Growth Comes In Faceplants

Yep. Some Days Are Like That.

Baby Faceplant

Ever been there?

I totally get it sweetheart. In fact, I have recently felt just like this. A surprise faceplant can leave us all wondering exactly what just happened. Every now and then when life is good and the sun is out and things are shiny and bright–something happens and with no warning at all, there we are, flat on our face. No one can see the tears that are about to come because we’re still in shock wondering what just happened.

I laugh at this picture as I remember the exact moment my client fell over during her-six-month portrait session. It is now one of my favorites that sits framed in my office and makes me laugh out loud every single time I see it. This one brings out the giggles. Her mom was so excited to get family photos in the beautiful setting by the river and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. At six months old, she was right in that stage of learning to sit, and although a bit wobbly, we thought we could get a couple good clicks in before she lost it.

We were wrong.

As I edited the series of shots I couldn’t help but think of the process and the hard work it takes just to learn how to sit. Forget running, at some point we all had to go through that wobbly stage of just learning the basics and how to sit steady and keep our balance. In the beginning, balance is hard. Why is it in other areas of our lives that we forget the beauty and simplicity of just that–balancing.

Earlier this year I finally decided it was time to address the obvious–that my five-year-old photography website was far past due for an update and it was time to tackle the refresh that I had been ignoring for years because I knew it would be painful and costly…and different. Ever let something go so long that it’s embarrassing to even tell someone because you know they’re judging you that you let it get that bad? Wanting something different and yet being able to accept that difference when it finally comes are two totally separate things. Admittedly I had ignored this project because quite frankly, I didn’t know what to do. Five years is way too long to ignore something so vital to my business and livelihood and I felt quite stupid for even being in that awkward position in the first place. I may have many talents and favorable qualities, but the tech world and behind-the-scenes web stuff is not one of them. There is power in knowing your own limitations. There is even more power in knowing when to call in the professionals and ask for help when needed.

Here comes the faceplant.

I thought I knew the direction I wanted to take my new photography website and gave all the parameters for the vision of the new masterpiece to my wonderful web designer. Hoping to launch the site last April while I was in Washington D.C. for two months working on some other projects, she did exactly what I asked for…and I hated it. To be brutally honest, it was worse than my old website and when it came right down to it, the whole thing was completely my fault. I had told her what I wanted and she sweetly gave it to me.  I had tried to hang on and keep elements I liked from the old one and make them fit into what I thought I wanted in the new one. This was a mistake. The cold hard truth was that it was time to give up the old and start fresh. It was time to let go of what had once worked in the past and realize that it wouldn’t work for what I needed in the future. It was time to take a breath and start over. It was time for change.

As I stared at the proof I couldn’t put into words what was wrong with it.  Overwhelming guilt washed over me as I also couldn’t bring myself to ask her to start over again after she had spent so much effort and time on this project. Telling someone “this isn’t it” is not easy. My excitement and enthusiasm to tackle this much needed project deflated (yes, I had even officially put it on my Next List) and not knowing what to do I went right back into procrastination mode.

Months went by.

My face was in the dirt and just like the little girl in the adorable photograph, I felt like my arms were stuck beneath me with my hind end in the air with no way of being able to get up by myself. Although I felt a lot less adorable. Thankfully, my wise web designer finally broached the subject and opened up conversations on how to go in a completely new direction adding in updates and elements I never even thought of. She let me flop, but she also had the power to sit me back up again and set things straight. Despite the sheer embarrassment, I also showed the self-made disaster of a website to several friends who had the heart to be brutally honest and lovingly tell me the site was “not it.” I am so grateful for their honesty! Helpful conversations pointed out specifics on exactly why the first attempt was a flop. The most helpful conversations included specific examples and suggestions on elements to change.

It was through these awkward and difficult conversations that the cleanup process began. Thank God for fresh starts and for caring people that can prop us back up again! Faceplants aren’t final. The thing is, we’re not designed to get it right on the first try. In fact, the beauty of learning how to do something new often comes in the moments we wobble and fall over. Growth comes in faceplants.

So it is with great excitement and pleasure that I announce the launch of the much awaited (and ever so painful) brand spankin’ new website for Ashography Event & Portrait Photography. Is it perfect? No. Is it a lovely work in progress and an improvement over the past? Absolutely. Did it take longer than I ever thought? You better believe it. Was it worth it? No doubt about it!

So cheers to all those with their face in the ground and mud in their world. Cheers to the difficult process of change. Yes, cheers to faceplants. You are learning. Don’t panic, just let those loving arms of those that care about you pick you up and clean you off for another attempt. Sometimes we all just need a bit of time and a bunch of tries to get what we really need…even if it is just learning how to sit.


Ashlee Bratton - Life Before The Lottery

Ashlee Bratton – author of the book “Life Before The Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket” is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and inspirational speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.

Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.

Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.

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