All my life I've been allergic to words such as ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘have to’, somehow these terms just instantly get my defences up. On the surface it sounds a very innocuous thing and a rather superficial annoyance, but I have often wondered why it rubs me the wrong way in such a fundamental way. To me it feels like a simple turn of phrase has the power of making what is being suggested sound like some kind of universal order. That simple switch from ‘could’ to ‘should’ has the power to strip life of all options.
The older I get, the better I understand what is at the root of these seemingly irrational feelings. Everything worthy I’ve ever accomplished in my life has come from a need to experience life as full of options, from rejecting the idea of there being a right or wrong answer, and from wanting to experience life as a series of decisions based on where my heart is leading me. Most of all, never ever wanting to conform to anything that sounds like a ‘should’.
Recently, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, the kind that shakes your foundations and corrects your path. When I founded Her Lovely Heart, I had two main motivations and desires. I wanted to build a team to do inspiring things with, and I wanted to find new talent whom I could mentor and help with making a living out of their passion. Somehow, because I was distracted with too many projects, pulled in too many directions, and lacked the necessary space to hear my heart properly, I began to listen to the ‘shoulds’ in my head. The logical route seemed to be to form a wedding agency. It seemed like a no brainer; my wedding photography business was getting way too many enquiries for me to handle, hence I ‘should’ have a team so that together we could serve more of those clients. Going ahead, I ignored a small voice from my heart saying that it wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to be an agent for wedding photographers. Was this really the right solution for my yearning for a team and new people to mentor, it asked. Well, on paper, it should have been. Right?
And yet, things didn’t really take off in the direction that I had planned. The first jobs we landed had nothing to do with weddings, but instead opened some interesting and unexpected doors (which I nearly ignored in my blinkered state!). My overflow of wedding enquiries weren’t really converting, partly because couples who wanted to hire me, weren't prepared to trust someone with less experience. But mainly because, really, honestly, my heart was not fully engaged in building a wedding agency.
It took some time, well, a lot of time and space and being honest with myself, to finally realise how I had been tricked by the ‘should’, and completely ignored the ‘could’. But when I finally had some time to really let myself fully FEEL what it was I wanted to do, it became crystal clear that I had been trying to force myself into a direction that was not the right one. And once I saw that clearly, things just started falling into place, like magic. Funny how that happens.
And here we are, finally building Her Lovely Heart into what COULD be. And there are so many possibilities, so many ideas, so many dreams, and they just keep coming. I finally get to engage fully with trying to help artists who might be too afraid of starting their businesses, or those who have taken the leap but are so busy trying to force their company to comply into a box of ‘shoulds’ that they miss out seeing all the possibilities that could be. Those of you who are scared witless of losing your passion when trying to make a living out of it.
I want to help you to see how as an artist, you have ALL the tools you will ever need to build the most exciting business, and how your business can be the greatest work of art you’ll create. I want to keep you inspired through the tough times, and show you how much fun there is to be had in working for yourself. I want to help you to keep pushing yourself and your art. I want you to fully embrace the idea that anything is possible.
While doing this, I also get to build the most exciting team ever, filled with artists from different disciplines, with different life experiences and skills, and together we get to create something truly exciting and inspiring.
You know what? You can have your cake and eat it too (that's what cake is for!). You have the freedom to let go of the idea of what should be, and embrace what could be.