Struggle on finding your passion? While listening to The Minimalist Podcast, I started to reflect on "how many balls can you juggle?" and relating this to niching it down.
While in school, I didn't know what to study. I was sure that I love to watch films, read about films, and study lighting in cinema. So I made a notebook full of movie descriptions, personal ratings, all the announcements in the newspapers and became a collector of information about movies putting a vast amount of hours into this activity. I was passionate about films, but not sure if that passion had to become my career. And indeed, it didn't.
I studied Economic Engineering and later on a MSc. in Finance, which led me to work in a financial regulator. During that time, I discovered I had a true passion for identifying problems, solving them, and helping people save time in the process. So instead of writing in reports the mistakes I found in my reviews, I worked with the company on getting them solved before the end of it.
I was pointing out directly the subject that needed to be addressed, saving us both a lot of time. I was passionate about this side of my work, and the only part I missed of it after quitting.
What do I want to say with all of this? First, we have multiple things we are passionate about, and we discover even more every time we experience something new, we do something differently, or we try to get out of our comfort zone.
Can you juggle more than three things at a time?
Have a piece of paper (I find it better than a notes app) and write all the things you are passionate about. Then ask yourself about each one: have you put work into developing this passion? Do you have at least one hour a day or a week to cultivate your passion? Are you working on developing this passion? Then, my friend, you have a passion. All the rest, are things you are excited about, and excitement with time, fades.
I wanted to write a book, and I certainly have the time to do it during 2020. But, instead of it, I helped two business owners to have ebooks ready on circulation during last year. So, what is what I am passionate about? Certainly not into writing, but into helping focus ideas and make them in time. Only not my own! How funny sounds that!
I found documentary photography back in 2010. I went to Amantaní island and stayed there for two nights. On the second day walking around the island, I found two kids. They were not playing but doing their homework. The homework consisted of cutting leaves in the shape of circles. My firsts portraits came from this moment, and I knew I wanted to do more of it. At that moment I became excited about photography, bought my first camera, register for a course, and started learning more about it. It was not until 2012 that I realized I was passionate about it. I couldn't stop doing photography, as I posted the sessions opportunities started to appear. I was willing to take pictures everywhere, no matter the time, effort, extra hours, not eating, or anything. It was me and my camera, the happiest couple on earth. But my body didn't respond with the same joy. It was time to decide between finances or photography. Niche down.
What am I excited about?
I love to do soaps and shampoo bars, but I do not give enough time to cultivate this. I am not actively looking for recipes or making my own, and even though I took a year course about this, I am not intended to make it a business. Because being excited about something, turn it into your passion, and make it your job are three different things.
When do you recognize your passion?
Not an exact answer here, as there are no precise recipes in life. But I can tell you it is your passion when you are not looking at your watch. You can spend more than 9-5 pm on it and not be worried when you start thinking about boundaries for yourself as if you don't do it. You even forget the time to eat. Then you know you are passionate about something.
Can you lose your passion?
Of course, nothing is infinite, and everything evolves. You can be passionate about photography to give you an example and accept assignments that don't go along with your mission. This can turn a passion into a burden. Be careful with selecting your niche, and here is where micro-niche comes to help us recover our passion.
I lost my passion sometime during early 2020. The beginning of the pandemic brought to my insecurities about my communication skills in another language and if I would be ready to start from scratch. I wasn't prepared. No one is ready to start losing followers massively due to a change of country or a change of language. I received some messages saying that they decided to unfollow due to don't understanding English. And a lot of other messages point out video tutorials on English lessons and learn English before. That hurt my confidence massively. It was not until the end of 2020 that I realized I was doing a lot of things, in photography, but too diverse, and I needed to go back to what makes me happy. This is finding a micro-niche.
But what about my passion? My passion is in documenting daily life, to tell those stories that are usually untold, the ones that are behind perfection but somehow are beyond perfect. I genuinely believe Daily Life is the most beautiful to photograph. So now, in 2021, I'm back in line, back to what I love to do, and happy to share more about my non-perfect journey.
Not a recipe but a guideline:
1. There is not a unique passion. Your passion can change during your lifetime.
2. You will not be sure it is your passion until you give it hours of work. For example, it took me five years to be convinced photography is my passion.
3. If you don't cultivate your passion, you can lose it.
4. Accept assignments that fill you with joy that you can spend the time without counting the hours.
5. Don't juggle with more balls than you can juggle. A multi-passionate is simply a non-focused person.
I hope this reflection has been helpful. If you do not agree with something or add or comment, feel free to do it. I appreciate all the comments. They make the discussion even more productive.
See you next week,
Joanna, your Amsterdam Wedding photographer