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February 17, 2021

2020 Year In Review: “It’s Fine, Everything Is Fine”

In true fashion we’re almost a month and a half into the new year and I’m just putting together my year recaps and goal posts! I’m giving myself some grace though because that means I spent the holidays out of office, spending time with the people who mean the most to me…and then the first two weeks of 2021 were spent recovering from COVID-19 and catching up on everything I got behind on in 2020. Ugh.

2020 is a year that will go down in history as a cluster, a dumpster fire, a mess…the year where everything was turned upside down, inside out, and was truly “unprecedented times.” It was hard and unpredictable at times, but when I look back on everything that happened for me, it was still a successful year where I learned a ton about myself and made some beautiful memories. 

Similar to last year’s post, this is a mix of my biggest moments from 2020 and notes from my Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets. I just love the way they break down reviewing your previous year and preparing to make the next one the best it can be!

Looking over my review and prep work every year is so powerful for me as it’s a tangible image of how much I’ve grown and what areas I still need to focus on. 

And y’all know me, I’m BIG on documentation of ALL kinds –– writing, video, and photos, of course!!!

So just as a start, here’s a rundown of 2020:

  • First family trip to Arizona with my dad in YEARS (vlogged and photographed the whole thing!)
  • Trip to Mexico with my best friend Rachael right before the quarantines happened (also a very funny vlog –– my most watched of the year!)
  • Photographed Lindsay and Devin’s wedding at St. Thomas Preservation Hall, a venue I’d dreamed of working at since high school
  • Started training for a half marathon (Thankful that I did this during the Q! It was later cancelled so I stopped my training, but it’s on the books for next year!)
  • Entered into “The Q” in March…lots of time spent in the house and stressing how this was all going to work out. Not something you want to see your second year self-employed
  • LOTS of zoom meetings with friends, other vendors, spokesmodels, etc. to keep our sense of community
  • FINALLY started photographing seniors again…graduation was cancelled but celebrating their accomplishments were not! 
  • Reached 4,000 followers on Instagram
  • Tons of beach days –– thankful we had lots of outside options to keep us entertained
  • Had a month of a shoot every. Single. Day. Probably won’t ever do that again if I can help it!
  • Selected my 4th senior spokesmodel team of 18 girls –– the largest team yet!
  • Had the first of my “micro-weddings” that were intimate and sweet
  • Bought my JEEP!!!! Said a hard but necessary good-bye to the Jetta
  • Cancelled our trip to Jamaica but had a blast at Lake Gaston and Emerald Isle
  • Helped UNCW’s Alpha Chi chapter navigate virtual recruitment (extremely tough but fun!!!)
  • Hired The Creative’s CFO as my accountant and am SO thankful for her!!!
  • Birthday trip to Charleston with Kyle and photos with Hope Taylor Photography!!!
  • First double-header weekend (two weddings back to back)
  • Dressed up as the cast of Holes for Halloween
  • Starting cooking HelloFresh for Kyle and I’s lunch 3 times a week –– we love it!
  • Tried cycling for the first time…now addicted to Peloton
  • Starting personal training with Marissa again
  • Took off 2 weeks to fully enjoy the holidays and take much needed rest
  • Photographed 18 beautiful weddings big and small
  • Photographed over 60 high school and college seniors
  • Hit a HUGE financial milestone within my business and was SO excited about it!!!!!

WOW!!!! It is so easy to get lost in “2020 sucked” but there was SO much goodness in there. Despite all of the odds, people still achieved their goals, celebrated their accomplishments, got married, and made time for each other. There were definitely things I would never want to experience again, but I am so thankful to be able to look back on that list and be proud of the good things that happened in 2020.

It’s interesting because last year I said “2019 was hard for a lot of reasons but there were a lot of wins.” I had NO idea what was coming for me, but I’m glad that I put in so much work on myself then so I could push through 2020 with a better mental state.

In the PowerSheets Goal Planner, there is an exercise to write out what worked and what didn’t work from the previous year. This helps to really think about the things that you want to continue and seek more of vs. the things you want to purposefully cut out.

Here’s what some of mine were.

WINS: WHAT WORKED IN THE LAST YEAR

  • Scheduled intentional time with friends and traveled as much as I could
  • Worked out a lot…even on my own in a hot garage!!!
  • Tried cooking new things and got on a schedule with HelloFresh (now I feel so much more confident in the kitchen!!)
  • Got better about giving myself balance and time off (when I could)
  • Started this “success list” with personal things, not work or business (this is a HUGE win for me because I usually define myself by my production)
  • Finally outsourced the financial side of my business
  • Photographed 18 weddings (big and small) and 60+ seniors!!
  • Published 13 Youtube Videos with lots of personal videos
  • Outsourced my wedding editing so I can deliver galleries faster
  • Launched wedding albums and started helping people to print their photos
  • Finally went to the doctors for ALL the check-ups 
  • Did all of THAT ^ in spite of a global pandemic

Of course it wasn’t all peaches and cream…there was a lot of tough times, tears, and sleepless nights in the midst of trying to keep life moving forward.

CHALLENGES: WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN THE LAST YEAR

  • Getting overwhelmed with work and not keeping up with my “must-do’s” (stopping videos, blogging, sharing, learning, etc.)
  • Over-scheduling and giving time for just “breaks”
  • Feeling worried about what everyone things about what I’m doing or not doing
  • The world falling down around us
  • Spending a ton of time “in” the business and not “on” it
  • Taking longer than I had hoped to finish editing photos
  • Not managing expectations appropriately
  • Letting social media affect me negatively
  • Struggled balancing “off” time in the Q with resting and feeling like I should be using it to do more
  • Giving up on running because of anxiety surrounding it
  • Letting other’s opinions hold way too much weight in the decisions I make in business and life

Last year I would say that the second list was harder to write than the first.

This year…not so much. It was a lot easier to look at the bad and I had search to find the good. I am so thankful that at the end of this exercise, my WIN list is still a lot longer than my CHALLENGES list. 

Either way, I highly, highly recommend doing this though because so many of my goals came out of both of these lists. I want to be intentional about keeping the good and fixing the challenges. 

LESSONS LEARNED: WHAT DID THE GOOD AND BAD TEACH ME?

We are constantly learning lessons. Last year I shared about how my nana gave me a little coffee table book one time with advice from people ranging in ages 4-100. It is SO cute to read all of the things they have learned in their lifetime. My goal is to keep writing this down every year and then compiling them one day for my future generations! 

Here are some of the top lessons learned in 2020:

  • The world will fall apart. Focus on what you can control.
  • Celebrating life’s moments will always be valued.
  • It feels good to work hard and sweat.
  • Sour cream is SUPER useful.
  • I actually am a physical touch person and I love to be close to people.
  • Sometimes it’s fun to slow down and do simple things, like picnics in the park.
  • You don’t have to go to Jamaica to create memories with your best friends.
  • Photograph and record EVERYTHING! Even when it isn’t “exciting.”
  • Growing businesses and setting boundaries will always be hard.
  • Get a second opinion if you know something is off with your body (you know you best). 

Now that we’re almost a month and a half into 2021, it’s pretty clear that things didn’t magically change when the ball dropped on NYE. That’s okay though.

If 2020 taught me anything, it was that it’s my own responsibility to create a life that brings me joy…and it’s not always going to look like doing something expensive and extravagant. It looks like building community, treating my body with love, and finding the silver lining (even if you need a good, long cry in the shower first).

Next up, I’ll be posting my one word (yes, I did pick one and seeing why this post is as late as it is will make sense, ha) and goals for this next year!!! Here’s to 2021!!!