Can you feel it, too? The energy and excitement that comes from the start of a brand-new year seems to be dancing around us in anticipation of all the goals we promised ourselves we would achieve in 2020, from simple personal health goals to big, brave career moves that could literally change everything. But you know what? Sometimes even the simplest goal (to finally drink more water, maybe?) can become overwhelming when paired with all of the other goals we’ve set for ourselves. But I’m going to share something with you that’s been helping me push past the doubt and overwhelm that I bet you’re all feeling, too. Manifestation is a concept that we’re all familiar with, but there’s way more to it than just dreaming big. You’ve got to act.
But first, let me point out something that may or may not be super obvious: harnessing your own potential can be really stressful and scary. Not only can it be hard to even see your own potential (especially in an industry as competitive as professional photography), but even when you do see it there can be a hesitation to know what to do with it. And this is exactly why getting a clear idea of what your goals are can be so helpful. This is what manifestation helps us do.
So, what is manifestation exactly? Basically, it’s the process of achieving your goals by setting up a series of intentional steps to get yourself there. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not necessarily. I had to go through a lot of trial and error to figure out not only exactly where I wanted to go, but how to get there in the first place. But don’t worry, I’m going to give you a few tips that will basically help you reverse engineer your dreams and make them a reality!
Here are the very same steps I took when manifesting my own dreams and goals for this year:
1. Get Clear About What You Want
When I started studying photography, I didn’t really have any specific goals in mind, I just knew that I loved it and needed it to be part of my life. But by the time I had learned more about it, and realized that I wanted to pursue it as a career, I was already so consumed by my work and – and just living! – that I jumped into it without first giving myself time to set forth a thought-out plan about where I wanted to go with it. Instead I started building my career and planning shoots simultaneously, creating a haphazard portfolio for myself that made it obvious that I didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted from my photography career. This is when I knew I needed to create actionable steps to get me on the right path toward the life I wanted to live.
Getting clear about what my goals were was the absolute hardest part for me, but manifestation helped open my eyes to my own potential and revealed all the places that I was getting stuck. As soon as I let myself put aside the question of how I would reach my goals, I was able to concentrate more energy on what it would look like when I finally achieved them. And this clarity about my true goals and ambitions was a total game changer. Once I was able to imagine my dreams as a reality, I was finally able to set in motion the next steps I needed to take to get there.
Finding clarity about exactly what you want is key, and it’s your first step toward truly manifesting your goals. I seriously can’t emphasize this enough! Be patient with yourself here, though, because this kind of deeply personal envisioning doesn’t happen overnight. Our visions for our futures are constantly clouded by what we think our families, teachers, partners – the world! – expect from us. But make sure you ask yourself what it is that you truly want in your heart. This is the kind of clarity that leads to successful manifestation. So give it the time it needs.
2. Identify The Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back
Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) we end up being our own worst enemies, especially when it comes to our creative pursuits. Because of our own limiting beliefs about our abilities, we end up blocking ourselves from realizing that we are worthy of the goals and dreams we so deeply desire.
I recently received a message from an amazing photographer in which she told me she was struggling with editing & finding consistency with her photos because she wasn’t really “a photographer.” This is just the kind of limiting belief that can keep us from achieving what we desire! So, instead of saying that you’re not a photographer, try flipping the script a bit. Instead say, “I am a photographer who is still in the process of learning what that means for me, and I am ready to receive all the knowledge and experiences I need to move forward.”
When it comes to manifesting and achieving your dreams, making sure that you put yourself in the right mindset is essential. We need to help ourselves (and each other!) realize that all of the things we tell ourselves are just stories and aren’t real until we make them real. And that stands true for both the negative and the positive stories we tell ourselves. Limiting beliefs hide in our minds without our realizing how much they are controlling our lives and our forward movement. So, find the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, and think deeply about what you can do to take your power back. Let yourself get into the mindset that you’re worthy of every achievement you desire because it will help you be more aware of the opportunities that come into your life. Celebrate and have gratitude for where you are at right now, even if it’s not exactly where you want to be, because giving that positivity and love to yourself is what will get you where you want to be in the future.
3. Envision What Success Looks Like To You
This is where the serious manifestation happens. Imagine, even just for a moment, that all the stressful and overwhelming feelings you have were gone – what do you see? Where do you see yourself, and where have you found your joy? This is where your future is, and this is where the success you seek in your life, career, or new business is waiting for you. All of this success can be yours.
So, here is my challenge to you: give yourself an afternoon to really get into the mindset of what your desires, goals, and visions are for your future as a photographer. Picture the life that you want. Maybe you want to make a full-time career out of photography while being financially stable, or maybe you want to have the freedom to travel the world doing what you love – so imagine what your life will look like when you’ve achieved these dreams – not if, when. Truly feeling what it would be like to complete your goals through all of your senses will help you create positive, supportive energy around your intentions – and this is what will bring you closer to making them a reality.
4. Take Action!
Now that you’ve done all of the hard work that comes with the first three steps, it’s time to put it all into action. We can’t just sit and imagine what we desire and expect it to come to us – we still have to go out and find it for ourselves. So, once you are clear about what it is you want, it’s time to immediately take action. You absolutely can’t wait!
Action comes from all the energy that you’ve already put behind your intentions. Once you’ve set your intention, the energy is set into motion, too – you just have to be ready to move with it! Without this step, without taking action, you remain a person with a beautiful dream – but that’s it. No one is going to call you up out of the blue while you’re on the couch enjoying a bag of Cheetos and offer you a job. If you want to see results, you absolutely have to take action to make your vision a reality.
I often receive emails from photographers asking me for tips about how to find work. And when I ask them what they’re doing to market themselves, more often than not the response is something like, “Well, I update my Instagram daily and have sent some DMs and emails to people.” And while this is great and definitely important to do, it’s never going to get you the kind of results that you’re looking for – and trust me, I know this because I learned it the hard way, too. The clients and the jobs aren’t going to come to you, you have to seek them out with passion and dedication – you have to put in the hard work and take action. But it is always worth it.
Now, think about the next five steps you need to take to get closer to your goal. Get really specific here. Then write your future self a letter congratulating yourself on accomplishing each of these five steps, how you did it, and how good it felt! And then read it out loud. Seriously, try it! There is something so magically powerful about hearing your dreams expressed out loud that can really boost your confidence in pursuing them.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to begin, take a second to remind yourself about what you’re really working toward – make sure that you can see it and imagine its success with a clear vision before you continue moving forward. Following your dreams and goals is a lot harder when you don’t have a clear idea of what they really are. Being able to envision yourself achieving your goals is an incredible way to clearly see what steps you need to take to get yourself there. But remember that manifesting alone will never get you where you need to go, the process of manifesting is a tool that will help you open your mind to the possibilities ahead. It is there to remind you of the goals and desires in your heart – and that you can achieve them.
We all deserve to have the chance to see our dreams become a reality, sometimes it just takes a little extra imagination to get started than we realize. Manifesting these ideas into a clear image of your future reality is incredibly empowering. It helps you see not just where you want to go, but how you’ll get there. And let’s face it – clarity and confidence are key to starting anything new, and both of them are absolutely within your reach this year and every year moving forward.
So let’s all work toward making our dreams into a reality, together.