pursue their talents and gifts in some form or fashion, from teenage years to empty nester.)
For anyone who is reading this and is looking for that void in their lives, ask yourself the question…What am I good at? Perhaps you are already doing it and just not realizing how many people’s lives you are influencing already.
Ask yourself, what can I bring to the table of life?
The answer is there.
Listen to your heart.