5 Ways To Change Your Mind That Will Create Massive Change in Your Business

5 Ways To Change Your Mind That Will Create Massive Change in Your Business

  1. Gratitude

  2. Vision

  3. Confidence

  4. Mediation

  5. Why


If you’re looking for the quickest and easiest way to change your mindset then look no further. Gratitude has been proven to have some powerful effects on humans. Click here to read an article from Berkley on the subject.

Great but how do I actually do it?

The short answer is to train your brain to get into the habit of paying attention to the things in your life that you’re grateful for.

I have a general list up on my wall near my work computer that I can refer to if I’m struggling to stay grateful. I have two kids and I’ve built in a short gratitude practice every morning where before they get out of bed we all say one thing we’re grateful for.

What are you grateful for? Write it down and put it somewhere or make a graphic of the list to put on your phone screensaver.


I said it in the beginning of this article but what you think or see in your mind…becomes your reality quite literally. People like Earl Nightingale and Napoleon Hill are the teachers I’ve learned from but honestly this has been regurgitated in so many different ways today that it’s become common to hear personal development gurus talk about vision quite often. Or as Napoleon Hill says “Have a clear picture in your mind of what you want”.

On my phone lock screen I have “Have A Clear Vision, A Reason Why, and Daily Action”.

I do this to remind myself to consistently visualize the things I want in my life daily. Why would I do that? Because thoughts (and visions) become reality and I want to control my reality. Not some random circumstance that happens by chance.

A great way to start with vision is to write down your main goal in life then all around it add the details of what your life would look like if you met that goal. Feelings, money, relationships, etc.

I know that seems a bit woo woo but trust me it works wonders in your mindset and can be one of the quickest ways to bring about change.


It wasn’t until I did my first workshop tour where I learned how lack of confidence in one’s self was an epidemic in the entrepreneurial spaces.

I saw people completely paralyzed by their lack of self worth, failed attempts at applying their past experiences, and fear of judgement from others.

I also still struggle with this too.

These days low self confidence can be caused by many things from past trauma, abusive relationships, or something as simple as a negative comment on Facebook.

So how do we increase our confidence then so we can be sure about our decisions in our businesses?

In sounds cliché but the way you gain confidence is to face your fears…or focus on your fears and then face them.

I think back to my life when I was a highly competitive college wrestler or when I was in the Marine Corps or when my ex wife cheated on me for the 2nd time. I think about the experiences I had in those environments and what led me to feel the most pain.

It was when I hesitated and didn’t act because I was scared that caused the most mental anguish not because of what other people were doing but because I wanted to act and didn’t. It was a matter of integrity with myself.

By not acting when I was scared I confirmed my fears and what I thought about myself was affirmed. “I’m not brave enough” or “I’m not good enough”.

In my experience the quickest way to gain self confidence and change is to notice your fear then do the thing your scared of. You’ll instantly realize the the story your mind told you about what to be scared about was over exaggerated and then your mind creates a new story about what you can do.

To start write down your greatest fear right now and what it’s stopping you from doing in your life. Then take the first step towards doing that thing.


I know (eye roll). This has been overused as a buzz word for the past decade but there’s a reason.

Meditation has been the key to increasing my own self awareness and has helped me find my purpose in life.

With the constant bombardment of social media, internet TV, texts and emails we have officially become the most unaware we’ve ever been…kind of.


Here’s a graph from Harvard Business Review (click here if you want to nerd out with me)

So from one perspective we are more “aware” of what works in business and life than ever. On the other hand there’s only a few people who are really aware of that information.

It’s like when your boss tells you do something after they come back from a big conference. They’re really inspired, motivated and gung-ho about what they became aware of at the conference and they act on that by coming back and telling their employees to do something without trying to impart the same experience and levels of awareness that they have.

Meditation is a great way to increase your personal awareness so you can focus in on the things in your life and business that matter.

Start off by sitting down for 5 minutes. Sit up straight. Close your eyes and just take deep breaths until the 5 minutes is up. After your done, write down your thoughts in a journal.

Mediation is a process so be patient with yourself if your mind wanders. This is hard work but if you take it in baby steps in can lead to huge change in your daily life starting today!


I’ve taught in public schools for a decade now and I’ve learned a valuable lesson when it comes to engaging young people to get them to do their work at a high quality level while enjoying it. It’s always starting with asking them “why?”.

I ask them “why are grades important?”. “Are there other benefits to actually creating in school?”. “Why is working hard valuable?”. “Why wouldn’t you incorporate your personal interests into projects?”.

These questions prime my students to focus on their own personal why for being at school, doing their work, and getting good grades.

I pair the why with everything I teach as to give them context.

For example, I’m currently working with a small group of talented videographers to develop a lifestyle brand on Youtube.

They just wanted to start by making videos. Duh, they’re teenagers. That makes sense!

They didn’t understand how not having a why was setting them up for a long, difficult road ahead.

We finished up the first month of school by crafting a why statement, a mission statement, a clear vision with measurable goals, and spending a painstakingly amount of time of creating a Customer Profile for their ideal customer.

Sounds boring af right? Well if you know how much change you can create just by asking yourself why then it won’t feel so monotonous to work on. When you have a clear purpose in your life and business then change can sometimes be fun, energizing, and create a feeling of excitement in your life!

If you’re a photographer ask yourself “what is it about this industry that I love?” and “what is it about taking photos of other people that inspires me?”.

If you’re an entrepreneur ask yourself “what is it about this lifestyle that brings me energy?” and “what problems do I enjoy solving for other people?”.

If you’re a teacher ask yourself “what is it about teaching others that feeds my soul?” and “what got me into teaching in the first place?”. For me this has been my younger brother Jonathan. He has autism and I helped raise him. As I watched him grow up I saw him and my mother struggle through getting support from teachers so I decided that I would be a teacher to help people like my brother.

Thank you so much for your attention and if you’d like to learn more how to Change Your Mind To Change Your Business then click here to watch a live discussion.

My Fears Around Teaching Photography Workshops

I wanted to share with you some of my fears, and how I overcame them, around holding my photography workshops because I know so many photographers have dreams of one day teaching their own and fear tends to be the reason they don’t.

I’ll start off by giving you a quick background on me, my mission, and what I do for other photographers.

My name is Mark Maya I'm a Marine Corps Iraqi War Veteran, former college athlete, PTSD conquerer turned wedding photographer and coach. I’m also an Digital Art Teacher at a high school. I have two young kids, Harvest and Honor. They live with me in Durham, N.C.

I provide genuine wedding photography for unique couples and my mission is to provide them with a stress-free, genuine experience that makes them feel confident in me, my abilities and my experience. I do this by working closely with clients to make sure that I go the extra mile through unexpected ways. The main way I help my clients is to give them a high quality product while providing them with an amazing experience that they won’t forget so they can actually enjoy their wedding without having to worry about the details like photography.

I’m also a coach for photographers where I facilitate an online paid community, face-to-face workshops, and small group coaching in order to help photographers find their “Why” in their businesses. I do this by actively cultivating relationships with other photographers and being an advocate for them, their businesses and their missions. The main way I help photographers is when they’re feeling uninspired, stuck or disconnected, I use inquiry-based learning models to guide them to their own purpose, meaning and focus so they can gain clarity on what steps to take next in their photography businesses.

Photography Workshop in Asheville, North Carolina

Photography Workshop in Asheville, North Carolina


This is the part where I talk about my fears of teaching my own workshops.

Touring the country teaching face-to-face workshops has been the scariest thing I’ve done in my business. From January 2017 - March 2018 I taught 6 different one-day, face-to-face workshops for photographers in LA, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Asheville and my hometown of Durham, N.C.

The fear I felt around teaching my workshops was connected with failure. I had never done anything like this (especially this big) but I knew I wanted to travel more and that face-to-face environments were inspiring to me so I worked hard to work through that fear and procrastination.

Photography Workshop in Moab, Utah

Photography Workshop in Moab, Utah


Here are some things I took action on to overcome those fears.

Procrastination and the fear that I wasn’t good enough popped up as soon as I was ready to commit to doing my workshops so I knew that inspired action was important so the first step I took was to buy a plane ticket to my first location and put the date on my calendar. That helped me hold myself accountable for doing it and ultimately obliterate procrastination. Also, if no one came to the workshop (which actually happened once) then I would still meet my need of wanting to travel.

I also searched for local ambassadors that were already in my community to help with the promotion of the events. I actually had 4 photographers register for my last workshop in Chicago just because I asked a local established photographer to think about people who they think would benefit from it. 3 of those people have joined my online community since then.

Finally, I just told my audience through Facebook, Instagram, and email. This helped me get in the mindset of talking about my workshops consistently and it helped to my audience understand what I was doing more.

Photography Workshop in Chicago, IL

Photography Workshop in Chicago, IL


Here are the results of those actions I took.

The first four workshops were complete duds. I found only a few people that I was resonating with and it resulting in some real personal embarrassment. For example, the first four workshops I held had only six photographers attend…combined.

I thought about quitting after each one of those first four workshops just because I was so embarrassed. Luckily, I didn’t because the last two workshops were complete hits. They both had around 10 or 11 attendees and the reviews I got from those 20 people were golden and I’m currently using them to promote my next workshop tour. This time around I have much more confidence in myself and my ability to help other photographers and I even double my price for it.

You can check out my workshops for photographers by clicking here.

Zoe + Alison \\ LGBTQ Courthouse Wedding, Durham, NC

Zoe and Allison first met me over drinks at Motorco Parts and Labor to meet and talk about them tying the knot at the Durham County Courthouse in Summer of 2018. We had gin and local NC libations of course…I mean it’s DURM!

They told me about how they met teaching together at the same high school and the story of how they eventually fell in love.

On their wedding day we met on a Monday morning at the courthouse about an hour before they were scheduled to get hitched so we could take some photos of them feeling beautiful together. This was a really special time because they had a few moments together before the ceremony to connect, take some deep breaths and remember why they decided to get married in the first place. Also, this was the first time they had photos taken together which made me really excited!

After the portraits we headed in the courthouse for some quick paper work and then went upstairs to the Magistrates office to get hitched!

It was the sweetest ceremony and afterwards we walked over to Tobacco Road for champagne and lunch.

Flowers by Ninth Street Flowers

Getting Married at the Durham County Courthouse N.C.

In the urban downtown city of Durham, N.C. lies a special treasure. It’s not the fluff and frill of your normal wedding venues in Durham. It is a wedding venue so perfect that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and doesn’t come with stress of other wedding venues. It is the Durham County Courthouse.

It is the best wedding venue alternative in Durham, N.C. and in my opinion there is nothing more simple and fun then getting married at the courthouse so you can have a stress-free wedding day.

The Durham County Courthouse It is fun, romantic, and adventurous to elope at plus it has some great places surrounding the venue to have a simple reception.

I love taking photos of weddings all over Durham but I never feel as inspired as I do when I work with couples who put the importance of the day over the venue.

The Durham County Courthouse isn’t the wedding venue that’s for “traditional” couples. It’s for couples who believe that your connection with each other is more important than a lavish reception. It’s for couples who enjoy the simple things in life. It’s for weddings that are different and hopefully you fall in love with surprising wedding venue as much as I have.


10 Steps To Getting Married at the Durham County Courthouse

  1. Choose a time and date

    June, September and October are by far the busiest months in Durham because the weather is perfect and there’s still lots of daylight. May, July and August are also great months to getting married. In May nature is a lush green and flowers are in bloom. In July and August there’s lots of beautiful light. But since your courthouse wedding will be…in the Durham Courthouse you could also just get married in Winter too! It’s your special day so you should do what feels right.

    I highly recommend a weekday when the courthouse is less crowded. In my experience, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the least crowed days. Whatever you do, try to plan on photos as early as possible in the day so you feel your best, look your best and have great light. I know it can be hard to plan around your wedding day (even when it’s a simple one) but because it’s one of the most special days in the world, don’t you want the pictures to capture that!?

  2. Choose a photographer

    Wedding photographers are usually the first vendor you’ll contact after you decide to get married at the courthouse. If the wedding photographer you love already has the date taken then you might not get the photos that you want from your courthouse wedding day so try to lock down a photographer asap. If simple, emotional, gorgeous, one of a kind photos are important to you (and I’m guessing they are since you’re looking into getting married at the Durham County Courthouse) then getting in contact with a photographer first thing might be a good idea. Plus, if they’re experienced then they can probably help you with your day-of planning timeline, the best locations, and all those little details that add up to a lovely day for you and your partner.

  3. Plan the rest of the day

    Getting married at the courthouse is only part of your wedding day. You’ll want to think about have lunch, dinner or drinks afterwards at Tobacco Road, American Tobacco Campus, The Durham, Bar Virgil or Alley 26. These are really close to the courthouse and you can even walk there if you like!

    Also, think about doing a morning run or yoga with your partner to start your day off stress-free and positive. Then consider having a pre-wedding latte at Cocoa Cinnamon, Parker and Otis or Loaf in downtown Durham.

    Another great wedding day activity is a hike at the Eno River, a stroll through Duke Gardens or a bike ride through downtown. Whatever you decide try to plan out your whole day so you won’t be worried or stressed on the day of.

  4. Apply for a marriage license

    Click here to apply. At the very top you’ll see the application form link that takes you to: http://rodweb.co.durham.nc.us/Marriage/MarriageApplication.aspx?type=PUBLIC&lang=ENU

    The total ends up being $60 and the courthouse staff are very helpful. The Durham County Courthouse helps out by stating “In an effort to increase our processing time, and ensure accuracy of your records, we strongly suggest completing your marriage license application online and submitting prior to visiting our office”. This just means make sure you apply for your marriage license in plenty of time for your wedding day. Once you have your marriage license it is good for 60 days from the issue date.

  5. Get an officiant (or a friend, or family member, or whoever)

    In Durham we pride ourselves on being unique so they allow anyone to officiate weddings! It doesn’t matter whether they’re ordained or not so a friend, a family member or anyone you trust, could officicate your courthouse wedding!

    In North Carolina, you do have to have a couple of witnesses so make sure you bring a couple of your closest family members or friends with you.

    If you don’t have a friend or family member that can be your officiant then I recommend Jameela Dallis (919) 907-0718 or tell your bestie to get ordained here: https://www.oministry.com/ordained-marriage-laws/north-carolina

  6. Make your travel plans

    You will most likely be traveling to some exotic or adventurous location after your wedding at the courthouse so you’ll want to go ahead and choose a location and book a flight. This is lots of fun and super exciting!

    Raleigh-Durham International Airport has lots of non-stop destination flights that are perfect for honey moons or a simple weekend getaway after your wedding day.

    Some of my favorites places to fly from RDU are Cancun, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Punta Cana, San Juan, Seattle, or Toronto. Where ever you choose to honeymoon after your courthouse wedding just know it’s only a 15 minute drive from the courthouse down 147 South to I-40 West then take exit 284B then follow the signs.

    Here’s a link to some of my favorite direct flights out of RDU Airport: https://www.rdu.com/airline-information/airline-destinations

  7. Get a dress, suit, flowers and hair & make up

    For hair Missy at Posh The Salon 919-683-2109 / www.poshthesalon.com

    For make up April Kensington at Be Pure Beauty 866-535-8715 / www.bepurebeauty.com

    My favorite flower shops Tre Bella and Pine State Flowers.

  8. Get married!

    This is the fun part. This is where it all comes together is a beautiful day of celebration. It’s as simple as that!

  9. Send wedding announcements

    As soon as you get your wedding photos back from your photographer you should let the world know you got married. I’m sure you already did this through Facebook and Instagram but you’ll want to send out formal announcements with the beautiful photos from your wedding day. Since you eloped at the courthouse, your family and friends didn’t get a chance to congratulate you so announcements are a great opportunity to subtly ask for gifts and give them your mailing address.

  10. Enjoy the rest of your lives together

    Isn’t this why you wanted to get married in the first place? You are committed, in love, and now you get to show the world that!


Click the button below to see more Durham Courthouse Marriage photos.

Logan + Caleb \\ Moab, UT

This was one of my favorite wedding shoots ever in Moab, Utah with Caleb and Logan.  Their passion was so deep and wild.  Every photo of them was a real love story.

Logan is a talented blogger and you can find her ironsandpins.com

Hair/Make-Up: Megan Gorley

Dress: White Meadow & Maggie Sottero

Floral: L Floral Studios

Rema + Yousef \\ Merritt's Pasture, NC

Rema, Yousef, and I hiked out to Merritt's Pasture near Chapel Hill, NC for this wedding photography session.  I'm really grateful for their sense of adventure while still looking like they did through it all!

Sam \\ Durham, NC

Sam's bar mitzvah celebration is this year so we took some photos for him and his family to have.  It started off as a headshot session but then I realized how good Sam was in front of the camera so I couldn't help but let him do his thing.  

Angela + Angela \\ Durham, NC

Angela and Angela were so connected during this shoot in downtown Durham.  This was the first couples session that they've had in their in their 18 years together.  What a privilege and honor.  

For this shoot we chose the Highway 147 overpass just near the American Tobacco Campus and then wandered down the American Tobacco Trail to chase some light and vibes. 

Gregory Alan Isakov \\ Durham, NC

I'm continually amazed and grateful for the people that I get to meet and the unique experiences that I get to enjoy being a photographer.  

If you've followed me for a while then you might have seen my work with Stelth Ulvang (of The Lumineers), Griffin House, Ben Sollee and many more musicians

This was a similar shoot I did with Colorado musician Gregory Alan Isakov in Durham, N.C. right outside of the Carolina Theatre. 

All photos were shot with the Canon 5D Mark lll using the Tiltshift 45mm lens. 

Follow Gregory Alan Isakov: IG, FB, TW, YT & WEB

Nick + Summer \\ Sundance & Deer Valley, UT

Nick and Summer's wedding was such a unique, adventurous day.  We started at Sundance Mountain Resort for a beautiful chairlift ride to the top of the mountain where we hiked to the ceremony destination. 

After the ceremony, we had a few hours until the reception at Deer Valley Resort so we took advantage of the gorgeous scenery which allowed for some wonderfully meaningful experiences with Nick and Summer.

The reception ended the night with dinner, drinks and dancing while the sun set and the stars came out.   

Mandolin Orange \\ Durham, NC


I took Andrew and Emily of Mandolin Orange to a parking garage in Durham, NC where the light is consistently lovely and the acoustics for sound are eerie as hell. 

I knew that I wanted to have them both sing an a cappella version of one of their songs during the shoot so I stopped them about halfway through, had them face each other and they sang this version of "Lonesome Whistle".   

Melora + Conor \\ Durham, NC
Molly + Asher \\ Eno River, NC

On a beautiful Sunday morning, Molly, Asher and their dog Basil, met me and we ventured out to the Eno River for a sunrise engagement photo session.  This one was special because we all got to know each other by enjoying nature together and plus we used the opportunity to capture Molly and Asher's (and Basil too) connection as they approach their wedding day!

Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers \\ Durham, NC

This is the story of how I got to shoot musician portraits of Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers in Durham, NC:

I emailed him and I asked.  

He said "ok".

Outside of The Pinhook in Durham, I jumped into Stelth's van and rode down to the local laundry mat, Bull City Suds.  He had to dry some clothes so while they dried I took some portraits of him.

Afterwards, we went down to Full Steam Brewery and I took some more portraits of Stelth.  I bought him a beer, he bought me a grilled cheese from the a food truck.  I talked about how I teach at a local art school.  

Stelth and his band were intrigued. 

The next day he came into my classroom to play for my art students along with Blake Stepan (double bass) and Mike Jesurun (drums).  Click here to see the video of Stelth playing in my classroom. 

Here are the portraits:

Alex + Justin \\ Durham, NC

Alex and Justin have such a unique vibe and I got to capture it in downtown Durham for their engagement photo session.   

We did most of this shoot in the alleyway near Scratch Bakery and took an intermission at Alley 26 for libations so they could take a breather and change clothes. 

The two other locations were the Durham Post Office and the basement vault at 21C Museum Hotel.