I walk my path every day. As I get closer to my purpose, the path becomes darker as the fog begins to obscure my view. My fears grow as I make progress. But I keep walking and embrace the unknown. The past several weeks, I’ve been in the thick fog of facing my money fears. I am afraid of not just setting prices for my “I Matter” program and legacy portraits but also of spending money as I prepare to set up my studio. The fear surrounding money isn’t really about money but about our feelings of worth — they come from the feeling of scarcity, of not having enough. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you explored my childhood with me to see where my fears come from. After I wrote that issue, I wrote a list of intentions for myself. Here are some of them:

  • I will not let what my parents taught me about money and what they were willing to spend on me dictate my feelings of worth.
  • I will not let other people’s money fears dictate what I’m worth.
  • I will not feel guilty for asking my worth because I have something valuable to give.
  • I will continue to spend money building my business/studio and have faith it will thrive in the timeline it’s meant to, even though I’m scared.
  • I will know my voice matters.
  • I will know that I matter.
  • I will know my worth.

I don’t feel ready but walking your path is about being connected to yourself and your feelings and trusting your gut, even when it comes without clear direction.

In an effort to change my money mindset, which are wrapped up in my feelings of worth and value, I’ve been taking big steps to invest in my business. I want to radically change my life and that requires radical action. Much of that action involves risk. I confront these fears by spending money on things that are important to my business. I hire an editor for the self-published book I am creating from my newsletter to use for “I Matter.” I interview lawyers so I can have a specialized service contract for the program. I look for studio space. This is not like buying a website or a new camera lens which you purchase and have something to show for it. The book, the service contract, and studio space require an investment of thousands of dollars now for an unknown future. Thousands of dollars I don’t have. Thousands of dollars funded with borrowed money. We have the safety of my husband’s income to rely on but it’s not sufficient and we need my income too. The borrowed money needs to be repaid. There’s no guarantee I’ll find women for my program and I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with a lease on a studio… Embracing in this uncertain future means I am embracing the unknown and leaping into the dark for the hope of a meaningful future filled with purpose. Even though I’m scared, I tell myself to be brave and leap.

As I started walking on the path of my journey last year, I first envisioned “I Matter” as a small circle of women in a neighbor’s converted artist loft garage. At the time, I didn’t know what this small circle was but the imagery was so clear that I could see the chairs and the physical space. But I had pictured myself in that garage space even before then. I saw myself there when I asked my neighbor what he was remodeling in late 2016 when I discovered women’s portraits was my calling. I saw myself there when he was almost done and gave me a tour and I fell in love with it. I saw myself there when I first saw glimpses of my program. I talked to him throughout these steps and he kept me in mind. He saw me there too. Now that my vision is clear about my program and purpose, my gut told me it was time to start looking for space. I don’t feel ready but walking your path is about being connected to yourself and your feelings and trusting your gut, even when it comes without clear direction. March. Open your studio in March it tells me. So I embrace the unknown, trust my gut and begin my search for space. With a firm idea of what I specifically need and when, I once again visit my neighbor with a timeline, budget and space requirements. But between our initial discussions a year ago and today, his use of the space has evolved and we realize our needs don’t align anymore. While I want a dedicated space for several months, he sees me renting it as needed by the day. Neither of us see me in that space anymore. I feel a little disappointed but not deterred. The thing about walking your path is that you have to embrace the unknown. No matter your vision, no matter what you think you want, you are stepping into the unknown. Instead of being upset about the garage and using this as a way to validate my old beliefs about myself and feeling like my business wasn’t meant to be, I embrace the unknown. I make a different choice. I choose to believe that garage space didn’t work because it was too safe. Too small. Too temporary. Too easy to get ‘out’ of if something went awry. I’m not aiming that low. I’m reaching for the stars. I’m meant for something bigger.

I know what I want. A small retail space under someone’s townhome nestled in my neighborhood with high ceilings and lots of light. But I embrace the unknown and explore different options. The other day, I was looking at Craigslist for space and while I couldn’t find what I wanted, I took a look at traditional retail spaces too. I gawked at the prices and the year lease requirement. The thought of a year lease terrifies me as I consider the what ifs… what if I fail? What if I’m not good enough?  What if I can’t make rent? What if this money I’m investing ends up being for nothing? What if, what if, what if… My 8 year old son, seeing me looking at properties, asks me what I’m doing. I tell him how I feel and how I wished I had the money to feel safe enough to invest in a retail space with a year lease. He runs off to his room but I pay him no attention, continuing to scroll through the listings. A few minutes later, he comes up to me with his palms outstretched full of the coins he had emptied from his piggy bank and a huge smile. He tells me, “I want you to have what you want.” My 8 year old child stands before me so excited and happy because he’s offering me all his money in the world so I could fulfill my dreams. With tears in my eyes, I hug him and thank him but tell him to keep his money for himself. He reluctantly complies. Later that night as we snuggle in bed to read Harry Potter, he starts crying. I ask him why and he tells me he feels sad and says, “I want you to have a studio. I want you to have what you want,” and wipes tears from his eyes. I hug him. I tell him I know it will happen as it’s meant to. The next morning, my son attempts to offer his money again and I refuse…once again. He starts to cry. He wants me to succeed. He believes in me. He wants to be part of my dream. He wants to help me make it happen. So I take the money and put it in a jar. My younger son, following his big brother’s lead, empties his piggy bank and I add that change to the jar. It makes them so happy.

I realize I have so much. I feel like the richest woman on earth. There is so much abundance in my life. I look at the jar of change and see a jar full of love, of hope, of unwavering faith and I feel like I have all the money in the world. This feeling I have right now, this feeling of wealth and abundance, makes the money fears I’ve been experiencing quieter. And I feel my worth. The feeling of worth that comes from feeling loved, feeling like I matter, feeling like I have purpose, feeling like I am enough. I know this feeling, so lovingly represented in a jar full of change, is what will carry me through the challenges, the darkness and disappointments because the road ahead is bumpy. And I remind myself that when we fixate on not having enough, we fail to see what we do have. I look around and see I have so much. My life is so full and instead of feeling scarcity, I feel abundance. And I pick up the pace towards my path.

Lean into fear. See the abundance. Know my worth.
I embrace the unknown and keep walking.