22-Feeling rejuvenated and also now totally behind


So it wasn’t 20 days in Bali, but it was a few days in the sunshine and heat in Palm Springs at the Saguaro. I needed that mental break from this kinda focused and obsessive state that I’m in. To stop and soak up all things sunny, warm, lazy and imaginary instead. Relaxation is easy for me if I have fun company, water, heat and a good historical fiction.

But while that was easy and needed, coming home from a vacation is not, even if it was short. I immediately realized that 10 balls have been dropped and even more opportunities lost. And worse, that I let a couple people down, one being a very important one, like my tax guy. And that’s one person you never want to leave hanging.

I’m really not complaining here. Honest. More just evaluating. As crashing down from this relaxation high got me thinking a lot about the pace of life that I have chosen.

I have so much going on non-stop that the only way to breathe a little bit feels like I need to run away. Or “adventure” as I have more positively called the past couple years. I am shooting so much these days that tackling all the studio admin things, and then starting this new business too,  has to be done in the stolen hours of dawn or late night. So my little escape cost me. This brought two important things that I made mental notes of and decided I wanted to share with you.

The first is that as a business you owner you have to get used to having a ton on your plate. Like so much that things are just constantly falling off the sides of the plate and slapping onto the ground making you lose your balance and feel a little icky. Accurate priorities are a game changer here for many reasons. As I would never let a client’s expectations be compromised or something I equally value, those are top priority. But here’s the thing, when you take on something big, you have to be okay with managing “failures.” Hate that word, let’s not use it again here. My point being the better you can handle the load, the more you can let problems roll off your back and look for solutions immediately instead of having tantrums (I’m good at that now finally, but I still could be better). Then the more you can manage. And the more you can manage without it weighing you down, the more success you will find. Professionally and personally.

My next thought was that I don’t always want to live in a season of being overwhelmed, of always having to manage more. I don’t want to feel like I need to run away to have moments where I don’t feel like I have to move at a speed so fast that I might de-rail. I want a pace of life where I am thriving creatively and professionally, and that also leaves a few hours each day to do other things at a slower pace. Like sitting down and eating a meal, not shoveling in a protein bar on the drive to work.  I felt that way a few years ago, more relaxed, and my plan is to feel that way again come July when we have our Grand Launch of Marissa-inc.com. I need to insure that this is just a season by putting in the time to plan out the future and execute. As I was writing this post I somehow stumbled onto Facebook and saw that a few of my friends had posted this meme.

By how many people I saw posting this, I know I’m not alone in this thought.

What’s funny is that then I had to pause writing this post to welcome my client today and get her into hair and make-up. I was excited to see her because not only is she a return client, but she’s a successful business owner that manages a team of sought after wedding coordinators and also coordinates them herself. She is meticulous and an incredibly focused and hard working woman. She was handling the workload with with a calm strength as she always does, but she was still working what sounded like way too much to me. For whatever reason I opened my big bossy mouth and said, “you should just manage your team only and have more free time, stop coordinating weddings yourself.” Now I don’t even know the particulars of her situation or her specific wants in life. But I chuckled to myself thinking about how excited I am in this new mission I have of…..

simplifying AND becoming better at my craft AND giving more value all around.

I feel like those goals don’t sound like they can live together, but I know they can.

So here is the pep talk I gave myself as I was tucking myself into bed last night….. it’s okay to drop the ball when you’re overwhelmed. You have to just forgive yourself for that right away. It’s just part of the territory of taking on big endeavors, of being a self starter and your own boss. What matters is that you don’t dwell on your mistakes. Rectify and fix, don’t linger in that space of self doubt.

Next, and this is super important, instead focus on change. Make a plan. I’m currently assessing why going on vacation cost me equal parts stress to equal parts relaxation. I should be able to go away for a few days and not be scared to open my computer when I come home. And will the current plan I have in effect help insure this isn’t always this way? If not I need to re-examine it and make changes.

In considering a change/new plan in your life that would affect your finances and freetime here are a few things I have learned….

  • Start with thinking about exactly what you want your routine and schedule to look like weekly. Then try to build your business model to those specs.
  • When creating your business model, or your money making machine (see our online workshop for more on that), always create a very realistic budget. Key point here being realistic. Almost even pessimistic. When I created the biz model for our Marissa-inc.com I used worst case scenario estimates for things like repairs, utilities, insurances, fees, cost of goods, etc. Make sure you factor in savings for a future ‘just in case’ expenses. And then I almost always slap a 10% misc expense on there for each month. So that way when it happens, and it almost always does, you can rest easy because you planned for it.
  • Schedule all your change goals out on the calendar in detail. I personally couldn’t live without Google calendar. And it currently has things blocked out months in the future so I can ensure that my new business doesn’t have me working into the wee hours of the night like it currently does. I have marketing days blocked out, shoot days have the full day listed and detailed, and I have days off on there too. So I don’t overbook myself.

Okay so I definitely have a gazillion more thoughts and advice on starting a business. In fact 9 hours of an online course created with my biz partner Kimberlee. But those key few were rumbling in my mind last night.

See you all soon I hope!



  • Heather Shanahan says:

    {deep breath}
    I was at a point in life maybe 10 years or so ago that I found myself extremely overworked, overstressed, spinning my wheels feeling like I was going no where, and all for what seemed to be nothing. My “life plan” wasn’t where I thought I would be at that point and had no idea where it was going to go. I found myself wanting to hurt myself, not kill myself, but really hurt myself. Do something to put myself in the hospital for an extended period just so I wouldn’t have to do or think or be responsible for anything for a while. I never did, but it was a huge wake up call that I needed to change things and slow down. I realized that MY life needed to be about ME and it hadn’t been. There are a number of round about stories I could continue on with but I’ll fast forward to present ish…

    I still find myself really overwhelmed and overworked at times but I always make sure now to have something on the calendar to look forward to. Get through the crazy stressful period knowing that I have a fun day at the end of it all. Kind of like a little reward for myself. And I try not to take life too seriously. It is what it is. Do your best and damage control when it doesn’t work out and move on. The only person I need to worry about not letting down is myself. That being said, as you very well know, I do my damnedest to do whatever I can for anyone that needs something. But now only when it isn’t detrimental to myself

    Make sure YOU are your number one priority and what you need to do to make that happen. Trust in God; that He is there With you and For you and will present to you all that you need if you are willing to See it. And with that, there is no reason you won’t be happy and successful in life.

  • Crystal says:

    That picture of Palm Springs makes me feel happy. I especially love the pinks. I have the same tax guy as you and he’s a forgiving one 😉 (hee hee). Glad you got a vacay! I can totally relate to that meme – lol.

  • boudoirdivasadmin says:

    Haha Crystal! That seriously made me feel better!

  • boudoirdivasadmin says:

    Love your thoughts Heather and that you always share a part of your story! Yes…. deep breath.

  • Teresa says:

    What I LOVE in all of this is that you forgive and move forward. Self-compassion and awareness are key to making anything — life, business, love — work, right? If you can be objective, assess and tweak as needed, and still love who you are and what you’re doing, you will get there. You have great self-awareness, and I’m sure it’s come from building your dreams from the ground up. Keep on. So glad to be a tangential part of the tribe supporting you and your vision, even just as a client (and a repeat one come May!). It’s inspiring. And, damnit, GOOD ON YOU for getting some time away!

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