Dream a Dream With Me

I don’t know that I have ever specifically told you all that my sister is a photographer. But not just a photographer….an amazing and talented photographer. She’s been featured in a magazine, shot countless weddings, and has an amazing announcement today. She is launching her new branding and site!! Plus, an AMAZING giveaway you don’t want to miss. I wanted her to do a guest post today because she has a lot of encouraging words for those of you who just are on the edge about taking the leap into doing what you love. So without further adieu….

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Have you ever had a dream that you thought was too big? What was it?

Finish this sentence: “Well Amy, my lovely new friend, I have always wanted to….!”

First of all, I am happy we are new friends! Secondly, I wonder…do you complete that sentence with your dream but sadly end with, “but I never got the courage to take the leap”? My sentence did…except I wouldn’t have admitted that 8 months ago. And don’t be mistaken, it was not because I was living my dream, but because I believed I was trying but everything else was in my way. To protect my wallowing heart I would have told you my dream was really a hobby and used words like “one day I will” or “who knows if I ever will.”  It reminds me of one of my favorite movies The Devil Wears Prada. There is one part in the movie where Nigel (Stanley Tucci) is approached by Andy (played by the lovely Anne Hathaway) and in a desperate cry and reach for pity where she explains that no matter how hard she tries she is failing. She is spent; after much effort trying to please her boss she is ready to give up. But, heres the best part, instead of brushing her hair and telling her it will be alright, Nigel puts her in her place:

Andy, be serious, you are not trying…you are whining.”

Here is the reality of it — I, like Andy, was not trying, I was whining.

I exhausted every excuse in the book not to follow my dream. All the excuses not to finish that sentence with “and I finally took the leap and totally rocked it!”  Instead, I shrunk down and hid behind my excuses and whined about my short-comings. I was not trying. I may have thought I was, but it was going to take something special to help me realize why I was so stuck.

After sharing, or whining, my story to a friend who is wise beyond her years, she recommended that I pick up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The book is fabulous and dives into our fears, holding ourselves back and sometimes being our own biggest enemy (its good for a read if you are interested!)! In the very first chapter Sheryl challenges with one simple question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

UGGHH.

It hit me. There was my moment of clarity, but instead of beautiful bright light and choirs singing, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Was I really that afraid??? Was I using my excuses like a place of safety to hide away from the realities of pursuing my dream? It was in that moment that I realized I was! Instead of truly trying, I was crippled by my own fear and whining about it to pass the responsibility of my success or my failure to every obstacle that might get in my way. If I was going to fail, it would be because everything else got in my way, not my short comings. And to top it off, I was allowing my fear to feed me lies about what I was capable of — who I could really be! What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? became a haunting question in my head as I worked at my corporate job. There were so many answers to that question that I couldn’t help but commit to solving it…to answering it with finality and completion.

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I began a journey of answering that question over the last 8 months. I poured into my fears about the world, my insecurity about my abilities, and the stage fright of putting myself out there. Its crippling to present yourself before something you dreamed about. And I discovered my biggest fear was failing before the people that believed in me. But then I realized, I can’t fail if I didn’t try. I was allowing fear to rule my choices and it was then that I made a promise to myself to go full time with pursuing my dreams by the new year — sink or swim, the big adventure, my leap.

My dreams are a mish-mash of many things that I would like to happen over the next year — like any young bride looking to start life and a legacy — in order to do so, I was going to need some major changes in my life. So in October I walked into my boss’ office and through tears I gave him my notice. I set out in November, ready to conquer the world. And here I am. Its the beginning of 2014 and though there has been a few bumps in the road, I am here, pursuing my dream full time and working to build my legacy. The truth is, this place of clarity is a mixture of vulnerability and the unknown, but I have learned more about my craft, my heart and my desires for my future more these last couples months than I ever have in my previous years behind my lens…all because I decided to face my fears to go after my dream.

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And now, another amazing loooong time goal of mine is being fulfilled today!!

Today is the day I launch my website AmyLeah.com.

I officially have my own corner of the web to showcase my work and allow you to join me in kicking fear in the face and capturing life’s greatest moments. All of my hopes, my fears and endless nights planning have lead me to this day and I am completely grateful. Grateful for the opportunity and grateful for the guts to step out and be brave.

So I leave you with this, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Its heavy but it deserves an answer.

Take a moment to hop over to my new website and see what all the excitement is about!! I’m hosting a FABULOUS giveaway full of things you MUST have. Its going to be amazing!!

Here’s to a dreamy 2014,

Amy Leah

You can also find Amy on her active and inspiring Facebook page and Twitter.