The focus of much of my energy as well as the content of my workshops and training of other small business owners has largely been how to do MORE. Be more productive. Be more efficient. Grow other streams of income. Which fits my personality well.

You see, I'm a recovering productivity addict. I thrive on being productive. I get excited about making systems more profitable and efficient. Which is great, right? Who doesn't want that? But as much as we are told over an over again by our American culture that MORE is better, I'm starting to long to figure out how to do LESS. And even as I type this statement, I'm shaking in my boots.

I've been in business for 11 years now. Eleven years of learning and growing and improving. And I've loved (nearly) every minute of it. This industry is tough. It's competitive and the work is grueling -- especially if you are not only trying to be a great photographer and business owner, but you add on being a leader in the industry -- attempting to consistently share new content that will bless and inspire your peers. I've been blogging 3-5 times per week every week for eight years. I love a challenge and the opportunity to wear numerous hats, but no matter how much you love what you do, I don't believe the adage that "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life". Sometimes it's still work. And when you've done something you love consistently for 10+ years, constantly striving for excellence and growth -- no matter what it is or how much you love it -- you WILL start to wear thin at times.

Lately I've felt like I'm on a hamster wheel that I have to keep running on or everything will collapse. I understand this isn't entirely true, but as a small business owner in a competitive industry, there unfortunately IS some truth to it. If I'm not leading the charge for my brand, no one else will, but there is sure as heck many other motivated business owners out there who are going to keep running if I stop. Herein lies the crux of the struggle I've been facing lately. God has been working on me -- calling me to slow down, do less, rest more, refocus, and possibly downsize. I'm SO incredibly attracted to this change. But on the other side of that tug-of-war rope is my fear -- a fear of what will happen if I get off the hamster wheel of productivity and do less.

But God has gotten my attention. I know I need to change.

Two blog posts have inspired me recently in my quest to get a handle on this issue in my life -- one on entitled "8 Ways Doing Less Can Transform Your Work & Life" and one written by fellow photographer and friend Mary Marantz on boundaries. I've always known that it's better to do less and do it well, than to do more and sacrifice quality. But I need a course correction at this point in my business journey in order to adhere to this belief. If I want to have higher impact, I need to do less and focus on quality more. Ahh! This is a tough pill for a recovering productivity addict to swallow. So what to do when something is tough or scary? Start small. I'm going to continue to seek God on the "how" and "what" to cut back on and start by attempting to implement these few goals and boundaries:

- One day per week of no work. Plan ahead to make it happen.
- No work or social media after 8pm.
- Check and respond to email for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon and shut it down the rest of the time.
- Spend time during the slow months this summer evaluating my future course and goals. Cut out or delegate non-essential tasks.

I declare -- NO FEAR! Lord, give me the courage to do less.
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