The theme of 2022 - Stepping out of my comfort zone
April 02, 20226 min read
Stepping out of my comfort zone
Why is stepping out of your comfort zone so important? Why do people talk about this so much? What benefits are there to pushing yourself in this way? These are all questions that I asked myself before March 2020. I often saw people doing this, and wondered what it would take for me to do the same thing. Naturally shy, lacking in confidence and with low self-esteem I couldn't imagine myself being able to push myself in this way. And these personality traits have held me back in the past.
But March 2020 descended upon us all, and with my experience came a diagnosis that would change my life forever. At the time I thought my life was over, but I have come to realise that it was in fact just beginning. Some of you will know that I was diagnosed with diabetes, and that the diagnosis I was given was very bleak. I was told it was a diagnosis for life, that I would be unlikely to reverse it through lifestyle and dietary changes, and that I would be on medication for the rest of my life. Combine this with the news that we were going into lockdown and that I was now high risk for Covid, you can imagine this was a dark time for me and my family.
There is however a silver lining to this story. I went on a path of discovery, I looked at nutrition, my underlying health issues that had caused my diabetes, gut health, vitamin deficiency and how I could adapt to a new way of living that would transform my health, mental health and general well being. It's been a journey to say the least and I am not there yet. But my blood sugar is coming down, I have lost over a stone in weight, I have never taken medication, and I understand my health more than I ever have.
I made two promises to myself once I had come to terms with the reality of my situation. The first was to get my blood sugar into a normal range (and that is a work in progress). The second was to do things that challenge me, to step out of my comfort zone. For me 2022 is all about doing that. And when I have been asked to speak publicly I have, I have made more video for my business where I am front and centre, I have gone live on social media and most recently I attended Lauren McWilliam's Brand Photography session at Ashleigh King's beautiful studio Flamingo Heights.
Previously when I have been asked to have my picture taken I have been nervous, reluctant, anxious and doubtful. But there is something about getting a life-changing diagnosis that really helps you throw caution to the wind, and my philosophy has become 'If not NOW then when?' So when this opportunity came up I said 'absolutely YES!'
Upon arrival at Flamingo Heights I was met by Lauren who made me feel welcome and totally comfortable, she gave me a wonderful goodie bag with a bottle of prosecco and some treats in it. It was such a lovely thoughtful touch that really made me smile.
Behind the scenes
I was then introduced to the very talented Meg Joannou who is the most amazing make up artist. When asked if I would like my make up done I decided that I would love to get pampered for the session. I have to say that this is something that I was worried about as make up is very personal and there is a certain vulnerability that you can feel giving up this kind of control. But as I have a new approach to life I knew I had to just go for it.
Meg was absolutely amazing, she totally put me at ease. She talked through what she could do, what I would like and she made me feel so relaxed. We had a lovely chat about her profession, what her favourite make up and products were and I felt confident and ready for my shoot after she had worked her magic.
At this point you can imagine I was really looking forward to the shoot and couldn't wait to start working with Lauren. She again out me totally at ease and talked through what we could do. I mentioned that I had brought two dresses with me and I could do an outfit change if she thought that would work. I mentioned that one of my dresses (with turquoise flowers on it) reminded me of a dress that my grandma had, and that whenever I wear it I think of her, and I feel as though she is watching over me. And that the dress with the pink flowers shows off my statement Angel of the North necklace which has become a bit of a trademark product.
Does it matter who photographs you?
I have to also say as a woman being photographed by a woman I felt instantly more relaxed. I am not sure what it is, but the process was very easy and informal. Lauren also just chatted to me, and this really made all the difference. The challenge can be when you are having your picture taken that you aren't given enough direction and you are too focussed on having your picture taken. the best photographers are the ones that keep it light and just want to get to know you. As they talk to you and get to know you they manage to bring something out of you that no-one else can. And this for me is the mark of a great photographer. I have nearly always been on the other side of the lens so this is not a comfortable place for me. But with Lauren I didn't even notice the camera.
I hope you will agree looking at the results of what she produced she really did do a great job. I am really happy with what she created. And I can't wait to share these images across my LinkedIn profile and social media.
Having access to Ashleigh King's beautiful studio Flamingo Heights was also an absolute treat. This gave us the opportunity to really play around with colour, position and composition. I hadn't realised that the furniture in Ashleigh's studio was the perfect colour palette for the dress I was wearing too. And these images are definitely some of my favourites.
This image in particular where I am not looking at the camera was a one of my absolute favourites. I found it much easier to relax my face when I wasn't conscious of looking into the lens and this really helped capture a much more natural pose. It's as if I am thinking of all of the amazing designs I am going to come up with. In fact I was probably thinking of how I would manage to build some drawing time in my day. I often find I am daydreaming of that these days.
Especially when I have such big plans for 2022.
The image below is really interesting because it was clear that Lauren had a specific vision for this particular image. My favourite lippy is bright red and I had a feeling that Lauren really liked the combination of this with the red Chesterfield sofa in Ashleigh's studio. Lauren made sure I was sat bang in the middle of the sofa, and we had to do a few shots before she was completely happy. The result is pretty good fun. And I really like how the Angel of the North necklace is bang in the centre of this image.
If you are considering updating your headshots, and you want something that is reflective of your personality, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Lauren's Brand Photography packages. There is something to suit every budget, from the start up that wants to documents their journey through high quality photography, to a more established business that is ready to have a portfolio of images that are versatile and reflective of your brand identity. Lauren also offers marketing strategy support to her clients as well which is an invaluable resource as part of her services.
If you want to use Ashleigh King's beautiful studio as a back drop for your images, or you want to hire her space for events, or even hire her gorgeous podcast studio then please check out her website here.
Behind the scenes images of Lauren taking pictures were produced by the very talented Joel Lowson who is also part of the Flamingo Heights team. He is a wonderful commercial videographer that is worth checking out too for all of your promotional video requirements.
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