3 things i know about success

how to be a successful photographer photo

when it comes to my career, i don’t consider myself someone who’s “arrived.” i want to continue to learn and grow and finesse my craft, especially as technology changes. i’ve been shooting professionally for years now, and i’m just now coming into my own as a photographer. that being said, i’m always a little pleasantly surprised when others reach out to me for advice, opportunity or to establish community. it’s been happening more often, though, which has served as a reminder that i do have something unique and valuable to say– that my story, and yours, is important.

here are three things i’ve learned about success along the journey:

1. whatever stage you’re at in life, there’s likely someone who inspires you and someone who is inspired by you.

after a while, your skills begin to feel second-nature (this is a good thing!) which sometimes can lead you to focus more on what you have left to learn and forget what you have accomplished. while it’s great (and necessary) to continue to learn and grow, don’t discount your ability to give back and share the knowledge you learned along the way.

2. success looks different for everyone.

for some, it might take the form of rising to the top of their chosen industry. for others, success might look more like creating the ability to stay home and be present for their children. the important thing is that you define what it looks like for you. that person whose life and accolades you wish you had may be dreaming about your life. don’t measure your life by someone else’s standards.

3. you can’t make it alone.

success usually doesn’t come in the form of champagne toasts and large parties (though it can, and definitely sometimes should!). more often than not, success comes in quietly: a private acknowledgement of yesterday’s hard work bringing your dreams to fruition today. the hundreds of emails sent, networking events attended, and “normal” everyday work of building the life of your dreams will add up in ways you cannot imagine. the important thing is that you keep going. you need a circle of friends, of fellow professionals, of artists, businesspeople, creatives, dreamers to help you see the light inside of you when you’ve lost your way. i’m so honored to have the privilege of getting to know some incredible wedding vendors, and am excited to be featuring them and their businesses on the blog in coming weeks!

so, if you’re having a tough week and are in need of some encouragement, i’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. i’m here to tell you to keep going.

i wrote this letter to you, dear reader, because no one sees your sleepless nights, the times you sit alone on the couch with your arms wrapped around your legs, crying and wondering if you’ll ever be good enough, if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re meant to be pursuing what you feel called to. no one ever sees those moments and no one ever tells those stories. so when you look at someone’s instagram feed and the voices of doubt lead you to wonder if you’re good enough and if you ever will be, know that you already are. know that you need no one else’s permission but your own. and once you give yourself permission to be your highest self, miraculous things will start to happen.

despite the hard days, i know how it feels to be running in circles smiling and laughing with abundant joy after finding clients who value you and your services and hire you to create something beautiful for them. the entrepreneurial life — the life of a small business owner– is not easy by any means, but it is so, so worth it. i don’t know how else to describe that.

with all my love,

paulina