So I Did It. I Lost My Fear and Gained My Whole Life. -


So I Did It. I Lost My Fear and Gained My Whole Life.

August 15, 2017

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Hey there, I'm James Silvas. Host of the Be That 1% Podcast and Peak Performance Coach. 

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Estimated Read Time: 15 minutes

Post Overview:

  • How what you think is just a hobby can turn out to be your calling
  • Why I said, “What the hell.”
  • What scared me most about starting my own photography business
  • What my outlook is today and my advice to you.


Have you ever felt like you were living someone else’s life? If so, I have been right there with you. The last two and a half years of my life have definitely had it’s ups and downs. So let me take you to the beginning.

I was a 2nd grade teacher for three years and in a serious relationship with someone. I had a good life, don’t get me wrong, but I remember waking up one day and just wanting MORE. I also remember walking into work that week and knew something greater was meant for me. I just felt that this wasn’t the life I was supposed to be living. And I knew I felt that way for a reason. Boy was I right. I will hit on that later in this post…

Photography has always been something I have loved since I was a little girl. I had a blown up black and white photo of New York City hanging in my room for years and absolutely loved it. I would gaze at it all the time and wish I could jump right into it haha it was so pretty to me!! I think it’s why I love black and white photos so much to this day. Sometimes, they stand out to me more then color images.

NYC (1 of 1)


I am a pretty artistic person so let’s just say art was one of my favorite classes in high school. Fast forward to my college days, at 19 I took a photography class where you would actually develop your own photos and hang them up to dry. It was super cool and I wanted to pursue it more, but I thought to myself, “I’ll never really make it as a photographer. This is more of a hobby.” So, I pushed it aside and continued my major with early childhood education.

It’s funny looking back now how things that are meant for you, find a way back to you.

One day in 2015 while teaching still, I decided to buy a decent camera. I started taking photos of my friends, nature, my dog, everything really. I watched HOURS and hours of youtube videos to learn how to shoot on manual and how to work Lightroom which is an editing software. I remember so many days after teaching where I would come home exhausted, but I would stay up excited editing until midnight or later.

I started posting my photographs to social media and my work slowly started getting noticed by others. I created an Instagram, a Facebook page and a small little website just curious to see if I could potentially grow a business. To my surprise, I did!! I started realizing that people actually wanted ME to photograph their weddings (I was terrified to shoot my first wedding, not gonna lie) and document other important times of their life. Teaching and being a photographer was extremely difficult. At one point, I was balancing having two jobs so something had to give. I said what the hell. Let me try to see where this can take me!

I was 26 and I had an epiphany. I couldn’t fight what my heart was telling me so, I decided to follow it.

I prayed and asked God to lead me to the path meant for me. I was about to leave a teaching job I thought I wanted my whole life (literally since like 5 years old) and worked SO hard to get. Five years in college and all that money spent… (ugh!)

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It was scary, yet so thrilling and exciting! So I did it.


I  J U M P E D.


I left the school district, bought an even nicer camera and found myself shooting

session after session …


and wedding after wedding…

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Don’t let me fool you here though. It didn’t come super easy. I worked extremely hard and self-taught myself everything! I paid for workshops out of state which taught and inspired me sooo much more. I still attend workshops to this day because I am constantly learning. I bought more gear, got my business license, etc. I just decided to go all in! Go big or go home right?!


I want you to remember that passion is so unbelievably important. If you’re not passionate about what you are doing, why are you doing it?



During this exciting business time, my serious relationship ended up not working out which was pretty hard on me. I had personal issues going on in my life that a lot of people didn’t even know about. I was scared for the future, but hopeful. I was scared because the future was unknown for the first time in a while. I couldn’t see what it looked like. It still is scary if I am being honest here. Before, I had it all planned out. I was going be a teacher, a wife, have some kids, and live that “perfect life”. Well, life had other plans for me. I took a leap of faith and found myself free.




Now I am a 28 year old single photographer and I absolutely love it. I have traveled to different countries this past year, visited some rad states I have always wanted to see, I have met SO many amazing women and other photographers.


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I have felt loss harder then ever before, but I have felt love harder then ever before. I have an entire new community of people and clients I adore that I would never have known had I played my life safe.

Living a life that is meant for me is the best feeling in the world. I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Multiple people have told me that my story has inspired them and that’s what I hope it does for you!

Are you working a job you hate? Don’t.

Are you settling in a relationship? Get out of it.

Are you feeling complacent in life? Change it up.

If you’re playing it safe, you aren’t really living. Don’t settle.

There’s so much more meant for you.




This quote is one of my personal favorites and maybe it’ll resonate with you..

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits- anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”


The reason I chose my business name the light & the love is because I am obsessed with the sunlight. Sunrises and sunsets are magical to me. But also because the sun always rises, even after the darkest nights. Every day is a new day and a new start. Love comes the love that I witness when I shoot. Whether its a wedding, family session, maternity session, engagements, etc. There is SO much freaking love that I get to see and capture forever for humans. It makes me love my job even more. I truly have one of the best careers in the world for that reason.





I hope you find the light in your life. I hope it pushes and fuels you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. I hope you have support during difficult times and that you keep on trying when things get hard and when you are judged. Don’t give up right away, if it gets tough and if things don’t go your way. Great things take time. I hope you have a job that doesn’t feel like a job because you’re so damn passionate about it.


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If there’s anything I have learned these last two and a half years and truly learned, you have to stay true to who you are. Follow your heart and free your soul.

Be that 1% of individuals who DON’T settle. Fight for what you want and feel at peace with your decisions.

I am apart of the 1% because I can say I chose my life.

It didn’t choose me.


With love,




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