10 things you should know before pursuing your dream job

I don’t know what your dream job is, and this post has to do a lot with modeling and intagram-ing, but I think it’s applicable to anyone who wants to start with anything.

Not too long ago, when I finished my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, I’ve decided that I can not do a regular 9 to 5 job and that I’ll figure my own way towards happiness and freedom (I always put these two in the same basket).

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At first it seemed unrealistic and a little outrageous. But of course, where the attention goes, energy flows and soon the opportunities for sports modeling stated popping out. I just reacted, responded to every job that suited me and soon came to the point when I realised that this can be my full time job for this era of my life.

(I am present in this so-called modelling scene for almost 10 years now, but I never did it full time as I do it now.)

“What do you actually do for work?” is a question I receive a few times a week. I am mainly a sports model and social media influencer, working in the sport and outdoor industries. I visit incredible places and share some amazing experiences, I am working with brands who I believe are making awesome stuff and with photographers who are beyond inspiring and creative personalities! I’m learning a lot from them and that makes me super grateful at this point. It’s my dream job, but it’s a lot of work, takes a lot of energy, you kinda need to be always ready and never sick

Pursuing my dreams over the past few years, I have learned a few things:

<3 IT’S STILL WORK EVEN IF IT’S YOUR DREAM

“When you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

I disagree. Just because you love something doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Just because it looks glamorous from the outside doesn’t discount the more difficult moments. Passion and drive will never fully soften stress or worry. It’s still work, and as a result, it still feels like work. When you do what you love, you’ll work many days in your life– it’ll just be more enjoyable.

<3 IT’S OFTEN HARDER THAN 9-5 JOBS

I struggle to think of a time in my day when I don’t think about my work. I think about it A LOT. I have many projects, I have photoshoots, I edit photos for myself, I try to come up with new ideas and trips… I spend a few hours a day doing things for my businesses that I don’t necessarily get paid for– reading, researching, making connections, writing blog posts like this one, answering non-job-related emails. And I don’t have one boss to report to– instead, I have a dozen of them, all with different needs. It’s more complicated. It takes more energy. Frankly, my 9-5 was way simpler and easier.

<3 YOU HAVE TO BE YOUR BIGGEST FAN

Believing in yourself is part of this job. This is on you. It’s on you to make it happen. Even if you don’t believe in your success, act like you do. Find a new confidence and let it lead you everywhere. Tell everyone about your thing. Be proud. And please, identify yourself by whatever you are trying to be– nobody hires people who are “starting out” or “trying to be.” Your title is whatever you decide it is. Believe it.

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<3 IT TAKES DISCIPLINE

If you want this to be your job, you have to treat it like a job. Be on time– even if you work from your couch. Have a schedule. Know your calendar. Have boundaries. I don’t believe in the “hustle till you die” strategy. I believe that we need to re-charge sometimes and we need to stay in touch with ourselves when we are working toward something big. Discipline means you know when you are working and you know when you are not working. But when you are scheduled to work, make sure you actually work. And when you are working, always always do your best.

<3 THERE IS ENOUGH ROOM FOR EVERYONE

This is so important. It’s easy to look at everyone else in the field you want to be in and to decide that there simply isn’t room for one more. BUT THERE IS! Nobody can create exactly like you can. I remember a few years ago, looking at all of the sporty models who were doing what I wanted to do. At the beginning, I didn’t think I’d get there. And looking back, I actually didn’t have a solid reason to discredit myself. When you keep going at it for a long time, you’ll have these moments of “this could actually happen,” followed by moments of “this is actually happening.” Know that there is room for you.

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<3 RECEJCTION IS PART OF THE STORY

In order to really succeed at this thing, you’ll have to reach out to a lot of people. And you will have to be your own best fan, because you will get rejected s o m a n y t i m e s. And as you make your way up, you’ll experience bigger levels of rejection. Some will start to matter less, and some you will take personally. Understand from the beginning that it’s never personal, and that you’re signing up for this. I still get rejected often. It just means that I’m trying, and I’m constantly reaching higher. It’s part of the process. Easy as that.

<3 YOUR CHOICE: FUN OR STRESSFUL

This whole thing can be fun, or it can be stressful. Honestly it’ll definitely be a bit of both– that’s what happens with uncertainty.

But what if it could be fun?

What if you could play in the unknown?

What if you loved it?

Let it be fun! The whole entrepreneurial journey is full of unknowns, and that’s a given. It’s on you to decide how you will cope with them.

<3 YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS WILL CHANGE

When you are defining your own career, success is a moving target. It changes as you change. It evolves as you become more skilled and explore new avenues. You might be surprised how your ambitions shift. A goal you had a year ago might feel really easy now. It might feel just as far away. Set benchmarks and check in with yourself. Stay ambitious, but always remember where you started and how much you have learned.

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<3 YOU HAVE TO BE IN LOVE WITH THE PROCESS

Why are you actually in this thing? Is it to get some general “likes”? Is it to work from a beach? Is it to get famous? Are you just as in love with the process as you are with the result? If you don’t love the process, it will feel old pretty damn quick. If you don’t yet know if you love the process, you’ll find out as soon as you start, I promise.

<3 IT’S SOOO WORTH IT!

And honestly, there are times when I really wonder about this. There are late nights and early mornings when I’d simply rather sleep. There are weekends I’d rather do a million things than spend the whole day indoors in the studio, shooting for commercial that I’ll probably never even see. There are weeks and months when I wonder if I should go get a more stable job so I didn’t always have to think about my next project. But I know what I want my mark on this world to be– connection, motivation, beautiful images, stories that enrich and empower. So I do this. Every day. And it’s worth it!

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Know that this isn’t an overnight success kind of thing. And know that you most definitely are not alone. Going after the things you truly want is hard work, and nobody ever promised it’d be simple or easy. It might feel impossible, but you will never know unless you start!

Whatever your dream job is, and wherever you are in the process, I’m rooting for you.

Ux

How to monetize your passion?

(Notes that I wrote down from different podcasts on this topic)

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It turns out it is pretty simple, as soon as you answer a few important questions for yourself and then take an action straight away!

Before we dig in, please note that with this whole »analysis-paralysy« thingy that’s probably going through your mind, a lot of people is struggling at this moment. But we all need to realise that in order for anything to happen, we have to do something. So this notes are here for all of us as a reminder that we should be active. That’s why I encourage you to read through, answer the following questions and make the first step towards the change today.

Let’s go!

 

1.) WHAT YOU DO THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR?

Make a list of your potential products and services.What are you good at? What do people ask you for advice about? What are you known for in your friends group? What kinds of questions do people come to you with naturally? What are you good at making or creating? What do you enjoy doing?

–> And which of these things can you make money from? Are people always asking you for travel advice? You don’t have to do all this stuff for free.

Make a list of items you could potentially charge money for.

2.) WHAT IS YOUR THING WORTH?

When I first started working for brands and companies, I had no clue what I should have been charging. At first, I worked in exchange for exposure because it was worth it to me at the time. I can totally get that this is super hard. Maybe you have to get a little creative here. Make sure your questions are specific. Who do you know that does what you want to do? Find some kind of connection to that person and explain where you are coming from. Maybe they can give you some insight.

+ Do some market research using whatever resources are available to you, including  Google.

Eventually, you have to pick a price and go with it. “I didn’t know what to charge” is a dumb reason for not selling a product or service that people want. Whatever you charge is probably more than you’re getting right now ($0.00, right?).
But then, if everyone is saying “oh hell yeah” to your rate without trying to negotiate with you, then you’re charging too little. If nobody is responding, or if your pricing is shutting down the conversation altogether, then you’re charging too much or you’re in the wrong market. Change something and see what works.

Next to the list you just made, write the range of what you can charge for each item.

3.) WHO WILL PAY YOU FOR YOUR THING?

Figure out your ideal consumer/demographic. Who are they? How old are they and where are they located? What are they going through in their life? What do they do in their spare time? How much money do they make? Where do they shop? Why do they need your product or service?

If what you do/make is made more credible or valuable by having a large audience, you need to attract this audience (side note- do not buy followers) and give them value. How can you be most valuable to this group of people? How will you attract them? And why will they want to buy your thing?

For each item you could potentially sell, write a sentence or two describing your perfect customer.

4.) WHERE WILL YOU SELL IT?

Where do you want your thing to be available for purchase? If you’re a consultant, how will people know you exist and how will they contact you? If you lead workshops, how do people book those?

However people are giving you money, make it easy for them.

Look at your own spending patterns. How do you spend your money and why? When you think about your own purchasing experience, what makes it smooth and seamless? What makes you want to buy something again?
Give your customer options, but make the best deal clear and obvious– all they have to do is say YES.

Make a list of how and/or where you will sell your thing.

5.) WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

Look at your answers to aaaaall of the questions above. They should give you some clarity on your next step. It should give you some idea of the options you have and the avenues you could potentially go down. It will also give you an idea of how scalable your thing is– and scalability matters if you are looking to make a fully grown career out of your passion.

If this feels overwhelming, ask yourself which of the things you wrote down feels easiest? Which of these could you start selling this week? Which of these could you start selling today?

Here is a personal example from one very successful photographer:

  • Getting a project-based photography or collaboration job

  • Make a list of 5 specific target brands

  • Shoot or compile images I have taken that are consistent with their branding

  • Make a portfolio specific to that style

  • Send portfolio with package rates (& make one of the packages stand out as a great deal)

  • Negotiate prices and packages

It won’t always be 5 steps– sometimes it’ll be 3 and sometimes it’ll be 10. Monetizing your passion can be big and scary. Breaking it down into actionable steps can make things seem much much muuuuch more attainable. After you make your plan, the next step is setting times or dates for when each of these will be completed.

+ CREATE, TRY, REPEAT.

Not everything you do will be a huge hit, and you have to accept that right now, otherwise failure will bog you down every step of the way. You can love it or hate it, failure is a crucial part of the process.

Do I think all passions can make you a ton of money? No. Do I think everyone should try to monetize their passions? No. But if you want to do it, NOW is the time. You are most likely not going to get any more clarity than what you now have. Entrepreneurship, creativity, starting a business or a side-hustle– these are not endeavors that come with a guidebook. You have to see what works and take it from there.

Get to it. And don’t forget to have fun.

Feeling The Pressure?

In our current society, the signs and symptoms of anxiety are alarmingly common. Yoga and meditation have long been linked to reducing stress, but it can really actually help?

The yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathwork) have been calming jittery minds and smoothing the stress spikes people experience for thousands of years. It is this ancient discipline that has taught people how to stay in the present moment, recognise when stress arises and be able to respond to it in a more balanced way.

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Like most people, you may find that you walk into a yoga class with a lot of stress and tension, and within sixty minutes, feel like you’re floating when you walk out of one! How does this miracle hour give you that feeling? Below is a bit of science as to why and how.

Many of the benefits of yoga come from the close work it has on our nervous system. Our Autonomic Nervous System is made up of both the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), known as the “accelerator”, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), known as the “brake”. When we are in balance, the PNS is dominant. This helps our muscles to relax, our heart rate to slow down, and our energy to move into maintaining the systems of the body, like digestion.

When we are stressed, the SNS kicks into gear. This starts a cascade of actions within the body, causing the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and other chemicals. This makes your muscles tense up and your pulse rate sky-rocket, as your body moves into “fight or flight” mode. As the stress we experience has become more psychological and sustained, the SNS accelerator remains dominant and active in most people.

Yoga offers relief, as it activates both the SNS and PNS. A well-rounded yoga practice kicks the SNS into gear with Sun Salutations, and balances it with the PNS at the end in corpse pose (savasana) and meditation. Through yoga, we learn how to build up a more resilient nervous system, and know how to operate both the accelerator and more importantly, the brake.

Beyond the pretzel-like yoga postures you often see, yoga is very much an internal practice. As you learn to be self-aware of how you place your body on your yoga mat, you become more aware of what’s happening internally and are able to recognise the signs of stress before they rise to the surface. As anxiety usually affects our breathing first, the pranayama in yoga can teach you how to slow your breath, know how to guide your mind, and stop anxiety from escalating.

If you can’t manage to get to a yoga class, below are 6 simple postures I found online and they say that they really help you to slow down. It is recommended to spend at least 3-5 minutes in each posture to gain the maximum benefit!

 

Have a super nice Sunday ya all!

Ux

Congratulations! You got to fail.

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Failure. A pure blessing when I can see the beauty and heavy baggage when I can’t.
It’s the thing I learn from the most.

Failure: The times I fucked up. The times I missed the deadline to send the mail to the tax department. The times I said the wrong things to the people who matter the most. But I own it. Because even when it’s hard, it’s teaching me.
Failure is overspending on trivial things and prioritizing badly and getting stuck in circles where I judge myself over and over again. Maybe none of it is failure objectively, but to me, it couldn’t have been anything else.
So congratulations to me– I mean that truly and I mean it fully. I got to fail. I got to fail so many times.

But you know what? We have the opportunity every day. You get to wake up every day and try. You get to try and fall flat on your face. You get to experiment.

Mess up hard, learn hard.

Say the wrong thing? Learn to apologize.

Get rejected? Make “no” an opportunity.

Don’t like who you have become? Re-invent.

Not fulfilled by your past? Invest in the excitement of your future.

Feel like you’ve done nothing? Choose something instead.

Get hurt? Choose how much you harden because of it– hopefully, you choose softness instead.

You get to hurt so you can love.

You get to struggle so you can learn.


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Choose today. Choose to know that everyone is living out their stories the best way they know how to. Choose yours, choose your impossible fight, built specifically for you and presented to at your feet.

This is all for you. It’s all available. It’s yours, so take it and make something with it. Something that scares you, something bigger than you know how to define. Because failure is a wise teacher– one that helps you sta.rt a new chapter as often as you want to risk for it. So congratulations. You get to fail.

Ux

Tell your story through Instagram

 

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ph: Wout Van de Donk

 

Instagram has become a part of my daily life. And what a weird sequence of words to watch myself write.

Over the past few years, thousands of people decided to follow along with me on this little app you scroll through when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Thousands of eyes chose to include my content in what they want to see.

I am flattered that people like my photos, but what matters to me is the story. And that somehow, that story teaches someone something, or asks someone a question they’ve been asking themselves but didn’t have the words for.

→ I want to talk about life.

→ I want to talk about the people and places that have changed me.

→ I want to talk about what made me feel something so hard my face turned red and the hair on my arms stood up like I was about to be struck by lightning.

 

Because that stuff is electric.

It is.

Not just in feeling, but in the way it moves through you and anyone you touch.

 

I want to give you something to think about, about your journey, the path you are on and where you have come from.

I want to give you something to smile about, something to cry about, something to assure you that you are understood. That you are not alone.

 

storyinstagram

ph: Wout Van de Donk

 

 

Words and images are how I choose to tell my story right now, but I live it every day.
That’s just me.

 

You may use social media as an escape, and if you do, I want you to ask yourself why. You may not think you have a message. Find out what inspires you instead. And if you then have something to say, say it.

Use your platform, whatever the size, for something you believe in.

Tell your story, the one that brought you to this point. You choose the medium. Those who matter want to see it through your eyes.

So Instagram is an app. So it lives just on our phones, on these little devices that keep us plugged into so many things that don’t really fundamentally matter. So whatever you are saying, make it matter.

And have the courage to say something.

Because our world is rapidly changing at every moment, and it needs you to speak up for what makes you feel most alive.

What is the story you are telling?

My 15 power statements

Today is a pretty special day. I had some amazing conversations with my boy and they made me think about the type of impact I want to leave in the world, what kind of contribution do I want to give to the community in general. It actually is something I’ve never pondered before.

So, I am sitting here writing and what is emerging is a list of powerful statements. I like it so much that I want to share it with you in the hopes that it inspires you to stop, go inward and create your own. You can use mine as inspiration, if you feel like it rings your bells!

  1. Be a nice human. Always.
  2. Treat everyone and all things with respect.
  3. Love yourself and be your own best friend.
  4. You know yourself best; You are your own guru. Love your body, move your body and nourish your body the way you feel you wanna do it.
  5. Smiling and laughing change the biochemistry in our cells and make us feel good.
  6. Life flows when we flow.
  7. Act in integrity, always!
  8. Trust life.
  9. The getting is in the giving.
  10. The world doesn’t benefit from us playing small.
  11. Abundance in all areas of our life is truly possible.
  12. Yoga is a great tool. Use it daily.
  13. To serve is why we are here. Serve. Serve. Serve.
  14. The present is in presence.
  15. Enjoy your own company.

Hope you guys find these inspirational and beneficial as well! And thanks for the support! I love to see that you’re staying on track with me and reading the lines that I’ve been chewing over and over in my head for a while and now with this challenge actually introduced them to the world.

Ux

U London 8

ph: Saša Hess (Cirkusart)