Do you ever have one of those life-changing realizations in your profession? That one simple thing that makes all the difference in your work? If so, read on and relate with me. If not, read anyway and give me attention.
Picture it: Chicago. February 2018. I had a creative revelation.
(that’s what I like to call it because it was more like a complete mental breakdown followed by a couple bottles of wine and some crying in my shower):
“I do not want to spend any more of my life working for too little money and too much stress to make other people successful.”
This came after an absolutely horrible day at work. There are always those people that you buck heads with in the office, but there should never be a time where you find yourself regularly checking in to the bathroom stall because you feel an overwhelming sense to cry. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking: that cry just cost me about $3.40. My world shook. Was I really about to let $3.40 become the sticker value of my mental sanity?
You see, earlier that day, a coworker of mine verbally berated me, undermined my artistry, called me an amateur to my face, and stormed out of my presence, taking my emotional stability with him. Being new to the corporate sector, or perhaps just a little too naive, I brought this situation to the appropriate parties thinking that something would get done about it. I was promptly given a lesson in ‘those who make more money than you are worth more than you, so deal with it.’
This was on a Friday. On Monday, I put in my two weeks notice.
Shortly after that, I went on a soul-search through the Cascades and Olympics in Seattle, WA.
Seven months. From February to September. Seven months is all it took for my life to completely shift. My mental clarity came back, my mood shifted, my sanity was somewhat restored (let’s face it - I’m an artist, how sane can I really be) and most importantly, my creative growth started BOOMING!
Not since college when I was immersed in an intense program had my creativity grown! My ideas came flooding back. My eyes started to see through that ‘different lens’ that I’m always crediting. I found myself smiling often, listening more intently, dancing while I made dinner, journaling, meditating, singing…
THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SUPPORTIVE TEAM
There is a reason that I noticed such a shift in my life. After my two weeks were up, and I found myself without that dreaded 5:30am alarm jolting me awake, the too-crowded Chicago morning commute, the senseless you can’t wear that shirt and go back to your cubicle, Shrek, I found myself in a bit of a panic. What the hell was I going to do? Where do I find money? How do I pay my bills?
I had always wanted to freelance full-time, but now it was reality. I was sitting in my room listening to my clock tick and realizing that I didn’t have a large enough network to start freelancing full-time at all! Was I NUTS?! (keep your opinions on me being nuts to yourself, please).
I opened my laptop and started sending emails. That first day, I probably sent about, I don’t know, 3,459,963,201 emails? Some of them were a very prompt go-to-hell, I got a few non-responses, and a few let’s-work-together-s.
Eventually, after a lot of trial and error, I found myself working with the best possible people. They are so supportive and encouraging, and they are those people that really push you toward your own goals. I now work with a collective of artists who not only listen to my ideas, but help me expand on them and then actually encourage me to set forth and accomplish my goals.
One specific example of this supportive culture is how, without even being asked, one of my collaborators sent me to a cinematography workshop by Cinematography Wizard, Riccardo Fasoli. Through this, I was given permission by my own brain to ‘break the rules’ and just trust my eye. This was some of the most impressive educational magic I had ever been gifted!
Now, I exist in a headspace where I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and hit the ground running and CREATE! I am finding my cinematic voice, my artistic style, my creative vision. I’m fine-tuning what I have always wanted to do and I am forever grateful for that.
I’m shooting weddings and commercials back-to-back. I’m editing every day, sprinkle in some short films, brand pitches and documentary screenings here and there and you have my average schedule. I love it!