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It's 11:30 PM on Sunday, April 28th, 2024 and my mind is racing, in a good way, but so much so that I feel slightly muddled. Still, even with the stressors that are prying at my inner peace like a knife to an oyster, I remind myself to remain steadfast in the journey and maintain a steady wave of commitment & confidence. This pilgrimage through entrepreneurship has been a daily learning lesson that has challenged my mind, body, & soul well beyond my imagination, however, it has been one of the most rewarding and noble things I've done since departing the traditional workforce in 2022. I have had many surreal moments throughout this journey & I love that I get to wake up every day and know that every decision I make is an investment into my family, my career, my community, and myself. I vividly remember how I felt when I was let go by an employer during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic and I never wanted to experience that again. My mind felt like it was unraveling around that time and I knew that I needed to make a decision that would help me to recalibrate and get back to feeling like myself. After taking some time away from work and focusing on monetizing my photography skillset, I tried to reenter the workforce a few times -- to a few different employers, but, mentally, I was checked out. So, in April of 2022, I decided to bet on myself. In one sense, I was petrified of the idea of leaving a steady paycheck for a future of uncertainty. On the other hand, I knew that I had been successful at almost every job I've had so I knew that I had no reason to be afraid & every reason to believe that I could be as prosperous if I worked with the same drive I approached my previous employers with throughout my career. Admittedly, Spring, Summer, and Fall were excellent. I was booked most days and reestablishing many of my relationships with community organizations, except now I was in a completely different capacity. In short, Life was good. When the Winter arrived, I experienced my first learning lessons as an entrepreneur. I didn't have many bookings as I was shooting predominately outdoor events and the holiday season is a time when, (what I know now to be different), people just weren't interested in my services and I didn't have a plan of action to identify and attack the very obvious impasse I was now, head-first, immersed in. To quote the think tank that is Kanye West, "I had a couple past due bills, I won't get specific". Things became very hectic and challenging and I began to question if entrepreneurship was for me. Fortunately, I had some great people in my life who sat down with me and let me know that entrepreneurship is a journey with countless hills and valleys, and some you may see ahead and be able map out a better plan & some you may simply have to navigate the rough terrain. I vividly recall my friend, mentor, and brother, Corey Stansbury, sitting down with me, man to man, listening to my concerns and frustrations yet reminding me in a cool, calm, and firm tone that I have everything that it takes and to not lose sight of why I divorced myself from my past life in the first place. There's much more that I can get into, but I felt like sharing this to inspire someone never to let their dreams slip away &, more importantly, never allow any anxiety, trauma, or life's dark days to cloud your vision and force you to forget who you are. You exist; you matter; you are worthy; you are strong; you are brave; you are here. Even if you have fearfulness or reservations about what lies ahead, know that you are more than capable of figuring it out and creating a life where you will thrive. It's now 12:30 PM and I would be lying if I said that I don't have anything on my mind. Even after writing this & feeling tears of happiness & peace well up into my eyes, I'm reminded of an amazing and brilliant poet who coined a phrase that continues to transcend time and give hope to people no matter what they're going through: "Still, I'll rise". 

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