It’s 2021. A new year that just HAD to be better than 2020 because the pandemic consumed so much of the year, affecting many of my BFH Seniors’ plans, as well as forcing me to reschedule and postpone many sessions during the height of the pandemic. During the last chapter of 2020, I was focused, determined, and intentional on making 2021 a better, happier, healthier year. I spent all of December prepping for a better 2021. I redesigned my website with the support and encouragement of my close-knit group of photography peers. These photographers are like a family to me, and they helped me plan and stay centered. Not only did I want 2021 to be better for me but also better for my BFH Seniors and their +1s (it’s what I call their parents). And you know what? 2021 IS going to be better, I am sure of it.
As I always tell my BFH Seniors that life once you make your mind up about something, life will throw you curveballs to see how easily you can be swayed. The first week of the year reminded me to listen to my own advice. This year WILL be a better year, despite the unbelievable events that took place only a few miles from my house on January 6th. I was actually planning on working on this post that Wednesday, and instead spent the afternoon frozen in disbelief at what was unfolding in front of me, as scenes of chaos from the Capitol Building played on every channel. I couldn’t move from the couch, yet at the same time I knew that I had to tear myself away from it. I could not get stuck in that cycle of negativity. It goes against every core value I have as a person, and as a business, to allow myself to remain planted in an environment that I will not grow in. At that moment I reaffirmed to myself that I was NOT going to let the actions of others control my 2021. I took a moment, I re-centered myself by answering a few emails to some incredible new BFH Seniors. I made a little snack for myself. I took a deep breath. I did what I needed to do to get back on track and rededicated myself. Not to wistfully hoping that 2021 will somehow be better, but to actively creating and fostering a mindset and an environment where ‘better’ is the only outcome.
Speaking of creating more positive environments for things, let’s talk about my rebrand! If you are an older BFH Senior and have been around for a while, you will notice it looks a bit different here at my home on the web! I was SO nervous prepping for this rebranding of my company. RE-launching the BFH Brand was even more nerve-racking than initially launching my very own company a few years ago (how has it already been almost 5 years since my photography journey started?!) I thought to myself “It won’t be TOO difficult to rebrand” and in some senses it wasn’t. I feel like I have always had this vision of what the BFH Brand could be for my Seniors, and this was the natural evolution of it. But it wasn’t always easy nailing down the details! And as all my BFH Seniors know, the details are what make or break something!
It was a big undertaking and some days I felt like I did NOT know what I was doing. I kept coming back to my guiding word for 2021 – Intentional. And, as I love to remind my BFH Seniors, I did not have to do it alone! I am suuuuch a huge fan advocacy: of knowing my strengths, and knowing that advocating or asking for help on tasks that lie outside my areas of expertise. That was a lesson I wish I had mastered in my twenties, so I make sure to remind all my BFH Seniors, especially as they get closer to entering college, that the smartest person in the room is the one willing to ask the most questions. So I hired a collaborator to help with this big undertaking and he was GREAT! Rain or shine, days I was focused and days I was distracted, it did not matter, he was there doing exactly what I needed him to do: which was relentlessly ask me questions, questions, and more questions! I knew what I wanted for BFH Photography when I set about launching it in 2016, but now I was trying to go even deeper and have a crystal-clear grasp of my driving ethos, of my grounding principals, of my WHY! So we kept digging: drawing up scenarios and conversations that would allow me to reflect on the distinct ways I serve each and every one of my clients. I was pleasantly shocked! I guess its true that “Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.” And now I KNOW my why.
It’s abundantly clear to me now. It was always there, just beneath the surface, but I kept bumbling around trying to figure out how to express it. Today, I am bumbling no more. Every year, I serve a select group of graduation-ready students, and these lucky few who get to call themselves Blue Fire Hydrant Seniors ALL have one crucial thing in common (hint: it isn’t grades or athleticism, though many are elite student-athletes). These young men and women all place an emphasis on compassion and true, meaningful friendships. They value excellence over excuses. Community over competition. They understand that once a moment passes, it is gone for good. And make no mistake: This. Is. Your. Moment. They choose to place a commitment on family, on memories, and on these moments by making the memories tangible. My BFH Seniors and their families save up so that they can comfortably invest in museum-quality heirloom artwork because they understand the gift it will be, for them and for generations to come.
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