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.

Because there were moments along the way where we wished we were “there” already. Full-time wedding photographers. And every minute that we wished we had already moved on from those jobs, we weren’t present in the moment — and we missed what that moment in that season had to offer. Because each one does. Someone really wise told us recently that looking at life as a series of seasons was hard for him. Because seasons seem long, cold, never ending, and slowly changing. Do you ever feel like that? Maybe you’re in one right now. That was hard for us, too,
which is why his outlook helped us (and helps us) so much. Instead, he looks at life as a series of assignments. Assignments, he explained, feel more manageable. More attainable. Like something you have the chance to do. Not something you just get through. We grabbed that idea and ran with it. Held it close. Made it our own. Because we realized that each assignment in life has two purposes: for us to help others, and for God to teach us about ourselves and about the world along the way. And we don’t get to move on until both are complete.

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?

Everything.

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.

Alisa

23 comments
filed in: Education

    Carri

    Thank you for this!! Hit me right where I needed today as I am having a really hard Monday at my full time job and not being present but wishing I was somewhere else and farther along in my business! (As you can tell because I'm reading your blog at my desk instead of working :) I need to constantly remember I am here for a purpose and God's timing is perfect. Thank you!

    Amy & Jordan

    Yes! His timing is perfect! You can do it!

    Ashley Y

    Amen! This post really spoke to me today! Thanks for all that you guys do!

    Amy & Jordan

    We're so glad! :)

    Rosie

    This is so perfect today. I always feel so embarassed when clients ask me if I photograph weddings full time and my answer is no. But I've learned so many things working at my day job that help me manage my business and I'm thankful for that. Thankful for my steady paycheck that pays the bills. "Jay's favorite line: 'Dog, in due time.'"

    Amy & Jordan

    Exactly! All in God's time!

    Oh man, where to begin?
    Today I realized that despite following all of your social media profiles, being part of the newsletter (and everything else of yours I have been lucky enough to hop in on) but somehow wasn't following the blog yet.
    Then, I go and add you to my Bloglovin feed and this is the first post that came up.

    I knew you were both teachers. (I'm an Early Childhood Educator in a Full Day Kindergarten Class) I knew your had struggled with how to build the business and when to leave. (I am chest deep in this struggle).Until today though, I hadn't thought of exactly how they skills we use everyday with our students and families translate into useful (if not essential) skills in our photography businesses too.

    I am trying so hard to be thankful for the job I do have, for the income it does provide my family, and the opportunity to build my business with less risk too but I admit, when there is something I want - I SUCK at staying present in the now.

    Thanks for continuing to share things that not only impact my business but my whole perspective. I hope to someday be able to thank you in person.

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw, Rebecca you are SO sweet! You can do it and we can't wait to see you succeed! :)

    Krystal

    Wow! I came to this post with my business in mind, but the Lord has other plans and used it to speak to me about what He's doing in my personal life as well and it fit so beautifully in what He spoke to me during my devotional time this morning! Even though this was written almost a year ago, God used it today for His purpose for such a time as this! God is good!

    I'm a side note, thank you so much, Jordan and Amy, for all that you offer. You two are a blessing!

    Amy & Jordan

    He is so good!! Thank you! :)

    Trina

    Wow. How did you know exactly what I needed to hear today! Wow. I cannot even tell you how much I love the perspective of "assignments," "who am I supposed to love?" and "what am I supposed to learn?" In my life, hind-sight is often 20/20, where you have one desired path, but the Lord has a very different plan in store for you. You realize how His path for you, has strengthened you, shaped you, and blessed you far beyond what you could have imagined for yourself, because He loves you. Thank you so much!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! So happy to hear that, Trina! You said it! :)

    Trina

    Wow. How did you know exactly what I needed to hear today! Wow. I cannot even tell you how much I love the perspective of "assignments," "who am I supposed to love?" and "what am I supposed to learn?" In my life, hind-sight is often 20/20, where you have one desired path, but the Lord has a very different plan in store for you. You realize how His path for you, has strengthened you, shaped you, and blessed you far beyond what you could have imagined for yourself, because He loves you and His timing is perfect. Thank you so much!

    Christine

    When did you know it was your time to go full time in photography? When did you know your assignment as teachers was coming to an end? I'm where you were. A full time job, wanting to do photography full time. Not sure when to make the leap.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Christine! Check out the Making the Leap series! :)

    Christine

    I'm sorry if this posted a million times
    !! I kept hitting post comment and. I thin was happening! When did you know it was your time to go full time in photography? When did you know your assignment as teachers was coming to an end? I'm where you were. A full time job, wanting to do photography full time. Not sure when to make the leap.

    I'm sorry if this posted a million times
    !! I kept hitting post comment and. I thin was happening! When did you know it was your time to go full time in photography? When did you know your assignment as teachers was coming to an end? I'm where you were. A full time job, wanting to do photography full time. Not sure when to make the leap.

    Cindy D Vest

    Thank you so VERY VERY MUCH. Just had this happen to me this past week and it DOES DING YOU! But, it is a gift NOT to be given;)... thank you for the validation I really needed. We work hard we deserve the pay for a VERY DEMANDING competitive field! . I spend a lot on equipment and schools and your affirmations helped me so much! Keep writing to us! I will keep listening!
    Cindy

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Cindy! We're so happy to hear this was encouraging to you!! Keep loving and serving your clients well! We're cheering for you!! :)

    Ashley Walcott

    I love ❤️ you guys so much! I love reading your inspiring & encouraging words!
    You guys are my favs!
    I woikd love to learn how to deal with pricing and I feel stuck in the price field I am in now. How do I increase? Do I have to explain why? I am doing so?
    What am I worth? I struggle with this. Would love to read and learn more.
    💙 Ashley

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you so much, Ashley! That means so much to us! We'll add that to our list of resources for photographers!

    Elizabeth

    There is always collateral beauty. Thanks for this post. The five+ years working in Corporate America were not in vain. We all have something to learn from every stage in our lives. Happy Monday <3

    Amy & Jordan

    Absolutely! We learned so much from our time teaching elementary school students! Thanks so much for sharing, Elizabeth!