I want to tell you my big fat secret.
I failed big time in 2013. Oh, my business grew faster than I ever imagined and if you look at the books you would congratulate me on such a successful year. But in my determination to achieve all my business goals, I lost track of who I really am.
I couldn't believe that the metaphorical ball had finally started rolling. That feeling had me high on excitement. I poured every minute into my business, leaving no spare seconds for my body, my soul or my family. I am ashamed to admit to the blatant, foolish disregard for my health - surviving on a potent mixture of energy drinks, chocolate bars and 3 hours of sleep. My friends and family begged me to slow down but my own overextension meant that I truly couldn't afford to stop working. I was barely making deadlines as it was. I literally didn't have enough hours in the day, no matter what I tried to cut out.
What I did cut out was all wrong. Mostly I cut time for myself (what?! 2 hours to have my hair done?! Meh, I'll just keep the bird's nest, thanks). I also cut time with my other half, Johnny. The man must have the patience and understanding of a saint, because the most I saw of him last year was when I would briefly glance up from my computer to grunt a thank you for the dinner I was eating at my desk. I'm so ashamed of that. It was unacceptable, but I was so lost in a haze of stress and determination and (importantly) giddy, joyful obsession with my newfound success that I couldn't see what I was doing to my home. Lack of sleep and a screwed up adrenal system had my once rare panic attacks flaring constantly (thank goodness I met my Misty Moo last year) and awful stress-induced psoriasis played even more havoc on my self-esteem and relationship. I felt ready to burst into tears at a moments notice.
I couldn't admit that I was scared and I was losing myself. It was my biggest secret. I tried so hard to paint a positive picture online - rainbows and smiles and puppy dogs. When the clock struck 11:59pm on December 31st, I thought to myself "I don't know if I can do that all again."
So 2014 has been a year of great change for me. I have made it my mission to educate myself about productivity and time management (it's awesome! I have a life again). I have also come to terms with the fact that running your own business means that there will always be more work to do, so the key to maintaining balance lies in creating your own rules and boundaries (still struggling with this one a bit).
Most importantly, I have taken the time to really sit down and re-evaluate my values. Write a manifesto for my life and business.
I've written them down for myself (may I not lose my way again) and because I believe that you, my dear reader, should also know who I am. You may or may not agree but here I am, bare and honest.
Be comfortable in your own skin. Fill your days with whatever and whomever makes you smile.
Time spent with family is worth every second.
Be different. Pet photography with soul.
Practice patience and love genuinely.
A house without animals is not a home.
Celebrate the life and personality of happy dogs for the awesome people who adore them.
Live compassionately and respect our Earth.
Handwritten notes and heartfelt surprises.
Let dogs be dogs. If they roll through mud and splash in water, roll and splash beside them. Embrace joy.
No one will ever love you as unconditionally and perfectly as your dog. Treasure every moment.