Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Find Your Passion

Sometimes the Oprah magazine has pieces that strike a chord with me, like the de-cluttering issue awhile back. The November 2011 theme was Find Your True Calling.

I grabbed a notebook and took notes on the section titled: O's 4-step Fulfillment Workbook:

When I was a kid, I dreamed of: gymnastics
I can't pass up a book or movie about: dancing?
If I played hooky from work for a week, I'd spend the time: sleeping in, reading, taking photos
Most people don't know this about me, but I really enjoy: singing, organizing things
I am the go-to person when my friends need help with: not applicable. no one asks me for help.
If I could star in my own how-to TV show, it would be about: travel
If I were to make a homemade gift, it would involve: crochet or baked goods
I've tried it only once or twice, but I really enjoy: dance classes
The closest I come to a runner's high is when I'm: brainstorming ideas; taking portraits
If I won first prize in a talent show, it would be for: what, right now? no idea

The next step is comparing each side by side and declaring a 'winner', then moving "round the world" style until you have one overall winner.

For one thing, this list was kind of hard for me. I've never been good at favorites, ultimates, or instant answers to these kinds of questions.

Some of the answers are pretty dumb, in that they're easy to eliminate from my "true passions." --Gymnastics was a pipe dream that I realized was futile at 13.
--Dancing is wonderful, I love it. But I don't have talent, time or money to pursue it. (I happened to walk past the Capezio store the other day and looked with longing at the photos and outfits.)
--I only sing when people aren't listening.
--I'm not always a very neat person. But I get such a kick out of making a big old mess, dumping everything out, and then sorting through, cleaning up, and making it all organized. But I don't have the drive or desire to make a hobby or career out of it.
--I'm not very good at baking or crocheting; they're fun hobbies to play with sometimes.
--Travel is definitely a passion of mine. I don't think it's a career possibility, though. Regardless, I will continue to 'pursue' it as a hobby. (We're talking about a late spring Europe trip for next year, in fact.)
--I love brainstorming. I don't think you can do that as a job.
--The big duh winner is photography.

See, I knew that already. Which rarely happens for me. But there are still problems. Observe:

I worry that I'm incompetent.
I worry that this is just a phase and temporary obsession.
On the other hand, I began photographing outside of hobby-land in early 2009, and it's almost the end of 2012.
So Jesus Christ, shouldn't I be further along by now?
Oh god, does that mean I'm terrible?
I have a real website.
It probably sucks.
I don't have any marketing skills.
I can't bring myself to subscribe/read/buy all those internet marketing guides.
It's really beyond my purview right now anyway, as
I don't have any clients.
I want clients.
But I don't want just anything; I do believe I'm worth being paid fairly for my skill and time.
There are people paying thousands of dollars for photography. I'm not worth that (yet), but I think I'm worth at least hundreds or so.
I don't have an "in" to my target market with friends or family. And/or I'm too chicken to bug people about it.
I want to be successful.
You can't swing a camera in New York without hitting five photographers, at least three of whom are probably better than me.
I have seen some photographers' work that I am comfortable saying I'm as good as if not better.
But most of them are better.
Should I beg and plead to become a free third-shooter?
But when would I have time for that? I'm already working six days a week.
And yet I'm still poor.


Karenina said...

I have just started my own tutoring business, and I have 3 clients, all of whom were referred to me or are already friends of mine. It is going to take a while to grow-- I already work 2 other jobs, I am pregnant and have a toddler, and I am also poor. :) But a friend of mine pointed out some obvious rebuttals to some of my objections when I was first starting this job, and some of yours are exactly what some of mine are:

1. You don't have to be the best photographer (or tutor, in my case). You have to be minimally competent, and ALSO reliable, honest, and a decent human being. There are a million wannabes out there who are technically better than you, but nobody wants to hire them because they are too hard to work with.
2. Specialize, and tell your friends what you are doing. If you want to be a baby photographer (for example), then start taking pictures of babies. Give your friends with babies a discount on the condition that they tell their friends with babies that you did a good job and are not a creep. People would rather deal with a friend of a friend than find somebody anonymous online. Then let the seeds ... and your references and portfolio... grow.
3. By dealing with friends first, you make your mistakes with somebody who cares about you. So they are willing to work around your schedule, will forgive you for trying something new and having it not work out, and are already inclined to be generous. 3. You don't have to build Rome in a day. Or a year. Or 3 years. There is no time limit on the road to success. The important thing is to start inching down the road.

Hope this helps with your list!

J said...

First of all, wow, you are really working hard! I will not complain any more. :)

You make excellent points and good advice. I need to focus on *doing* instead of just thinking, you know? That's a big issue.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment!