Building Community With the "Competition"

I have a degree in acting. It is a thrilling business. It has highs and lows, time for growth, and LOTS of opportunity for expressing oneself. All of those things were wonderful. I love acting. I love being on the stage. I loved the relationships that are built during a show. It's a brotherhood.

Proof, 2005 at Christopher Newport University. Pictured with Danny Devlin and Katie Parker.

Proof, 2005 at Christopher Newport University. Pictured with Danny Devlin and Katie Parker.

What I didn't love about that life was the constant pressure of competing with others. At an audition, you're compared to dozens, if not hundreds of other women. Lined up next to them to weed out certain body types, height, or hair color. Even in a smaller arena, it was difficult to be pitted against my friends. Now, perhaps some people enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Or perhaps my perception was outside of reality. Maybe it's not supposed to feel like you're going to battle.

When I launched my business, I experienced a little kickback from other wedding professionals. (Not all. As I mentioned in a previous post, some of them were quite helpful.) For a brief moment, I felt like I was in competition with the industry. If I didn't reach ___ Instagram followers or ___ Facebook likes, I wouldn't make it. Pressure to succeed. To beat. To become the best. The same feelings that made me leave a once-treasured profession.

Then I got to meet so many creative businesswomen at the Creative at Heart Conference. Something happened for me there. I heard other creatives lovingly share their experiences, and some of them matched mine. They could relate to feeling the competitive nature of the world and comparing their business to that of someone who has been in it for a lot longer. And instead of looking around and sizing up the other planners in the room, I hugged them. We exchanged numbers. We laughed and cried. We talked about our families, our hopes and dreams, and our love for pretty things. Like myself, those women are just trying to follow their heart and do what they love. I joined a community.

Created by Paper & Honey for Creative at Heart

Created by Paper & Honey for Creative at Heart

Since the conference, I'm already chatting with Brooke of North Star Events about a BEACH SHOOT this summer! Working with another planner, aka someone who could "take" clients from me, will allow me to work with someone who UNDERSTANDS. Learning from one another and sharpening our skills TOGETHER will only benefit our clients in the future. Every bride will be looking for something different. I will be the right fit for my brides.

Just this past week, a planner in the Hampton Roads community reached out to me to take on a wedding for her. This is a planner I have looked up to for some time and let me tell you, I AM HONORED. To have a mentor reach out to you because they believe in you, that is a great feeling. I hope to return the favor to a newbie some day.

If you've made it this far, I really appreciate you hearing my heart. Whatever you do, it's good to support others and lift them up instead of trying to one-up them. Try it out! I will always strive to be my best. It is much easier to be that than always trying to be the best.

One more show photo for good measure. ;)

South Pacific, 2006 at Christopher Newport University. Pictured with Anna Sease.

South Pacific, 2006 at Christopher Newport University. Pictured with Anna Sease.