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Reflections on the Michelle & Meghan Retreat

For Photographers

October 7, 2016

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I'm so glad you stopped by the blog! Here you'll find advice on planning your wedding, tips on what to wear to photo sessions, and of course, my favorite clients & people!

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I remember the phone call Michelle made to me so many months ago, asking me my thoughts on her running a weekend-long retreat at Island Park. I remember thinking how amazing it sounded, and feeling like I wanted to be a part of it, too.

And then I remember the feelings that shortly followed: The feelings of inadequacy, immaturity in my business, the logistics of pulling it all together. I remember questioning myself and doubting my knowledge. Who am I to teach other women? I know we’ve all had that same question boiling in the back of our heads from time to time. I know I’m not the first to ask, How dare I dream something big?!

These types of questions all come down to the same statement of defeat, the same lie we all feed ourselves:
But I’m not _______ enough.

I’m not brave enough.
I’m not knowledgeable enough.
I’m not experienced enough.
I’m not extroverted enough.
I am, simply, not enough.

And as these thoughts swirled in my brain, they also plagued Michelle. We shared with each other our worries and insecurities, and as we talked it out we both said, “Well I think those things about me, but I don’t think those things about you.” And we knew then, that what we were telling ourselves simply wasn’t true. That we may not know it all, but we did know enough. Especially together. We decided we wanted this message of being enough, of digging deep and finding the courage to accept our own stories and share them with the world through our talents, was going to be the heart of our retreat.

We procrastinated, we Skyped, we made numerous phones calls and sent a gazillion emails. We met in person ONCE before the retreat, to go over everything. The morning of the retreat, Michelle picked me up in her almost-too-packed car and we were on our way (after purchasing wayyyyy too much candy). We drooled over the fall colors coming to life the farther north we drove, and prayed and crossed our fingers that the weather would hold up for us. As we set up the final details at the cutest little log cabin, we felt the nerves start to settle in. The first attendee arrived, and then another. And as those two women brought in their gear for the weekend, Michelle and I took a second to step into our room, close the door behind us, and pray.

We prayed not for ourselves, but for these women. That we would somehow be an instrument in the Lord’s hands of bringing these women to Him, to where their missions needed to lead them during this time of their lives. And then we stood up, nodded at each other, and did this big scary thing that was suddenly staring us in the face.

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That first night I got so into the groove of teaching, sharing, and slideshow-ing that I just knew I was hooked. I sat next to Michelle and looked into the eager faces of Sarah, Ali, Jaycee, Michaela, and Tahni, and I knew I genuinely cared about these women. That I wanted to help them  – that again, I didn’t know everything, but was relieved to find they didn’t expect me to know everything. They came looking for new ideas, inspiration, collaboration, friendship, tips, and an opening-of-eyes. They didn’t demand perfection from me, as I feared they would. They only asked for openness and honesty – and that, if you haven’t noticed yet, I am all about. 

This weekend, I was needed. This weekend I uplifted and inspired. I looked them in the eye, individually and collectively and said, “I think this is going to make you better than you are.”
And I said, “You’re on the brink of something greater. Keep pushing.”
And, the moment that sticks out to me the most, was telling someone else the thoughts I’ve had to tell myself over and over again:
“You don’t deserve to feel guilty. Your light is needed in more ways than one, so don’t let go of your dreams.”

By the end of day two of teaching, which also included a huge, gorgeous styled shoot that Michelle had pulled together mostly on her own, I’ll admit….I was pretty exhausted. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy being with people – I do, especially in smaller groups such as this. I actually love it. But it does mean that I need time to recharge and regroup. I spent night number two doing just that, preparing myself for one final day of giving my all to these women.

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It was worth it. Worth it all – the stress, the worry, the tiredness, the fears and anxieties. It was worth it, and we would definitely do it again.

PS My film scans will be here next week. Can’t wait to share alllll the pretty from this shoot!!! You won’t want to miss it.

  1. Jeanna says:

    Yay! So happy it went well and was lovely.

  2. Sallee says:

    Meghan, You are amazing!

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