Such a long time coming, this blog post.
To put it vaguely, I spent a few years worried about who I should network with and avoiding putting myself out there because of who someone was friends with in the industry, like maybe if they were tight with someone I may not get along wonderfully with. I desperately wanted to attend the events I was invited to, go out on a limb and introduce myself to other vendors or even photographers but I didn’t because I didn’t know if they already had a skewed view of me and who I really am. Fear. What Justin + Mary talk about overcoming and fighting. Fear sucks. I worried that they had listened to what someone else had said about me for whatever reason, if they had chosen to listen to a one sided perspective. The industry is FULL of this, many of us know.
FINALLY, I decided to do it. I have to thank one certain girl in particular because she’s amazing and SHE pushed me to do it. I don’t know if she realizes how much she affected my life for the better, but I’ll probably text her after this and let her know 🙂 She was the most mature (but SO joyful and lighthearted) person I’ve met in the industry in so long. She made the adult decision to get to know me before deciding not to like me. And it turns out, we are so much alike and have so much in common, and I LOVE her company! I literally have no filter around her, she knows the absolute truth about anything we’ve ever talked about because I’m just honest like that. Maybe too honest sometimes, lol!? Because she gave me this grace and courtesy, finally, I felt like I was OUT of high school and seeing things from a different perspective.
I started to do the same with people.
I decided I WAS going to talk to these vendors. Network and correspond with the ones I was “afraid” of talking to. And then an amazing thing happened, none of the ones I reached out to had a problem with me at all, that I knew of. In fact, several of them said they were so glad they finally met with me and wanted to collaborate in the future, which I am THRILLED to do at any time! But even better, one of them had a beautiful status up one day I’m so glad I read about how they never listen to what anyone says about another before giving them a chance.. and that’s why they are so stress free! And THAT was an inspiration to me that day. Even if my friend or friendors don’t like someone for some reason, I still will always give them a chance and not allow it to affect my judgement of this person’s character before I get to know them. I decided to grow up BEFORE I turn 30 this year. So if anyone has anything to say about another person that I haven’t met, I’ll listen, but I won’t be taking their word for it. I’d love to meet and get to know the person first.
I don’t want to be judged, so I’m not going to judge anyone else. And it STARTS WITH recognizing that we are all human, we’re not perfect, and ALL of us..even the sweetest, have said and done things they regret but it doesn’t define you. One of my favorite vendor friends posted this Instagram the other day and it rang so true, and people even privately messaged me to thank me for posting it!
My perspective has changed so drastically in this industry over the past year. It’s SO not easy to put yourself out there but it’s worth it. If someone doesn’t like you and you didn’t directly do anything to effect them, or they don’t know you or have any interest in knowing you- forget it! You do NOT want to network with someone who is going to jump to conclusions or do the high school “my friend doesn’t like you so I don’t either” thing. Cheers to all of the incredibly talented vendors I’ve worked with and will continue to refer and work with this year! And hopefully many new ones! 🙂
And just for fun 🙂