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change your attitude

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The other day I was wandering around in a thrift store in Rhinebeck and I came across a book that looked interesting: Living La Dolce Vita … Bring the Passion, Laughter, and Serenity of Italy Into Your Daily Life. Fresh off of re-watching Eat, Pray, Love (and therefore currently dreaming of wandering around the streets of Italy this summer), the book jumped out at me. I paid my $1 and drove down the road to a park to discover the Italian secrets of the sweet life.

One point I really appreciate is this:

“Your mental attitude is what determines your moods. Fortunately, we can purposefully create an attitude that fosters happiness. Moods don’t just fall from the sky. Feelings are a reaction to our voluntary thoughts and perceptions of the world around us.”

There are many things we can’t control in our lives. But attitude can always be controlled.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of this fact. I FREQUENTLY need to be reminded of this fact.

Of course, there is a much bigger question that came to my mind while reading this book: how does someone who is gluten-free survive in Italy?! I’ve heard from others who can’t tolerate gluten in the US that they do fine in other countries. Maaaaaaybe I’ll have to head over there and do some experimenting : )

p.s. The benefits of putting on your positive pants.

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stand out from the crowd

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Yesterday came and went. And I missed my moment to sit down and set my three goals for the week. My head was spinning around with ideas and I just couldn’t quite get it together. So this week, I’m changing things up a bit. Rather than working on three tangible goals, I’m going to walk around with three motivating thoughts. All three from Seth Godin … because when it comes to trying to grow a business, I feel like the man knows what he’s talking about!

Sometimes, when wise words marinate for a bit in my mind, amazing ideas are born. I’m hoping that’s what will happen this week — for me … and for you.

“Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.” – Seth Godin

“Amazing is what spreads.” – Seth Godin

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell.” – Seth Godin

Warmly,
Kate

p.s. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t take money from your parents or husband for your photography business.

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me and my wrinkly knees re-learned about gratitude today

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I sat there on a bench this morning, reading my book and sipping my coffee. The wind whipped in off the Hudson, causing little goosebumps to pop up on my legs despite the warmth of the sun. If the goosebumps hadn’t popped up, maybe what followed wouldn’t have happened, but well …

I looked down at the goosebumps and then noticed something else. Wait? What? When did my skin get so wrinkly on my knees!? Suddenly, I was worried. Stressed. How much wrinklier will they get? Will I have to stop wearing shorts soon? When did this happen? Am I not moisturizing enough?

I tried to turn my attention back to my book. But it was too late. My mood was now somber. So, I gathered up my things and headed back to the little dirt parking lot.

As I passed by a car, I noticed a young man putting together a wheelchair. I thought, “how nice, he must be taking his grandfather out fishing today.”

But no. It was a slight woman about my same age getting out of the car. He took the chair to her and she sat. And then she looked over at me, a crooked straw hat on her head, and smiled.

I smiled in return.

But as me and my perfectly healthy and functional set of legs climbed into my car, my perspective was snapped right back into place.

Imperfect though they may be, my legs work. They didn’t for a few years, so I know what it’s like to not be able to use your limbs. And at that time, I remember thinking that if only my body worked without extreme pain, I would be happy. I would be content.

And yet, as years of health have gone by, and other problems and happinesses have crept in and out of my life, sometimes I forget.

Today was a reminder.

There are many things I can’t control in life. But I can control my focus. What an amazing thing life is. What an incredible gift it is to be able to move. To see. To hear. To dance. To laugh. To love.

Not one of those things is affected by wrinkly knees.

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” – Neale Donald Walsh

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3 Reasons NOT to take money from your husband or parents for your business

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Dear Female Photographer,

You need a new camera. Your web hosting bills are due for the year. And you also need to pay your quarterly payment for your business insurance. And you need to do it all this month. The problem is, you currently don’t have any money with which to cover these expenses.

If you find yourself in such a spot, there’s no need to beat yourself up. It’s simply evidence that you need to do some re-evaluating of your business.

You know that you should have enough money ready to cover business expenses in your business account. But you don’t. So now what?

What if your husband offers to buy you the new camera as a little gift? He knows you need it and he wants to help. Or, how about if the bank of Mom floats you over some cash to get caught up. That would be AMAZING, right?!

Wrong.

Here are three good reasons why.

  1. This is YOUR business. And it’s … well … a BUSINESS. If you’re a hobbyist and your husband wants to make a gift out of a camera, that’s a whole other story. But if you’re running a business, then the business covers your expenses. Your husband or Mom mean well. They want to see you succeed. But how will you ever succeed if you don’t learn how to run a business that actually generates enough money? And how will you ever learn if people keep bailing you out? Those freebies might help you out for a moment … but in the long run, they’re doing you a disservice.
  2. It’s been proven that people are more creative when given some constraints. Go to the bank and receive a loan for a big chunk of money and suddenly you’ll feel free. You’ve got cash in hand and can easily try out some marketing ideas. Maybe print up some brochures. Hire a web designer. Go to a photography retreat. Maybe those things will work. But honestly, how hard will you try to make those ideas work? How creative will you be? Will you really pour your heart and soul out into those brochures?But what if you had NO MONEY in your pocket and had to find a way to grow your business — and do it fast in order to get caught up on bills. How creative would you HAVE to be? Very. And it just so happens that those creative ideas you come up with during the tough moments of constraint can be some of the most creative ones you’ll ever dream up. (Check out this article from Psychology Today that talks more about how you can stimulate your imagination through constraints.)
  3. You might miss out on the chance to fail. Failure can be an integral part of eventual success. The sooner you can come to the realization that something isn’t working well — and yes, not being able to cover the costs of your business means it’s not working well — the sooner you will move towards …

    a). the tweaks needed to fix the problems.

    b). a new endeavor that will be a better fit for you.

    Wait, did I really just say that you might want to find a different job? Yes. The very beautiful thing about throwing in the towel on a project that isn’t working is that you will be free to move on to a new effort. It may be something completely different than photography. Or it may be a re-birth of your photography business. But when all the signs are pointing towards the end of the road, bail-outs only delay the inevitable.

So, thank your hubby. He means well. But say “no”. And if you REALLY do need that upgraded camera for a wedding or other upcoming shoot, rent or borrow. I do it all the time. Equipment is expensive … and sometimes it’s just NOT the time to plunk down lots of zeros on gear.

And while we’re on the subject of money, business success, and whether or not to switch gears, here’s a really great Marie Forleo video clip that deals with the question of How to Know if It’s Time to Move On.

Warmly,
Kate

p.s. How are you coming on our three goals for the week?

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dear female photographer: 3 things to do this week

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Dear Female Photographer,

If I’m going to be 100% honest, I would have to admit that over the last few years, I’ve lost myself a bit. The inner artistic voice that used to scream out at me with ideas has been muted down and sometimes I can go a week or even a month without hearing her direction.

I think that much of it has to do with instagram and pinterest. I’m not blaming social media, nor am I committing to turn it off : ) In fact, I LOVE that I can easily connect with friends and clients via Instagram and Facebook.

But I’ve allowed other people’s art, words, and style to take over my mind a little much lately.

The other day, I did something I haven’t done in a LONG, LONG while. I grabbed my camera and took a walk in Rhinebeck, a quaint little town not far from where I live. I left my phone (and the little camera on it that I usually use for taking pictures of my own life) in the car. It was drizzling … I got a mocha banana smoothie … I wandered in and out of shops … I took my time … and I photographed the things that spoke to me.

I shot the image above and it made me laugh. GOOD FOR HER! Good for her for always trying. And good for you for trying, too.

Here are three things I’m going to try this week. Maybe one, two, or three of them will work for you, too.

ONE: Wander around for an hour in a new environment and take pictures.

My little trip to Rhinebeck was so therapeutic that I realize it has to happen more often. Not only do I know have a handful of images that will work well on my blogs, but I reconnected with my original love of the craft. And I got a mocha banana smooth that was REALLY good! I certainly don’t mind doing that again! Although, this time, I’ll probably do it in New Paltz or Beacon. Where will you go?

TWO: Send out five cards of gratitude and appreciation to clients, family, or friends.

Gratitude gets us EVERYWHERE. I remember reading in a book somewhere that a particularly successful businessman places a stack of five thank you cards on his desk each morning. Before the day is out, he makes sure he has used them. You can be sure that people enjoyed working with him. And no doubt it played a small (or hey, maybe even substantial) role in the success of his business.

THREE: Start everyday with warm lemon water.

Ok, so truth be told, I’ve already been doing this for the last 3 weeks. But they say it takes a few months to really lock in a habit, so I want to make sure I keep going with this one. Some habits, I’ve found, seem to be easier to develop than others. Why? Probably because the benefits happen quickly. And this is one of those actions that IMMEDIATELY made me feel better. It’s like getting up and drinking in some sunshine. I feel brighter, more energetic, and maybe, just maybe my liver is detoxing, too. Check out more of the amazing benefits of lemon water.

Keep up the AMAZING work.
Warmly,
Kate

p.s. How did you do with last week’s three goals

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