Here I am finally writing the blog post I have been putting off for weeks…. Why did we move back to Utah?????
Ok, if this is your first time to the blog I suggest catching up on our story here. It runs through why we were in California in the first place and some background on our fam.
Now, let’s start where we left off. We gave ourselves 6 months in California. It turned into 10 months and it was hard. But we did it and wow did we grow.
Right after deciding to stay in California, Austin ended up finding this amazing opportunity where he was brought on to basically run a small studio gym as if it was his own. It was a dream job especially considering his goal of owning his own gym. The owner asked him to leave his other jobs and said he was willing to cover what we needed to make as a family. He worked that job for 4.5 months and it was great. In that short time he brought them from a substantial financial negative into the positive and implemented some awesome stuff.
He also realized owning a gym was something he actually wanted to do more as a hobby someday vs. his main gig. That is a big statement because it basically derailed us from what we had been working towards. PLUS, as we rounded January we were having some issues with pay from the owner forcing Austin to walk away. If felt like we were back at square 1… again.
We had a couple months left of our 6 months and had no idea what to do. After some hard and emotional discussions we finally decided two things:
1- to bring Austin on with Maylily and pour more into that as a couple
2- to start the LONG (up to 18 months) application process with some government agencies.
Austin and I have worked together a couple times in the past and we actually work REALLY well together. You may not have seen, or maybe you did, a subtle shift in Maylily at that time as we started dissecting what Maylily was and what we wanted it to be. We started completely rebuilding Maylily from the ground up and I had a pretty big realization. I was wasting the potential of what I had built. If I was going to do Maylily, I wanted to freakin DO MAYLILY!!!
Just for perspective, It took me a full year of backend work to set Maylily up initially. Now, we were basically gutting the preverbal Maylily house and redoing it completely while trying to live and function in it. This was all while trying to stay above the $120,000 poverty line that exists in the areas surrounding San Francisco. Somehow, by gods graces, month after month we made ends meet. But every month it was getting harder and harder. We felt our focus shift from getting Maylily to where we wanted it to just making money wherever we could to feed our family. NOT a good mindset when you are trying to build a creative business. This is what took us through to the beginning of May, 3 months PAST our original 6 month goal. Even with all that fun stuff going on, we had consistently felt like we were exactly where we needed to be.
However, as we were rebuilding our Maylily house, we discovered some missing foundation. So I started searching out some ways to fix it. I had tried for months and was hitting dead ends so started looking for a teacher. I follow some amazing women on social media and listen to some awesome podcasts so there was no shortage of people out there but I was looking for something pretty specific. The only problem was, I wasn’t quite sure what that specific thing was, I just knew it was important and that it was missing.
One day, Lizzy from @Lizzyograpy and Ashley from @Ashleyfreshfix posted about this food photography workshop they were doing. Seems totally unrelated right? Thats what I thought, but as I listened to them explain what the course was going to be I had the overwhelming feeling I NEEDED to go. AND it was scheduled on a day I was already in UTAH with NO PLANS!!! Talk about serendipity!
The workshop was a dam breaker for me. It opened the flood gates for some big, deep, emotional stuff that forced me to realize that specific thing I was missing. My WHY!!!!!! Why am I doing Maylily?
Now, I am a why person. When I learn anything I have to know the WHY behind it. When I teach, I teach the WHY FIRST. So how did I miss that Maylily what missing her why? It is one of those hindsight is 20/20 kind of things. I was too close to it. I thought I had a why but when I really looked at it, it was someone else’s why. I had built MY business on some ELSE’s why (insert hand slapping forehead emoji).
So, I go to this workshop the second week of May. I realize I’m an idiot and have to stop basing MY life around someone else’s why. Sprinkle in some personal emotional issues that I had buried and then off I go on this long pre-planned girls trip with my sisters that I felt INCREDIBLY guilty going on given our circumstances. It was an emotional 5 days.
When I got back to California after that trip, Austin and I sat down and BOTH felt like we needed to change something. For the first time in almost 2 years we felt like it was time to leave California. What we were doing was not sustainable. And frankly, I think we got what we needed to get there. Austin would never have shifted his direction away from the gym thing to focus with me on Maylily and work toward this Agency job that we are REALLY stoked for if we hadn’t been literally pushed into it. I would have never realized how much I wanted Maylily to be more. AND I would not have found the courage to completely remodel it, leading to what I know is going to be a million times better.
Anywho, We were given an opportunity to come back to Utah while we finish waiting out this Agency hiring process and we decided basically on the spot to do it. Even though, really, I DESPERATELY wanted to stay in California. I had built REAL roots both personally and professionally and deciding to move was incredibly hard. But we have learned to lean into the hard things, so that’s what we did. We leaned in.
I sent in our 30 day notice that day. And the fun really began…….
Remember that huge missing WHY that I know knew I needed to figure out? Well, I was struggling HARD. Honestly, looking back, I realize that was because I have spent most of my life making decisions based on OTHER PEOPLE. I can think of very few decisions in my life that I have made based just on ME. But to find MY why, it needed to be about ME. That meant delving deep into who I am as a person. Which is obviously easier said than done.
At Lizzy’s workshop in May, her and Ashley talked a little about Alison’s Brand School. I knew this school existed but I didn’t really realize what it was all about until then. Turns out it’s about finding your true why so that you can create an authentic brand. Um….. seriously!?! YES!!! When I realized I was NOT going to be able to figure this out on my own I knew my next step was this brand school. BUT I had just paid for Lizzy’s workshop and now we were paying to move out of California (which by the way is twice as expensive as moving TO California). Which means we were tapped out at the moment. The next brand school was in Utah the week after we moved here but I had decided I would have to wait until the next one(no idea when that was going to be) because we just couldn’t afford it.
Then, the scholarship was announced and I FREAKING WON!!!!!! I never win ANYTHING!!!! I cried. Hard. I’m crying as I write this because that feeling when I won is still SO raw for me. The honest truth was as much as I felt like we were making the right choice coming back to Utah, I was really struggling with it. Our time in California was hard and it felt like we kept loosing. Every time we turned around some rug was getting ripped out from under us. That wears on you after a while no matter how much you love where you are. Plus, I was having some major anxiety coming back to a culture that I had struggled with in the past. I was terrified and winning the Brand School Scholarship was literally this saving grace for me.
We got to Utah and 7 days later I attended Alison’s Brand School. It did NOT disappoint. It was more than I could have hoped for. It gave me some MAJOR direction and ACTIONABLE steps for moving forward. And as sappy as it may sound, it forced me to really look and who I am at the core. It was venerable and hard but in the best way possible.
I am forever indebted to Lizzy, Ashley, and Alison for what I have discovered in the last two months. It has changed my life. And I truly mean that. I don’t know that I have ever fully accepted myself because I was afraid of who I really am. I thought I was supposed to be someone else. So I tried to ignore the person I am. I was living my life based on the agenda of those around me and I’m over it.
As I look back on California, I can see that I let myself be more me there then anywhere I have ever lived. That’s why I feel so tied to it. I let my true self come out in many ways. That’s why I made such amazing connections and friends and I didn’t even realize what I was doing. Now that I am aware, hopefully I can continue to be more authentic to me.
Now, how does all this craziness affect you?
1 - VIDEO
I talked about some video in my last post. You’ll notice you haven’t seen much video yet. It’s because I was afraid. I have been working really hard but I have let perfection hold me back but I’m done with that. Starting January 2020 each and every full session will receive a shot 1-2 minute keepsake film included with their session!! I am going to be doing some in my sessions through the end of this year but it will be totally random. Videos will not be officially included until January.
2 - MayLily BASES
This one is exciting for me. I am going to be adding “Maylily Bases” over the next couple years. What this means is I will travel to these bases at least twice a year to do sessions regardless of where we live. Utah and East Bay are my first “Maylily bases” and I hope to add to this list starting next year. So, from here on out you can always count on me coming to do your photos at one of my bases no matter where I am living!!!
3 - THE VLOG
I started a little for fun vlog as part of this blog about things that I loved the end of last year. Then I got distracted by all this other craziness and stopped doing it for a while but I am bringing it back because I love it and I want to. I hope it is entertaining and helps you in some way.
4 - CHARITY PARTNERSHIPS
Ok this is the FIRST time I am talking about this online! Starting Sept 1st. I am going to be partnering with a different charity every 6 months to donate a portion of all Maylily proceeds to! As a Maylily Fam, I know we can make an impact and I can’t WAIT to see where this goes. Stay tuned for more info about this!
I miss California more than words can describe, but when I look forward I see so much and I am SO excited!
You cannot have joy without pain.
Anything worth doing is usually hard.
If it’s hard, you’re probably growing.
WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!