It is one thing to talk about being inspired and finding your passion, but it is quite another thing to actually do it. My last Promoting Passion video talked all about having the right mindset and principles to be able to find and execute your passion. But what about getting muddy, right in the thick of it, and actually doing it? What can you do that will make the process easier and will help the result be success?
These are not just ideas, but ACTIONS that have made a big difference in my life: practical things you can do to make change happen instead of wishing for it.
1. Take notifications off of your phone entirely so you can be present.
I was late to the smart phone game, and when I finally got one, I hated it. The constant beeping of this person on Facebook inviting you to an event, or someone emailing, or a little birdie tweeting. I couldn’t take it. It wasn’t long before I disabled Facebook and Twitter notifications. And then, even when it was just my email, I felt like I was being suffocated.
When I turned them all off, I felt free. Your time is your own, so take it back. Do something powerful with it. Give your full attention to your life, not to the Internet. When I turned off notifications I could be more present in the moment and appreciate my surroundings much more.
Now I’ll be the first to say I am probably the worst person on the planet when it comes to communication. I like to be in the moment, and I give my whole self to whomever I am with, and this is not something I apologize for. So when I do sit down to answer emails, I am the same. I put my heart into it, and that has made my life much better. I am now much more opened up to focusing on my passion.
2. Dress the part.
I’m all for wearing pajamas all day long, trust me. I’m doing it right now as I write these words. But getting clothes that match who you want to be can motivate, inspire, and tell everyone else who you are as a person. If you spend everyday, all day, in clothes that do not tell a story of who you are, then that is one visual way that you are misrepresenting yourself. Whenever I put on a dress that looks like a fairytale, I feel so much more alive. I feel like I am ready to show the world who I am.
First impressions are so important, but not just to other people. Impress yourself first thing in the morning and wear something that makes you feel like the person you want to be. Chances are, if you feel like that in many subtle ways, you are more likely to become that person in the future.
3. Tell someone who you are.
Think about what your passion is. Think about all of the things you love doing. If you love to play the guitar, you are a guitar player. If you love to take pictures, you are a photographer. The fastest way to become what you want to be is to own it.
When I started photography I would say that photography was my hobby, and I was always very quick to make that distinction. I wasn’t professional, after all. I just took pictures and put them on the internet. I made a dime here and there, but didn’t make a living from it. I had no claim to being a photographer. But then I realized something. I was not doing photography for a love of money and I would never be. If I took money out of the equation I would still be doing the same thing for the passion. And so, with that confidence, I decided I was a photographer before I ever made a living at it. And if that living comes to an end, I will still call myself a photographer.
So this is your challenge. Think of what your passion is, and tell someone.
“I am a photographer.”
“I am a _________.”
No one is going to say it for you. Once you start saying it, though, you’ll be so much closer to becoming who you want to be and pursuing your passion with more depth and conviction.
4. Take advantage of “off” hours.
Think about a time in your day when no one will bother you. It might be before everyone wakes up, after everyone has gone to bed, on a lunch break, or maybe you simply dedicate an hour to yourself once a day. Use that time, and use it well. Create something. Focus on your passion. When I started photography this was paramount for me. I was working a full time job and trying to create a full time career out of photography on the side. I woke up every morning at 5AM. I created for 2 hours until I got ready for work. I edited on my lunch breaks. I posted to social media in the evenings. And that was how I started truly pursuing my passion.
Sometimes life gets in the way. Some people have problems bigger than mine and sometimes time is not something you can create. But for the most part, it is. Cut out that hour of TV and do something creative. Cut out the time you spend hitting the social media sites and do something for your passion.
5. Block social media.
A friend of mine told me about this when she was studying for her law school finals. I was mega impressed. Think about just how much time you waste surfing the internet. Anyone else have FACEBOOK and TWITTER pop up as your most visited sites? I’m guilty too.
But there are websites designed solely to block your Internet usage. One such site is called “Self Control” where you can block certain websites for a certain amount of time, and that blockage cannot be undone under any circumstances. You just have to wait it out. Think about how much more productive we could all be on the computer if we simply didn’t have access to the sites that constantly take our time away.
I know this one is hard because it requires a lot of self-control, but then again, so does pursuing your passion. It is one thing to like something, or even love it, but quite another to pursue it with vigor and determination. I believe that self-control is one of the biggest factors in finding success by following your passion.
What steps will you take to follow your passion?
Will you implement any of these options?
Siyana Kasabova - I am definitely downloading the Self Control App. Thank you Brooke!!
brookeshaden - That’s wonderful 🙂 I’m going to do the same. Some days I feel like I can do anything (or block any sites on my own will), and other days….I need the help 😀
ViolaDe - Definitely inspiring. Thank you Brook… and btw I’m a photographer 🙂
brookeshaden - I love it! 🙂
Margherita Introna - Absolutely love the one about dressing the part. And so true. I’ve often been told that my style in my images comes through to how I look everyday. In fact, a number of the dress I’ve worn in my images are just from my standard wardrobe. The crossover is becoming more and more evident. The other day somebody told me I look “vintage”. Loved that 😉
One thing I do specifically when I spend time with a friend, perhaps out to supper, is that I turn my phone on silent and put it away. I think it is disrespectful to somebody else’s time to take time out to be with them, but then to spend all evening peaking at one’s phone.
brookeshaden - Ooh to be told you look vintage, to me, means timeless. I love that too. So wonderful! Love turning phones off. I’ve seen people who put their phones in the center of a table when eating with friends and whoever touches their phone first while eating has to pay for dinner 😀
Amani - I love #2. My sister and I kinda argued about this the other day – she thinks I should dress up more, and I told her that it wouldn’t feel.. me. I wear what makes me feel comfortable and it’s never anything fancy but I love it.
I have apps for EVERYTHING on my phone, including wordpress and it drives me crazy to constantly check notifications, even when there aren’t many. I think this is something I really need to work on. I will *takes a deep breath* turn off my notifications. Hahaha
Thank you Brooke <3 I hope you have a great week too!
brookeshaden - The important thing is that you do feel good about yourself and that your wardrobe is helping you to feel inspired or motivated..and if not, that’s okay too..but such a fun thing to experiment with. Good luck with the phone situation! You can do it!
Katrin Auch - I have to say I both love and hate #2. It’s something I passionately believe in, and did when I was a teenager. But then I gained weight. And as a larger person, your clothing options are so limited, and it really changed the way I dress. Now I wear clothes that are comfortable and let me move, but they are not truly me. Hoping some day I can have that experience again.
brookeshaden - That is a really good point Kat – You are such a vibrant person too – I would love to see what you’d wear if given the option to wear anything!
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - Hello Brooke! Suddenly I got the impression that you were talking about me… 😉 This is because I think exactly like that. First. In fact I’ve turned off the notifications also. I hated it when in certain moments when I was resting or look some inspiration inside me and the smartphone is beeping with the notifications. Sometimes I even turn off the smartphone. Second, at this very moment I write, I am also in pajamas. I came home from work, I took my bath and put on my pajamas. I do not like to be dressed at home. I like to be comfortable and free in my house. And being in pajamas instead of jeans, it makes me feel like that. Third. I also came to this conclusion. Mention actually, who you are. I have photography as a hobby and put the photos on the Internet on my website or blog (speaking of blog, you saw my last work. If you have some time, I would liked to read a review about it), and never told anyone that I was a photographer. One day my boss finds out I was a photographer and came to me and said: “Did not know you are a photographer!” Now, once in a while, he ask me if I want to do some work in photography, whether for company as personal. And now I tell to everybody that I’m a photographer. Fourth. I always take time for myself. I need it. But it is not always easy. Fifth. Luckily I can control my time well on the internet. About the steps I take to follow my passion, are few. But perhaps most important is to surround myself with people who have the same passion that I, like you, and so we inspire and learn from each other. Have a nice week and congratulations for the us soccer team, who almost won my Portugal. 🙂 <3
brookeshaden - Paulo I love that you do so many of these things!! For me, I am so much more healthy because of it. You seem really happy too, and I love that 🙂
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - After a difficult period of my life, I can say that. And I had a girlfriend who helped me a lot, but… Also your words and support through your blog helped me a lot. And I’m very happy because for the first time I dedicated myself to tell what I felt in an image. Let us say I lost my string of life and I felt delivered to loneliness and I had a girlfriend who helped me. So I wanted to dedicate the work to my girlfriend, who was an angel to me. And for this I thought in all phases of the work. I went to see how to made an origami angel and then I photographed. I shoot myself being dragged to loneliness, etc … And loved do so and I am very happy with it. I send the photo to print and frame to offer to my girlfriend. So i’m happy. 🙂
Diana - Great advice! As always, you really do rock. The best part, aside from your amazing visions and photography, is that you are so genuine. I relate, and admire you. My biggest hurdle these days is picking up momentum again. I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer last Oct. Had my surgery & radiation. The last photo shoot I did was last Oct for a donation to the Amanda Foundation, just I was awaiting the news from my doctor. I am feeling much better and need to get back into the game and face my fears. I am also a makeup artist in the film business, which has been my career for 30 years. Another connection I feel with you since, I know you went to film school & are a writer. My other hurdle has been when I am working on shows, that I don’t get to shoot as much. I continuously fight the battle of the see saw of both makeup and photography and how to make photography more of a business. I have listened and watched you and many others on CL, but it is the putting in all into action that is harder for me. I am intelligent, but sometimes the business part is harder than the artistic part. Thanks for all the “Promoting Passion”. I actually look forward to it every week. All my best, Diana
brookeshaden - Aww thank you Diana! I am so sorry to hear about your struggles! But really glad to hear that you are moving forward and always expanding on life and career. That is an amazing thing. I hear you on putting ideas into action – that is the hardest part for some. Some people have lots of motivation but no original ideas, while other are full of them but never implement. As long as we’re growing though, our odds are better and better.
Mary-Claire - I put my “do not disturb” on my phone so it goes directly to voicemail when I don’t want to be interrupted. Turning the phone facedown prevents my eyes from seeing it peripherally when a notification comes up!
Fun pic of you and Jen, and I enjoyed the others as well. Hope you have a lovely and fruitful day. 😀
brookeshaden - That’s awesome! I should look into the do not disturb idea!
lovelyn - Great advice. I’ve never really thought about dressing the part before. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t really care about what I’m wearing, but recently I’ve noticed that my clothes don’t make me feel good about myself. What you said in this video kind of reinforces what I’ve been thinking. I have to think about who I am and what I want to present to people. Then I need to start buying and wearing clothes that reflect that.
brookeshaden - I love that you’ll look more into the clothes that reflect who you are. I am quick these days to give something to a friend if I feel like it isn’t me anymore, then run to an inexpensive thrift store to see what I can replace it with 🙂
Rocio Mirelis - This is great. Great tips.
I feel the same way as Katrin Auch. It’s so hard but it still is amazing and I will try to do it from now on. Have to start otherwise, it will never get done!
brookeshaden - I love that point of view!
sally - Brooke, Years ago I might have thought you a bit crazy to take a gorgeous vintage lace dress that had such emotional connections to your heart and have someone wear it into a SWAMP! Today, I realize that your grandma would be jumping for joy seeing you use her dress to envelope your passion and emotion around something so near and dear to you. Wow!….. So, maybe I dress the way I do because I am comfortable with it. But, maybe I want to change who I am, in some respects, and start dressing a bit differently. Now, that’s going to be a challenge because it means stepping out of my comfort zone. 🙂 I’m up for it! Thanks for your thoughts and stimulating my mind to make the best of every day.
brookeshaden - Thank you for being so willing to grow and understand…I find it incredibly inspiring.
Kora - Sometimes when I want to clean I’ll watch an episode of hoarders. Best advice I’ll ever give.
brookeshaden - Nice 🙂
Venus - Just yesterday I noticed how tired and angry I was and it took a lot of time to get what was wrong. I think social media was driving me crazy. I was all the time thinking about the next thing to post. Only living for my online self. So I totally get what you mean!!! I thought I was crazy LOL. I erased Facebook from my phone just using twitter to get updates on blogs and reading news. Thanks for writing this things. Hugs from Ecuador
brookeshaden - I fall into that trap too! So glad that you’ve taken steps to eradicate that feeling!
Emma - So timely! I recently decided that I just couldn’t take what social media was doing to me emotionally – not just the time wasted but the mix of feelings about what other people were doing and what I wasn’t – so I removed all socisl media apps from my phone and ipad. Now if I want to go on facebook or twitter etc. I have to consciously type in the website, which gives me time to think about whether I really want to 🙂 I also use do not disturb or airplane mode on my phone, particularly if I’m writing or processing.
brookeshaden - I am so inspired to hear what you’ve done to live happier. I love when someone makes that much of a conscious effort to make life better!
Richard - Very good – thank you and your photography is excellent no doubt. I like to remain open to a phone shot during the day, post a selection last thing before bed and review it in the morning. @ rdj0ne5
brookeshaden - Thank you Richard!
Jen Sulak - hah!!!!!!!! i will NEVER FORGET our time at creative live…or much less this whole year….because i truly felt “myself” the more i dress like me…the more i FEEL like me! 🙂 This past weekend i wore a superhero cape to shoot a wedding…and there is NO other feeling like it…when you feel like you are FLYING and you are doing the things you love. 🙂 LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love love love.
brookeshaden - You are the most YOU of all the yous I know! 😉
Cherie Shirey - Brooke, this is so spot on! Social media can kill my most productive mornings and can also just really impact my own creativity.
Probably one of my favorite posts from you ever!
(And gusts what I found in my gear bag this week? A hidden sigma lens cap that snuck in from your Anchorage workshop/trip. I can gladly send to you just tell me where to send. That would help get your husband back on your good side on all of those missing lens caps!)
brookeshaden - Oh my gosh that is amazing Cherie! Can I email you privately to give an address? You are wonderful!
And I’m super glad to hear that you liked this post 🙂
isabella bubola - What I plan to do is not strictly related to what you wrote, but it got me thinking after I read the 4th advice.
I’m planning to have one project a week. It might be anything. It might be inspired by a song, or a movie, or my dreams and feelings. The important thing would be to create something meaningful every week.
I have phases when I’m super-creative and then there are also sometimes creativity blocks. They don’t usually last long, but I’d like to avoid them.
I enjoy your Promoting Passion posts, Brooke, you’re doing a nice job 🙂
brookeshaden - I love that Isabella!! I often task myself with creative projects, not caring if I finish something amazing, only caring that I am exercising the creative side of my brain and doing something that fuels my passion. I hope you’ll share some of what you work on!
Jen Sulak - *online hug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* hahahah
Phoebe - Thank you for this article, Brooke. You are wonderful, the way you speak straight to people’s hearts. I definitely relate, especially to the effect of the clothes we wear (I’d extend it to the colour of my hair too!) and the social media issues.
The only problem is with the ‘calling yourself what you are’ part, is that I don’t know what I am. I have so much creativity bursting out but no real way to express it, except song-writing (and I don’t like my own singing voice much, just the lyrics). I want to express myself so badly but feel muted by lack of a method. I can be a perfectionist too and it makes it hard to learn new skills because I expect too much of myself.
Any advice on how to find that creative thing that helps define you?
There. I said it. | Claire Fredette Photography | Story telling through conceptual photography - […] I read Promoting Passion by Brooke Shaden, and it was all about “5 Actions That Make a Difference”. One of the […]
Olga-Vienna - Dear Brooke,
Thank you so much for this video. I know I waste so much time in Fecbook, e mail stuff like this. You are right we have to quit to have this Facebook drug in our veins . Thank you for pointing visible things out. Your photos and your blog inspired me.
Pimslennon - My years as a teenager were spent mostly with me being bored and lying in bed and listening to never ending music. As time goes by I realized I got through my sleepless nights by drawing though it was nothing much at all. I caught myself doodling weird patterns since that was all that I could draw, as I’ve never taken a drawing class. Self taught was how I began, I started drawing on papers and then as time goes by I find myself wanting to learn about drawing in program on the computer. I learned how to use these programs to draw and then my next big step was Photoshop. I became obsessed with Photoshop and its features but this time I wasn’t using it for drawing, making a hand drawn photo into digital art. I was attracted to graphics. At the time I thought to myself maybe I should do surreal art similar to popular album covers we see. I begin my research again on Google. Additionally, I seek advices from the artists who specialize in this area. I once again found myself obsessed with my new fond love, surreal art. I developed my skills as much as I could. The important thing is to be able to express your thought through your work. When I understood this element of being an artist I chose to work and create art base on my moods and emotions. Everything was up to me and what I wanted to share. Right now I am doing some freelance work but because I am still studying I can’t always do it. In fact, my major is law and in contrary to what my heart wants I also need time for studying. Right now I am practicing and developing my skills.
I wanted to thank you so much for doing this promoting passion project. you’re my inspiration to started doing what I’ve done. I’m glad because your passion for you work was very contagious. I can’t thank you enough!
I can honestly say I have a much better idea of where I want to go with my own work and a more involved and deeper understanding of how to conceptualize and execute the ideas bouncing around inside my brain.
Fabiola Jean-Louis - I absolutely loved this post. I often tell myself the same thing and respond to the advice. I’ve been working on my on business as a photographer and constantly feel the tug of the cyber world…
The strange thing is, despite needing the internet to further my business, it can also be the very thing that takes me farther away from my goal if I let it! Balance, and remembering the passion that helps rise me in the morning – is key.
Thanks for a wonderful post Brooke.
Tara - OH MY GOSH I love this! Thank you for these tips! I am going RIGHT NOW to block out Jacks nap time from me getting on Facebook! This will motivate me to really really get to work getting ‘unblocked creatively’ even if I just decide to read a book or something! Im not a big TV watcher, but I am huge on talking and socializing with friends online and in fb groups.
I WAS doing pretty good with setting a timer on my phone and taking breaks for like 20 minutes of facebook time when Id done so many hours of ‘work’ but then if i was really involved talking to someone I would just turn timer off and ignore it. I think I might even go on a week FAST from fb and use this website to help me! thank you brooke! i have SO MUCH I can get done without that distration just waiting for me!