Right now I am in a transition with my photography career. I am no longer sitting in the unknown wondering how in the world I am going to make this dream real, but I am also not on the other side of things calling it my full-time job. At this point, things are just becoming real and I can still taste the unknown with excitement. I was thinking that it would be a good time to write down a few ways that got me to this point so that I might encourage some of you to take on your dreams and make them happen.
Talk with God about making your passion real.
About 3 years ago I asked my women's Bible study group to add my dreams to the prayer list. I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but the business side of it freaked me out. I knew nothing about it and didn't feel like I had the social skills to really wing it. So we prayed. I prayed separately as well, for 3 years.
Be extremely patient with yourself.
Guys, it doesn't happen overnight. In order for God to cultivate and build you, He has to move a lot of parts and rewire your mind. He isn't going to hand you your dreams up front and say, "run!" until you are ready. I am a perfectionist and want things to be awesome up front. I want to be awesome, but being good at something takes time. At the same time, as a perfectionist, it can be easy to just sit and wait till it feels like things might be perfect, which brings me to my next point.
Make yourself available in challenges.
Even though God didn't necessarily hand me my dreams right away, He did give me opportunities where I had to fly by the seat of my pants sometimes. About a year after really asking God to make things real, I was given a job that required me to learn things about a small business where I knew nothing. I had to buy a $9,000 copy machine. I had to come up with a pest control plan for a cafe that isn't even open yet. God pushed me to help organize a canvassing program and I am NOT a literature evangelist. Accepting these tasks and putting my best foot forward, made it easier for me to see how these new skills could fit into running a photo biz!
While planning your passion, have another job.
Having patience is so crucial that I had to mention it twice. It can be easy to complain and wish you were doing your dream job right now! I know how that goes. Thing is, you gotta pay the bills. You need to be realistic and think about what is currently happening in your life and how that will roll over into your future. You can start out with a full-time job and then move to part-time. Either way, it is important to keep yourself disciplined while you start to make that passion a reality. It actually kept me focused, doing something else because it taught me about hard work and pulling through. Starting a dream job isn't roses and candy, folks. It takes pushing forward! Working that other job will give you proof that you can do it! Over 3 years have gone by and the money I have made still hasn't gone into my own pocket. It pays for photo gear, computers, hard drives, and even a new desk. Dreams are expensive.
Value every moment of learning.
At each step, I had to accept where I was (there is that patience again). When I did this it taught me to value what I had learned and not take it for granted. It made me more aware of the small improvements I was making. Now that I am on this side of the "fence," I am so grateful and have no need to complain. I am still pinching myself because of the fact that just last week I flew out to Nevada to photograph a new artist who not only paid me to fly out, but she paid me for my time and skill. Even as I felt like I had sorta "arrived" I was learning new things. It doesn't leave room for gloating, just success!
Because of God I have a confidence that is growing and challenging me to be better. Dreams don't have to stay dreams. With a little elbow grease and jumping in we both can do awesome things together. Ya, life is real and it can hand us pretty tough stuff. At the same time God knows what makes us thrive. He understands that need to want to create and develop a skill. He made us that way. If it appears like I left anything out and like this seems to easy or too hard to do, please let me know! Ask me questions. I want to help make your dreams a reality too!