Episode 190 – How One Word Can Create the Outcome You Want for Your Photography Business in 2024

What if one word could change everything for you next year? Today, I’m going to talk about what my word of the year is and how it can change everything for you moving forward. The concept is that you pick one word to focus on next year. So instead of doing more, it’s about doing fewer things better. This word that you select becomes the filter through which you make decisions. As you make decisions and take action, you ask yourself, is it reinforcing this word that I have chosen? 

I want to share with you the words I’ve chosen over the past few years, how I’ve applied them and how they’ve just changed everything for my life and for my business. The first year I really focused on picking a word of the year was 2020, and my word was “simplify”. Keep in mind, I chose this word in December of 2019, having no idea that the world would become very simplified when we all got sent home because of a global pandemic. As you all remember, it was a time for us to simplify everything in our life and we had to do a lot of reevaluation. It definitely simplified things for me and it helped me get clarity on what the most important things were for me and build from there. It really helped me so much in my business because I’d made the decision to simplify my business model. So instead of offering all these different classes to photographers, I realized that there are many pieces to the puzzle. And really for their puzzle to be successful, they really needed all of the pieces.

The next year, I chose the word “lead”. Every December I start making a list of what I want more of in my life. Then I narrow it down and I sleep on it. And I really put out into the universe and I put some prayer into it of what I want to attract in my life. And it always sort of settles out of what it should be. So that next year as we were growing, my word was lead because as my company was growing, I knew that I needed to step into a bigger leadership role. When we had a small team, it was sort of like everybody knew what they needed to do, and I didn’t have to grow the team. I didn’t have to lead all of these photographers who had invested a significant amount of money with me. And so I knew I needed to up my game there and I needed to do things that I hadn’t done before.

And I knew that while it was hard, I realized that I really loved it. I realized that I was loving working with high level people to make this company run. I have the most amazing team with me, and we’ve been adding to the team, which is always tricky. So it was a growth time for me, and I focused on becoming the best leader that I could become. I believe a lot of the personal growth I had was because I chose the word lead. 

The next year, which was 2022, my word was “become”. A lot of new things were coming at me and I was getting some really cool opportunities, and I wanted to become the person who could handle all of it. I wanted to become the person that could show up in the world as her best self, who could lead a team, who could lead her family and contribute to her family and do hard things. I knew that I needed to grow my skills and my capacity to do hard things. This year specifically was a year where I was heavily investing in myself. And it wasn’t just me. It was everyone on my team. We were finding the best coaches who could help us support our community and our team in the best way possible. It felt so good to have the support that I wanted and needed to become, which was my word, to become the person I needed to become.

Last year, my word was “nourish” because when the pandemic hit, I went into serve-mode and I just started working so hard again because we didn’t have anywhere to go. There were no volleyball games for my kids, no outings or things with our friends, and so I just went into hardcore serve mode to become that leader that I wanted to be and to make sure everybody was taken care of. I’d gotten a little out of balance again, and not in such a bad way, but I felt like I was the one not taking as good of care of myself as I would’ve liked.  And so I had to remind myself to nourish myself. Last year, that was such a great word because I was really looking for ways to nourish myself and those I love. 

As you can see, these words aren’t just a word that I print out and I put on my wall. I live them. I’m not perfect with it, but when I get out of balance, I remind myself to go back to the word. This year, my word came pretty easily. I was super inspired by a new consultant that I started working with. He was telling this story about one of his really good friends that just lost their 10-year-old boy to a rare type of brain cancer. I had tears streaming down my face and just really imagining what life in that situation would be like. He said before this little boy passed, he woke up one morning with a big smile on his face, and he told his parents that he realized the meaning of life. And of course they were like, what is the meaning of life? And he said, the meaning of life is about fun. He said, we’re meant to have fun. So I want to keep this little boy’s spirit alive so I am recommitting to fun. And for me, it means that I want to use fun as a filter through which I look at all of the different parts of my life, and I know a lot about my own personality. When I have heavy lifting projects, I have to write something long or I have to do something that takes a lot of brain cells, I have to have some fun there somewhere.

I’m pretty good at breaking up work with some fun, but I think sometimes with mundane things like running errands or doing those monotonous things like making macaroni and cheese for the kids again or whatever, sometimes I don’t feel like I bring the fun as much as I can. I just want to bring the fun in work meetings and more with my husband and the fun things when we go out to dinner. I think if all of us look at how we are showing up in the world, I know I show up in a lot of really cool ways for a lot of people, but fun is one that I think sometimes I forget to really focus on. So this year I really want to bring the fun to all the things that I do from coaching my students to my time with my kiddos.

So my challenge for you is to first take a bit of time and really think about what you want more of in your life next year. Make a list, simmer on them, and then pick that one thing and ask yourself, if I have more of this one thing in my life, will this be my best year ever? And if the answer is yes, that is your word. I want you to print that word out. Make it that thing that you see every day and then use it as the filter through which you make decisions. Pick your word carefully, my friend, and put all of your emphasis there. And I can’t wait to meet the best version of you one year from now.

Download the Episode Transcript Here

Working photographer, coach, mama, and wife. Whether you’re looking to take your photography business full-time or simply make good money on a very part-time basis so you can contribute to your family financially and be your best self, we’ve got something for you.

I’m Sarah Petty

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