May 17

A Note on Success

We’ve moved towns twice in the past 3 years.  That means both our family and my business.  It means getting the word out, hoping success will follow, networking, rebranding and letting a new area know who I am.  It’s not easy.  And doubt has been creeping in… how do I make it all work?

There’s a message that keeps getting pushed in my face.  It’s a message telling me that I’m not enough.  As a mom and business owner, I don’t know if this is hitting home a little too much and I’m so much more in tune to this message or if it’s just hitting everyone smack in the face right now and is what the world wants everyone and their brother to hear.

The Path to Success | Hetler Photography | Townline Journal

Photography: Hetler Photography

It seems like every “successful” business man or woman has a story to tell – a book, a podcast, workshop or webinar – something to sell you on how they became the amazingly awesome person that they are.  They seemingly know it all and even have a way of belittling us into believe that we aren’t enough, we can be doing more, doing better, working harder, etc etc etc.  I’m not disregarding their successes in life by any stretch of the imagination.  However, in this age of over information, it’s so hard to know whose truths to hold onto.

For example here’s some of the good advice that’s been shared lately:

“You’re brand is about you, but not for you.”

However, you should show off work that you love and want to recreate – showing who you are and your vibe will attract your tribe.  Just do what you love.

You should use the word “I” in all your marketing because it makes it more personal, as if you were having a direct conversation with your customer.

But “we” gives a sense of teamwork and makes your business seem less self-centered.  If people think your business/team is too small they won’t take you seriously.

“Fake it until you make it”.

But be real.

Make sure you marketing and Instagram and photography is professional and cohesive.  We work in a visual field, so make sure you’re only showing the very best of the best of your portfolio.

However people want to see the real life and know that everything isn’t staged.  It’s all about authenticity.

Business moves done in fear and desperation won’t end well.

But sometimes being in a desperate place is just the kick in the pants that you need.

Emotion has no place in business.

But how many times have you just had to go with a gut reaction, something that has no real explanation?

Done is better than perfect.

However don’t put anything out into the world that isn’t 100% complete and ready.  Once it’s online, you can’t retract it.


It could carry on this list of contradictions all day long.  But I think the biggest one that’s in my mind right now is this idea that we’re powerful women, boss babes who should able to conquer anything.  And if we’re not, then we’re not working hard enough, our selling tactics aren’t clever enough and we need to be doing more.  More more more.  Contentment should be non-existent.  (But be thankful for everything that we have #blessed).

I’ve had several colleagues lately who have been celebrating victories big and small.  Some of them have been in business less time than me.  In truth, it’s hard to watch.  I’m left with one thought in my mind.   I’m not good enough.

By the grace of God, I had an epiphany.  The answer is so obvious I’m embarrassed.  I can pound the pavement all day long.  I can give away free flowers, shove business cards in people’s faces and work my tail off – just as I suspect so many other successful business women before me have done.  But if that’s not God’s plan, if it’s not what he has written in the stars for me, no amount of work will make me any more or less successful.  God has gifted those other people with success.  Do I deserve it any more than them?  Humble yourself Shelby.

Success doesn’t belong to me.  They’re His successes, it’s His victories and shame on me for my thoughtlessness.  I recognize that my talents were created and gifted to me.  An entrepreneur whom I very much look up to once said not to use God to sell your business.  But if everything I have is His, isn’t it then His business as well?  I’m not exactly putting Him on my marketing agenda but there needs to be a mental shift from washing your face and putting on your big girl pants and celebrating your successes, to celebrating the success that God has given you.  We need to continue to work hard but remember that without His blessing and say so, no amount of hard work will make me a successful wife, business women or mom.  It’s all Him. And in His perfect timing.  That’s the truth I need to hold onto.


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