What To Do When No One Believes In Your Dream


This weekend marked a big milestone for us: we had our work published in the newspaper for the very first time. The Guardian newspaper in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island did a feature on our documentary project, Lobster Island. My parents, who live on the Island, bought 10 copies of the paper, giving them out to family. They shared the big news with their friends. They’ve been talking up our book to everyone they meet. I think they’re pretty proud right now.

But 8 years ago when I first told them I was going to become a photographer they weren’t quite so enthusiastic. In fact, they were downright unhappy about the idea.

I can see why they felt that way. I had been going to University with the plan of becoming a lawyer – a respectable profession that would ensure stability. I had never expressed any interest in photography, and then all of a sudden, after spending a month in Europe with my new boyfriend (that was Rob, by the way), I had these crazy dreams of becoming a pro. I think most parents would be a little bit concerned.

Luckily I had Rob. He shared my dream, and we believed in it together. Despite my parents misgivings I forged ahead. With only a year left until I finished my degree I stayed in school, but all the while I spent every spare moment learning photography, and planning how to start our business. The summer that I marched across the stage to accept my degree we shot 30 weddings. I walked out of University a full-time professional photographer (with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology that I’ll probably never use!).

But I know there are a lot of you out there that don’t have a partner who shares your dream, to get you through the tough work that comes with pursuing your passion. And even worse, you may have loved ones around you who try to dissuade you from living your dream. They tell you to be practical. To be reasonable. That photography (or whatever you want to do) is just a hobby, not a job. There’s no money in it. You can just do it for fun, while having a “real” career to support you.

After a while those suggestions start to sound good. It’s easier to just go with the flow than to fight and struggle to make your dream job a reality, right?

So what should you do?

Ask yourself one question: Does this passion of mine light a fire in me? Does it fill me with energy and excitement and a sense of purpose? If I were to picture my absolute dream job, is this it?

If you answered yes, then do it. Make it happen. Don’t worry about the people who don’t believe. Chances are they’re just worried about you. But they don’t feel your energy and your drive. They don’t understand how much passion you have. It’s that passion and that energy that will help you succeed. If you have it, you won’t give up until you get where you want to be. Don’t fault them for not understanding. They’ll understand one day, when they see you make it.

Now, I know there will be moments when you wonder if you really do have what it takes to succeed. I know that because I have them all the time. This stuff is hard work. Thankfully I have someone to turn to in those moments who can reassure me that we’ll get there, one step at a time.

So if you don’t have that person, listen to me right now: You will get there. One step at a time. When no one else believes in your dream, know that I do. Passionate people can make anything happen.

Now go and get to work. Make your dream your reality. BAM!

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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16 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for the motivation, encouragement and inspiration. Just the jolt I need to forge ahead.

  2. Thank you for this. I graduated with a bachelors degree just a few years ago, but I’m currently pursing photography as my full time career. This is so encouraging!

  3. Kamila Kuzmicka says:

    Well said!

  4. Such a great article! every time I need a motivation I come back to the blog and it gives me a ton of inspiration. I quit my boring job few weeks before my husband and I had a baby, and when our boy was 1 month old I’ve decided to pursue photography, turning it from a hobby to a full time career. My learning process started with “Essential Camera Skills”, which is such a great, understandable and fun way to start discovering photography, when you know next to nothing. I also purchased “The Lobster Island” book which I find terrific. I think you guys are so brave, deciding to switch to documentary photography, and the fact that your work appeared in a newspaper just shows how much people do enjoy it, and that believing in your dream and sticking to it will eventually work out. I hope to become a professional photographer in about a year’s time. Have to admit-sometimes I do feel like a mom with the camera, but it doesn’t stop me from believing in myself.

  5. Lovely article! Photography has been my dream since high school, and luckily I found a husband who has supported me along the way and even pushed me when I needed it! I feel truly blessed to do what I love!

  6. I think it is wise to see both sides. When you live for yourself you can do as you like. When you decide to bring kids into this world you have to do what gives them the best options in life. So follow your dreams unless you have children who depend on you to give them the best chance in this world. Sorry I might be old fashioned but as an Engineer I can afford more opportunities for my kids. So my passion will remain a hobby and I am fine with that.

  7. Holy Cow thank you so much!! that is amazing and so happy to have read this!!

  8. This is Awesome! Thank you for posting this! I needed to hear this soo bad! I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to do what you and Rob did and pursue it as a career but I always end up second guessing myself because I didn’t have that person to support me and tell me that it I can do it… not anymore! I have you guys! (well technically your blog) :) I will so bookmark this article so whenever I start second guessing myself, this will remind me that I can do it! You said what I needed to hear from the people around me and I don’t even know you personally!! YOU ssooooo made my day!!

  9. Melissa Johnson says:

    Just what I needed to read after someone tried to tell me I’m destined to fail and that it will be too hard. Onward ho!!

    • Lauren Lim says:

      I’m so incredibly happy this post helped you, Melissa! I’m sorry someone told you that, but a huge high five to you for going for it! We’ll be cheering you on!!

  10. Thank you ☺ I often go back in forth in what’s practical and what I’ve actually dreamt myself doing. It so hard when no one believes in you, especially when you share your dreams and there’s an awkward silence. I will save this article and reference back to it when I need it. Thanks for believing in me.

  11. Wow…Awesome…this is what I was searching for…Thanks for writing such a great article. It has really made my day.

  12. Thank you. I am trying to pursue my dream of being a children’s book writer and illustrator. What saddens me is that I went to school for this, and my husband did as well (except for comic books) yet everyone around me would rather me be stuck in a crappy retail job than me go for my dreams. It’s hard when no one believes in you, so thank you.

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