Good morning. Today, we are talking about passion. Bow chicka wow wow. No. Not that kind of passion. We’re talking about passion specifically for your career. I feel like some people, they are brought up having some expectation, whether it be thrust upon them by their parents or something that they decide early on something that they want to be when they grow up. For me, I’ve never grown up, so I still don’t know.
But my son, my nine-year-old son, ever since I can remember, he’s wanted to be an electrical or a mechanical engineer. He’s kind of a dork. He loves reading textbooks, and he loves doing science experiments and things like that, and I love it. It’s so fun because he’s the kind of kid that tucks his pants inside his socks on accident, and he doesn’t know that he did it, and he’s got snot on the side of his face, and … I mean, today, I had to wipe some crusties from his cereal off of his lip, and I’m like, “Dude, how do you not know this?” But it’s because his mind is in other places.
Every one of us I think has some sort of a direction to go in life, and sometimes, we’re just too caught up in trying to please the world and trying to do what the world, what we expect the world to want from us, and it ends up costing us, really, I think it cost us our happiness. We focus so much on trying to become what we think we’re expected to be that we actually miss out on opportunity.
Someone close to me yesterday lost their job, and it’s interesting to me that the whole time they were working this job, they hated the job. They wanted something different. They wanted something better, and right out of high school, wanted to go to Japan and teach English. In high school, he learned Japanese, and he got really interested in the Japanese culture. I had never really thought like that, but he wants to teach literature.
Anyway, his goal right out of high school was to go to Japan and do some internship program that he had learned about in high school. He never did it because he graduated. He went right into the working force and started working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, and before you know it, he’s making a ton of money and loves the money but hates the job and loses sight of what he wanted to do. I think there’s a big percentage of us that do that, and it makes me sad.
I know I did the same thing years ago. I was a junior in high school, and I was bored. I think my mind was learning things a little bit quicker than what the school was willing to present them to me, and I got bored, so I started sluffing school. I got involved in some drinking and things like that with some friends, and partying during school hours. Eventually, school caught on to what was going on, and they expelled me.
I eventually dropped out and, officially dropped out, and then I got my GED, and I was enrolled in school, I was enrolled in college because I wanted to better myself, I wanted something different. My parents, my dad went to broadcasting school, my mom went to cosmetology school, which for some, that’s awesome, but for others, you want something better, and I wanted something better than what my parents had.
I decided to go to school and learn about business. That was my main focus. Anyway, while I was in school, the company I worked for that I thought I wanted to work for forever went out of business, and I was scrambling. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I freaked out. To be bluntly honest, I freaked out because I thought I was in the spot, I thought I was working for the company that I wanted to work for forever, and the company was dissolved, and I’m like, “What do I do now?”
I went back into … I started applying for jobs at the … Wow. I lost my train of thought. I lost the word there, but I started applying for jobs all over the place. I would work jobs for a day or two or three or a week or a month and realize I hated this job. It didn’t give me the same satisfaction that I got out of that old job. I started to learn that it wasn’t necessarily the job, but it was the people that I worked around and it was the feeling that I got. It was the feeling of self-worth that I was looking for. The job really wasn’t great. I mean, it was hard work. I delivered furniture. I had loaded and unloaded trucks all day. It was very physical manual labor, but I loved it. It was very fulfilling, and I loved, loved, loved the people that I worked for. That probably was the biggest thing.
The reason that I’m telling you this story is I feel like … For me, I got so stuck for a long time doing what I thought the world wanted me to do that the hobby that I picked up when I was 15 years old of photography I complete lost sight of. My dad wasn’t very good at … I mean, when I told my dad that I wanted to be a photographer, he looked at me and said, “You’ve got to be one of the best photographers in the world if you want to make any money out of it.” For me, I gave up, and for years for decades, I was terrified. I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do with my life. I had no clue … All these kids I knew want to be doctors, want to be policemen, want to be firefighters, want to be a lawyer, want to be an astronaut. Whatever it is they want to do, they knew they wanted to do that, and I had no clue.
When my dad told me that I couldn’t be a photographer, basically, I gave up. Here I was in my 20s, and I started toying around with my hobby a little bit more. I was working … I ran two pizza restaurants at the time, and I worked a hundred-plus hours a week, and I didn’t have time for much of anything. We adopted three kids. Really quickly, went from zero-three in a matter of four months. It really changed my life. It changed my perspective on everything. I started weighing what was really important in life, and I ended up walking away from both pizza restaurants and starting life over again with nothing. I went from working a hundred hours a week to working zero and scraping by most of the months just to be able to pay my bills. For me, it was scary. My wife was really trusting, but eventually, it turned into something that I never thought it could be.
Nowadays, my dad calls me a famous photographer. I’m not famous by any means. I do have a lot of stuff published, but I’m not famous. But for me, passion, that’s what we’re talking about is passion, so my passion, I was able to live it when my kids were born. Jackson was seven months old when we got him through foster care, and then Parker and Dylan, when they were born, they were 10 weeks early, and so we spent a couple months in the ICU with them because they had major problems that we were working through.
During that time, I stated to realize what was important, and so I dropped everything I was doing, started recycling stuff, and in the process of recycling, I was able to, I was taking pictures of products that … People were selling stuff for like nothing because they couldn’t sell it. They couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it because they were marketing it poorly, and so all I would do is go in and use the skills that I learned in college, the skills that I learned all the time as a hobbyist photographer taking pictures of products and writing better articles, and then listing them and getting them sold, and I made a living doing this for a long time for years. Then I was like, “Man, this is kind of fun,” so I started building YouTube videos, again, just for fun, as a hobby. I got a couple million views on YouTube, and I was like, “Man I want to do something more with this. I want to make a difference.”
I started hiring myself out, commissioning myself out to, really, to weddings. That was my bread and butter was weddings, and then small businesses, trying to help them get moving because for me, when I went to college, I was studying, sorry, business and marketing, and so I learned lots of things that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned so I could help these businesses build on the foundation that they set. Using the photography, I was able to help them in ways that I couldn’t have if I didn’t have that passion.
It’s kind of funny, the passion that I have now I love so much, what I do every day, but that passion came from a lot of hard work and a lot of trial and error, a lot of falling down and getting bruised and bleeding, bloody knees, and a lot of failure. I think a lot of times, we’re so caught up on not failing. We want to make sure that we look perfect where our hair is perfect and our face is perfect and our makeup is just right and our outfits are on point because we want to make sure that the audience, that the people around us see us for who we are, but we’re really not. We’re hiding who we truly are trying to show them what we think they want to see, and in the process of all this, we completely miss who we actually are.
Passion. Focus on who you are. Focus on what you enjoy doing, and some time, maybe it’s family, maybe it’s photography, maybe it’s building businesses, maybe it’s wrenching on cars, whatever it is, you can always get back to the basics. There’s always a way to make money doing whatever it is that you’re doing, but don’t lose sight of who you truly are because you’re focusing on who you think the world wants you to be.