small business ownership

How my story helped create purpose

I want to encourage you with this today, and encourage you to give yourself permission to tap into your intuition and to let your intuition and let your business really kind of fill into the space of your purpose. Remember that you purpose can change with you as you grow and change as a person. I am a different person now than I was in my twenties. I’ve evolved, I’ve changed, I’ve grown as a human, as a woman, and my life experiences have helped to shape my journey. You will grow and change, and your purpose may change a bit as time goes on, but remember that those experiences just aid you in your journey. Checking in with yourself and evaluating where your purpose is and where your focus should be helps to keep that cognitive dissonance from welling up inside of you. 

What you resist persists

A few months ago I was getting into a really great diet routine, I was working out regularly and just feeling really good. This change and effort was coming from a place aligned with my identity, (where we always create lasting change).

I was so excited, and then I got sick, and not just me, our whole family. My 12 month old son was up in the middle of the night throwing up and it was just terrible. We were all really weak, sick, and tired. The sad thing is that we didn’t only get sick the one time. We got sick the first time, got a little break just in time to have my son’s birthday party. We made the mistake of having 18 people stay with us and then we were sick all over again.

While I was in the process of getting over my stomach bug the second time, I found myself getting discouraged. I was discouraged because I was thinking about all of the things that I was excited for in my health, and my business. As I was laying in bed recovering, trying so hard not to throw up the cracker that I just ate, I thought of something interesting. What you resist persists.

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How do we resist?

What I mean by that is the more we hold things at arm’s length and try to hold things off, the more those things persist in our lives. Now what we may not be thinking of is the fact that when we resist things we’re avoiding them. We are doing our best to keep them away from us. There are things in our lives that we hold at bay, whether it is some kind of outcome, social situation, money situation, or really anything.

What we do not realize is that we are using a whole lot of effort to hold that thing off. So, for example let's say that we want to hold off debt in our lives. What are we actually focusing on? We are focused on the debt itself. We do not focus on the abundance in our life right now. Right?

What I found in my season of illness and our household getting sick over and over again is that the more I thought about how sick I was and that I didn’t have time for this, the longer that sickness persisted. I kept thinking to myself how awful this season of life was that we were going through, I became frustrated because I wasn’t feeling better as quickly as I thought I should. The more I focused on that, the longer the sickness went on. I am not saying that it went on only because I was focused on that, but just keep in mind the reality that what we resist persists.

What resisting looks like

These are a few examples of things that I used to do in regards to resisting. In another business of mine I spent a year where I was focused on getting reviews for that business. I saw another business owner doing it and I felt like I needed to get really good reviews also. But I also thought I can’t get any bad reviews and I inwardly begged that nobody would leave me a bad review. I kept focusing on creating this resistance, like I was holding the door closed on someone who is trying to get in. That is what resistance feels like.

During that year I was so focused on not getting any bad reviews, which created resistance. I was trying so hard to hold off the bad reviews on our 6-7 year old business. As I look back, can you guess which year we did get one bad review? Your right! It was the year that I placed all my energy and focus on the very thing that I didn’t want.

Resistance can also feel like driving a car. You have a foot on the gas, but you also have your emergency brake on. You can still drive your car with the emergency brake on, but it is really difficult and will eventually severely damage your car.

Take a look at yourself

I want to encourage you to take a look at your life and see if there is something that you can easily identify that you are avoiding. Something that you are kind of trying to keep out by holding the door closed as it tries to push its way in. Like an annoying little brother who would be trying to get into a room and I would be fighting and holding the door closed because he was annoying me. If you have something like that in your life, it isn’t necessarily bad news for you, but you should know that it is really just going to keep coming up for you.

Putting all of that time and effort into focusing on holding the door closed means that all of your strength and energy is invested into the very thing that you do not want. This means that you are probably going to still end up getting the result that you don’t really want.

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You may be asking now, how do we change that? Here are a few quick tips for you that can help:

Tip Number 1

Start visualizing what you do want instead of what you do not want.

Stay focused on what you want, and do not allow yourself to get distracted by the things that you don’t want.

Tip Number 2

Check on your support system.

Do you have a support system? Does your support system understand how lonely entrepreneurship can be? Does your support system see how sometimes you are sitting in a room all by yourself? How your doing things against all the obstacles that come up, how you are taking risks, and how money can be scary and you may not know when your paycheck is going to come in, or even how it is going to come in? Do they get it? If they don’t, look for a support system that specifically understands the unique and difficult challenges of entrepreneurship.

Tip Number 3

Get out your journal.

You may be thinking, “Oh my word, another journaling person.” No, journaling scientifically does things in our brains that moves out beliefs from one portion of our brain to the other and then out. This is not a one and done situation, you have to be regularly writing out your thoughts. Our limiting beliefs, and our negative thoughts don’t have to just stay inside of our brains. We can take action and move them out by writing.

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Rewiring for success

I often take my clients through a four week process where we spend time rewiring our brains for success. Because the reality of all of this is that our brains are designed to keep us safe, and to keep us away from danger. Being entrepreneurs is hard on our brains because most of the things that we need to act on to succeed are way outside of our brains comfort zone.

We have so many responsibilities, we are the ones who work out our taxes and our business expenses. We are the ones who have to constantly be innovating. If we don’t innovate, no one else will, if we don’t innovate no one disapproves. But most importantly, if we do not innovate, our business dies.

All of that brings me to the point that I am really trying to focus on. You need to shift some things in order to stop all of the resisting in your life. My point is that what you resist persists, so if we stop resisting all of the things in our lives, then we naturally have to create a state of allowing. This is the place that caused me to feel a little uncomfortable. For me it was simply that I was sick and I would stay that way for a little while, until both I and my body as a whole was feeling better.

Instead of holding off, or feeling depressed or angry, what if we just sat with our feelings for a little while? What would that ultimately change? What space would that blow open inside of your heart? What creativity might start flowing? This conversation is so important to have with yourself.

For me this conversation looks a little like this. Yes I am sick. But instead of resisting that because it keeps persisting, I am going to accept it and allow it and recognize that I am still okay if nothing changes as quickly as I would like.

I am seeing alot of people right now focusing on change and strategy in their businesses. I am seeing articles like - Three quick tips that you do to market your business , or Three ways that you can create passive income. But you know the reality is that none of those things matter. If your brain is hardwired for failure, if it is hardwired to keep you limited and safe, you are going to be failing. All of those skills and strategies are like putting a bandaid on a wound that requires surgery. Does that method make any sense? No. What first needs to happen is you need to rewrite your beliefs, and rewire your brains.

Our brains filtration system

Our brains have something inside them called the Reticular Activating System. This is essentially our filter system. The world around causes us to receive way too much data into our brain at any one time, so our brains are made with a filter system. How our brains filter that data is based on what we believe. Our brains will look at what we believe - which is thought plus emotion repeated over and over and over again. Then our brains will take that and say, “I’ll just automate that belief and I’ll bring in everything that lines up with that belief and I will filter out anything that doesn’t.”

We spend so much of our time using our brains in their default setting, when our brains are meant to be our operating system that we program with our specifications, what we need. I believe that God has given us these beautiful brains and we don’t even invest any time in learning how to use them. All too often we let the outside circumstances dictate how we feel. However we need to remember that we create change from the inside out, like we are the thermostat. We set the temperature and it stays at that temperature no matter what the temperature is outside. We should be like a thermostat, not going up or down depending on the temperature that is around us. We set the temperature because we are working from the inside out.

Two important things to remember as you are developing your mindset in our business, or even if you are going through something in your life. What you resist persists, and Set the temperature for your own success. Don’t forget what can happen if you simply sit in the moment with your circumstances and embrace where you are at. You will not be disappointed with the results.

My three secrets to getting a lot of stuff done

Chances are, you're your own boss (even if this is a side gig). You're the engine that grinds this whole business thing forward and you're where the buck stops. I've gotta be real with you-sometimes that terrifies me. Anyone else feel that pressure sometimes? It used to look like these thoughts swarming around in my mind: 

  • "What if I have an off day?" 
  • "What if I'm sick?"
  • "What if what I'm doing doesn't work and I have NO clue?"

So, for a while, I wouldn't do ANYTHING. Obviously, that didn't get me too far...at least not FORWARD! It took me a year of mindset work and creating routines and habits to see how to create a week filled with intention and success. 

Here’s my secret sauce that create a work week that allows for coffee with a friend, taking care of my baby,  and still driving profits to my business.


Secret #1: Create your morning and evening routines

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Think of a garden-if you're planting vegetables, you first make the container or bed to plant your vegetables in. Your morning and evening routines are your containers! Now, what you put inside them is where you'll start seeing some magic! Because once you have the container, you can plant seeds and see growth!

 When you've got a killer morning and evening routine, all that mindset and energy work you're doing will start to take hold in your life. 

While I'm a mama and my morning and evening routines are flexible right now, here's what I'm doing for my growth:

My morning routine

I get up before my son's first morning feeding (he's sleeping through the night now) and go for a walk. During this time, I listen to nature, focus on breathing, and begin practicing gratitude.

When I get back, I make or enjoy my coffee and read for a few minutes. Honestly, my reading time is pretty brief right now-I don't have a ton of stamina here but reading stamina is like muscle-you can increase it over time. Right now, I'm happy if I stay awake to read for 5 minutes, but I look forward to when it's 6 minutes...then 7...you get it!

After reading, I take time for prayer and meditation and follow up with journaling. And of course, journaling leads to brainstorming, which is when I have my best ideas!

My Evening Routine

Why make an evening routine? Your subconscious mind controls 95% of your actions...WHOA. And it's most active while you sleep. So...if you want to shift your subconscious thinking, the best time to do it is right before it's most active! Give it some fuel! During this time, I do some specific reading, affirmations, and meditation. Then, as Stephen and I fall asleep, we share what we're grateful for.


Secret #2: Make space for your best ideas

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Even if I only do this on Monday mornings (which totally happens), I take time to journal. I write prayers, get burdens and stressors off my chest, make mind maps, lists, and write out dreams. Then I breathe for a minute. 
I know I’ve talked about journaling...like so much forever but what about the breath before the journaling? 
That’s the magic!
During that time, ideas flood my brain. Why? (tell me you already know why!) Because there's ROOM for them now!! Making SPACE is seriously when the magic happens. I've drafted numerous course outlines, coaching content ideas, and marketing plans during this deeply powerful time! That's some mega brainstorming!


Secret #3: Focus on your top 2-3 goals for the week and day

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I ask this in our private facebook group often because I ask myself every monday: "If I only got 2-3 things done this week, what are my big goals?" I focus on tasks that first serve my core purpose, second connect me to the people who need my message, and third that drive my bottom line. 

You can get a million tiny tasks done, but what if you could do 2-3 BIG things that resonated with your tribe and really shifted your business? Wouldn’t you rather have that?

How about you? What's the secret sauce to creating your intentional week?

Welcome to the Successful Creative!

Welcome to The Successful Creative, a place where we can walk the journey together of monetizing your creative passion, learning to strengthen our mindsets, and think and dream bigger.

My story learning to be a successful creative

Hi! My name is Stephanie and I'm so glad you're here! I am launching this blog as a result of five years of hard work, learning curves, and growth as a wedding photographer. I'm at a point in my journey where I recognize that my love of teaching coupled with my experience running a business could encourage and serve others on their journeys. Here's a bit about my story:

Matching my natural skills with a job description

I grew up with a penchant for teaching. I would collect all the kids in my neighborhood and lead them on wild expeditions, I would “play teacher” and I would “teach gymnastics classes.” (I can't even do a cartwheel...I don't know how I got my friends to attend gymnastics classes!!) Whatever I learned, I wanted to share with the kids in the neighborhood...even if I wasn't an expert. Becoming an elementary teacher seemed like a natural progression of my life’s narrative, right?

After college, I had two interesting jobs: I was a crisis and trauma counselor for college aged girls for several years and then I taught elementary school. Each job ignited my desire to connect with others, encourage them, and teach them.

Pretty soon, however my natural intuition for connecting with people, drawing out their best assets, and then teaching them, was crowded out by paperwork, school politics, test results, and scripted, unimaginative plans (hey, my ideal reading lessons involved building trees in my classroom. Worksheets? notsomuch) I felt suffocated and wondered if I’d ever actually do the thing I loved: teaching.

Jumping into small business ownership

During this time, I met my now husband, Stephen. By the time we got married, he had trained me well and added me to his photography business. So as a newlywed, I jumped headfirst into helping someone with their business. I was thrilled to encourage him, believe in him and troubleshoot HIS business for a few months until I realized he viewed it as OUR business. As soon as I had skin in the game, I began backpedaling REAL quick. I was filled with intense fear, self-doubt, hurts, and a scarcity driven mindset leaving me feeling desperate with each new business hurdle.

Over the next few years, I had to work through some major mindset issues, anxieties, and recalibrate my view of myself, my purpose, and my life’s calling. Along the way, I found that there were elements to running a business that I was naturally adept at. There were elements that tapped into my desire to connect with others as well as my penchant for being a bit of a pipe dreamer. But no matter how big I dreamed, my fears and mindset issues were like concrete blocks around my feet. I couldn't actually go anywhere!

But, God knew where I was and as I prayed for change, He sent me on a journey of change that I look forward to sharing with you soon.

Running a business through roadblocks

One of my first roadblocks was a really simple one-dealing with opposition. I think the first thing that appealed to me about wedding photography was the affirmation! I mean, I picked up a camera and people were praising me and throwing money at me. Wow, it felt kind of addicting! I think I may not be the only one who began her journey with the addiction to affirmation!

But reality quickly set in when we experienced our first bit of opposition-someone questioning our value instead of throwing money at us, someone stating that they weren’t happy with the experience we provided instead of just gleefully praising my skills. All of a sudden, things got really real and I had to determine if I was going to continue to live for affirmation or if I was going to build a business that rose above opposition to achieve greatness. 

What is a successful creative?

Chances are that you’re here because you like the idea of being a successful creative. You want to be successful and you yearn to create new things. But you may feel like you have one or the other right now. You may even be in the place of experiencing your first bit of opposition in a journey that’s been filled with affirmation. If that’s you, I want you to know that you’re not alone. What you’re going through is one of your biggest tests to determine how serious you are about being a successful creative. I believe you have what it takes. And where you feel weak, I have you covered. 

With each growing pain I experienced, I wrote about it, asked myself “what tools do I wish I had while going through this?” and then I created them for you! So you can expect this to be a place where you can find resources to help you on your journey to building a profitable business.

I plan to serve you really great, honest content on this blog and via email because I believe that the journey I’ve been on has taught me deep and powerful lessons about how to run a profitable creative business and I want to share that with you.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more of my story and I’d love to know about yours. Comment below and let us know what do you do and what are you proud of in your business? Brag on yourself and let us cheer you on!