Do you live your life with good intentions, but often breeze through your days waiting for the next gust of wind to blow you in one direction or another towards your passion?
Do you believe that the universe has a grand plan for you, but at the same time, you believe in free will?
In other words, do you hedge your bets and seek to balance life—like a surfer who acknowledges the waves beneath her board but insists on standing up tall and being in control?
Sometimes, this formula works better than others. The waves can be mighty and knock you off the board, while moments later, you are the master of the next set.
I don’t surf. In fact, I’ve never surfed. And, I didn’t see what was coming in my life, a book that would come together as a result of constant attention to a hobby I was developing: photography.
One day, I started to photograph a particularly beautiful sunset…with what I had at hand, my iPhone. I took down-and-dirty little photographs and began sharing them with friends and family, then on Facebook, then in the pages of a book.
What happened? Did life just sweep me up and hurl me into this place of being published, or did I have something to do with it? I initially thought it was both, but retrospectively, it’s worth breaking down.
Related: How To Find Your Purpose
So what actually happened? Was it dumb luck? Or was there some order and planning in the way things turned out?
It occurs to me that some elements that went into this project could be replicated, given the right conditions.
How To Go After Your Dream
I fell in love with the sun and opened a space in my heart and my life to take in its beauty. I found something that I could not live without. That I was compelled to share and that filled me up in a way unlike the rest of the events of my daily life.
What are you passionate about? Take inventory of what activities, interests, investments bring you the most satisfaction. One of these, your passion, could be your secret weapon for success. How you feel when you review these things will be a good indicator to determine what it is that “juices you.”
I embraced my passion on a regular basis. I was dedicated every day to capturing the sun’s beauty through the lens of a camera. Depending on the time of year, I always knew when to be available to shoot the pictures.
Be sure to carve out a particular time of your day or week to schedule in attention to your project. Pencil it in. Consider it a priority like you do brushing your teeth, or washing your hair. A ritual is meant to be a repetitive action.
I kept the expression of my passion focused to a narrow (yet boundless) subject matter, the rising and setting sun. Sure, I enjoyed taking pictures of my cats, of my friends, and the many water birds that South Florida is known for. And, sometimes these birds even landed on the terrace rail. (I have to admit, one of them made the book!)
It’s easy to be distracted, but do what you can to stay on your course towards chasing your passion. If necessary, turn off electronic devices when you’re working on your project. Think of your project as if it were a mantra in your meditation which serves to pull your thoughts back to a single focal point. Your project is your mantra.
I shared my photos with family and friends and the public at large through Facebook and Instagram and received rave reviews and many encouragements to put them in a book. Had I missed this step, how would I know that what I was doing was of any interest to the outside world. How would I know there was a market?
When friends saw pictures of mine on Facebook and suggested I put them into a book, I listened. However informal this step was, it informed my decision to move ahead with a book.
Take stock of who around you is best suited to provide feedback for your work. Who do you trust? Who do you know will be honest with you and give you constructive criticism?
Try to even think beyond your circle of friends. Who might you call upon to be a sort of focus group for your project. The more objective these people are, the better.
I have the advantage of working in the publishing business for twenty years so I made the most of what I had. I had an abundance of connections to both help me create a book by with inspirational passages to complement my photos and I was well-versed in media to help get the word out.
What about the situation that you’re in can support you in getting your message out? Who in your world might lead you to the right person or people to help further your project? Are there are any tools right in front of you that you might use to propel you towards success?
Look through the business cards you’ve collected and look through those emails you thought were too valuable to delete. Make lists of the people you know, of the resources you have. In these lists, I promise, help abounds.
While it feels like we’re functioning by the seat of our pants and that luck is either with us or not, determining our fate, there really are forces that we’re directing that help point us in the direction of fulfilling our dreams, goals and projects. It’s just a matter of paying attention to what truly moves us, how dedicated we are to making what might seem like a pastime something more, and keeping our eye on the ball. Chase your passion and live the life of your dreams.
Kim Weiss, author of SUNRISE SUNSET: 52 Weeks of Awe & Gratitude, has been a publicist in the book industry for many years and coaches other writers aspiring to be bestselling authors. As a storyteller, Kim has contributed to the hugely popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series and The Ultimate Bird Lover with ‘America’s Vet’ Marty Becker. You can also find Kim’s stories and photos in Arielle Ford’s acclaimed book Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul.
Photo by Joshua Tweedy