Two heads are better than one: Community over Competition

“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.” 
― Jean-Pierre Barral

This post is about two things: taking care of yourself so you can take care of your business and doing so surrounded by a community. A while back I was able to take a break from everything going on at school and client shoots. My good friend and fellow photographer, Amanda Goodin

( ), and I packed up my car (literally to the roof) and headed 17 hours south for a little R+R. Of course, being that we are both photographers, we tend to R+R with cameras in tow and a million outfits to style shoots. You can see why the little red Mazda was filled to the roof. About hour 10 I could have sworn we were never going to make it, but we did. Let me tell you, road trips are a blast in theory, but when you decide to do a 17 hour drive in one day... not a blast. Around 10 o'clock we finally rolled into the home of our fabulous hosts in Sarasota, Florida. We were so blessed to be able to stay with my aunt and uncle for the week and enjoy their company as well as stay nice and close to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. 

So this brings me to my first point. We slept in until 10 every morning, didn't order pizza OR Chipotle the entire week (which if you know us, not having either one for a whole week is unheard of), laid on the beaches... and explored them, toured around the city and fell in love with the tiny homes, and of course we did a few shoots just for fun. We had no agenda except to rest up and refuel. The brain does better with rest, and so does the heart. And for me, stepping away from client shoots and school projects and shooting something for myself allowed me to feel the freedom to be creative in any way I could imagine. No rules, limits, or guidelines. There is something SO liberating about that. I think I can speak for us both when I say we returned home more tolerant, responsive, and creative. The entire 17 hour drive home flew by because our brains were overflowing with new ideas, dreams, and goals. The best part was, as we shared these new ideas, dreams, and goals, we were genuinely excited for what the other was saying. We encouraged each other to go for it and suggested our own thoughts and ideas. Expanding and refining. Thats what brings me to my second point.

We have been asked more than once, "isn't she your competition?" Well, the truth is..................

NO. She is not.

How can I call someone my competition that encourages me, pushes me, and teaches me. Thats the thing about community over competition. I refuse to think of her as my competition. When one of us learns something new, we share it. When one gets an awesome job, we celebrate. Katelyn James (a photographer based in Virginia) recently wrote a blog post on this very idea. She wrote, "I think we all struggle with being happy and supportive of things that we all wish we were smart enough to create… and the truth is, that mindset will SHUT US DOWN if we don’t reign it in. " 

What I get really excited about though, is that I see this idea of community over competition taking over the photography industry. There has recently been a new movement called The Rising Tide launched to promote this idea of community over competition AND its going global! It's a place for Creative business men and women, Weekend Warriors, and small business CEOs to grow and thrive in the spirit of community. I'm hoping, through this movement, we will begin to see HUGE changes throughout our industry, and who knows, maybe this idea will carry over to other industries. When we force ourselves to shut down the competitive mindset and become all about OTHER people, God can, and will, do big things. 

SO, while you chew on that idea for a bit... enjoy some of the photos from our week of R+R!