In 2017, I shared my Top Seven highlights of the year, and I’m excited to keep the trend going with my Top Eight of 2018! Looking back always reminds me of how much has changed, and it truly inspires me to keep pushing for my dreams. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite big moments from 2018!
1. I set & accomplished major goals! My first full year in business, 2017, was all about “Do I want to do this?” and 2018 followed up with “Can I make this grow?” As an E/INFP, setting concrete annual goals and actually keeping them in focus all year isn’t easy. Plus, I’m juggling photography with my full-time editorial position, contract work and life obligations. I kept my plans manageable, but I was still excited to check off some major goals at the end of the year, including growing my client base, expanding my print offerings, traveling for sessions and more. Some goals fell by the wayside, but I’m proud of focusing and making things happen! In 2019, I’m trying out quarterly goal-setting instead to allow more flexibility and to help keep my distractible self focused.
2. I traveled! This year’s adventures included Montana, North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana and Midland. I always love traveling for the Paint Horse Journal, but my favorite adventures were in Indiana and Midland, which involved lots of portrait sessions and meeting wonderful new people! I plan to make return trips to both areas in 2019, and I hope to keep expanding my travel this year!
3. I covered WEG! While most folks were heading away from the coast as Hurricane Florence approached, I was headed toward Tryon, North Carolina, to cover the FEI World Equestrian Games for the American Paint Horse Association and the Paint Horse Journal. In addition to lots of memorable misadventures, the trip included so many inspiring moments while watching the incredible horses and competitors. It was a tough environment, and they all left their hearts in the arena…it definitely made me want to run home and hop on Herbie! Read more about my experience on my recap blog.
4. I got engaged! Needless to say, I kept pretty busy all year. So busy, in fact, that the only way Brandon could pop the question was to make fake plans he knew I couldn’t reschedule. I still can’t believe I had my surprise engagement on the calendar for a whole month! Saying ‘YES!’ to forever was definitely the most memorable moment of the year, and I’m excited to spend the rest of my life with my favorite ear catcher.
5. I journaled! I’m not great about sharing my own life story (I’d rather learn about yours!), but I dug deep and told a bit of the backstory on Herbie. I hope to share more of my current adventures in future posts! You can read more about my life with Herbie in past blogs.
6. I shared knowledge. I wouldn’t call myself the top expert of anything, but I firmly believe in community, connections and helping others when I can. So when Kate and Abby of the Freelance Remuda reached out about guest blogging, I happily agreed! Photographers—check out my tips on client education on the Remuda’s blog. I wrote a few client education blogs for my website, too, and even more are coming this year!
7. I tried new things! I love experimenting and expanding my photography skills, so 2018 included lots of weddings as a second shooter for the wonderful Jennifer Gilbert, as well as my first two as a lead photographer this fall! I love the excitement and variety of a wedding day (they’re a lot like the World Show, but with less horses and more fancy dresses!) but I won’t be swapping specialties any time soon because…
8. I also refocused. Dreaming up big ideas and brainstorming new options are my jam, which sometimes get me overcommitted in the pursuit of too many things. This will always be a work in progress for me, but keeping focused on my central dream and core offering—creating priceless memories of horses for passionate equestrians—was one of the final themes in 2018. It meant saying ‘No’ to a lot of things, but also a big ‘Hell Yes’ to what I love most.
As I mentioned a few days ago on social media, 2019 is a year of big changes for me—including a possible change of location! While I don’t know what (or where) my future might hold, my 2019 goals center around making connections, improving my client experience and, of course, capturing the beautiful relationships built between horses and riders.