Intro by Mark Weber

I love Lori Nordstrom’s point in today’s post – write it down. One of the earliest lessons I learned in my career was to identify a goal and write it down. Then make a plan to accomplish that goal. A goal without a plan is like a ship without a rudder.

But before you can plan you have to write it down. Something that is so simple and easy but critical to success. We can do it anytime and anywhere.

Writing it down is not just for goals either. It can be for a peace of mind. Have you ever had trouble sleeping because you have so much on your mind? Did you know that if you write down your thoughts and concerns it relaxes your brain and allows you to fall asleep? 

So Lori’s post today is especially helpful. Read on! 

Write it Down, Make it Happen is the name of a great little book that is full of statistics and stories about people who “wrote it down,” and then – you guessed it! They made it happen.

I had just read this book years ago, when I was meeting monthly with a group of photographers. Each month we got together for dinner and talked and shared about business, family, and life. After reading Write it Down, Make it Happen, I was inspired to share it! I said to everyone at one of our get-togethers, “I want us all to sit down and write out what our dream business looks like!” I told them that I had been motivated by the book to put my vision on paper. We took half an hour, played some music and just wrote and dreamed on paper. When we were done, everyone folded up their papers, put them in envelopes, and sealed them. I gathered them up and told them that a year from that date we would get together and see what our written vision looked like. 

It couldn’t have been more than three or four months later when one of the girls called me before our get-together and said, “Will you bring those envelopes to our meeting tomorrow night because I want to get mine out and share it with everyone!” When we met up, she got her envelope, took it out, and read what she had written just a few months earlier and she was living what she had dreamed. We all celebrated, cried, and talked about it all of the things that had fallen into place due to her clear vision, and of course doing the work! 

All of the other girls started opening up their papers, sharing what they had written and where they were on their journey. I was just listening until one of the girls said, “Well, Lori, aren’t you going to read yours?” In that moment, I realized that what I had written out for my dream business was my dream for after the kids were out of the house, after this, and if only that, and all the things I wasn’t even capable of at that time. It was a huge lesson for me as I shared with the girls over tears and realized that I have to look for the very best circumstances I can create for where I am right now

“In this moment I am living in right now, what is the best situation I can make for myself with the circumstances that I am given?”

It’s not that we can’t work to make our circumstances better, because certainly, we can, but the point is, “This is where I am today: I want to be home at a certain time for my kids. I only want to work on these days. I want to make this much money, I want to make these connections, I want to learn from this leader…” Whatever your circumstances are, ask yourself, “How can I live today, in this moment, to make the most of the circumstances I’ve been given?”

That’s the way that I have lived and dreamed and planned ever since. I’ve worked to get rid of the, “If only this”, or “ When this happens.” I’ve quit having the, “Oh, in five years when I have everything together,” mentality. Instead, I live by, “What are my circumstances now?” and “What is the very best scenario I can come up with in this circumstance?” “What is the next, right thing to do?” That’s what I can work towards every day, not the “If only, what if, Neverland.”

“Do the right thing, and then do the next right thing, and that will lead you to the next right thing after that.”

Michael J. Fox

This may sound like an easy switch, but the truth is it is even easier to make excuses for why you can’t succeed or to get stuck in the quicksand of “if only.” I have one woman who is a consulting client of mine that I talk to regularly and I frequently have to talk her down from “the four-walls” fixation. She currently has a home business, which is the very best situation for her right now, yet I have to continually outlay the benefits for her because in her mind, “If only she had a retail location, if only she had those four walls she would be a “real business”.

The best-case scenario is different for everyone. Four walls (a retail space) have nothing to do with whether you are a real business or not. It has nothing to do with being profitable and it has nothing to do with really serving people. Yes, a retail situation is the most ideal for some. However, having a home-based business is the best for others, and working all on-location might be the way to serve your clients best, and be the most profitable in your current reality. We have to look at what the best situation is for us and not fall into the comparison trap.

We spend a large part of our life working. Hopefully, you chose your portrait business because you had a passion for it! The best way to keep that joy is to build a strong, profitable business so that you can keep doing “that thing you do”. 

Develop your personal style and brand, find your niche in the marketplace, identify your target client, price for profit, and find the most effective ways to get in front of your audience.  And always, always, take time to find inspiration and ways to give back in gratitude for your gifts and your talents.