Identifying your true passion in life
Passion is defined as “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept”.
There are things we encounter in our lives that we are inexplicably drawn to. We seek them because they provide us with an overwhelming sense of fulfillment and joy. We tend to think of a passion as something we do in our “spare time”. Something we wish we could do on a constant basis and get paid to do it. Sadly, we spend many hours of each day doing something we’ve become complacent about and that pays bills but does not bring us that innate sense of pleasure.
Eventually, something acts as the catalyst for you to pursue your passion further. After weighing the pros and cons of it all you decide to jump in, feet-first and take the plunge. You take a leap of faith, stepping away from all the self-doubt and the various scenarios of what could happen if you do decide to listen to your heart.
In that single moment you redefine yourself
You’ve placed a marker on the time line of your life where you can clearly distinguish your life “before” and your life “after” that juncture. In that instant you went from “hoping and dreaming” to “doing”. Just making that conscious decision without having even acted upon it – just the sheer thought process, has opened up a whole new world to you.
You enjoy this new found sense of euphoria – what we usually denote as being a direct result of “following your heart”. You bask in the warm rays of positivist. Your friends and family applaud the risks you’ve taken to realize this dream you’ve been consumed with for possibly many years.
They’ve always known you were talented – they’re the ones who have been encouraging you all along to cast your fears aside and “do this”. You’ve always known your inherent talent existed as well. How could it not? It has been your passion!
Word spreads quickly. Your family and friends make sure of that. You’re doing what you love and getting paid for it. Isn’t this the epitome? Isn’t this the way everyone wants to live?
You’re doing it. You’re REALLY doing it!
Success can be a blessing and a burden
Years go by. You’re more successful at this venture than you ever dreamed was possible when this all began. Your talent is appreciated and in demand. You’re reputation precedes you. People you’ve never met know your work by sight and tell you how much they love it.
You begin to wonder if any of this is truly real or if you’ve actually been living inside a very long dream! Could life get any better than this? After all, this is the success you dreamed of, the outcome you only hoped to realize and now it is your reality!
…but what happens when your passion starts feeling more like a burden?
What do you do when it no longer brings you joy?
While your passion has been evolving from a hobby into a sustainable interest, along with it comes increased responsibility. You’re no longer doing this for fun and have real clients and potential clients to answer to.
While you’re your own boss, you also know that the real bosses are the people you provide a service or product to. They’re dictating to a certain extent your time and where your energy is going in managing their requests.
With increased demand comes an increased need for output to supply the demand. The increasingly obvious challenge being faced is that we’re only afforded twenty-four hours in each day. In order to devote time to one part of our life – in this case our passion, we must simultaneously transfer that time and focus from another part.
But what happens if the cache you’re trying to siphon is no less deserving of your attention – and perhaps even more-so? What if denying those competing responsibilities for your time and devotion could have serious repercussions? What if those competing responsibilities are not tangible assets you possess but are measured in terms of people and time?
I took that leap of faith back in 2006
I daydreamed and ran scenarios through my head for years about what it would be like to put an end to the self-doubt. I finally just cut the ropes of uncertainty and let myself spread my wings to see if the wind would take me where I longed to go.
I built upon my years of scenic photography work and branched out into photographing people, doing portrait shoots and photographing weddings.
I was beyond overwhelmed at the positive response to my work…what I still considered my passion and anything but work!
I know from experience that while fulfilling it is also difficult
I was inundated with requests for sessions and meetings with brides and grooms and my spare time was quickly booked up with meetings and shoots and editing time. So much editing time!
Things chugged along beautifully (albeit busily) for three years and then I had two babies within eighteen months – I had TWO new(er) passions.
The past two years have been nothing short of a circus act when you consider the juggling I’ve been doing in trying to devote the required time to my craft while also working a full time job and raising two young children with my equally busy husband.
I still only have twenty-four hours in my day.
If anything I feel like I have a deficit in hours at the end of my day.
Everything comes at a price
There’s always far more to accomplish than I have time for.
My to do list never seems to be getting shorter but instead, longer and I can’t get excited about checking items off because I’m too busy adding new task on to the list.
I’m missing out on time with my ever-evolving and changing sons. I’m missing out on time with my husband. There’s a disconnect in our little world.
I’m physically separated from them when I’m out shooting a wedding or off in another room editing for hours on end.
I’m also mentally not available to them because I’m so caught up in stressing myself to the point of exhaustion about all the unfinished tasks at hand.
Something has to give.
Everything comes at a price
The most challenging part in this equation is that I truly am still passionate about my photography.
It is such a part of who I am. It defines me. It allows me to creatively express myself – but I can no longer allow myself to feel pulled in a million different directions.
Most of all, I cannot continue to put my family last on the list of competing priorities.
They deserve my time and undivided attention.
There’s nothing wrong with refocusing
It has taken a lot of soul searching and it is an extremely difficult decision to make but I’m officially announcing the closure of the photography business at least for 2013.
I’ll reevaluate when I feel the time is right. When I feel that I can adequately balance all of the competing demands for my time.
Until then, I will miss my clients. I will miss this outlet for creativity.
What I will gain though is priceless – time with my family.
I’m excited about capturing our moments with my camera and all the beautiful things we will experience together.
I’m not putting away my camera completely. I’m just going to have a different focus 🙂