Can we be honest with you? For a long time, we were embarrassed.
Because before we were full-time wedding photographers, we were full-time elementary school teachers. Who, as much as possible, tried to avoid talking about the fact that we were full-time elementary school teachers.
And here’s the thing. We loved what we were doing in the classroom. Those kids were so precious to us, and teaching them was truly an honor.
So why didn’t we ever want to talk about it online? It’s simple, really. We didn’t want our clients to know. It’s not that we hid it. We never lied about it. If they asked if we had another job, we always told them. But we also never marched around announcing it either. At that time, in our mind, we assumed that our clients would trust us less and think less of us as professionals (if they’d think of us as professionals at all) once they found out we had day jobs.
Was it good business? Maybe.
Would we do it differently if we could do it again? Probably not.
Would we change our heart about it? Absolutely.
What we thought was our greatest weakness at the time has become our greatest strength in due time.
As fourth and fifth grade teachers, that assignment meant giving everything we had to the kids in our class — and trusting that God’s timing would be perfect timing. And, for us, it was. We didn’t understand it as first. We fought it. We wrestled with it. We tried to rationalize and reason with it. We tried to negotiate our way out of it. But there we stayed. In our classroom. The day job that we thought was our weakness.
And, back then, we could’ve given you 101 reasons why what we were doing in the present didn’t translate to the future. After all, what does teaching long division, covering recess, and chaperoning field trips have to do with what we do today?
We can see it now.
As teachers, we actually used to send out mandatory emails to our parents every Monday morning. Now, we have The Monday Minute, and we send it out every week. It’s free tips and tricks to help photographers and creative business owners.
Then, we had to plan 20 hours of curriculum every week for our students.
Now, we teach workshops and cover 20 hours of curriculum in only two days.
Then, we had to stand up in front of a roomful of (little) people and public speak. Every day.
Now we speak to roomfuls of (bigger) people about business, photography and a whole lot more. A lot of times, using stories from our time with those little people to help the grown-up ones. Even though we couldn’t always see what God was doing, we realized we can look back on so many defining moments in our lives that have led up to where we are now and see exactly what He was training us for.
The list goes on and on, but the point remains: what we thought was our greatest weakness at the time has become our greatest strength in due time. Our biggest regret? That we didn’t see at the time.
One of our favorite books, David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell is about just that. That the thing the world sees as our greatest weaknesses can actually be our greatest strength. But in that moment of what we perceive as weakness, it doesn’t always feel like that.
Can you relate to that? If so, wherever you are, however you’re doing, whatever assignment in life God’s got you working on now, we encourage you to learn from our mistake. Take a minute. Take a moment. And ask yourself two questions about today that we wished we would’ve asked ourselves sooner: Who am I supposed to help? And what am I supposed to learn from it?
If you’re anything like us, you just might find that what you think is a weakness, is really just strength for life’s next act. In disguise.