So it’s February… One month into the year already. Did you make New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing? I think that many of us who started off with one (or several) New Year’s resolutions have either already fallen off the wagon or just aren’t doing as well as we planned. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to fail. And yet when it comes to those resolutions, I’ve done it many times. In truth, we’ve all probably done it at some point- started off with grand intentions for the year only to disappoint ourselves a few weeks in with failed resolutions. And since I don’t like to fail, I started asking myself some questions about those resolutions when I started looking at what I wanted for myself and my business in 2016.
What is it about “New Year’s Resolutions” that is so appealing, anyway? And why do we (myself included!) so often fall short of our goals? Is it that we really need to start over and start fresh? Perhaps sometimes that’s it, because life happens and things don’t work out. Or maybe we get bored with where we are in life so we decide to take a different direction? Sometimes I think it’s simply because we said or did something where we look back and go “Whoops! That was dumb. Let’s not do that again!” But ultimately it’s about contentment – are we content with the life, the body, the finances, the job, the education, the fill-in-the-blank that we have? And if the answer is no, we look to make changes.
So that’s a good place to start. But why do we fail, fall short, or just give up on those changes? The answer, I discovered, came down to being specific and realistic.
I realized that historically the goals I would set for myself were usually vague and/or too big. I would get overwhelmed with the enormity of what was ahead of me and feeling like it was too much. Add to that a vague goal (I want to get organized, for instance) without distinct steps, and it just turned into an insurmountable “dream”. I wouldn’t know where to start and so it was unattainable and I would stop or give up. I didn’t have a plan. And as the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
In looking at goals for 2016 I decided that I wanted to make progress and move forward in my life (specifically my business life), but that I couldn’t do it unless I became specific and made my goals attainable.
One of my goals was, in fact, to “get organized”. But what did that mean?
Identifying specific areas that I needed to organize was the first step. For instance, “getting my financial records in order.” Great start! That became the direction I was headed. But to become attainable and to be more than a dream, there had to be specific and measureable steps to get there. What was the end goal? To have all of my financial records catalogued digitally so I could go paperless and be able to easily access the information. Specific. Now what? Find the records! Sort them into folders by year and month. Then scan and create matching electronic folders. Shred hardcopies. Repeat for all years in question. The huge task of “getting my financial records organized” suddenly became doable when I had specific steps to take. And you know what, it’s done! Goal 1, accomplished!!
Annnnd we’re onto the next thing just like that!
What else was important for Aspire Images in 2016? Well, my clients of course. They are the lifeblood of my business. But I have a confession to make. I haven’t been doing a very good job staying in touch and showing each of my clients how much I appreciate them. So that will change this year. How you ask?
Have you ever chosen a “word or phrase of the year” that is your focus, your vision and what you are striving for? I’ve done that for the first time this year. And the phrase for 2016 is “BE PRESENT”.
That means my intention for this year is to develop a mindset where I learn to live in the moment by giving those I’m with my full attention, to be aware of my surroundings, how my body and mind feel and to give my attention to each task or moment at hand. By doing so I hope to develop deeper relationships, improve my self-awareness and learn to really live and not just go through the motions. The result will be better, more fulfilling personal and professional relationships and greater enjoyment out of life!
I want to be here for my clients, for you, to create an experience where you feel valued as a person first and foremost. I want Aspire Images to be known as the “relationship photographer” – the one who cares more about the relationship they have with you than how much you invest in your portraiture. Of course high quality photography products and services will always be the what we deliver, but we want that to be the icing on the cake. It has to be about the entire experience and the relationship first. And in order to do that I need to be present and fully engaged with each and every client I interact with. Whether that is during a pre-session consultation, during their photo shoot, the viewing and ordering appointment, phone calls, etc. By being present I can give each client the best I have to offer – the best of me, the best of Aspire Images, and the best photography experience on the Front Range.
This year will be about strengthening client relationships, building the Aspire Images brand as your lifetime photographer, establishing a better online presence through blog posts (you can find more of them here), social media engagement and website content. We are also on Pinterest now and would love for you to follow us there or on Facebook here!
I look forward to connecting and sharing life with you in 2016!
Michelle Blanchard is a wedding and portrait photographer in Parker, CO and is the owner of Aspire Images. She has been in business since 2010 and provides photography services for weddings, engagement, maternity, newborn, children, families and seniors.