How To Succeed at Your Passion

Last week I wrote a blog about competition and how it can be a good thing by motivating us to work harder to become the best that we can be. Since writing that post I have really been stepping up my photography and editing games in an effort to push my boundaries and get really good at this craft. This may look like a blog about photography, but stay with me. What I’m covering here actually applies to any pursuit as I show you the steps that you can take to become the best that you can be in your areas of interest. These steps are common sense, but sometime when we get stuck or discouraged it’s helpful to be reminded of how simple it is to get started taking steps toward the fulfillment of our dreams.

Push your boundaries and find ways to standout. Photography by Paul Garrett

Push your boundaries and find ways to standout. Photography by Paul Garrett

Just Do It!

When it comes to photography, nothing beats getting out in the field and actually taking pictures. Using our cameras under different lighting conditions and with different models can help us to lean new techniques and also become more familiar with what our equipment can do. Whatever your craft is the more time you spend doing it the better you will become.

Learning From Experts

Another way to lean is to from EXPERTS. We can do this by taking workshops with experienced photographers. I’ve personally attended three workshops around the USA and three other workshops in Africa. The focus of these trips was landscape and wildlife photography, but my current obsession is yoga, fitness and lifestyle photography, so I have had to learn a lot of new skills and how to work with models. What I love about this genre of photography is the collaborative nature of it and how that enhances the creativity behind the images that I capture. Whatever you plan to create, consider collaborating with people who can add knowledge and value to your project. It’s also nice to have the support of other people to encourage you to keep going.

Online Resources

I spent this past weekend binge watching “how to” photography videos on YouTube from several presenters, including Peter McKinnon. He shoots with Canon cameras like me, he’s entertaining and I have learned a heck of a lot from his videos. Another great resource for photography is CreativeLive in Seattle and in San Francisco. This organization offers in studio opportunities to learn directly from some of the best photographers in the world. You can also watch their recorded presentations in the comfort of your own home on your computer. I have attended three in studio recordings at CreativeLive and they were all inspiring and informative. Go to to get started.

Shooting with low light requires special Knowledge and tools and yet this is a time when the light can be beautiful. PHotography by Paul Garrett

Shooting with low light requires special Knowledge and tools and yet this is a time when the light can be beautiful. PHotography by Paul Garrett

6 Steps Toward Success:

  1. Study - learn all about your craft and then throw out the rules once you have mastered the fundamentals to develop your own style.

  2. Practice - put your knowledge into action and get good at it.

  3. Envision - develop a vision for what you want to create.

  4. Plan - create a plan for executing your vision.

  5. Execute - put your plan into action and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We learn as we create.

  6. Refine - analyze what you did right and improve where you made mistakes.

These days it is easier than ever to pursue your passion and become excellent at your craft thanks to the internet and the wealth of information that is available at your finger tips. Yes, there is more competition than ever before thanks to the plethora of information that is available to you. However, don’t let the competition discourage you from getting started. Instead let it inspire and motivate you to put in the hours of work and practice that are required to become an expert. In his book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell refers to the 10,000 hour rule . Simply stated, it implies that if you want to master anything you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice to get there. Two weeks ago in Seattle I think that I hit this milestone. My photography was really clicking for me and now I am super stoked to take it to the next level.

Be sure to watch the above interesting YouTube video by Peter McKinnon.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

The time is now to commit yourself to your passions and become proficient in your area of interest. Don’t set aside your dreams and let them die. Make them a priority and go for it! The last thing that you want to do is look back on your life regretting that you didn’t do that thing that you always wanted to do. And don’t let your fear of failure hold you back. Mistakes are bound to happen and they teach us important lessons. Welcome your mistakes, learn from them and move forward. Like competition, failure can make us better or it can crush us depending how we frame it. I choose to look at it in a positive light and accept that it is a normal part of the journey. My best friend in middle school was a really good skier. He used to say, “If I’m not falling down, I’m not learning.” It’s easy to ski slowly and not fall down, but when we push our boundaries we are naturally more apt to wipeout. This is just the nature of taking risks and trying to do new things.

A rare shot of me pursuing the perfect shot in Zion National Park.

A rare shot of me pursuing the perfect shot in Zion National Park.

So do you have a passion that you are putting off? Do yourself a favor and honor your dreams and desires. Jump in and don’t delay. You will be so happy that you honored yourself by honoring your dreams. There’s nothing you can’t achieve if you put in the work, believe in yourself and don’t give up! There’s no better time to get started than now. I’m rooting for you so go for it!!

Wishing you an inspiring week,


P.S. - My ex wife reads this blog. A couple weeks ago I wrote about my addiction to Instagram. Now whenever I pick up my iPhone in her presence she holds me accountable. Busted!! Accountability is a good thing by the way. If you enjoyed this blog, click on the little heart icon below. Your feedback means a lot to me! Thanks!!

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