I was speaking at a workshop along side of some incredible industry leaders. There were photographers, writers, calligraphers, graphic designers, and we were all so passionate about intentional, authentic businesses. We were pouring our experiences, our stories into these young and eager professionals and we also ugly cried a time or two. I realized that there was on red thread among all of us as we spoke about our journey from getting started to where we are now (which some would call successful.) We had hit burn out.
It sounds dramatic, maybe you’re rolling your eyes, or your thinking: “Jenna, you work from home, eat mac and cheese, take naps, and shoot weddings on the weekends, how could you possibly be burnt out.” But girlfriend, I was so there a few years back. As I listened to story after story of us, passionate business owners, lovers of our fields, and how we had pushed ourselves to the max, I questioned how we could pour into these attendees the message that they had to learn from our mistakes. I mean, we all remember our mothers telling us that “someday you’ll understand” but did we ever really listen? No, we went out and did the things we weren’t supposed to do and learned the lessons the hard way.
Running a business can get messy. You might have left a corporate job or never found one in the first place, you might be balancing a family or juggling with a 9-5 in the hopes of chasing your dreams. You are passionate and hungry and ready to do any amount of work for any amount of money because it’s your calling, but a few months down the line you realize how much time, money, and energy are necessary to run this dream business and you now see how bad you are at saying “no.” Y’all, it hit me and it hit me hard, I was stressed, exhausted, and so burnt out after a season of 30 weddings. I knew in my gut that if I wanted any sort of longevity in this industry, I had to work less and live more.
If you’re there with me, if you’ve felt that burn out, if you’ve dreamt about going back to that windowless corporate office just to escape the stress and pressure of running a business, you are not alone. And if you, sweet friend, are on the journey of chasing your dreams and you’re burning the candle from both ends and thinking that that is what it takes to be a sweet success, I want to hug you and tell you to slow down. There are things in your life you will have to sacrifice for your dream, but your life is not a sacrifice to make in order to get to where you want to go. As we enter this new year, I pray that your year will hold less work and more life. Remember the things that bring you joy outside of work, remember the friendships and relationships that make your heart happy, remember that the person sitting next to you on the couch is more important than any email or Facebook notification, and remember that you went into this position so that you could live a fuller life, not so that your life could be full of work.
How will you implement less work, more life in 2016? Comment below! Let’s start the conversation!