As the captain asked the flight attendants to secure the cabin, as the tray tables went into their full upright-and-locked position, and as each metal seatbelt started to click, we pulled out a magazine from the vinyl pouch that sat across from each of our seats. We flipped through the pages, killing a little time until we’d have permission to start working on our “approved electronic devices” again, but as we flipped through that magazine, there was something that made us stop. Made us point. Made us think.

It was a simple question.

How do you define success?

It was a question thrown at Idina Menzel, broadway’s biggest star, and one of our favorites. Her voice is constantly streaming through our speakers, and while we couldn’t sing one of her songs on key to save our lives, it doesn’t stop us from trying in the shower… or in the car… or in the kitchen. Idina Menzel is one of the greatest vocal talents of this generation, and we were really interested to see what she had to say. Success is this woman’s middle name. She won the Tony for her role in Wicked, one of the most lucrative productions to ever hit Broadway, and her success has translated from stage to screen in films like Rent, Enchanted and, of course, Frozen. So when we saw this question posed to Idina Menzel, it made us stop. And it made us read. And here’s what she said:

There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical; being a perfectionist, it took me a long time to realize that if I’m hitting 75% of them, I’m succeeding. Performing isn’t only about the acrobatics and the high notes. It’s staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way, and making yourself real to them through the music. I am more than the notes I hit, and that’s how I try to approach my life. You can’t get it all right all the time, but you can try your best. If you’ve done that, all that’s left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them. 

Ohhh, friends, did that resonate with us? A hundred times YES! As recovering perfectionists ourselves, this struck a chord. And it got us thinking. Life as of lately has been a blur and a dream. We’ve been zipping around the country doing what we love. We’ve been speaking to live audiences, coaching other photographers and capturing memories for our clients, and while we wouldn’t change it for a second, we just aren’t hitting all the high notes all the time –even though, for a long, we expected ourselves to. There are piles of clothes littering the floor of our home. There aren’t groceries in our fridge. Our laundry basket has been full and around for so long you’d think it was a pet, and sometimes the bags under our sleepless eyes seem so big that we’re tempted to take them on vacation, or at least buy some cucumber slices and close them for a while.

But what we’ve come to realize is there is no such thing as perfect. And perfection isn’t success. Success is staying in the moment. It’s connecting with friends over a crackling fire; it’s good conversation in the crisp night air; it’s working as hard as you can and knowing it’s all for a bigger purpose. It’s loving. It’s serving. It’s helping. And what we’ve realized is that if we keep waiting for everything in our life to be perfect, we’ll help no one, including ourselves. Which is why we’ve been working around the clock. Because we have a big announcement. And we’re going to be sharing it with you on Wednesday. So we hope you’ll join us back here so that we can pursue true success, and not perfection, together. Happy Monday, friends. Let’s make it a great one.

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Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy

filed in: Personal


    Thank you for these words!

    Amy & Jordan

    Sure thing, Amber! Glad they helped :-)

    Natalie Franke

    "As Recovering Perfectionists" - - YES!!! I feel like I'm in this same place!!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Haha! Totally! It's something we'll always battle, we think!

    Andrea Leslie

    Thank you for sharing this! What a great perspective to have!

    Amy & Jordan

    You bet Andrea!

    Debbie Fox

    Wow this hit the nail on the head! I have been waiting for everything to be perfect, better camera equipment, training etc and finally realizing if I don't jump in, I won't ever. I lost my job for the second time in a year in August, had my first paid wedding a week ago. "I can do this!" Thanks.

    Amy & Jordan

    YES! You CAN do this! Hang in there, keep working hard, and know that you've got two people in Arizona cheering you on!