Earlier in the month Rhea Freeman said she was going to run a short Instagram challenge about five things to feel proud about in the run up to New Year, using the hashtag #5thingsimproudof.
Always reticent about shouting about my successes, I thought I should challenge myself to give my Instagram followers a little more about me. Again, I rarely put selfies up as I hate photographs of me, so another reason to talk about some of my 2018 proud moments. I thought writing a blog about what they would be might be a challenge in itself, but it has been remarkably easy and as a member of Rhea's Small & Supercharged Mastermind group, our challenge for December was to blog. With both those thoughts top of my agenda, here's a bit of both - five things I'm proud of and a December blog post, rolled into one.
While most of the proud moments in my life are business related, the first one on the list is a very personal achievement.
- Getting back on board - I've written about this a bit and for a small group of friends I saw in early September, I rambled on for quite a while. I now put that down to a significant bout of concussion! My lovely boy H and I hit the deck, but all accounts spectacularly, while schooling at home. I remember nothing, but psychologically it sent me spiralling into a massive crisis of confidence - I'm not a particularly brave rider anyway. Four weeks later, we went for a 10 minute walk, so slow, but worth the effort. In the last 12 weeks, we have gone from walking to trotting and now back to full fitness, but I didn't ride unaccompanied for nearly six weeks. Finally, we are back pretty much where we left off, but the proudest moment of that was going for a hack with a friend so we could jump. And jump we did, nothing huge but H is keen when it comes to XC fences, so I knew I had to up for it, to make sure we didn't make a mess of it. I did a bit, but he just took me and the buzz was great. Our road to recovery complete.
- Client testimonials - I'm rubbish at asking my clients (PR or photography) for testimonials, so to get two in a week that I didn't even ask for was a super proud moment. Both were Christmas presents and both equine photography related, but totally different set ups. The first was a black background shoot, done in secrecy back in October; the second a portrait shoot from husband to wife which she had to know about early given it needed to include her.
- Old fashioned media relations - with my PR hat on, I was recommended to a client by a friend as she was at full capacity. Always flattered to fill some seriously big shoes, I was quite nervous to take this on. Deliver broadcast coverage for WW1 centenary event taking place in April 2018. I knew nothing about the project itself, so had to learn quickly as the launch day was just two weeks away. It was an amazing few weeks and what a great project - 14-18 NOW Poppies Tour: Wave at Fort Nelson in Portsmouth. This was the final leg of the Poppies Tour (which originated at the Tower of London) and the only time they would be in the South. I met and got to know an amazing team of people including some incredible volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure visitors got the best of a unique piece of history and the BBC broadcast, not once but twice.
- Weddings - I only do two or three weddings a year and to date, each one has come via a friend, or friend of a friend; until now. I have be asked to photograph a couple I know nothing about. The pressure has just increased 100-fold, but I'm so looking forward to meeting them early in 2019.
- Growing my PR business - I know this sounds a little cliched, but in reality two years ago I was all set to give it up as I didn't get a buzz from it any more and thought my traditional PR skills were outdated. After giving myself a stern talking to I have grown my retained client portfolio and taken on several quite chunky projects, all of which came through recommendation. So 2019 will see me rejoining the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and (hopefully) a new PR website.
I'm genuinely proud of each and every one of these, some of which I really didn't think would have ever been achievable 12 months ago.
If you're reading this, give some thought to your proud moments for 2018 and come and join the fun.