The Terrifying Moment When Your Dreams Change

The Terrifying Moment When Your Dreams Change

I hope you’ll dream with me, of a world where all women see themselves as perfect and beautiful.

The beautiful thing about dreams is they’re not set in stone.

Dreams are ethereal wisps of the potential future. You can stare at them. You can pull at them. You can bring them into reality, changing them as your desires change. An endless world of possibility awaits a dreamer.

My dream for over a decade has been to show women how beautiful they are. I wanted to prove we are our harshest critics. I believed self-esteem was a transient state we either worked for or against. Taking the idea that self-esteem could be changed, I embarked on a journey that has brought me a life of passion and change.

I consider myself the Pinup Feminista.

My career into pinup art began with the goal of showing women of all ages, stages and sizes how stunning they are. What better way to show women how gorgeous they are? Bringing out their inner pinup girl was my way of saying, “Holy CRAP, can’t you see how GORGEOUS you are?!” (And I honestly I have said that many times, meaning every word.)

My goal was to turn the original intent of pinup on it’s head and heal women who hate their bodies with my therapeutic photography sessions.

Instead of creating an artistic ideal to please men, I turn modern women into a bombshell with a very feminist purpose. I tell my clients,

“Do this for YOU. Not for him. Not five pounds from now. Longer hair and more confidence won’t change the amazing experience you will have.”

And the fun byproduct of this is men notice a confident woman.

These dreams have fueled me for a decade. But with all of my life changes, I can see my dream and focus shifting.

One of the ways you build a successful business is by researching and understanding your ideal clientele. After this many years in the pin up art game, I’ve narrowed my ideal woman down.

If a girl is fairly confident and KNOWS in her bones that she is beautiful – she is not my ideal client. This was a really hard lesson to learn and accept. Business law says you choose the clients who can afford you. And I love working with ALL women.

But over the years I have realized a truth about my dream: my heart sings and my soul is nourished when I work with a woman who doesn’t believe she is beautiful. These are the women who struggle to be everything to everyone and find it hard to believe they’re pretty.

My heart seeks the woman who has an inner beauty that has been dulled over time by the insecurities whispered to her by our busy world.

I come to life as I nurture the intrinsic inner spark and fan it into a flame that shines from her heart and out of her eyes.

I found a way to PROVE I was helping create change. I conducted a survey of 30 past clients about how they felt before during and after my process. It measured their self-esteem at each stage.

The survey showed their self-esteem had improved by 46%. The women who were already confident in their self-image saw a 10%-30% improvement. The women who really needed to experience our process saw as much as 90% improvement. This shows me where my focus NEEDS to be.

I will always be the go to girl for pinup, especially sophisticated pinup art. But I can feel my heart expanding to include the other things that fuel me. This is the moment when your dreams change …

I’m excited, giddy and nervous to announce:

I’m going to expand my business and make a new niche for Photo Therapy.

I’m working with therapists to address body dimorphic disorder. I’m setting up programs to help kids and adults undergoing chemo to process and adjust their self-esteem. (If you run a program and would be interested please contact me.) I want to be able to take the time to do self-esteem seminars and reach the elementary school aged kids.

We can confirm their beauty before they’ve learned to hate themselves. I think we can undo bullying. And hopefully, address young suicide.

I’d like to teach other photographers how to work with people and lift their clients up without relying solely on retouching.

While in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I met an entrepreneur. He was at the beginning of his journey with an amazing project. I’m always fascinated to meet another entrepreneur and hear about their passions. We are a club of sorts. We make something where there was nothing and it’s the hardest job with tremendous rewards for the successful ones.

But it’s terribly difficult to navigate the rough waters of our economy. I remember the lonely early days. We got to talking and I found myself giving him advice about anything and everything.

And my spark lit.

I’ve done this for a few businesses and am excited to expand my business to include business coaching. More on that in an upcoming blog!

I’ve been talking about doing all of this for years but was so busy with pinup I didn’t have time to give it the attention it deserved.

Pinup will continue to be a huge part of my life, business and repertoire, but I want to do more than pinup. I want to create CHANGE. I thought that pinup was a way to do that. I think I can do better!

In addition to vintage art, I’m excited to go where my heart and creativity take me. As long as I’m affirming the beauty in others I can’t go wrong.

I want every woman to look in the mirror and feel as much joy as a child does.

If we are born with an appreciation for our reflections, then it proves my theory that the world teases and taunts us into believing we are not. That also means we can get that feeling back.

I hope you’ll dream with me, of a world where all women see themselves as perfect and beautiful.

Iman Woods
Feel Beautiful

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. info@imanwoods.com Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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  • Rem

    You are an amazing woman, Iman! Congratulations!

    • ImanWoods

      Thank you, Rem!

  • Your next level dream is so exciting!! This is such a wonderful expansion of everything you’ve been workng on. Bring on the change – so many good things heading your way.

    • ImanWoods

      It feels like the next step! Brought about by all of you!

  • A funny thing can happen on the dreamer’s journey for some — sometimes you realize that you didn’t dream big enough, that maybe the dream you picked was more of a goal, and once you arrive at your destination, you realize you should have gone bigger and been bolder. It’s great to expand the dream. It’s what you should do. 8 Women Dream is nothing like its original form. I knew it would grow and change as it grew up and became bigger. That is part of the process. Ask any successful entrepreneur if their project looks anything like it did at the start and they will tell you no. You go girl.

    Cath

    • ImanWoods

      That’s absolutely it, Cath. I’ve danced around the dream… I’m just narrowing my focus now to be part of the bigger dream. I wasn’t dreaming big enough. Just like my first post at 8 Women Dream said. :) Couldn’t be doing this without your help.

  • Great article; great woman! Follow you dreams~ always.

    • ImanWoods

      Thank you, Jim! Bettie inspired this post.

  • Mike Morse

    THAT is a beautiful dream. May all come true, Iman! It will come true!!!

    • ImanWoods

      Thank you, Mike. I’ll work hard to make it come true.

  • The very nature of a dream is that it exists at a place beyond our reach. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a dream. So of course it will be scary. Of course it will come with a lot of unknowns and no guarantees. Dream anyway. Beautiful post Iman.

    • ImanWoods

      There’s a quote about if it doesn’t scare you the dream isn’t big enough… I’m terrified which makes me SO excited! I’m a better person when I’m on the heels of scary change. Thank you!