We’ve all heard the phrase “New Year, New Me” more times than we can count. But as we enter into a new year – wait, a new decade! – do we really want to leave behind all the hard work and growth that we’ve each achieved in the last year, or ten? No way! In the past year alone, I’ve learned so much about my business, and myself, and I couldn’t imagine giving up even a moment of it. It’s strange how we live in a world that constantly asks us to better ourselves by leaving pieces of our experiences behind in an effort to start over, start fresh, and move forward. But you know what? We all deserve to celebrate our hard work and experiences and grow from them in the new year – and here’s how we can do it.
Let me just start by saying that 2019 was an absolutely wild year for me. And if I can be totally honest with you, it was really scary, too. As I sit here anticipating the new year ahead of me, all I can think about is how crazy it is that even just one year ago there was no Horizon Found. That I started this very year with just an idea in my head and a huge desire to create a community by and for photographers—and that now, thanks to all of you, it’s a reality. Who would have thought that following your dreams would be completely fulfilling and terrifying all at the same time?!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Horizon Found’s Story, building this photography community has been a dream of mine for well over four years, and only finally came together in the past six months or so. And I can’t help but think about how much time I let slip by before I finally became brave enough to dive into this project and create Horizon Found with you all.
The idea for Horizon Found first found me in 2015 when I was working on a shoot for a fitness and lifestyle brand called Tone It Up. I have been shooting for Tone It Up for the past 8 years and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to document one of their fitness retreats. I was left in absolute awe of the inspirational and supportive community of like-minded women who were there. Tone It Up’s founders Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott had discovered a way to bring together a group of women who were all there for one reason: to support each other in achieving their fitness goals. How amazing is that? And it left me thinking, “Wow…why isn’t there something like this for photographers?”
From this moment on, I just couldn’t get that question out of my head. And I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like if I had had a supportive community of photographers like this when I was first starting out, to have instant friends who shared the same passions, goals, and struggles as I had. So, I researched if there was a similar program, in hopes of finding a group of people who loved photography as much as I do, who had the same goals and dreams I did, but I kept coming up short. And this is when I knew that, since I couldn’t find it, I needed to create it myself.
Fast forward to 2019. After a solid four years of debating if, how, and when I might start building this type of community for myself and others, I finally decided to dive in headfirst. But even after four years of dreaming, I still had all the familiar doubts reeling around inside my head: Why would anyone want to learn from me? What do I have to teach people? Will other photographers judge me and think I’m crazy? I thought every negative thought imaginable in an effort to psych myself out of trying to create Horizon Found. But with each negative thought, my desire to help people and create a community of love and support for other photographers like me became stronger and eventually I just couldn’t ignore it anymore. The thought that there was an aspiring photographer out there who was lost, stuck in a job they hate, not knowing what steps to take to, thinking that there was no other option for their life would stop me in my tracks every time. No negative thought I had about myself could ever keep me from wanting to help that person because I was once her too. I knew it was time for me to show her she’s not alone. So, I took a leap, and I’m so glad that I finally did.
While I really believe that everything happens when it is supposed to, I can’t help but wish that I had started my journey with Horizon Found, and with all of you, sooner. That it hadn’t taken me four years to take the spark of inspiration that I had and make it into a reality. Since starting this journey about six months ago, the Horizon Found community has shifted, changed, and grown in ways that I never could have anticipated – and I can’t imagine where it might be this time next year. I’ve learned so much about myself, and my business, in this year alone but all of it comes down to the same lesson: don’t wait.
There is always, and always will be, an excuse not to do something. But that’s all it is, an excuse. And we can’t let excuses dictate all the things we do or don’t do, right? Honestly, the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, and the lesson that I want to take with me into the next year – and the next decade! – is that the best time to start something new is always now. Yes, literally right now!
And this is my advice to all of you, too, as we all enter into 2020: don’t wait, start now. If you have an idea, whether it’s brand new from this morning or something that has been teasing you from the back of your mind for months or even four years, stop wondering about if or when you should give it a try. Instead ask yourself where or how you’ll start. Give yourself permission to ignore your fears for a moment in order to get to know your dreams a little better. If an idea or dream has found you, you best believe that there is a reason for it. Because when it comes to inspiration, there is no such thing as a coincidence. If something is calling out to you, don’t wait four years to answer it – run fearlessly toward your dreams and don’t let anything stand in your way. And know that, through it all, the entire Horizon Found community and I will be here to help and support you the whole way.
So, let’s all promise to make 2020 the year of not just chasing our dreams, but finally making them a reality.