Going Full Time Month 15

In November of 2018, I left my full time job to pursue photography full time. Every month since then I’ve blogged what I learned from the previous month. This is month 15.

Do you ever get selective hearing? Maybe you’re reading a book and nodding along with the author until she says something you don’t like or you don’t want to hear and you just skim past it? Or maybe you’re reading up on a new diet for New Years and you’re 100% on board until they mention you can’t have your absolute favorite food. Then you think “Well, maybe it’ll work anyway if I just ignore that part.”

The upsetting part is when that same piece of information keeps cropping up in different areas until you decide, “Okay. I guess I can’t ignore it anymore.” That happened this month on the subject of consistency.

Recently Raffi and I have been watching a lot of Shark Tank. So much so that it’s become a huge part of our daily conversation. We’ve started hitting pause right after each presentation to discuss what we think the Sharks are going to say/ask/do and we’ve even asked that question that I’m sure all couples ask who watch the show: What would you invent for Shark Tank if you had to invent something?

This new infatuation of ours also sparked a new curiosity: Just what does one learn in business school? Do they learn all about how to invest? Product development? Money management? What terms are we not familiar with that are every day lingo in big businesses? Words like valuation and acquisition have worked their way into our vocabulary in the last month so surely there is a whole business dictionary out there that covers these things.

The conversation sent me on an internet hunt where I stumbled on a TED talk by Andrew Johnston titled “What is the Best Business Education?” In this video he likens building a business to running a marathon. That it’s never the one big event at the end, it’s the daily grind and dedication. It’s the walk two minutes, run two minutes over and over and over again until you can work up to longer intervals. It’s the waking up at six am when your bed is so cozy to run while it’s still dark outside. It’s being okay with 99% of the whole thing being about uncomfortable growth and concentrated discipline and only 1% being about the glamorous finish line photo.

This pulled me back to another YouTube video where author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek talks about falling in love. How no one knows the exact moment it happens, it just builds over time with small daily acts. He draws another parallel about working out. If you go to the gym once, nothing will happen but if you do it every day, you will become healthy over time. He goes on to talk about oral health in the same context. When you brush your teeth once, you don’t have healthy teeth. Once won’t do anything. It’s brushing twice a day for two minutes that will build oral health. It’s not the one, it’s the many.

Don’t even get me started on Gary Vee.

I’m a daily Vee kind of girl and I can’t even count how many times he’s told me to stop looking for a quick fix. “Everybody wants viral, but what works is consistent content.”

Last night Raffi and I watched Miss Americana and I cried almost the entire time. I’ve been a die hard Swiftie since Fearless and to see her grow into who she is now has been mind boggling. One thing I noticed in the movie though was how she took little steps up. She started with writing songs in math class and putting them out into the world performing at coffee shops. She climbed to doing local radio interviews and singing the national anthem at sporting events. There was no “Here, you’re Taylor Swift, here’s a million awards.” She built daily, song by song, appearance by appearance, and brick by brick.

Through the film, she talks about work ethic. Once she achieved fame and adoration at the age of sixteen she said, “Now I just have to figure out how to make it last.” When her album Reputation didn’t get nominated in any of the major categories at the Grammys, she said, “I need to make a better album.” And then she did. If you want to be deeply inspired by a woman with insane work ethic and drive, it’s on Netflix! Then send me a message and let me know your thoughts!

So maybe it’s time to shut down this selective hearing that’s been going on with me and hear this advice.

Going into month 16, I feel motivated. Not to run the marathon at the end but to train for the marathon. To do the daily work without expecting lighting to hit. To build and climb and invest in slow and steady growth.

Are you with me?

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

Thanks to Avel Chuklanov for the office photo via Unsplash!