This week we’re inspired by photographer, girl boss and overall badass, Jenna Kutcher. Read on to learn more about how she quit her corporate job to fulfill her dreams and the secret to her success.
Three years ago you left your corporate job to pursue a career in photography. What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the leap?
Know that your fears aren’t really that scary. I had sat in that windowless office until I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. Leaving a salary, a 401k, and benefits behind wasn’t a decision I took lightly, I planned and made sure the net was there before I took the leap. I had enough jobs booked to match my salary and had a business plan in place for how I was going to hustle to make sure that I wouldn’t fail. Life is short, if you don’t love what you do, you are spending your life not living up to your potential. I knew that if it somehow didn’t work out, I could use my degree and experience to land another windowless office job but thankfully I have never even thought about doing anything else with my life. To me success isn’t a corner office or a six figure paycheck, it’s yoga pants, working from the couch, waking up excited to work, sunny trips with my husband, daily naps with my puppies, giving back to others and educating others to go after their dreams.
To be honest, I don’t. I think balance is never achieved but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying. I love each aspect of my business and life that I couldn’t imagine giving any of it up. I do set aside intentional rest time in each season to make sure that I am caught up on good reads and Netflix marathons but to be honest, I am happiest when I am working. I absolutely love what I do so taking time away is nearly impossible for me but I’m learning to rest, to enjoy it, and to never forget the things I love outside of work (like my adorable husband or rescuing puppies!) My schedule means a lot of travel (I’m the queen of sleeping on planes) but I am thankful to be able to see the world as part of my work! I’ve been living with a “less is more” strategy and really focusing on quality work, quality clients, quality experiences over quantity and that has helped me so much!
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller
Oh man, this is so my jam. I think we live in such a world that talks about competing with others. We believe that we have to go it alone in order to make it and we are taught that her successes are our failures. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I seriously believe we rise in lifting one another up and when we start looking at each other as a community and not just our competition, our worlds will change. Some of my dearest friends are my direct “competitors” but I can tell you that this journey is so much better with them on the ride and when you start to believe that their success is a reflection of your potential, you start to see that the world is filled with beautiful moments and opportunities if you are looking!
We love your Immeasurably More Project! Can you tell our Aerie girls about it?
The Immeasurably More Project began when I was talking to a group of lady entrepreneurs. We joked that we never wear real pants or make up, that our lives look perfect and glamorous but the reality was we were living in yoga pants and feeling like we would never measure up. There is a nagging in my heart that tells me the world needs more rawness. I am not confident in my size 10 body, my face is getting wrinkles and zits at the same time (how confusing) I have cellulite and curves, my thighs always touch and I wonder if I will ever feel enough.
I am clinging to the truth that the Maker made no mistakes on me. I’m done tip-toeing around the fact that I look a lot like this everyday. I am done with the all the photos I see being retouched to perfection, bodies being changed, eyes widened, skin smoothed. I am done looking at them day in and out and hearing that little voice shout at me that I don’t look like them and I never will. The world desperately needs a movement, a reminder that the minute we open our eyes in the morning and draw our first breath of the day, we are enough. Whether we put on lipstick and heels for work or stay in our yoga pants in bed, we are worthy, beautiful, and capable. The Immeasurably More Project is a series of women who are changing the world, photographed with no make up, no retouching, and they are sharing their raw beauty and embracing the fact that their life is worth celebrating, no retouching necessary.
Do you have a favorite Aerie item?
I would live in Aerie if it were possible! I am obsessed with the new swim line and am packing my bags with it for our trip to Hawaii! (I mean, c’mon, a one piece swimsuit that is adorable? Yes, please!) I also live in yoga pants and sport bras so their athletic line is my jam. I avoid putting on “real” bras and pants as much as I can get by with it so I love that Aerie focuses on comfortable, flattering, and fashionable styles that make me feel a little bit feminine and wildly comfortable.
What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
Being #AerieREAL to me means accepting yourself for where you are at in this very minute. It’s seeing every day as a gift and a chance to be your best self (zits and all.) It is feeling worthy of being captured and documented in a way that is real and raw and in celebrating true beauty that radiates from the inside out. #AerieREAL is a reminder that you were made to me you and that you are immeasurably more than the labels society gives.
Thank you, Jenna!