2016 is going to be a big year as I finally have the courage to make some changes that have been a long time in the making.  I have been fooling myself that I still have work-life balance because I have never stayed up until 2AM working on my business.  I am not tethered to my computer 20 hours a day and sacrificing time spent with those that I love the most.  My calendar includes 8-12 weeks a year of travel, friends, and family.  On paper I am rocking it! 

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 11.34.34 AM

In practicality, something has to give.  I went to vote last month and I got out of my car thinking, “That’s odd.  I wonder why that person left their car running. That’s awfully trusting of them.”  I walked into the building, did my civic duty, and returned to my car to realize that it was MY car that was left running.  Unlocked, with the keys in it.

My mind is on a constant 100m sprint, but over an ultra-marathon distance.  It’s exhausting.

Yelenovsky-125

As I was reading an email from Tim Ferris, he asked this question…

Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of, what you feel placed here on this earth to do?  Can you be replaced?

The entire email really hit home and I realized it was time to embrace a change that I have been wanting to make for a while, but fear of missing out has left me paralyzed.  Most of you know that my photography business is split between pets and family photography.  Photographing animals and their people is my passion.  The first 13 years of my working years were spent as a zoological animal trainer and I love everything about every animal I come across.  Time stands still when I’m creating imagery with animals and my mind is constantly thinking of new visions that I want to create.  I have oodles of projects and co-marketing plans for my pet side of my business and zero time to execute them. 

I also have this little passion for helping photographers create a more profitable business.  It pains me deep in my soul every time I see a photographer selling their work in a way that will NEVER offer them a steady income.  I want to teach more, create more programs, and grow Hair of the Dog.  I can’t do that on the current 2 hours a week that I squeeze out of my schedule.

It’s time to say no to family photography.  While I love the families that I work with, family photography isn’t my burning passion.  The scary part of this decision is that the family side of my business is very lucrative and completely driven by SEO and word-of-mouth.  However, I am not uniquely capable of creating meaningful images for local families.  There are dozens of incredible local family photographers that can continue to fill this niche.  I can be replaced.

I am embracing this journey and putting my trust in God, the Universe, fate, whatever you want to call it, that this is the right direction. 

Yelenovsky-136

I love this quote by Tim Ferris as well, “To become “successful,” you have to say “yes” to a lot of experiments.  To learn what you’re best at, or what you’re most passionate about, you have to throw a lot against the wall.  Once your life shifts from pitching outbound to defending against inbound, however, you have to ruthlessly say “no” as your default. Instead of throwing spears, you’re holding the shield.”

It’s time to start saying no…and time to start saying “Hell Yeah”!

I am going to print this essay out from Derek Sivers and keep it in my office to help me stay on track in 2016.  Especially this part….   

“Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then I say no.

Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out”  – Derek Sivers

What are you giving up this year to clear the way for more of what you really want?