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A day started in gratitude makes all the difference.

Candice Beaty has some exciting news. This photographer, teacher, and wedding planner has become CEO of her own company, Candice Lorraine. Her career journey has lead her to this entrepreneurial adventure that allows her to never settle and take control of her own path.

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

Oh goodness. I definitely don't feel unique. At best, I just feel like I am so thankful to be surrounded by a community of like-minded women who are trying their absolute best. We are fighting to support each other, we are fighting to encourage each other's successes, we are fighting not to be jealous or envious, and we are fighting to focus on our own paths ahead of us.

But if you want to know the insane story of how I became a wedding planner and photo stylist with a degree in Early Childhood Education, then THAT story I can easily tell.

I attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Education. I actually taught first grade before going full time with Chancey Charm Weddings. I started working for Chancey Charm as an intern while I was teaching. I would work on the weekends assisting weddings and helping the planners execute the day. After much experience assisting, the job opened up for a full-time position as a wedding planner and event designer. I was offered that job as I finished out my year of teaching! It was a lot of hard work to manage two jobs at the same time, but because of how much I loved my clients and brides, it was a joy to work so hard for a job I enjoyed.

An Education degree and experience in the classroom really helped me to build my skills to manage multiple projects at once and remain calm under pressure. It is amazing how perfect teaching was to prepare me for the ability to handle the needs of so many people at once! I strongly believe that everything throughout my past mile-markers has helped give me the tools and abilities to handle my current mile-marker in life. Teaching taught me true organization (not that phony "neat little piles" but actually knowing exactly where a single item is at any given moment... that is organization). It taught me how to focus on the many different needs of my students (now brides) without ever making another feel not supported or paid attention to.

Now I have worked for Chancey Charm for two years and the company has

recently shifted. During that transitional time, I started to brand and launch my own company. I feel so excited, terrified, encouraged and eager to see where this journey takes me. What is so amazing about owning my own company is that I really get to choose. I get to have power over the direction of my company. If I want to continue doing weddings then my LLC allows that, if I want to start moving towards photo and prop styling, then my company allows that... there is wiggle room and space for growth, error, decisions, and peace. I want my company to ONLY be doing things that I say "hell yes" to. No settling. This is the time when I get to really pursue my passion with no reins and no training wheels. It is death-defyingly-frightening and absolutely a dream.

2. What motivates you?

My senior year of high school quote (taking it back to 2008) always alway always sticks in my mind as my inspiration and motivation for how I wake up day-to-day.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." said by Leo Buscaglia. And whereas I believe those words to be true and a vital part of my decision making on a daily basis, I also have to add in that "too often we underestimate the power of simply loving someone and telling them that they are enough, because it is enough to empower them and alter their world".

When someone feels that they are enough, that's when they feel powerful. We are all flawed creatures, that's what makes us fantastic. What a boring world to be in if it were filled with step-ford perfect specimens. When we embrace our humanness, when we accept our flaws, when we love ourselves despite the cloud of insecurity and doubt we all have rumbling in our minds... that is when we move forward. That is when we become who we really are. Too often we try to become what we THINK others want us to be, what we THINK the world tells us is "right"... we waste so much energy on those efforts that we lose precious time to actually be the creation we are. Wouldn't life be so sad if we looked back and saw only failed attempts of being who we weren't designed to be, instead of courageous attempts to own our flawed but beautiful selves.

I recently worked through the book Strengths Finders 2.0 and I would recommend it to any and everyone. It is a book that tests your strengths in a professional world and then teaches you strategies on how to use those strengths to improve your performance. Their platform is that "people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. Teams that focus on their strengths are 12.5% more productive. Coach the people you lead to improve their performance." and isn't that so simple but profound?

For example: I don't have the strength to do anything financial based. In fact, everyone should steer me clear of all finances. So why would a job keep forcing and pushing and shoving me into a role that I am not naturally good at. Wouldn't they rather put me in a creative or design role, one that I have natural abilities and skills for, and watch me exceed expectations because of my already existing strengths? Then they could find someone with the pre-existing strengths of finances to exceed in that role? Does that make sense?

When we tell people that they are enough, that they are useful, they are amazing, they are a perfect addition to this world... that is when they perform the best they can. When we force people to become this cookie cutter person that they are not, that's when defeat and doubt overtake them. Human nature is so much more cohesive and functional when we all accept ourselves, love ourselves, and then live a life authentic to ourselves. ​

3. Who is a hero of yours?

Back to brevity on this one. Brene Brown & Amy Poehler are two heroes of mine for two very similar reasons. Even though Amy Poehler approaches life with more comedic relief, and Brene responds to life with a psychological background, they both preach lessons of knowing oneself. They both appreciate and applaud women for being exactly who they are and not apologizing for it. They both empower others to live life fully, loudly and without regrets.

Some of my favorite quotes by them:

"I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody's passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn't mind leading." Amy Poehler

"Why, when we know that there's no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No - the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect." Brene Brown

4. What's your personal future plan? Your goals?

Well.... cracks knuckles. I just launched my own company. I actually just walked out of my lawyers office YESTERDAY with my own LLC (photo attached as proof) and today I am going to get my own PO Box and bank account (photo evidence for another time). SO THATS EXCITING!

My goal is to eventually become an art director or creative director. I am so thankful that I have been placed in an industry where I can already tap into, experiment and observe those talents on a daily basis. Ideally I would love to be reached out to by companies who want product photos or lifestyle photos and would need my eye, props and abilities to direct a camera to capture those images.

These are photos from Caroline Fontenot from a shoot with The Love List that I styled to showcase these products being used in everyday life.

​​But who knows? I am so open to whatever life throws me! There are very few things that DON'T interest me :) So I would love to explore this world fully and never stop doing that.

5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Before you can even start your day, open your eyes and say out loud three things you are thankful for. A day started in gratitude makes all the difference.

Oh and EVERYTHING I said in question #2 would probably be my biggest life-mantra-platform-advice as well :)

​6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

I really feel passionate about giving. Giving possessions, giving money, giving time, giving a thought, giving energy, just giving. We are naturally so selfish and so consumed in our own moments. Stopping the world, to look up from our iphones, to touch someone, to give a donation, to think about others... never moments wasted. You will never look back on life and wish you answered more emails or wished you spent more time on your Instagram... I mean seriously. But you will regret the times you walked past someone in need and didn't offer him the two dollar bills in your pocket that you know you won't miss. Or the times when even you don't have money but a smile and "hello" is enough. Or the text from the annoying little sister or old friend that you don't want to answer, but know that in responding, you will encourage them. Why don't we do that more? We have so much to give because we have all been given so much.

7. What is the coolest thing you've ever done?

My family started our Travel Bucket List last year; wrote down all of the natural and man-made Wonders of the World and all of the world's greatest waterfalls and agreed to see them all together. This past spring I hiked Machu Picchu and it felt pretty freaking amazing. You have no breath because the altitude is so high, you can barely see one foot in front of the other because the fog is so thick... but you reach the top and none of that matters anymore. You see for miles this amazing land and this incredible community that these people invested all their lives into. You are blown away by the history and the magic of it all. I really cannot explain it, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Made me appreciate this world with such deeper gratitude than before. Next year we are going to Iguazu Falls in Argentina. This bucket list will probably take until the end of time, but I am so thankful that I have parents who love experiencing and exploring the world like I do.

8. How did you get to where you are now?

Do you mean how did I physically get to where I am right now: typing on my computer at 11:34 pm on a Thursday night before a wedding weekend? That answer is: 2 glasses of red wine at my (very balanced diet organic and gluten-free) dinner with one of my favorite brides, followed by 3 mandatory shots of espresso in a cappuccino, the movie soundtrack to "The Holiday" playing softly in my headphones and Season 3 Episode 6 of Heroes playing in the background to keep me awake.... aka over-stimulation and first world addictions.

I got here because I love people. I love making people happy. Whether it was teaching, hosting at the National (restaurant in Athens, Georgia and one of my many college jobs), leading a tour (another college job), or wedding planning - my life is based around people. Connections, conversations, relationships... that's what keeps us alive. I am constantly feeding off of other's energies. I love learning about people. I love meeting people. I love listening to people. I could never ever in a bazillion years not have a career that wasn't based around knowing people and interacting with them.

I just love people. Is that a possible avenue of how I got here?!!!

9. What was a challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

I think my biggest weakness is caring what others think. It traps me constantly. But this is what I know to be true about that flaw and how it will destroy me in my career. If you care what people think, this job will tear you apart. If your focus is to get the bridal party to like you, or gain approval and affirmation from wedding guests… you lose sight of your bride and groom. The end result is their marriage, that their marriage has a beautiful beginning and that they are equipped with the tools they need to have a successful marriage. If you get caught up in the “who said what”, “what do they think of me”, “I wonder if they think I am doing a good job”, “I feel like I have to prove myself to them”…. You get stuck in an awful downward spiral of insecurity and doubt. All that matters is the marriage. The rest always falls into place if your intentions are set on the beauty of the marriage.

You cannot CANNOT cannot CANNOT care what people think of you. Your focus is NOT those people. Your focus is the bride. Your focus is her marriage. Your focus is the dream wedding that she has had since she was a 5-year-old little girl. People are people, and some people just suck. They will always have opinions and they will always have comments. You just have to focus on your girl, how you are there to serve her, and how your role is to give fully to her. If you focus on pouring out your whole heart and energy to her, it always falls into place. So stop caring about everyone else, narrow down the vision, and make that girl the happiest little grown up 5-year-old you possibly can.

10. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.

Stay positive. Goodnesss gracious if you are a naturally pessimistic person, rethink where you are in life. You have GOT to be able to slap on a happy face and make magic whether you feel like it or not in every moment of this life. You WILL have those (brides / coworkers / friends) who drive you crazy, or those (mothers-of-the-brides / bosses / parents) who interrupt you and ignore your leadership. You WILL have difficult (wedding guests / companions / business partners) who argue with you, you will have (groomsmen / managers / teammates) who disrespect you and disobey your instructions… there are so many people that you CANNOT control their actions – but you CAN control your own. I constantly have to inhale and exhale knowing that I have once chance to make this impression, once chance to have this conversation, and I have to do it as calmly, respectfully and humbly as I can. Positivity is key. Sometimes you feel defeated, but you have to find the bright side and remember the joys… and move forward.