That’s the best word I can think of to describe mine and Mack’s mini-vacation this past weekend. I’ll say without hesitation that we missed Jack like crazy. But he had a blast with his grandparents, and the four day escape was just what Mack and I needed to tackle the months ahead.
See, 2009 was pretty insane for us. The most insane year we’ve ever had. And we decided that this year, we’d double our work load, have a baby, and renovate our entire house. Gluttons for punishment much? It was definitely necessary that we start 2010 off on the right foot.
Our plan for the weekend was three-fold. 1) To relax, at peace with each other and trusting in God. 2) To allow good friends to revive our spirits. 3) To listen to good counsel that would reignite us for the year ahead. I am proud to say we handily accomplished all three!!
The weekend’s highlights? Seeing our friends Jeremy & Christy was a biggie. We miss those kids. Our three-hour dinner with one of our favorite 2010 couples, Meagan & Eric, was another. Closing down a fancy-pants restaurant ALWAYS makes for a good time. Eating pizza in a comfortable hotel bed while watching Antique Roadshow is another undisputed highlight.
Taking pictures like this, because we can:
(Haters, be gone. Those who make funny faces on purpose… especially before putting on makeup… cannot be judged for it!)
Walking around the grounds of the Belmont Hotel on clear gorgeous days like this also did us good:
We ended our weekend with the Spread the Love workshop, presented by the marvelous Justin & Mary Marantz of Connecticut. I’ve already talked about the workshop a little bit on the blog, so I won’t recover that ground.
I will say, however, that this Life workshop is exactly what Mack and I needed. It’s no secret that McGowan Images does things a little differently. In fact, we’ve even been accused of spitting in the face of conventional wisdom because of a few of the business decisions we’ve made. Through it all, we’ve remained confident that we were making the right decisions for US.
The workshop on Tuesday night solidified that. We’re building a business that reflects us, and we can’t be afraid to jump in whole hog. That’s going to mean a few changes around the ole homestead… some of which you’ll see, and some that you won’t.
One thing I can say for sure is that we’re going to continue to work with couples who seek us out and place a high priority on our work. It can be scary, especially in this economy, to turn down a job. But it’s become very clear to Mack and I that we gain absolutely nothing from work that doesn’t inspire us, while we gain EVERYTHING from the relationships we build with clients who are genuine, die-hard fans.
What does this mean for you? Well, 2010 brides will hopefully start to notice pretty quickly. What do you do to get people to evangelize for your business? You treat them like gold. I’m proud to say I feel our clients will say they’ve been treated like gold, and kids… it’s only going to get better from here on out.
I’ve already sent a Thank You email to Justin & Mary for their time and effort, but I also want to say publicly how much it means to small business owners like Mack and I that they take the time to do this tour. They’re away from their home for two months, and really, it’s not because they’re bankrolling on it. It’s clearly because they believe that sharing their hard-won knowledge about a healthy work-life balance can save businesses, save marriages… really, save lives.
Justin & Mary, you’re really an incredible team. Your open-ness and honesty is inspiring, as are your leaps of faith. I know beyond a single doubt that God meant for us to attend that workshop, because we needed to see and hear how these risks can all be worth it in the end. And we didn’t need to see and hear it from anyone. We needed to get it from our twins… so funny that we’re so tremendously alike!
I would encourage any small business owner to attend this workshop, and I think the other people in the room with Mack and I would make that same recommendation.
But beyond that… even for people who might not gain much from such an intense 6 hours… there is something to take away. If you’re reading my blog right now… if you’ve made it this far through a post with really no artistic value at all, I choose to believe it’s because you’re supposed to be inspired to be the best YOU that you can possibly be.
That sounds really corny, and I hate that. But it’s true. There’s only one you. So whether you’re marketing yourself in a business sense, or just trying to make your way in the world, the best you can hope for is to unfailingly represent YOURSELF.
That’s what Mack and I are going to do in 2010. McGowan Images is our dream, and our passion… and it’s our job. It is not our life. In 2010, we’re making it a priority to be the best parents, the best friends, the best photographers… but most importantly, the best Mack & Chelsea that we can be.
Thank you, Romance Weekend 2010, for all we learned.
As a matter of experiment… tell me, blogstalkers: What can you do to become the best representation of YOU in 2010?
Tomorrow, I’m very proud to return to regularly scheduled programming with an absolutely WICKED engagement session. Stay tuned!