• Mariah Harkey

2019 Recap: Overcoming Fear

I went into this year ready to make some big changes. Changes in my personal life, my career life, where I'd be living, who I'd be surrounding myself with.

I was ready. I just had the most incredible experience working my dream job for Semester at Sea, and I was ready to achieve my next goal: moving to LA and working in the video industry.


But truth be told, I was scared. I wanted to pretend like I was fearless, moving only a short plane ride away. But I was fearful of failure. Fearful that I'd move to LA and things wouldn't work out how I had hoped. Fearful I wouldn't find a job, or I'd get stuck doing something I hated, just to pay rent. Fearful that every step of the way that I've planned perfectly, wouldn't pan out. But the irony with that - isn't that just life?


As we've all heard and learned, change is inevitable. And no matter how much uncertainty I was filled with not having a job when I moved, I honestly thought "F*ck it. There's no better time in my life, than this exact moment, to fail."

Some would call it careless, I call it a poor woman's bravery.

Either way, it happened.

And with that, I couldn't be more excited to look back on the WINS from 2019, and how much I could've missed out on if I had given into the fear of the unknown.


My first paid press trip 🎉

Earlier this year I checked a paid press/film trip off my career bucketlist! I got sent to a surprise destination (NOLA) to film what it’s like to go on a trip that you don’t plan yourself, with the company Pack Up & Go. This video was sponsored and shot with Tastemade Travel, which crazy enough, lead me to my next dream job in LA....


Worked for my favorite event/music company 🎉

Marker moment 2 of 2019: Being hired to shoot for the The DoLab!

I legit cried when I got the email about shooting on Lightning in a Bottle's in-house photo team this year.

I shot on a team with people I’ve followed & admired on instagram for YEARS.

I planned for months on what weird social snacks I could do while there, and decided to try some things that maybe would/maybe wouldn’t work.

I shot one of my favorite artists, Channel Tres.

And - I camped by myself in a thunderstorm?!

I left this festival (and experience) feeling like I could do anything👊🏽Thank you for trusting in me - DoLaB!


Got my next "dream job" working for Tastemade Travel 🎉

Honestly, this one was wild even to me.

After Semester at Sea, I made it a goal to work for Tastemade full-time in 2019.

I freelanced for Tastemade Travel on a whim in 2018, and absolutely loved it. It gave me the freedom to shoot/edit around the world while getting paid, all while reaching an audience size that was unfathomable to a little creator like myself.


I reached out to their team in early 2019, in which they let me know they didn't have any open positions.

Coincedently, the month I moved to LA, a position because available for immediate hire with their small but mighty team.

I couldn't believe it - I had seriously manifested that into reality, and I ran with it!

I quit the job I had just started down in LA (sorry again dudes, hope y'all understood) to pursue my dream job, and dream career. And damn, did I learn and see and do a BUNCH this year with the TM Travel team. I went from being a one-man creator, to managing 50 filmmakers around the world to create in just under a week.


I produced my first ever studio shoot,

I traveled to Ibiza, Spain and Portugal to shoot two pilot videos for Tastemade Travel.

I shot the California Olive Harvest on-site during a press trip this year.

And the list goes on!


Running the Country Summer in-house video team 🎉

Marker Moment 3 of 2019: Not only filming, but running our tiny in-house video team at @countrysummer with Brennan Spark.

I’ve shot this festival 3 times now- but this time was different. I’m finally growing in confidence in my own work. First year, you wouldn’t catch me on stage. Third year, I’m out there running after Cowboy Troy in front of thousands of people.

I’m worrying less about failing or doing something wrong - I’m growing in this craft by trying it all.

And hell, I shot Tom McGraw, Jake Owen & Old Dominion. Yeehaw🔥


Why share these wins?


As a creator, I'm already a perfectionist far past what I should be, but this does allow me to put my heart and soul into my work. With that, I'm extremely critical of what I make and put out, analyzing how I could have done this better or that better weeks or months or years on end after a project is complete. (You know, you are your worst critic!)


Because of this, I think it's incredibly important to write down your wins on paper (or e-paper), and visualize your growth and success when looking back on past experiences. You'll always find time to critique your work. But will you also always make time to praise it?


Look back on all the obstacles you've worked through, how far you've come, and be proud.


Give yourself a break every now and then. You deserve it!