When I think about following my passion in life, it all comes down to three categories through which I can understand the decision I’ve made: People, Places, and Things.
The people I’ve met have shaped how I see the world and what opportunities come my way; the places I’ve been have shown me new opportunity and perspective; and the things I’ve invested in have helped to push me into a career I love.
Within the confines of these three categories I can easily see the path I’ve carved for myself, and I want to share which decisions have been most helpful.
Are the people in your life good for you?
Just like food and exercise, you need the people you surround yourself with to lift you up and support you. Those who do not, might not be worth having around. It is easy to assume that we are victims in this situation (please note sometimes we certainly are), when in fact we often have the power to change our circumstance. The moment we realize that, it becomes our task to make the change.
I have struggled with being used and letting people take advantage of me, and that is only my fault – for not saying no, for not surrounding myself with better people. We must all learn what kind of people we are first, and then find others who will support that.
Where are you located? What types of places do you like to be? These things have a huge impact on happiness. I lived in LA for a long time yet I am not a city girl. I wanted so badly to move yet never did anything about it. I always felt like I was supposed to be there, until I realized I could go anywhere and make that my home. I was afraid to leave my friends and afraid that the opportunities in LA would not follow me elsewhere. But wherever you build your life is where your heart is, and opportunities will follow.
When you travel somewhere, remember to be genuinely grateful to be there. I travel a lot, and one thing that I avoid like the plague is to become complacent. Anytime you see a new location, be it exotic or an hour from your home, remember the beauty of this amazing planet.
Everything is amazing, even the things that don’t seem very amazing. I was recently in Kolkata, India and I went to visit Garbage Mountain…literally all of the city’s trash piled up into a monstrous mound. Some of the things I witnessed there were smoking piles of feces, a graveyard of dead dogs, and every other manner of trash you can imagine. It saddened me above all else, but I did not let the experience escape without finding inspiration in it. The world can produce change.
Everything is an adventure. Anytime I travel anywhere, even if I walk around the block, I remember that anything could happen. I try to make everything that I do into an adventure. I narrate stories in my mind as I walk, drive to places I’ve never been on a whim, and treasure every little thing I see. I try to store it all in my mind as inspiration. The way you see the world is the only thing separating one person from another.
We must be careful of THINGS, as too many of them can cloud our judgement of what we need vs. what we want. Never make the mistake of thinking you need the latest equipment. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that MORE will make you BETTER.
I am happiest when I give to others, and I create my best art when I am happy. So I try to give as much as I can.
When I find myself focusing on things I give myself a slap on the wrist since I never want to become materialistic. However, there are certain things that I’ve invested in that have made business possible as well as living a more passionate lifestyle.
Be honest about what you want. Five years ago I moved to Los Angeles knowing that I didn’t want to be there. I was up for adventure and wanted to make films, but knew that I was not a city girl in any way. When that move happened I was honest with myself about where I saw myself living for the long haul. When I realized that I didn’t need to be in LA for business, I moved my family to a very small town with beautiful nature all around. My goal was to buy a house, and even though the house itself was not necessary for success, it was a great goal to work toward and huge investment in happiness.
Be honest about what you need. As a photographer, I hear constantly from other people that they absolutely need something to be successful. This lens, that camera, a new computer, etc…I have been guilty of this, too. But the truth is that we so often need very little. Yes, to be a photographer we need cameras. That is a necessary investment. But never mistake wants for needs. That kind of mistake will only bring disappointment when the equipment refuses to be creative for you.
How do you place value on PEOPLE, PLACES, and THINGS?
What might you need to work on?
Milad - You made another day of my life by sharing all that come from your heart. Thank you for this humble sharing Brooke.
brookeshaden - <3 Thank you for watching :)
Lia - beautiful words by a beautiful mind.
you are so right with everything you said.
I’m struggling with people at the moment. I feel a little left alone lately, because no one has ever time to help me out with my photography (or to do anything else for that matter). I certainly understand that they have their own stuff to do. But if I can’t live my life as I would like to because no one is ever there, that’s when I start to question wether they are worth having around at all, even though they are amazing people. I do a lot of things on my own because of this, but sometimes you just need someone with whom to share an experience.
brookeshaden - I completely agree, and sometimes it isn’t about cutting someone out but adding someone new. I want to go shooting with you! 🙂
Lia - That’d be brilliant! 😀
You’d definitely love it here. So many forests creeks, I find new places everyday.
Let me know when you find yourself close to Austria.
(America is a little expensive for me)
James - Thanks, that was exactly what I needed.
I am glad you talked about place. Especially the question of “if where we are is where we need to be” In about two months I will be spending two full years in Uruguay serving the people. I am absolutely terrified but also excited. (I mean, I don’t know a lick of Spanish)
Now, to take that step to go was saying yes to the question “is that where I truly need to be” I had to sit and ponder that for quite some time. I finally came to the conclusion that that is where I needed to be at this time in my life.
Thanks again, that was super awesome ☺
brookeshaden - That is absolutely wonderful of you to spend your time like that, helping others is the greatest gift. I hope that you’ll keep us updated on your adventures! It sounds like you’re making the right choice 🙂
Andrea Gore - Love this Brooke. When I think about these things I think they are so simple, yet I spent years not evaluating these things in my life. It is so easy to forget that your life is like a painting. You don’t just pour paint on the canvas and hope it turns out. You have to create it with love and care. Now that I do life is much more beautiful, inspiring and happy. Thanks for the post Brooke <3
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - There are people who follow and support me in my path of life. They do not carry me in their arms when I fall, but give me strength, with their heart and gaze or simple words, to get up and make my path. Yes! These are the people that we must have around us. Even, if they are miles away from me, as you Brooke. To them, I say that the bread feed my body, but they are who nourishes my soul. And when my soul is well, is synonymous that I’m happy. So I give them a lot of value and I try to returned to them the same way. I came to realize that these people have a way of being in life very similar to mine and so it makes perfect sense when you say: “We must all learn what kind of people we are first, and then find others who will support that.” As for the places and things, I totally agree with you.
Jen Sulak - inspire.encourage.aspire.
Jen Sulak - so, this is pretty much summing up the weekend i took out to PA. I felt like it was important to jump on an opportunity to create with friends before winter comes. We are not promised tomorrow so I want to live life as full as I can meeting people all over to inspire, encourage and aspire. I’ve realized that things are changing…and it has to be ok to say no…and it has to be ok to let people leave my life that just won’t be there where I’m going. Herez to step by step walking….let’s go!!!!!
Tara Evleand - You always have something that relates directly to my life and often more than not its like when I need it! I have been accessing a few important relationships in my life, a few people that are very negative and always bringing down situations or places we are around 🙁 It will be so hard though for sure.
Ive also been using flylady.net to do the simple living, try the simple and clean living I should say. Anyways, Ive only gotten through her first lesson, shining the kitchen sink lol but hey, it looks good! I’ve just been setting small goals each day and working towards bigger ones.
The point you made about the gear, totally agree. Ive always felt behind in gear wise. Then you did that shot with the blog post that was same shot 2 way different cameras and that was amazing!
Be Blessed Brooke
Sue Judd - Great post, Brooke…Your comments on Places stuck a chord
Alice Solantania Saga - what about your family not believing in you?:(