Blockers and Breakthroughs: How TWS Helped to Shape the Next Phase of My Business

Lisa Ward

Entrepreneur / Photographer 


A photographer with over 25+ years of experience, Lisa had spent the past decade growing her own professional photography business. While she was getting by and paying the bills with her go-to offerings of high school headshots, newborn baby shoots, and the occasional wedding, Lisa felt like she was spinning the wheels with her business, but not moving forward. As her career progressed, there was some experimentation with pet photography and eventually, she developed a strong desire to pursue that realm of her business. Though with no immediate business plans formulated, that expansion became a toned-down offering and less of a reality for stable financial growth in the future.



Lisa came to The Weekend Sabbatical to gain some clarity in her career – specifically on what she needed to do to move forward with her business, how she could get out of her comfort zone for driving a unique photography offering, and what expansion looked like for 2018 and beyond. In a saturated photography market, Lisa knew she needed to expand her offerings into newer areas but felt there were some blockers that were impeding her progress.

The June trip gave me the time to do some reflection on

my career and where I wanted to be moving forward as

an entrepreneurial photographer. It was beneficial to listen to the other participants’ stories, hear about their experiences in their careers, and learn of both their successes and struggles. Everyone was so supportive of each other and the coaching we received from Max was extremely helpful, especially when it came to turning my breakdowns in my business into breakthroughs.


As the experience progressed, the themes and activities of the trip really helped me to step out of my comfort zone and helped me realize that I needed to push myself more – especially from a professional standpoint. I had been spending too much time focusing on the negative and dwelling in self-doubt as an entrepreneur rather than being positive and proactive in attracting new clients and more business. Moreover, the social impact activity inspired me to reflect on ways in which I can provide service in my career and what can I do to make an impact as well in my community.


Overall, The Weekend Sabbatical was an incredible experience and it’s amazing how impactful just five days was for me (and the group). The journey gave me time to explore nature, reflect on my career and receive guidance in reaching my goals, volunteer with an environmental clean-up project, and enjoy a much-needed mental recharge and relaxation in a tropical environment.

(as told by Lisa)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going on this journey, especially as a participant that fell outside of the ‘normal’ Millennial age range. Keeping an open mind, I knew that I wanted to gain some clarity on how to forward in my career, while also getting some time to relax and enjoy time in nature.


I would say that The Weekend Sabbatical exceeded my expectations.


Having the opportunity to travel to an exotic location for The Weekend Sabbatical was absolutely incredible. Costa Rica is so beautiful with its lush landscape of tropical jungles, sandy beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls. It was the perfect setting for mentally recharging through reflection and meditation, and for the physical activities such as yoga, hiking, and swimming. I also really enjoyed our impact day plastic cleanup project working with Geoporters on a private beach in Uvita. It felt so good to be making an impact in preserving the beauty of the coastal environment and also the well-being of the marine wildlife.


Lisa’s vision plan focused on her desire to expand the pet photography offering of her photography business. Using that vision plan as a template, she has been running with her expansion since her return to the working world.


The context for her career beyond The Weekend Sabbatical has been focused on courage and confidence. Through coaching and the group activities, she had some powerful breakthroughs – most notably in how and why she was getting caught in her own tracks and how she could continue to push herself outside of her comfort zone and trust herself as she explored the pet photography business world.


Lisa used the Weekend Sabbatical to solidify her business plan moving forward as a photographer. To date, she now has a growing pet photography business ( with a robust social media wing and has gained more and more clients as she moves full speed ahead with her business, leveraging her momentum and breakthroughs gained on The Weekend Sabbatical.