Let's face it, there is a stigma around pursuing what you love as a career, valuing your time and effort, and charging what you’re worth.
For me personally, It’s easy for people to look at what I’m doing, and tell me I’m being selfish charging for something that I should just be doing for free or low cost just because I love it so much.
When I first started, that was a personal mental block for awhile, until I learned to value myself and what I believe in. Easier said then done, it’s a common struggle I think, and if you’re a business owner or thinking about starting one, Im here to tell you right now that running your own business and being brave enough to jump out of your 9 to 5 to pursue your passion is not selfish at all.
I figured out what I need to ask myself and what to focus on to change that negative mindset and I’d like to share what I learned with you in case you’re ever doubting yourself:
First, when people told me it was impossible, and that I shouldn’t try, or that I was being selfish, I considered these 3 points before taking their words to heart:
1. Is this person an expert in the field in which they’re trying to give you criticism? Is this person successfully pursuing their passion or running their own business? If not, then disregard.
2. Is this person offering feedback? Are they offering to help you become better, or fix the issues, or are they simply complaining and criticizing? If it’s the latter, disregard.
3, If the person is an expert and is offering helpful feedback, they are trying to help you, which means they believe what you’re doing is possible. These are the only people you should take advice from.
If someone tries to discourage you from pursuing your passion by telling you that it’s a selfish endeavor, please remember:
1. If you’re doing what you love, you’re going to be happy. When you’re happy, you’re likely to be more patient, kind, and giving towards others. By helping yourself, you’re actually helping your relationships with those around you. You know the phrase “you can’t love another person until you love yourself”? What that really means is that you need to invest in yourself. Become self aware, and practice self-love, which yes, includes finding and pursuing something that you find fulfilling. It’s not selfish, it allows your glass of happy-water to fill continuously so you can pour some on other people and help them grow. If your glass is barely full, you don’t have any to share with anyone else.
2. When you have a career doing what you love, when you’re not afraid to value yourself, and when you do make a good paycheck, that money is allowing you to continue to run your business and serve your clients. You’re able to donate to causes you believe in and create a rainy day fund to help out a friend when life happens. People seem to think that the reason you want money is so you can be rich, but they fail to see the big picture. It’s not about an end goal of being rich, it’s about being able to use that money to help create a better situation for others. Money CAN buy happiness if you spend it on other people. If you’re lucky enough to be earning extra, pay it forward and help someone else get to that place too.
3. Find your why. You have to come from a place of service, and chances are you already are without thinking about it, you just have to dive deeper. Keep asking why. An example: I have multiple reasons for wanting to pursue photography but one of them is:
I want to photograph people full time. Why? Because It’s what I love to do. Why? Because I enjoy seeing people become excited about their images. Why? Because that means I made their day better and that makes me happy. Why? Because it reminds me of how I felt when I had my first photoshoot in high school. Why? Because I was the “nerd” and it was the first time I actually felt confident and pretty. Aha! So I found out that one of my why’s was to help people find confidence through my images!
It is not selfish to do what you love for a living, as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.
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