Startup Lessons – Learning is Your New Reality #staystrong

from: Diary of a Portrait Photographer, Edition 1

At some point, I’ve been wanting to write down my reflections and intentions for the New Year. Deadlines usually work for me. Jan 1st or Three Kings Day (Jan 6th) would normally be my go-to deadlines. But not this year for some reason.

And therein is one of my key reflections for the New Year. Create space for both creativity and efficiency. As an Industrial Engineer, I understand process and project management. That’s a strength. So, for me, find balance – but err towards strengthening my more creative, unstructured, passionate self. So I missed a deadline – so what. But, I feel inspired now to write – so this was the right moment after all. So much for my perceived level of control…(mini-truth – serenity works!)

Which leads me to a deeper intention. I want to live more deeply in the grey. Everything in life is negotiable, except death and taxes. There is less right and wrong, less black and white. There are also times it’s worth taking a risk – whatever that means in the moment. So relax a little. I can choose to be right or be happy – I choose to be happy and to value relationships more than being right. (Easier said than done…but it’s a start!)

And I’m reminded of sayings from my past:

  • Never underestimate the power of a question
  • Never do for others what they can do themselves
  • Perfection is the enemy of “good enough”

Ok enough platitudes and bumper stickers…

As for 2016 and 2017? Last year was about starting the process, launching new ventures, and having the baby. This year, it’s about focus. And lots of growth, learning, hard work.

And learning seems to be my new reality.

I’ve struggled with this learning curve shit in the past year. I came to the realization that for 20+ years in corporate America, I had invested the time into a career, the results of which were knowledge, experience, peer recognition and advancement. (And money. And identity. And no soul).

Now, as I start my second career in two different areas, there’s been a lot of soul-searching, self-discovery and growth. I’m drawing on a lot of experience in technology, project management and photography…sure. But, doing this “on my own” is SO new to me! I’m facing a constant and daily learning curve. The devil is in the details, and it takes time to gain experience and to hone a skill, a proficiency into a professional and profitable business. And, for me, that’s been humbling, frustrating and fearful – and sometimes a barrier to my own progress.

For my own reasons and needs, I’m choosing to write this because I want to be able to look back on this in 5 years…and be able to reflect on how far I will have come by then. I want to see the growth – but always remember that there has been rough times getting there. Things have been scary, hard, overwhelming at times. I feel useless and stupid sometimes. I feel old and beaten. But, I’m living through those moments and gaining momentum. And it feels great. And sucks. At the same time. And, I’m also learning so much more about myself, my thoughts, my beliefs, and my strengths. And it is also bringing me joy, freedom, hope, inspiration and fulfillment. Ultimately, this road I’ve been on is finally reconnecting me with the real me – which is fancy way of saying even more learning!

So yes, learning is my new reality. But, if I can live through my fear, the journey brings life. There is no destination…which used to scare me, but now brings a sense of relief.

I’m tempted to write about the a-ha’s along the way. The conversations I’ve had that have moved me. The new insights, or tough lessons… But the details are less important. Just remember – stay strong. But, do remember what a lady in pink taught you… And remember the connections you made in your first shoot – how they shaped the lens through which you see yourself in the world. And remember that cancer sucks. Even a lot of it.

In closing, I share my “Stay Strong” playlist. When life gets me down. When a friend betrays me. When I betray a friend. When the waves come. When doubt enters the complex mind. These poems have been one of my anchors this past year.

Everybody’s Free (to wear suncreen)

Click for Apple Music Playlist

Humble and Kind, for Hunter Max…

It’s been awhile since I’ve written in my blog.  Lots of good reasons, lots of choices, some excuses…  Life continues to be good.  Very good, indeed.

In recent weeks, I’ve enjoyed the rich combination of great joys and real sorrows. It’s a reminder about the circle of life. We all have our moment to make the most of this precious life. As I heard this song on my Apple Music mix for the day, I thought of the many experiences I’ve lived through in the past 10 years.

None of my life experiences were pre-ordained, all were the result of a choice I made, and all of them led me to this moment.

And each of them was shared with two furry creatures who have been with me through thick and thin, through addiction and recovery, through the dark days and the new mornings, through geographies, lovers, friends, love, loss, victory and defeat.

And for where I am today, I’m grateful.

As we all begin to age, we begin to feel and show our age.  I, with my constipation and reading glasses… Hunter, with aching bones, pain and nerve issues.


I love you Hunter Max.

Thank you for reminding me of the simple pleasures of being more fully in each moment. I love your jagged smile, your gimp leg, your growling and your deep moans of love and affection.

You continue to bring great joy into our lives, from that very first day in Puerto Rico when you wandered into our lives. Your days and weeks here with us are numbered.

It’s a reminder of the circle of life…neither good nor bad, just the circle of life…

You remind me to always stay humble and kind….

It’s easy to say “why didn’t ‘they’ stop Hitler?”  

The thing that scares me is: it’s easy to say “why didn’t ‘they’ stop Hitler?”  
We are now ‘them.’  
We can stop Trump at the polls…after that, I don’t know how to stop him…

“You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims should register with their government, because you’re not one,” says Moe, to an ominous soundtrack. “And you might not care if Donald Trump says he’s going to round up all the Hispanic immigrants, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says it’s okay to rough up black protesters, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump wants to suppress journalists, because you’re not one. But think about this: If he keeps going, and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you. And you better hope there’s someone left to help you.”

Read more here…