Pivot to Your Passion: Q and A

On Feb. 20, I hosted an event called “Pivot to Your Passion” at The Wonder Jam with my good friend Autumn Theodore (of Autumn Theodore Photography).  Here is the Q and A from our event.  Enjoy!

Is transitioning to more independent work always stressful?

Autumn: Not as stressful as showing up for a boss every day. 🙂 There are undoubtedly several things you have to learn how to do to be successful that have no relation to your industry. For example, as a photographer (I just like taking photos!), I have also become an accountant, a web developer, a marketer, a designer, a writer, and so many more things. If becoming all those things excites you, DO IT! It will be great. But if you absolutely hate the idea of doing all those things, figure out if a) it’s worth it, b) you can hire others to handle the things you don’t like, or c) if pivoting to this particular passion isn’t worth it to you. (And that’s ok! It’s like dating. When you find the right passion, all the work will be worth it!)


How can I organize my ideas into a plan/map? and How do I become discoverable?

Autumn: I believe both of these questions can be answered in the same way – it depends on who you are, what industry you’re in, what your interests are, how you organize your thoughts, your life, your business. Because of my recent pivot, plus my marketing background, I’d be happy to chat with anyone who feels interested in pursuing these questions further. Feel free to email me at autumntheodore@gmail.com.


How do you further develop body sense/awareness?  

Brandi: Try a body scan practice!  The Insight Timer app is totally free.  You can download it and search for “Body Scan” for some really good options.  

How do you find/discover your passions?

Brandi: For me, my personal passions were always laced through everything I do, even when I didn’t realize it.  What are the groupings and common threads that can be traced throughout your life?  For example, in every job, I always found a way to write.  I have always found a way to share what’s most important for me with others (which is the essence of teaching). Are there things you can’t escape?  Start there.  Also, check out this blog post, “What Would You Do Even If You Failed.”

Autumn: You are given $1,000 and told you 1) aren’t allowed to go to work tomorrow, and 2) have to spend it in the next 24 hours. What do you do? Ok, that? Do that then. (Sidenote: this question is strategic because I don’t like the question “What would you do with $1,000,000 tomorrow?” – money (lots of money) changes things in a major way for people.) I think you have to truly think about a reasonable way to spend your time, but something that you’re truly passionate about is possible.


How do you recover after pivot experience fails?  

Brandi: I teach something called narratives of resilience.  These are stories we tell ourselves, ways we make meaning from our difficult experiences.  Research shows that when we have overcome anything, no matter how small, reminding ourselves of these successes makes us feel more confident in the moment. Are there ways you can make meaning from this experience?    

Here are some questions you can use to prompt yourself:

  • What did you learn from your attempt and consequent “failure”?  
  • What skills did you gather in the experience that you might use now or later to help you?  
  • Did you have relationships that were strengthened in the process?  
  • Do you have new perspectives that were gained?  
  • Did you uncover personal strengths previously unrealized?
  • Are there things for which you are more grateful because of this situation?  

All of these questions will point you to both personal gains and meaningful learning that can be gathered from your pivot.  They may even indicate some new ways to move forward.    


How did you figure out what you wanted to do?

Brandi: I just trusted my own experience.  When I felt a push toward something new, I followed it.  When something didn’t feel right or I got the sense it was time to move on, I listened to my gut.  In short, I trusted myself to know the answer.  This was a VERY hard won skill.  There were times I didn’t trust myself, and the result was a lot of discomfort and pain.  I fought against what I knew was right for me because I didn’t want change.  When I embraced change, the answers for what I needed to do just developed.  My path has been less about decisions and more about intuition.  I am doing a job now that I literally could never have planned for because I made it up over the last year and a half!  That’s so crazy to me.  Somehow, everything before this kind of fits in though.    

Autumn: About 10 years ago, I discovered that I was pretty naturally talented at creative composition (aka the framing of photos), but I didn’t know it was an actual skill at the time – I just liked doing it. Fast forward 5 years, and I bought myself a DSLR camera just for fun. After 6 months, people wanted to pay me to take photos…another 4 months later I created a website. Over the following 3 years I thought it would be impossible to be a photographer full-time until I hired a business coach who made me realize it is very possible. That gave me the strength to take the jump and leave my job 3 months ago.


How much should I trust my body’s reactions to make decisions?  

Brandi: All the time.  That’s my opinion.  Don’t interpret fear or discomfort, however, as a sign you aren’t supposed to do something.  You have to know your own reactions: what does it feel like when something is wrong versus when you’re  just nervous for a change?  Experiment with getting to know yourself more, and watch the results.  You know the right answer, pretty much always in my opinion.  


How do we find more balance?

Brandi: This isn’t the most popular answer, but in some ways true “balance” is an illusion (at least in the traditional sense of the word).  Balance implies that there is a set point at which all things cease to move.  Instead, what I encourage people to do are to put energy into the things that create meaning and to find moments of personal rejuvenation along the way.  

I will be talking more about this topic at the workshop “Finding Balance Through Mindfulness” workshop I am doing at Studio 614. We’ll discuss how to be strategic about building rejuvenation into your life while following the things you love.    


How can you silence the negative voice with a positive voice?  

Brandi: The goal is never to “silence” the voice inside of you.  There was a famous study which asked individuals not to think about white bears.  Guess what?  They thought about them more.  When trying not to think about something, it actually brings more awareness and attention to that thing.  

Instead, mindfulness practice is about not engaging with or investing in negative thoughts, watching them with some level of indifference.  Can you choose not to believe the thought?  Can you tell yourself something else that is positive and more realistic than the things the negative voice is saying?      


How do I encompass all of today in a daily practice?  

Brandi: An hour is a short time to cover all that it means to engage with change in daily life.  For more specific practices that can be incorporated into the day-to-day, check out the workshop series I will be hosting!  You can also email directly if you are interested in working one-on-one at brandi@learninglabconsulting.com.  


Questions?  Comments? Leave feedback on the blog!

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