I’m Ursula. Multi-award-winning photographer, kickass with kindness coach empowering you to BE YOU NOW
I believe we create our reality one thought at a time ... and I wish I'd known it sooner.
So I have to be honest with you, I haven't always been this visible. For over 20 years I've had my own successful award-winning photography and video companies and met and worked with CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities, charities, and women in business at all levels. And yet I'm still recovering from camera avoidance syndrome myself!
I understand that we can't always see ourselves when we're inside the picture.
The thoughts going around in our heads shape our reality and the stories we tell ourselves are often unkind or untrue. I couldn't see myself at all, hence why I had no profile picture on social media for 7 years! I know that being so concerned with 'not being enough' is not just something that I have experienced, because nearly all of my clients, regardless of their outward level of success, have at some point experienced it too.
Running at 50 miles an hour, saying yes to all opportunities, not saying no for fear of letting anyone down, or missing out on the next big thing. And all the while the feeling that what we’re doing is never enough creates havoc with our professional and personal lives. It sure did for me.
Being blue-lighted in an ambulance was my wake-up call and when the stroke ward consultant asked me if was I stressed...I said 'no'. He asked me to describe my typical week and after telling him in a nutshell what it involved, he sharply told me that something would have to change.
I realised I would have to start working smart instead of working hard, cut down on the freebies, the skill swaps, and donating so much of my own time, stop saying yes when I needed to say NO, and finally start seeing and charging my worth.
‘Yes', I reluctantly thought, ‘something really has got to change'.
You can live your best life, once you know what you want.
You don't need to know how, you just to need to know why.
BE YOU NOW
Vulnerability and Visibility = Authenticity. No more trying to fit in because it's all about just being yourself.
So who are you?
It's time to get you showing up and being proud of who you are and what you do.
Self discovery, self acceptance, self care...
These were the next steps of my journey. I had to find stillness, because in the stillness you have to sit with yourself. It's then that you learn to discover what really matters to you, and what your best life could look like. Because when you learn that self-love is not selfish at all, it's imperative for your success. When you realise that, you will make it a priority. I did and...
...I was hooked!
What would your best life look like?
Have you even let yourself dream of what that might be?
I grew up thinking that it's best not to think about wanting things you haven't got, so you don't end up looking greedy for asking or feeling disappointed if you don't achieve it. Not true!
Now, I can see that those thoughts just left me feeling powerless and invisible, and led me to perfectionism, procrastination, and eventually, paralysis.
But not anymore! Because I learned that the way to change your reality is to dare to dream...and so I did. And then I made my dream become reality...
Now i know the secret
First, you must allow yourself to want something in order to create it. You don't have to know how, you just have to know why. Because the why is the most important part. I learned that with one thought and one action at a time, you can make your dreams a reality. I have learned so much more on my journey to Here and Now and...
I want to share it with you...
it's all about believing that you deserve what you desire
So what do you really want?
If you could create a life with everything that you really wanted, what would you keep, what would you add, and what would you leave out?
It's time to truly understand exactly what you want and then start believing that you deserve to have it in your life. For real. That's how I manifested my dream home on a beautiful Scottish Island and I'm going to help you get to where you truly, madly, deeply want to go too. You've been working so hard for so long now, and it's time you used your real beauty and power to take you to where you've been dreaming of all along. Ask yourself this:
what do you believe you truly deserve.?
First, you must see yourself outside of the picture...
...to unlock our full potential, we must first see ourselves outside of the picture, the way other people see us: wholeheartedly, with gratitude, and with kindness.
Did I always see myself that way? If you asked me that a few years ago I would have said 'no way!' No matter what success I was congratulated on, whether it was winning an award, or achieving some personal or professional success, or even hearing something as simple as 'you look fab', I just couldn't hear see it or hear it. I honestly thought people were only trying to be nice!
My inner critic was on full volume blasting out tunes that did not evoke that 'feel good, I can do anything summer vibe' at all! I just couldn't accept it.
So my love and appreciation for myself were virtually nonexistent. Most of my joy came from hearing about my client's big successes, rather than acknowledging my own achievements.
And whilst having happy clients was, of course, so important, and helped me to have a stream of successful businesses, it also lead my over perfectionism and my not gaining satisfaction from many of my achievements. I couldn't see who I actually had been all along.
THen you can Feel Alive in Life!
For me, the discovery came when I realised that I didn't need to do more and perfect more in order to create more joy. Instead of perfection, I started an alternative process: recognizing, reframing, and reassuring. And I realised that to fail is actually ok. In fact, it is an essential part of the success process.
So I created a new acronym that turned F.A.I.L into something more positive: FEEL ALIVE IN LIFE.
I recognised in order to F.A.I.L. I needed to be kinder to myself, invest more in myself and give things a shot, regardless of what the outcome might be.
I reframed things so I could quieten the perfectionist voice of inner doubt, celebrate all I had achieved, and go after what I wanted next. I no longer concerned myself with what others might think.
I reassured myself and embraced a new way of thinking.
I finally found a way to truly get visible.
be you now
is where it all starts from.
It's from a place of vulnerability, authenticity, and acceptance, to remind ourselves with a morning mantra and mindset shift for all that happens in the day, that there is enough, we are enough...
...for theLove of Being Enough
I see you...
...and I know you are ready to have more confidence, profit, and joy in your life.
More of my story...
In the 80’s
I was living on a Dublin council estate where you knew everyone so you had the freedom to roam. I wore an eye patch to try and correct my lazy eye and was so very self-conscious of my freckles and my pale skin too. I was in the choir and would often be asked to sing a solo at mass, until one day someone pointed out the holes in my trousers and the shame kicked in, along with my desire to hide. My burgeoning thoughts of being a nun soon ended when I realised I liked boys…
In the 90’s
Ithought seriously about being a nurse, but I didn't like the sight of blood. I struggled a lot with my dyslexia at school and I was glad to leave as soon as I could and make my own way. I went out and got myself a job in a clothes factory …until I got fired. The boss told me I should work with people instead. I’m still grateful to him for that because it turns out he was absolutely right.…
So I went back to school and met a boy
I studied four times as hard as everyone else, and finally passed my exams with reasonable grades (and I still had to do maths twice…!)
And met a boy at a disco who lent me his camera and said ‘why don’t you try taking some pictures?’...
...there was no going back!
After that, I quickly binned all my other career ideas to study photography, first in Dublin, and eventually in Nottingham to study it for my degree.
Along with being told off by my lecturers for not knowing who Simone De Beauvoir was (I honestly didn’t have a clue!), I worked like a demon in the darkrooms until closing time every night. I explored making self-portraits as a way to study my own camera shyness (we’ll come back to that) and my thesis was actually on female self-portraiture.
After graduation I had little confidence as a photographer
I found work instead in an independent health food store and learned all about gut health, essential oils and medicinal herbs. On a whim one day, I decided to enter the ‘Fujifilm/ Hasselblad Face to Face Portrait awards’ in Professional Photographers Magazine (I used to read it in the shop!). I could only afford to enter one image but sure why not? Why not indeed: I was awarded 2nd place (and it was for a portrait of a girl with freckles too)!
It gave me the kick up the butt I needed. So I decided it was...
...time to get serious!
VULNERABILITY + VISIBILITY = Authenticity
So I set up my first photo studio, got to grips with analogue marketing (think magazine articles, and yellow pages, and a landline). I networked, won awards, photographed some famous faces (no selfie proof tho). And then, in 2007, someone told me that something called Facebook was going to be big and that I should be on it. So I signed up and when I realised I had to upload a profile picture, my inner critic, camera shyness/avoidance/self-consciousness immediately kicked in.
I decided to use this silhouette picture of myself so no one would have to see my face. I kept it as my profile picture for 8 years!
The last time I won a photography award was just a few years after my first child was born. I remember having my photo taken with the sponsors and I really didn’t like what I saw in the photos. I decided there and then that I wasn’t going to enter any more competitions for that reason!
I didn’t change my FB profile pic until 2015 (yes that’s right!). This was a year after my second child was born (hardly any photos from then either), and it was only then that I began my own conscious journey into becoming more confident to be visible. And it wasn’t till 2019 that I finally took the decision to invest in my own personal brand photoshoot and get in front of the camera for real. The recovering perfectionist and camera-avoiding photographer was born.
I realised that there are sooo many other women out there who, despite their skill, talent and achievements for their own unique reasons, have struggled with over perfecting, getting visible, and playing big as the central key to their business.
I also realised that the closer my photography and my mentoring came together, the more positive effects I was having on these wonderful women.
When YOU find YOUR why
YOU find YOUR way ...
Since opening my first studio in 2000 I’ve had 5 different photography and video businesses. I’ve shot 1000’s of pictures, photographed famous people, and won awards (and raised the kids in there soemwhere too)
On this journey, I soon realised that photography for me wasn’t just about creating pretty pictures. It was much more than that. It was a way to recognise someone's vulnerability and show it back to them as their strength.
To help them see something that maybe they couldn’t quite see In themselves.
I also saw that everybody experiences feelings of doubt, inadequacy, and impostor syndrome at some point in their lives, even celebrities, CEO's and clients with MBE’s too! (from the outside, it might not appear as so, but the higher up the professional ladder you go, the less people you may have to confide in without undermining yourself).
I started to realise that my photography was a form of therapy. I wasn’t just seeing my sitter and making their personal branding images, portraits or headshots, I was also really hearing them too. Counseling, mentoring, supporting, and coaching my clients was the most natural thing for me to do. At the end of a session, I’d often be told by my clients that they'd received more advice, motivation, and inspiration from me than their actual business coach!
So I began to listen to the feedback and requests and started to offer coaching alongside my photography and video. As my Dad says, I naturally grew into it!
“Ursula is more than a photographer, she's’ a life coach and confidante all rolled into one”
My work has allowed me to not only empower people to get confident and visible and create their best life, but also to create work that makes a difference on a governmental level. In my personal project 'Stories of Us', I visited food banks, over a 2 year period. I met with and photographed people accessing food banks for many reasons, and recorded personal stories. My aim was to highlight and challenge stigmas and stereotypes around food poverty in Britain.
The images then formed part of a campaign with Oxfam and End hunger UK and put pressure on the government to measure food insecurity. The project toured the UK before arriving at the houses of Parliament, where I was invited to speak about the work. I am proud to say the campaign was a success and the bill was passed to officially measure UK food insecurity. This is where I first started to truly 'Get Visible'.
And that’s when things really started to fall into place.
And then lockdown happened. Like most people I immediately went into shock, and fear, and disbelief. And after a week I decided f*** that!
And I did something about it. So I started my Facebook group, started running zoom training sessions and developed my coaching programme.
I decided that if I can’t go and help people then I can help them to help themselves! This is after all the thing I love the most, connecting with people, hearing their stories, helping them see themselves the way others do.
And this is where you come in...
You care about others and it’s easy to put them first because you really want to make a difference. But it doesn't have to be an either/or. You can have it all, great results for you, for your clients and for your community.
it’s time to start playing
it's time to be
it's time to be
be you NOW.
JOIN ME ON INSTAGRAM
I'm a visual person and I love taking photos, so I love Instagram too!
Come and join me for some motivation, honesty, snippets of Scottish Island life, plus a peek behind the scenes at Ursula K HQ...