On Winning the Day

Last week I went to a conference in Indianapolis on Wedding Photography, Lighting, and Kicking Fear in the Face.  Remember that time I went to Connecticut learn from Justin & Mary?  Well, this conference was a part of their incredibly ambitious What’s Next Tour, a nationwide movement to get people like me to get up, tell my doubts to shut up, and seize the day–or, rather, to seize my life.

I initially returned from Indianapolis energized.  “YES!”  thought supercharged-Laura.  “I AM AMAZING AND I CAN DO ANYTHING AND I’M NOT GOING TO LET MYSELF TELL MYSELF OTHERWISE.”

And then last weekend hit.  And last weekend sucked.  By the end of Sunday, I felt tired, defeated, behind, and all-around crappy.  It was that perfect storm of roadblocks, rejections, and staying up til 4:30 am on a Saturday to fix a website issue.  You know that meme that’s like, “what I think I do, what my friends think I do, what I actually do, etc.”?  Well, when you run your own business, the “what I actually do” is often sitting on your laptop in yoga pants until the wee hours of the morning trying to finish something that you can’t pass off to someone else–because you’re your own supervisor, you’re your own employees, and you have to do it.  So you drink the leftover coffee sitting on the side table, stay up, and work.  (Glamorous, huh?)

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the feeling that I’m behind on my work.  And last weekend, I was.  I definitely was.

So along came Monday.  I went over to Janie’s in the morning, wearing various shades of gray and clinging to my cup of coffee like it’s my only friend.  And I realized, oh, my gosh, I’ve already given up on this day.  It’s not even 9:00 and I’ve already given up on this day.

This is exactly what Mary was talking about at the conference.  This is what she meant about defeating yourself before you even begin.

So I made a decision.  I wasn’t going to expect impossible things of myself for the day.  I was going to break it down into something smaller, focus on getting just that done, and do one thing for myself.  And I was going to spend an entire day not beating myself up.  Laura, be nice to Laura, or else no dessert for you.

And I did it.  I finished the photos that I sent out to finish editing, and I even had a few minutes left to spare.  So I decided to finish something I had started over a year ago and had never finished.  I fired up the Wii and popped in Super Mario Brothers Wii.  I was gonna beat Bowser.

And you know what?  After four tries, I kicked Bowser’s sorry a**.  Last year, I had tried beating Bowser countless times and had eventually given up.  But yesterday, I did it.  That’s right.  Who defeated Bowser?!  This girl.  (Video game nerds, hush, it’s been a long time since I’ve played anything, so I’m not exactly on a Sephiroth level anymore, okay?)

And then I started thinking about last week, and about how maybe I was too hard on myself.  Slow progress is still progress, and sometimes you can’t get where you’re going as fast as you want to.  After all, I was featured in the latest WordPress Blog News post examining wedding sites (that’s right, the official WordPress blog!!  My inbox was going crazy!).  And the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, VA featured my photos of Jes and Tony’s wedding day on their Facebook Page.  Those are two pretty awesome things that I had completely glossed over in my mind because I was too busy worrying.

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Instead of beating myself up all the time, maybe I just need to focus on the Bowsers.

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