“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I have never liked that question.
The intent is to get you thinking about the bigger picture, and how to design your life goals to head you in the right direction.
But my life has never turned out like I would have described on any five year plan. In fact, it seems every five years I’m in an unexpected new place. Sort of like stumbling on an unmarked trail while hiking that leads you to somewhere you weren’t planning on going but is far better than your original destination. (Moose Falls, in Yellowstone National Park is just like this! One mile north of the South Entrance, and nobody knows about it. Far more private and exciting than Old Faithful!)
My own unexpected life turns have looked a bit like this:
1999-2008 The Music Chapter.
I have a BM and MM in Music Composition. I’ve performed on National Television, National Radio, Accompanied amazing artists, made a CD, taught over 150 piano students, and composed everything from an Opera to Modern Dance scores and many things in-between. Today, I practice the piano for fun and work on pieces to play across the street on my friend Lanae’s Steinway grand piano. I also conduct my church choir and lead my congregation in singing hymns each week.
2008-2012 The Professional Photography Chapter
Graduate school in music burned me out. I took up photography to heal my wounded creative heart and traded piano lessons with a pro photographer. Quite unexpectedly, I suddenly found myself in business. I photographed a dozen weddings, hundreds of couples and families, won a few contests, got published, and learned the secrets to looking twenty pounds lighter in photos. Today, my photography is reserved for documenting my own family adventures, and I’ve become quite good at taking our own professional family portraits on timer. (Totally worth the five years of shooting pro to build that skill 😉
2010-2014 Online Photography Teaching Chapter
I started teaching photography classes in my dining room as a strategy to provide income through Utah’s frozen winter when nobody was asking for photos. Turns out, I liked teaching photography a whole lot more than I liked running a photo business! I went online with my courses shortly thereafter and my life changed forever. Suddenly I had students from six continents and dozens of countries! Teaching became my main focus and provided some unique opportunities, like being a regular contributor to Studio 5—Utah’s NBC lifestyle T.V. show, being featured in The $100 Startup, and a conference speaker at The Beloved Collective. Today, all my classes are taught at The Photographers Element led by some amazing instructors.
2015- Speaking, Podcasting and Every Branch Chapter
Ready for a new change, I shifted gears in 2015 and followed my heart in teaching topics that explored personal growth and creativity. I teamed up with Sarah Bray and co-founded Every Branch, an online school for Creavity & Life. We have a delightful podcast and create online audio courses in awesome topics that you’d never find in a standard University setting. As much as I love online teaching, I also delight in the old fashioned moments I get to teach in person to women and youth groups, and the occasional conference.
These chapters represent how God has guided my path in surprising ways. His “five year plan” is never revealed all at once and tries my faith constantly. But I keep trusting that He can make more out of me than I can on my own.
I also have some trusty travel companions: A calm supportive husband, a high adventure 7 year old boy and a cheerful dancing 3 year old girl. We reside in a Farmhouse in Northern Utah and delight in simple living.