A Personal Struggle

  • Being Driven vs. Contentment

This post has been on my heart and my mind for a while. When I blog posts like this… it starts as a random thought… and then I start paying attention to these certain aspects of our life and then normally something sparks the need to write it. This week this process happened rather quickly. I had a thought a few days ago about contentment vs. being driven. My thought led to questions and then I read a post that made it clear that I needed to blog about this. I’ve been realizing recently that I don’t really have an “off” switch.

Looking back on my college life and even my high school life, I’ve always been this way.  It’s hard for me to sit and do nothing… really hard.  I really enjoy working and accomplishing things and using my time well.  This is a great skill to have as a small business owner…. not a great skill to have when you’re trying to take a day off. This past week, as I was trying to take some time off, I was thinking about where the line is. Where is the line between being driven and being content?? It seems almost impossible to be BOTH, right?! How can you be motivated and driven to move a business forward but yet be content and satisfied where you are at the same time?

My second thought was “Is it WRONG to be driven?”…. Is it wrong to enjoy working? … Is it wrong to be content and stay at the same place? Is it wrong to never long to do something beyond where I currently am? AH! So confusing….. well, it’s confusing if your purpose lies within your business because that would be a never-ending battle.  Sometimes I forget that my purpose isn’t dependent on my career.  After thinking about these questions this past week, I’ve come to realize a few key truths:

1. My purpose is in my identity in Christ…. which gives me freedom in my business…. freedom to be driven and content simultaneously.  My ultimate goal is to live out God’s plan for my life and so if that should be my main concern. When I’m truly living this way, there is a peace that covers all aspects of our life… but it’s hard to remember this daily. 

2. I’ve come to the realization that when my “driven-ness” causes me to miss out on quality time with my husband and pushes me to a state of unhappiness….. that’s the line. That’s when contentment needs to set in.

3. I’ve also decided that the key is BALANCE. I don’t ever want to be so driven that I’m consumed with moving forward and I forget to enjoy where we are. I also don’t want to be so content that I miss opportunities and fall into laziness. The sweet spot seems to be right in between the two.

4. I think there is something beautiful about being driven towards a greater goal…. especially if that greater goal is to serve and love people. When someone can live their life’s calling and change lives through a career, that’s such a gift! I think it’s more acceptable to be driven when your ultimate motive is not to serve yourself. If my goal is to work as hard as I possibly could just to pay off a chunk of our mortgage…. that’s great financially but that’s only serving ME.  However, if my goal is to speak and teach more because I know I can impact people’s lives and enhance their businesses… that’s a totally different mindset! 

5.  Last but not least, I’m learning that I can’t compare my driven-ness and contentment levels to others. Some people are MORE driven than I am and some are less driven. It’s impossible to gauge where I should be compared to others because they don’t live my life and they aren’t going to fulfill God’s plan for their life the same way I am. So it’s not fair for me to look at others and use their lives to determine what mine should look like. 

Once again, this is a post that wasn’t on the calendar for today. Today was supposed to be a recap of recent Coaching sessions!! That will come later. The blog post that prompted this post was one by Kristen Leigh.  Kristen is photographer who recently lost her mom to cancer and I followed Mama Bear’s story for months and somehow…. because of the beautiful way she writes, I felt like I was a part of the story. Kristen just posted a powerful explanation of how she now views life after having to say goodbye too soon to her mom. The balance of drive and contentment is different for everyone and I loved reading about how they are living life to the fullest right now.

So I hope I’m not the only one that has struggled with this!!  If this impacted one person, it was worth the time that it took to type all of this out. :)  Have an amazing weekend! I’m practicing the art of “balance” and we’re heading home for the weekend to be a part of another shower for my sister and her soon to be husband!! CRAZY!! Happy Friday!

And thanks Lauren for the pic of us at UNITED in Santa Barbara, CA!

xoxo, Katelyn
37 Comments Personal
  1. Megan K. Marcus reply

    Love this. As a college student I am constantly trying to find this balance between laziness and determination to do better! You’re right… When quality time with people you love is compromised… That’s when the line needs to be drawn!

  2. Kevin reply

    Just an amazingly timely post. Hope lots if folks read it take it to heart. Thanks for the reminder kk.

  3. Lyndsey portell reply

    thank you so much for sharing this today! I needed it. as a young photographer, i’m already finding it difficult to find balance. I so appreciate your words of encouragement and the sharing of your own personal stories. keeping god the center of all this craziness is also my goal. again, thank you and have a wonderful day!

  4. STEPHANIE reply

    Just wanted to let you know that this post did impact at least one person. :) (And I’m sure there will be many more to come!!!) I’ve been loving your not-scheduled posts about the purpose behind your business… it’s so encouraging to see another photographer trying to run a business that glorifies God and serves others! Contentment vs drivenness is something that I’ve struggled with a TON since starting my business, and it’s encouraging that I’m not alone in the fight. :) Thanks for writing this, Katelyn, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  5. Maria reply

    I was listening to Mary’s United talk when I read this. Just perfect. I love this and struggle with this, and i pray we all find balance and contentment, no matter where we are and what we do.

  6. Karena DIxon reply

    A daily struggle for me with extreme highs adn lows. My husband and I each own our own businesses. it’s so easy to get lost in the race to the future. as parents, we are forced to take a deep breath and just be with our kids.

  7. Jordan Demos reply

    Love it, KJ! Keep shining, girl!

  8. ZipporahK reply

    Love that you shared this! I’ve been wondering the same thing for a few weeks now. Where is the line. Especially as Christians, I wondered about continuously striving for more, while not feeling guilty about it. Thanks for sharing Katelyn!

  9. Caroline Logan reply

    Yes yes yes. This is something that I have personally been challenged with SO often since United, so this post is such crazy perfect timing. God is good. Thanks for sharing your heart, Katelyn, and speaking right to mine :) Love ya!!

  10. Brittney reply

    I love your heart and I’m SO thankful for you and the words you speak into other’s lives

  11. ashley barnett reply

    Ohhhh Katelyn. SUCH a great post. You and I are so similar! My parents thought I was crazy because at 14 I asked if I could get a job… who does that?! But I’ve always liked to be moving forward, learning more, doing more and helping others… some would say I’m driven to a fault but I still get to do what I love, with the people I love, so I think I’m doing okay! :)

  12. Sarah McGuckin reply

    You are so inspiring, thank-you for writing this and for always being humble and giving praise to god. You are truly so amazing <3

  13. Jill Samter reply

    Beautifully said Katelyn! The sweet spot is resting IN God’s amazing love for us as we seek to be his hands and feet. For each of us that will look very different. Praise God that you have found a way to glorify him wile doing something that you love. It is a blessing to watch you grow in both areas! Sending hugs and Blessings your way!

  14. Shuva Rahim reply

    Wonderful Post, Katelyn! I’ve been wondering aspects of your posts in regards to myself and my business in recent weeks so this is very much appreciated! All the best.

  15. Valerie Duvick reply

    So needed this. Thank you! :)

  16. Katie reply

    Love your words today Katelyn! I’ve been repeating in my head, if I’ve helped at least one person then I know I’ve done well and it’s helping!! It’s so hard to really know…..anything. Haha that’s a conversation for another day

  17. Kat reply

    YES! I love this Katelyn! Finding balance is definitely something I’m really struggling with right now so this is perfect. Thanks, girl! xo!!

  18. Rici reply

    These thoughts are so valuable & precious! Thank you for typing them out! :)

  19. Kristin reply

    Beautifully stated. Nice to read the perspective of another Christian photographer.

  20. Jenn Mitchell reply

    Good Word, Katelyn. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Jennifer reply

    Oh my gosh. I relate to this SO much! My mom has always told me that if I wasn’t killing myself with work, she wouldn’t recognize me. I have the hardest time NOT being productive. It is a serious struggle for me! Thank you for posting!

  22. Dannielle reply

    So needed this! The part about being driven but desiring gods will more is something I needed as a reminder! Bless you and you’re dead on!

  23. Digna Toledo reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this katelyn. Totally love this post. to me this is just a reminder of what my purpose in life is. thank you!

  24. kerri reply

    So good katelyn!! I feel that way too – it’s so hard for me to relax, especially working from home. If i’m here, i’m working. But you’re right, being driven to serve others, that’s the sweet spot :)

  25. Bethany Paige reply

    Thanks so much for sharing! Definitely something I’m struggling with. Thanks for being such a godly example for me in this industry!

  26. caroline reply

    Hit ThE Spot. Thanks For Sharing, Kk :) Love You!!!

  27. Lori Askew reply

    Katelyn, Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your dad posted this on fb and the timing was perfect for me! i have been struggling since Tony was killed to really know where i should be and what i should be doing. your post has really help me see things differently or maybe how i should be seeing them. the timing is amazing…and maybe it’s god’s timing….i know it’s god’s timing! i was just exploring the possibility of continuing to pursue some areas of where my passion lies…and I read this! just what i needed….thank you!

  28. James Chase reply


  29. Mandy reply

    KK I loved this post!! So many truths I need to be reminded of constantly…especially that we can’t use others to judge whether or not we are on the right track. Thanks for listening to God speak and then being bold and willing enough to share it. I love you and I love your heart in your business. You care deeply for others and you glorify God in the process o serving, teaching, and using your gifts for him! Have a great time at the shower! :)

  30. andrea reply

    great post!! thank you!! love your blog, perfect mix of personal, business and design!

  31. Laura Beth Stricker reply

    What an awesome post – Thanks, Katelyn!

  32. Melissa Jill reply

    Love this Katelyn — DEFINITELY something I struggle with on a consistent basis. I especially loved point #5 — it is such a temptation to compare but it is so freeing to know that we each have a unique purpose in Christ. Keeping our eyes on Him rather than others is the key!

  33. Heather Creed reply

    Balance is hard! My husband and I still struggle with it as we both still have full time jobs. I just graduated from college last year and have just about funded my entire business so I’m hoping I can go full time next year! Because working 60-80 hours a week is not fun and takes a major toll on your personal life!

  34. Christy Tyler reply

    I don’t think you ever have to worry about being so content you get lazy. ;) That’s not even an option for your brain. :) I’d worry more about making sure you’re allowing yourself balance so you can best take care of your mind, body, and relationships. (That’s what I try to focus on anyway, since I know my problem is turning it “off” too.) take care of yourself! Xoxo :)

  35. Shauna Ploeger reply

    Exactly! I struggle with that too and then I look at my three beautiful kids and I realize being published in magazines is awesome, but what’s more awesome is having a family whom I love and loves me. Being able to have a career that blesses both me and others is simply icing on the cake!

  36. Anna Henry reply

    This may seem a little weird or creepy since I’ve never met you, but you inspire me. It’s such an inspiring thing to see how you have built your business, and more importatnly that you give God the glory! No wonder you have been so successful. keep showing people how beautiful they are.
    -an aspiring photog :)

  37. Nancy Ray reply

    Love this so much, friend. Beautifully written.

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