You have an idea. A picture you might want to take, a story you want to write down, or something as simple as a cloud that catches your eye. You are inspired. You want to move forward.
You start to create despite people in your life telling you not to. You start to create despite that little voice telling you it won’t be good enough. You create because you are inspired, and it feels like the right thing to do.
You are good at what you do. You want to start a business. You worry about money. You worry about reputation. You worry about what people will think if you turn your passion into a career.
You have a career but the pressure is always on. Create something new. Create for your client. Create for yourself. But soon the pressure of creating takes the fun out of it.
So often, when someone starts a hobby or passion or career, these are the things that we worry about: being good enough, staying inspired, making money, looking good, losing it all.
Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about these things that we do lose it all. We forget why we were inspired to begin with and those feelings of passion are replaced with feelings of dread – not wanting to let anyone down, not wanting to let yourself down.
If I think about my hobby, which turned into my passion, which turned into my career…it is easy to think of the milestones which made me worry or cry or jump for joy. I remember struggling so much with money that I got a part time job as a personal assistant. I remember feeling guilt at how I was pursuing my dream but helping no one while I was doing it. I remember feeling like a fish so small I couldn’t possibly avoid the hungry mouths of the bigger fish. I remember feeling like I was someone, and wondering if someone else would take that away.
Over time our doubts ebb and flow. We have concerns and we step on them. We have fears and we confront them. But the one thing we will always have is an uphill battle, and that is a good thing. If we want to learn and grow and become the best version of ourselves, we will always be climbing that hill. And in my years of experience thus far, I have learned something very valuable:
The uphill battle is never just the money, or the reputation, or the competition. It is the hill itself, and willing yourself to climb even when life isn’t easy. It is the hill that never ends, the top reaching past the clouds, and you wonder when you will find relief. But if you learn to see the climb as a challenge and a gift, always teaching you, always nurturing you, you begin to nurture yourself. You adjust to breathing the air that high up, and your legs become stronger, and you push on.
And once you climb so high, you are above it all: the competition, the drama, the fear. Sure, there will be new battles all the time, but you will be better equipped to handle them as they come.
So if you are climbing that hill and you wonder if it will ever be worth it…if you feel stuck and out of breath and wonder if you should keep climbing: the answer is yes. Pursue your hobby or passion or career. Become yourself. Step into your life. Because all the concerns and aches and pains are worth the bliss of being who you are meant to be – unabashedly, proudly, and above all – inspired.
Model: Katie Johnson
Carin - Wow That hit the nail on the head for me.
THANK YOU…. THANK YOU…. THANKYOU
New climbing boots for me, my hill is a Welsh one so onwards and upwards 🙂
brookeshaden - It’s easy to forget we need to get some new boots every so often lest the others fail to support us. XOXO best wishes to you for your climb!
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - Hello Brooke! It’s always so good to read your post. Feeds our soul and gives us strength to continue. You are indeed a beautiful person. I promise you that I will keep climbing the hill. Thanks for, as always, the beautiful words. Love de photo. <3
brookeshaden - Thank you Paulo 🙂 I am so glad to hear that you are inspired and always trying to pursue your passion!
Lisa Bonowicz - This blog is amazing…. you are a role model for so many of us just starting out. I view your work with awe and admiration and never once think to myself that at some point you were ‘starting out’. Even your early work is just fabulous. Thank you for sharing your feelings about starting out, getting over fears and doubts and moving forward. It is so easy to let all of these worries stop you dead in your tracks. Every other day I tell myself to just give up. And then I see your new work and your passion is so infectious and it makes me want to be better, not quit. Thank you!! 🙂
brookeshaden - Lisa, truly your words have touched me. Thank you for being so kind and for lifting me up! I am happy beyond words that you are moving forward and enjoying your passion!
Kristin V. - I cannot even begin to express how much I needed this message. Thank you for saying the right thing at the right time.
brookeshaden - Thank YOU for being here to read it – makes my heart soar <3
Tom Newforge - Once again, it is as if your speaking directly to me. I don’t know how you do that but thank you.
brookeshaden - Thank you Tom <3
Sosó Rodriguez - I just want you to know that you have become one of the biggest inspirations in my life as a photographer, thank you very much for sharing your experiences, they are so valuable and for give us courage to those who doubt of our own abilities. Greetings from Nicaragua 🙂
brookeshaden - Thank you Sosó! I really appreciate that you take the time to read, and I am so happy that you are finding and pursuing your passion!
Bonnie - You do make the day more bearable, you know.
Especially on a Wednesday morning, in front of the computer, when I’m doing something for someone else… the same thing I’ve been doing for the last seven years… feeling like I’m on a treadmill…
You’re my light at the end of the tunnel today.
brookeshaden - Oh Bonnie – so much love for you <3 The great thing is that you have so much spirit and passion, you will always have that thing that makes you special.
Kory Zuccarelli - Brooke!!!
This exactly describes one of my new images I’m releasing Friday during my graduation. At this point in my life all those things are on my mind, and though I’ve only mildly started that climb, I know there is so much ahead for me; struggles and joy.
Are you sure you don’t read minds?
brookeshaden - I make it my business to read minds 😉
Thomas Oscar Miles - thank you so much for this! just what i needed to help me through, i felt a little low, but i think if i keep trying to perfect the definition of my style, i can create more personally fulfilling work! 😀
Stefan Ladang - You give all people so an inspiration. That we take every day the hill with full inspiration and happiness. And we come back in love with our work (hobby)
Margherita Introna - Brooke, you always manage to link the blog post to the perfect image. Made me wonder if the writing is the inspiration for the image or vice versa… I’m guessing perhaps that it works back and forth most of the time 😉
For some reason the ballet shoes intrigue me… I guess I figured this image with the character barefoot. The inclusion of the ballet shoes makes me feel like she is dancing uphill instead of walking. A strange difference perhaps, but somehow seems symbolic to me. A thoughtful image <3
Fiona - Thank you just for taking the time.
Rocio Mirelis - I feel like you were speaking to me directly! It’s exactly how I feel. When I did what I do for fun… it was perfect… when I started taking it more seriously and wanting to make it my career… it was still perfect, but I dreaded it… and sometimes still dread failure… or not performing to everyone’s expectations…
I have also learned for myself that it is always an uphill battle. The bigger your dream… the more you accomplish… the more things that pop up in your life that you have to deal with… the more uncomfortable you become… but it’s discomfort that makes you learn, that helps you grow, that helps you become a better person and more polished… like a diamond in the rough.
Don't Shoot Blanks Weekly Web Finds #8 | Don't Shoot Blanks - […] The Uphill Battle […]
Rebecca - Like many of the other people who have commented before me, I feel like this could have been written for me.
I am getting so frustrated lately with my lack of progress, and nervous about the work I put up that it is overshadowing my love for photography that started me on this journey.
Once again reading your blog has made me feel that I am not the only one that experiences these things and that persevering and improving is what I should be focusing on rather than the negatives.
Katy Memon - The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed…Charlotte Bronte.
Thank you Brooke, you inspire me all the time and surprise and delight me with your work.
I’ve only come to realise later in life after having my children that I was on the wrong road, that I need to create, inspire my own children with my passion for art and photography. It’s always been there since I was a child but somewhere along the way we lost each other.
I feel the uphill battle almost daily (but that’s more to do with having two young children!) My progress is slow but steady, which is not easy for me to accept as I am a perfectionist and I get very frustrated with myself. I know my time will come and some day soon and I will be at peace knowing I have brought joy to others and left a legacy for my children.
Much love and respect for you Brook
THE STARVING ARTIST: WISDOM FROM A MOFO - […] are some incredible words by fellow mofo Brooke Shaden that she originally wrote in a post titled “The Uphill Battle” on her blog Promoting Passion. Read on – it’s worth it! Check out some more of […]
kay - Brooke,
I am probably one of your older commenters, but we never outgrow the need for inspiration. Thank you for providing it with such insight that it seems to speak to each of us individually.
Your work is beautiful. I came over here from Jenny’s blog and your portrait of her is wonderful.( She SO cheers me up with her bawdy humor. Her take on life and the myriad issues she deals with always give me something to laugh and/or think about.)
The one thing I can’t seem to find here is a ‘subscribe’ button. Guess I’ll just bookmark you!
Enjoying your blog!