On dreaming, courage, and turning 26
It all began with a dream. But not just any dream. This was an unshakable dream. An impossible dream. A beautiful and life-changingly audacious dream. To live a life filled with adventure.
To celebrate and serve inspiring couples.
To tell soul stirring tales of everyday romance.
To create images that strengthen and encourage weary hearts.
I was 20 years old, and I was hungry, driven, and terrified. But I had nothing to lose. So with a hand-me-down camera in one hand and my hopes held tightly in the other, I took a leap. A dear friend and well meaning mentor told me that I was not ready. To be honest, he was probably right. But my dream was knocking, and I sprinted to the door. Metaphorically speaking, I was half-dressed with wet hair and a toothbrush hanging out of the side of my mouth, but I had to answer that knock. Because that's what you do when your dream comes within reach. Ready or not, you take hold of it. So I did. I photographed my first wedding.
The next few years were filled with a progression of contrasting experiences. Joy and heartache. Triumph and failure. Moments of greatness and moments of painful inadequacy. I studied and worked and traveled and served. I invested so much of myself in every project, and little by little I began to watch my hopes for the future take shape right before my eyes. By the time I graduated from college, I was able to transition into shooting weddings full time. My dream became my reality, and it was surprisingly challenging.
Suddenly the life I hoped for and the life I had existed side by side like awkwardly paired roommates. Romance and taxes. Bouquets and bills to pay. Love stories and rising health care costs. So I responded like an adult. And when I say, "like an adult," I really mean "like someone afraid of losing everything I'd worked so hard to build." I spent more time obsessing over finances than I did developing and honing my voice, my vision, and my style. Thanks to the support and enthusiasm of my wonderful clients, I managed to build my business up to a moderate but comfortable level of success. I created beautiful work that I am incredibly proud of, but I stopped taking risks. I knew that refining and elevating my business would require me to make difficult choices and significant changes to the status quo.
I looked up the steep and dangerous mountainside of progress, and I decided that I would be safer and more comfortable camped out at its base. After all, I loved the images I created, and so did my clients. It was a win-win. So I wrapped myself in a blanket of familiar, "secure" success, and I allowed myself to grow content there.
But friends, within my chest beats the heart of a dreamer, a learner, and an adventurer. I long to explore new places and develop new perspectives. I don't want to look back at my life in five years and wonder "What if?" I'm through allowing my fear of falling to keep me from reaching higher in my life and in my business. This year I am determined to live courageously; and to dream unshakable, impossible, beautiful, and life-changingly audacious dreams. It all begins today.
Happy birthday to me.
I will be unveiling new endeavors and developments for Lauren Wright Weddings over the next few weeks, and I can't wait to share them with you! I am so excited about the renewed vision and direction I have for my work, and I am so excited for you to be a part of it. Hold on tight. It's sure to be a wild ride!