The Importance of Saying ‘No’

Let’s be real for a few minutes.

As I reflect on the last year of my life, I am extremely grateful to be where I am today. As you may know, I’ve changed gears and started a photography business back in the summer. I cannot describe how happy its made me. I feel like my outlook on the future is completely shifted to something more positive,  creative, and most importantly, appreciated.


I still occasionally work at the hotel, and it’s just a world of difference that I feel between working at the hotel and on my photography. Brighton says that I work a lot now. I discussed in my last post that I feel like I never really stop, and it’s true! Last night I was up until 11:30pm sending contracts and looking for locations for my upcoming shoots.

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I think about how last year I felt like I had no choices, and I was pigeonholed into my situation. This year, I’ve realized I need to be able to say “No” to the things I know aren’t ultimately what I want. I was asked to come back full-time at the hotel, and I said no. It felt good. And scary. And satisfying. All at once!

I had this strange fear that I wouldn’t be pleasing my bosses by saying no. But when I think about it, I shouldn’t be worrying about what they will think or feel. Ultimately, I need to do what’s best for me— not them— since it’ll be influencing me the most.

While the income and security of the job is nice, I am committed to making my business successful. I want to learn the techniques and skills to set me apart from the crowd to rise to the top of the game. I want to have people desire my photography for their wedding, event, or family portraits — Whatever it may be.

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I had an experience this summer that sparked this domino effect of change for me. I had recently started a new job, and while I thought it was great for me and I was genuinely excited for it, it wasn’t right for me. I realized this quickly— within 2 weeks of working there, in fact. I could see the future of what I’d be doing… and I wasn’t digging it. People said “maybe it’ll get better” or “how do you know, it’s only been 2 weeks?!” and I just knew. You could call it a gut feeling, I suppose.

When I had that difficult talk with my supervisor, I went in there and stood up for myself. It was really, really hard. I told him that the job wasn’t a right fit for me, and took all of the blame of the misunderstanding. He questioned what I’d do next, and I said I was going to take some time to figure it out. I said I thought maybe events or photography, not really knowing the answer at the time.

He told me that I’d need this job to get to where I wanted to be in the events world. It felt like he was trying to convince me to stay, but I was not budging. He acknowledged that it sounded like I had already made up my mind. and I had. I wasn’t going to let an attractive offer make me back down. I left, and that was that! I never looked back. I am very proud of myself for realizing what was right (and not right) for me, and taking the plunge to dare to be different.

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When I graduated almost 3 years ago, it seemed like the corporate 9-5 lifestyle would be my only ticket to success. Now, I know that there are other options but frankly, they require more time, effort, perseverance, and courage.


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This photography journey, however, has not been all sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of competition in the Utah market of family, portrait, and wedding photographers here because there is a lot of demand. I still get very excited when I get a new client to book, or a client says they love the photos! It’s tough finding new clients when the market is saturated, and other photographers have an entire friends and family base to grow their client pool from. That’s not true for me as I never went to school here in Utah, and only have had a couple of small jobs.

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If there is anything I have learned this year, it is to expect the unexpected and to embrace change. You never know what the next day will bring. A prime example of this happened this week. I was sitting in a local coffee shop, and the woman next to me was on the phone seemingly talking about photography. I asked if she was a photographer, and we got to discussing her project which is a local event space that recently opened down the street from where we live. They were looking for a person to help with day-of event operations, and I am looking for a part-time job to make up some of the salary I lost by cutting my hours. It’s flexible, and in the field I originally started in (and still have a passion for— events). We met, and discussed their mission, and it was kismet! I guess it’s one of the perks of having an outgoing personality!

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The most important lesson I’ve learned this year is having the ability to say no. Knowing when enough is enough, and you need to what you need to do to make you happy, fulfilled, and carve your own path.

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What tough decisions have you had to say “no” to in order to achieve success and happiness?




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0 responses to “The Importance of Saying ‘No’”

  1. katie Avatar

    Congratulations on standing up for yourself, for working hard, and for saying no when you needed to. Good luck on your newest endeavors!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

    1. Hilary Avatar

      Thank you Katie!!