Passion {aka: how i do what i do}

me and my pentax

I have been asked how I do all that I do, how I manage to run a business, write a blog, and care for a child and home all at once. It is such a difficult question for me to answer, because I don’t have a method. In fact, to be completely honest, I don’t always feel like I am handling it as well as I’d like to. It is hard sometimes. I get frustrated, and I have breakdowns. I wonder why I have chosen this harder path. But those thoughts only last a moment. Then I remember- I know the answer already.

It’s because I have to.

That is the only reason I can even begin to handle it all. It isn’t because I’m a super-mom, or super-anything. It isn’t because of me at all. It is because I am doing what I am passionate about.

Photography really chose me, in a way. When I was doing other things, it grabbed my heart and suddenly I no longer feel complete unless I am capturing the beauty I see. It is my calling, my vocation, and I just can’t not do it. That passion is what keeps me pressing on when things are hard, when it seems impossible to balance it all, even when I am questioning myself and my abilities. Without passion, a creative business will surely fail. With it, I truly believe that it cannot fail.

I almost went down a very different path. I almost bought into the notion that I wouldn’t be able to make a life in photography, and I was pursuing a much more “practical” occupation. In that first semester of graduate study, I was moderately interested in some of the subject matter, but overall, I couldn’t really picture myself in that career. It didn’t spark my passion. I knew that I was pushing my true calling aside, mostly due to fear.
It was motherhood that snapped me out of it. Something about bringing this miraculous little person into the world made me realize how precious life really is, how we only get one, and I knew that I had to follow my heart. I wanted my children to see that modeled- I wanted be an example of living passionately.

I read this quote years ago, and it has stuck with me:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Gil Bailie

I believe that we ought to change the way we choose our vocations, our life work. If we were to find what makes us come alive, rather than allowing our choices to be driven by money, or practicality, the world truly would be a better place. People would be happier. What good is material wealth if your soul is being suffocated? People who are passionate about what they do, usually care less about money. If you are happy already, you don’t feel you need “stuff” to make you happy. And yet, coincidentally, it is often the people who are passionate about their life’s work who are most financially successful at it. Because passion is an energy force that drives us forward and breeds innovation. It does not allow for giving up. It does not care what anyone else thinks, and it does not take no for answer.

That is my answer. It is not that I am a master of balance. It is that I am driven by passion, and therefore I just have to make it all work, somehow. It often feels more like juggling than balancing, and sometimes I drop a ball or two. But the passion makes up for all the difficulty- in fact, I often forget that it is “supposed” to be so hard, because I am too busy enjoying it all. Sure, I have my moments, but overall I have never been happier or felt more fulfilled.

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4 Comments

  1. So often it’s the ‘passion’ that gets us thru the toughest..most difficult and busiest of times. I’m sure yours will keep you balanced and focused..and see you thru to the other side. Words that resonate with me..so beautifully written!

  2. “… passion is an energy force that drives us forward and breeds innovation… ”
    I love this!
    Hannah, you inspire others to believe that they, too, can live out their passion.

  3. I sat and read this and all i could think is about how much i love photography and yet i love it so much that i have trouble charging people because i want to give people something that they can cherish and i feel bad asking for anything in return. I am a full time nurse as well in school to further my nursing career. I have so many people calling me to take their photos after they have seen my work. I dont know where to go from here but when i read this it reminds me of my passion. I think I am just scared in todays world to do what i love for my life. The fear of failure over rides the passion. Maybe you can give me some advice. Sincerely, Teresa

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