You’ve all but heard it before: “Follow your dreams”, “Turn your dreams into reality.”—the list of clichés goes on and on. But maybe there’s some truth to the hundreds of famous airy quotes about dream following. Maybe they’re just motivational words, for never giving up on your deepest desires. Or maybe it’s even simpler than that.
Maybe they’re just straightforward instructions.
Brooke Shaden is the physical embodiment of what life would be like to literally follow your dreams.
As a self-portrait artist, she brings back from her slumbers the most imaginative thoughts, transforming them into visual storytelling masterpieces.
And with such an introspective ability to see her dreams, she offers many words of wisdom for those seeking to follow their very own.
“The people who are most successful…are the people who are doing something in their own unique way.”
In this Podcast you’ll learn:
- How Brooke Shaden broke out of a job she hated to pursue a creative career despite the risk.
- How she has created success as an introvert.
- How she engages meaningfully on social media without obsessing about the numbers.
- How she sees hustle as an art form.
See her in person:
Promoting Passion Convention
Joshua Tree, CA
October 4-8, 2018
Loved this and want more? Check out our other episodes here.
Spark a conversation! Leave a comment below or say hello @alexbeadon on Instagram.
Transcript Available Below
Alex Beadon 0:00
In today’s episode I speak to world renowned photographer and a dear friend of mine, Brooke Shaden. On how she broke out of a job she hated to pursue a creative career despite the risk, how she has created success as an introvert. How she engages meaningfully on social media without obsessing about the numbers, and on how she sees hustle as an art form. Welcome to on purpose. Do you ever feel like you’re trying to balance it all? nourishing your health while growing your business and living a life well lift? And no matter how hard you try, sometimes you slip from purpose driven into autopilot. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s get you back to where you belong. On purpose.
Hey, friends, this is episode number eight of on purpose with Alex Beadon. And today I’m super excited to release this episode for two main reasons. Firstly, it is a game changing episode. Regardless of if you are a creative or not. I want you to listen to this episode with an open mind and ask yourself how can you take what Brooke is saying and apply it to your own business? After I finished recording this episode, I could not get Brooks words of wisdom out of my head. No joke, like I was driving the car like after like probably a week after I’d recorded this episode. And I was just like, wow, that was such a game changer. So chances are you’re gonna think it’s a game changer to Secondly, Brooke is a dear friend of mine. As I mentioned, we don’t see or talk to each other very often. But I can tell you I have a deep love and respect for this woman as a creative as a businesswoman. And as a human being who wants to be the best she can be she is. So what’s the word? She’s just such an impressive person in so many different ways. Like really and truly, she is a gem of a human being. She’s a photographer, speaker, author, philanthropist, and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Now go enjoy this episode. And when you’re done, don’t forget to go and give her art a look. It is truly one of a kind and absolutely unforgettable. Are you ready? I’m ready. Okay, so the first question is, what do you find most nourishing about having your own business?
Brooke Shaden 2:37
Oh, that’s a good one. Good start. Well, I specifically like the word nourishing because I think that it’s a word that doesn’t get brought up very often in business specifically. And I think that it should be what business is all about. So when I’m running my day to day life and thinking about how I’m going to run my business, the best thing is to ask myself, What will nourish me and then only choose to do those things, which I recognize is quite a an honor to be able to do you know, because people don’t always have that choice right away. But for me, what nourishes me is having a sense of routine and a sense of home, even when I’m not home or even when I can’t go through my normal routine, just being very, very in tune with what makes you happy. What makes you feel most grounded and creative and inspired at any given time. To me, this is how I run my business. So whether I’m traveling, whether I’m doing something stressful, I always take time every single day to have a little moment of grounded inspiration, no matter what. And for me, that usually takes the form of daydreaming, which is a little bit weird and cuckoo but, but for a creative, I think it makes a lot of sense. And so I spend five minutes every single day having like a guided Daydream that I do with myself where I imagine that I’m a character and I’m going through this little story that I’ve created. And then by the end of the five minutes, I feel like I just had a little adventure and it was fun and it was inspiring. And then I feel like totally myself in the best way possible.
Alex Beadon 4:21
I love that so much. So I feel like I have so many questions to ask just off of what you just said. But where I want to start is Have you always been super intune with prioritizing, wanting to be in line with your passion and your purpose and wanting to and being aware of what it is that nourishes you and incorporating that into your life.
Brooke Shaden 4:45
I actually think that I started out extremely in tune with myself and then lost that somewhere along the way and then found my way back to it which I think is how most people start their businesses because you start out being like, oh, I want to do this thing so badly. And you know why you want to do it and you’re excited about it. And then whether it’s through a series of successes or failures, or both, you start to question what you’re doing or you start to move in a different direction, because it feels like you’ll be more successful that way. And then you burn out on that. And at some point, you have to return back to why you started in the first place. So I started my career super in tune with what made me happy what I wanted to be doing, to the point where people were offering me money. And I was just turning it down. Because I was like, I don’t want to be this type of photographer, I don’t want to be this type of artist. And it allowed me to cultivate a career that that started very, very quickly, because I was only focused on what made me happy. And then it’s somewhere along the line, I started to take other jobs, because it seemed like a good opportunity, even though those opportunities aren’t necessarily where your heart is. So I started taking those opportunities. And then, at some point burned out, which really, I think was just a couple of months ago, then. And then I found my way back to what is it underneath all of this success and failure combined, what makes me actually happy. It’s such
Alex Beadon 6:18
an interesting thing, the balance between doing what you love doing what nourishes you doing what feels right, what lights you up and getting paid for it. And then also having to pay the bills and having to sometimes sometimes deal with the harsh realities of being a business owner. So I’m curious, maybe for some context, you can tell us, what are your main sources of income? What are the main ways that you’re generating revenue in your business? And how do you find that balance? Between the intuitive side of you that’s like, yes, it’s really like to know, and the realistic side where it’s like, okay, I need to pay my bills.
Brooke Shaden 6:53
Yeah. So okay, so for for really good context. When I started my business, I started with a gallery show, I wanted to be a fine art photographer who exhibited in galleries and made my money that way, because I wanted to be a hermit. I was like, I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to have clients, I just want to stay in my house and make money that way. So I did, and I had my first gallery show. And that same day that my gallery opened, I quit my job. I had been working at Paramount Pictures, I was a legal assistant, and hated it. And I quit my job thinking I’m about to make so much money doing what I love. And of course I didn’t, I ended up losing $4,000. And then I didn’t have a job. And I just had to figure it out that year. So I started that way with wait.
Alex Beadon 7:43
So when you say last $4,000 it was that you invested $4,000 into the gallery hope answering right hoping everything would be super successful and that it was a flop. Exactly. Okay. Okay.
Brooke Shaden 7:54
I’m on your page. Yeah. So yeah, I should think of it that way. Now, when I do my taxes, I should be like, I made the $4,000 back. Party. So yeah, so I started my career with this bang of like, I’m gonna do what I want, and it’s gonna make me money. And then it’s somewhere along the line. That was not the reality of the situation. And I realized that I had a choice to make, I either had to take jobs, that would get me money, but were not in line with what I wanted to do. Or I had to just eat ramen soup and not have any money for a really long time. So I sort of made a little bit of a compromise. And I say, compromise, because at the time, it felt like I wasn’t doing what I set out to do, which was to be a fine art photographer. But looking back on it, what I actually did was allow myself to expand my interest, and then pursue different interests. So even though I wasn’t making money off of galleries, I was making money off of writing, I was making money off of teaching, and doing things that I also love doing that eventually led me back to a fine art career, but weren’t exactly what I thought I should be doing to be a stereotypical fine art photographer. And just
Alex Beadon 9:12
to be clear, when you say you were writing and you were teaching, you’re you’re talking about photography related things, though. Yeah, exactly. So it was still in the realm of your passion and what it is that you were doing, but it felt like a compromise.
Brooke Shaden 9:25
Exactly. And the compromise was okay, this is not me sitting at home, not talking to people and making money off of my prints, but it is in line with what I love. So why not explore those avenues until I can make money doing this one specific thing that I think I should be doing?
Alex Beadon 9:45
Yeah, that’s super interesting. So now, fast forward. Are you doing galleries? Are you doing what it is that you imagined for yourself to be doing? You’re still doing a lot of teaching. I know you’re doing motivational speaking, you’re selling books? Yeah. I feel like you’ve got so many things going on. Can you just break those down for us so that I have like this clear vision in my mind?
Brooke Shaden 10:11
Yeah. Let’s see how we do. So um, so yes, I like half of my business now is fine art selling through galleries. So I have, you know, anywhere from five to 10 shows a year, I sell through six different galleries that represent my work specifically. And that’s like half of my career. And if I knew if I needed to, I could live off of that. But I want a few more revenue streams just for security. So I have that side of things. And then the other half is I licensed my images for book covers and album art and things like that. I do commission shoots for people, sometimes, specifically, music artists, a lot of the time. I do teach and I speak, although I teach a lot less now as of this month. And yeah, I think I think that’s about it. I also write but not so much for money right now. So Right.
Alex Beadon 11:10
Yeah, that’s so I what I love about you the most is that so you’re a photographer, and I put photographer for those who are just listening and like air quotes, because I feel like you’re so much more than just photographer. You’ve really like created and crafted this business, this online presence, this brand for yourself in such a unique way. Like even when you look at just the photography itself, is so different. I mean, I think you were like one of the very first who was creating pieces like this, you explore topics that are so deep, and so different and unique. And you know, you look around at a lot of the portrait self portraits, I get taken in a lot of selfies nowadays, especially now with Instagram. And it’s just like, oh, how can I make myself look really pretty in front of this camera? And you’re like the total opposite of that. You’re like, How can I create my own world? Through the camera and Photoshop and all of your artistic skills? Yeah. And I just feel like so besides just the fact that you’re such a unique photographer, you’ve also created this career for yourself where you have you I mean, I was just going through your social media, sorry to put you on the spot, but 920,000 likes on Facebook, 193,000 followers on Instagram, like, you’ve really got a huge following of people who love your work who love what you’re all about. Was that on purpose?
Brooke Shaden 12:44
No, but but here’s the thing is that social media is so frustrating and exciting to me at the same time. Because I think that, like, let’s just say you get on Facebook, and you make a Facebook business page. Of course, your goal is to get followers, like, of course, that’s what you’re hoping for. And I started out the same way. And I remember I refuse to set up a page, I was like, no one’s gonna care about this, I’m not doing it. And my friend sat down, she was like, I’m gonna do it for you. So she did it all for me. And then she handed over the access to the page. Like, just set a goal, like just set a goal for yourself. And I was like, Okay, let’s try to get 50 people by the end of the month. And then she was like making 100. And I was like, You’re crazy. So that’s how I started. And I was like, You know what, I’m going to try to get 100 people. And by the end of the month I did and I felt really crappy about it. Like, I just felt like, what am I doing, like collecting people like their stamps or something? This is ridiculous. So I had this moment where I was like, I can’t do this, I cannot invest my time into collecting people like trophies. So I completely changed my attitude. And I just said, You know what, I’ve got this weird dark art that I want to put out there. And if anybody feels connected to that, then that’s who I want to gather into my circle. So I started to put out messages that were really heartfelt, really meaningful to me and just genuinely asking who else feels this way? And by garnering this sense of me to through people, people saying I feel that way, too, I feel that way too. Suddenly, I created this group of people who were really tuned in to that message that I wanted to send and who felt the same way. And that’s how I’ve been doing it ever since 2010. So So yeah, I started out really wanting to grow my page and now I don’t care at all. I remember
Alex Beadon 14:47
going to the promoting passion events back in 2015 2016 2015 it was done. And I remember just being blown away by how little you really cared about the strategy. And I mean, on the best way possible because you come from a place and this is why for me, like, I just love you so much more is like you aren’t really trying to, you know, I mean, I think you’re trying to make an impact, but you’re not sitting there being like, How can I be the most popular person? Or how can I make people follow me? Or like, where like, what strategy can I use? Like, you’re just very much like, I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna do my thing. And if you like it, you can follow me.
Brooke Shaden 15:31
Great. That’s right.
Alex Beadon 15:33
Like, that’s it. So I think the main takeaway for people listening is to do the work and be really aligned with your work and what connects with you and what matters to you. And the following will come like don’t obsess over how many likes you have, or
Brooke Shaden 15:50
I mean, here, this is really an interesting point, because people spend so much energy trying to get followers like attention to all that behind the scenes, which can be very important and valuable to do. I’m not saying that it’s not. But I think that what people miss most of all, is that there’s somebody out there who will love what you have to say, no matter if you’re saying the craziest thing in the world or not. There’s somebody out there who’s going to be in alignment with your mission and your goal. So if you recognize that instead of freaking out about how am I going to find these people? And how are we going to push this content to them. And you just started saying what’s in your heart, people are starved for that kind of interaction, people are desperate to feel connected to somebody. So if you put yourself out there, so genuinely, someone’s going to recognize that and it might not be 100,000 people, but it doesn’t have to be either.
Alex Beadon 16:50
I love that. And I think that word you use genuine is just so spot on. So my follow up question to that is how did you find the courage to put yourself out there in such a vulnerable way through your writing, even through your photography, like your photography is exploring some? You know, I mean, death rebirth, dark lights, like it’s some intense work. And I feel like at first, it must have been scary for you, or maybe intimidating for you to put yourself out there. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just me projecting. But I’m curious, what was that like for you?
Brooke Shaden 17:25
Well, I actually think that it started in a in a slightly self deprecating kind of way, because I created about five images in a week. And it was the first time I’d ever used my camera. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I had these things that I wanted to say, and I photographed them, and I put them on Flickr. And that was how I started my career that first week, I put those images up. And what I said to myself was, no one’s gonna look at this, like, how would anybody even find it? I had never been in this online world. So it was so foreign to me that anyone could even find my page and comment and things like that. So when I put it out there, it was dark and like super creepy, what I was putting out. And people saw it. And I was my mind was blown. I was like, How Did anybody find this? First of all? And no, why are they talking to me about it? Like I just, I was just doing it for me. And I think that that was a really big blessing because I was doing it just because I wanted to and I put it online to have a place to contain it. And then suddenly, people were responding. And some people were saying, this is horrible. You should not be on the internet, you can not share this kind of thing. And other people were saying the opposite. They were saying thank you so much for doing this. And I didn’t expect either reaction, I didn’t think anyone would care. So when I realized somebody cares, that immediately cancelled out anyone who doesn’t you know who’s upset about it? Who doesn’t want me to do that? Because if you can change one life, visually through an image or through your words, or whatever your medium is, is that not worth doing, no matter what anyone says. And that’s how I started.
Alex Beadon 19:12
I love that you’ve used the internet as such a tool for self expression. I love that you you know, I think you’re very helpful artists first business person. Second, I think you’re also very aligned with what you want your lifestyle to look like, and building your business to support that lifestyle. So has that always been a very intentional thing where you’re like, Okay, this is what I want my lifestyle to look like you’re nodding yes. How did you go about getting clear on what you want your life like, do you ever have to stop and say, Okay, I don’t like doing this. I like doing this. I want more of this less of this and talk to us about that.
Brooke Shaden 19:55
Yeah, I mean, I I’m very fortunate to be a very decisive person. So I I always know what I want. Exactly. And I very easily formed pathways to get there, mostly out of being stubborn. I think like, I just don’t want to live a life that I don’t value, which I think if more people became, I guess selfish in that way, which I use that as a good word, because I think it’s really, really important to be selfish. If we can find our selfishness enough to just be honest about what we want and how we live our best life, then suddenly, all these avenues open up that you never thought of before. So I was I was working, as I mentioned, as a legal assistant. Before I started my career, and I hated going to work every day, I went to bed sick to my stomach, I woke up sick to my stomach. And I recognized that that is not a good way to live. Before that I was in film school. So I went out to Los Angeles, I was working at Paramount just to bide my time before I could make it big as a director whenever it was going to happen. And I also had this really honest talk with myself where I said, Okay, I hate corporate life, I don’t like working in an office. But I also just spent three and a half years in film school with a degree that I don’t want to use, because I don’t actually like making films. And I didn’t realize that. So I was at this dead end, I was like, I can’t wake up and do this for the rest of my life. And I don’t even want to pursue what I studied. So when you’re at that place where you’re just so unhappy. And then you see so clearly, oh, this creative thing that I’m doing makes me happy. It makes sense to start doing that thing. But unfortunately, people don’t because of the risk involved in doing that. So I had that risk in front of me, and it was a matter of I would rather be dead poor, then work a job that makes me money. And I made that decision. And it’s a decision that not everyone can make right away because of children or responsibilities, or all these different things. And I was so fortunate to be 21 years old and had nothing to my name, and it didn’t matter. But I think that that’s the choice that has to be made at the same time.
Alex Beadon 22:12
What do you think it is about society that has us almost brainwashed in a way to not even be aware of how we’re feeling? What, what do you wish more people knew?
Brooke Shaden 22:24
Yeah. I mean, I feel like I’ve witnessed most of my friends in the position that I was in, and they’re still in it all these years later, no matter how many times I yell at them to stop, you know, and that’s how a lot of people are. And you can’t blame anyone for feeling that way. Because I think that we’re taught that you’re not supposed to enjoy your life that much like we’re taught that you should go to work, and you should put in the hours and achieve greater success, for whatever reason, just for status, or money, or whatever it is. And we’re not taught that when you put risk into your life, you get much greater rewards. At least I certainly was not taught that in school, I was taught that you take a career that will be sustainable, you go to college, and then hopefully that career buoys you up. And I think that really the biggest takeaway from my life has been that there are so many ways of doing any one thing. There are just so many ways. And I remember starting out and thinking, how am I going to make a living as a photographer. And now the way that I look at that is, well, there are about a million ways to do just that. But I don’t even just want to be a photographer, you know that our interests and what what our passions are in what we love to do are so great and varied. Because, necessarily, there are so many great and varied things to do in this world, that if we just simply take a couple of them and take concrete steps forward, we’ll find that there’s this momentum pushing us on and we’re going to eventually get to a path that feels more comfortable.
Alex Beadon 24:09
Especially in this day and age with the Internet. I feel like it’s so and some people like Oh, that’s easy for you because you’re an extrovert and like, it’s easy for you to put yourself out there. And I’m like, No, dude, I know so many introverts who use the internet to build careers for themselves and make money online. And it’s just not an excuse anymore to be like, Oh, I don’t there’s no way for me to make money doing what I love like fig. It’s figure out all right, you can figure it out.
Brooke Shaden 24:36
Totally. I was I was actually just having a conversation with someone about you in particular, because they were saying like, how do I you know, build a career and I was like, just look at Alex and then she was like, she’s so extroverted. That was like fine. Look at me, because I am so scared to talk to people, but you don’t have to. The thing is that we get in our heads this idea that To do a certain job, you have to be a certain way, when in fact, the people who are most successful and who who build these bridges for other people are the people who are doing something in their unique own way that nobody else has done before. So you know, what, if you’re not extroverted, who cares, do it your way, and then see who follows across that bridge, because guaranteed people will follow.
Alex Beadon 25:26
Amen. And I just think it’s so important, like looking at you like, what you’ve done is you’ve taken your innate strengths, and your zone of genius and everything that makes you you, and you’ve turned it craftily into this career, right. So I just think that is available to everyone, even if photography is not your thing, even if you’re introverted or extroverted, or whatever the key isn’t what you’re doing. It’s taking what your God given skills are, and what your innate gifts are, and really turning into something that’s been created with it. That’s why creativity
Brooke Shaden 26:03
is so important. Yeah, you know, I was just having conversation with a friend about this. And I was, you know, she was saying, I don’t like my job, I don’t like my life. I don’t like where I live, I want to change it. And I said, so change it, what’s wrong? And she said, Well, there’s so many things that I could do, how should I invest time into just one of those things? And it’s like, okay, so instead of doing that, you’re just going to sit here for the next however many years not investing your time into anything worthwhile, because you’re afraid that it’ll be the wrong thing. And I think that that is a confidence issue. That is an issue of people saying, there’s so many things, I could invest my money, and I could invest my time, and how do I know which one to do. And it’s like, in the time that you’re thinking about these things over and over, you could be doing every single one of those things, even if it’s in a small way. And I’m always telling people, just do something every single day, do one little thing that will get you closer to that goal. And you’ll find that you’re there all of a sudden.
Alex Beadon 27:07
So I’m curious, what would you say is your superpower?
Brooke Shaden 27:15
Um, I think I’ve been thinking a lot about this, actually, when I haven’t been saying superpower, of course, but about what it is that has allowed me to build a career that I love, and to do the work that I do. And I think that a large part of it is my ability to analyze my life and what I love in life, what my passions are, what intrigues me to analyze that, and then spit it back out in a way that’s recognizable and easy to digest. And that builds community. And I’ve always done this, whether it’s reading books, and I love to find the symbolism in books, or whether it’s, you know, looking at an experience I just had and understanding the lesson of that experience very quickly. So being able to analyze myself in a lot of different ways. And then regurgitate that into art, I think has been my greatest superpower.
Alex Beadon 28:13
That’s so I love that this is something you’ve been thinking about. Oh, yeah. I feel like oh, that’s a good question. And you’re just so prepared. You’re like, Oh, I’m ready to answer this question. That’s awesome. I’m totally. Okay. So my next question for you is, you have all of these different ways, all of these different channels online, like lots of different ways to express yourself, you started doing video, you obviously have your photos. You’re now getting into writing, which is awesome. I want to hear what your perspective is on using social media in a way that doesn’t kind of just act as a distraction. Like, I feel like you do a really good job of not getting too caught up in it. I remember when I was up promoting passion, you were like, I can’t remember what Oh, you were like, how do I hashtag it? Like you didn’t know? about it? Yeah. Like, do you have hundreds of 1000s of followers? And you don’t know this one simple thing. So like, you obviously use it as a tool. You don’t let it distract you. And I’d love to hear you speak on
Brooke Shaden 29:21
that. Yeah. And it’s funny that you say that because lately I’ve been feeling like, I need to get off social media. It is distracting me. But I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t seem like it is no but it’s really not usually. I view social media as a vehicle to connect with people. And that’s it. And I know that that’s obviously that’s why Facebook was created, for example, but I think that I do so in a way that is in a very specific way that doesn’t engage with the type of content that I’m uninterested in. So one way that I do that is I don’t follow anyone or anything that isn’t in line with my passion. It’s so important. You know, like, people are following all these magazines and celebrities and nobody actually cares.
Alex Beadon 30:13
People are following people. And then five years later, still following that same person, like, I’m always calling my feet, I’m following unfollowing following unfollowing. Like, keep it fresh. Yeah, totally.
Brooke Shaden 30:25
It was funny the other day, one of my friends said to another friend, she said, Did you see this thing that she posted? I was like, No. And they’re like, why? I was like, I don’t follow her. And she’s like, but she’s your best friend. I was like, Yeah, but I don’t care that much. Like, I’d rather text that person, call that person then actually engage online with that person. So yeah, so it’s something that I feel very passionate about, I only follow about five people on Facebook that show up in my newsfeed, I love it. It’s great. You’re one of them. It’s like, it’s I think it’s just necessary. So I don’t engage in anything that isn’t in line with my passion. That’s the first thing. I always keep my conversations as positive and nurturing as possible with people. So if I’m online, it’s because I’m having a genuine conversation with somebody and not just to, you know, like, give a comment here, give a comment. They’re trying to get people to come to my page. So when I post something online, I make absolutely certain that I’m there for at least 30 minutes to engage with people and to have conversations. And after that I’m done. You know, like, I’ll get off, I’ll put my little timer on my web page to let me know that I’ve been on too long. And then, and then I’m off. And I think that it’s really great to do it that way. Because then you’re engaging meaningfully when it matters most. And you just check in the next day.
Alex Beadon 31:54
Hey, guys, quick interruption to our episode, I wanted to give you guys a really fun opportunity. And I’m giving this to the people who are really listening to the episode. If you’ve listened to this far, I’m super impressed. I’m giving you the opportunity to win a 20 minute phone call with me where you can ask me anything, pick my brain, I think you’re gonna love it. But in order to enter to win, here’s what you need to do. I want you to take a picture of you listening to the podcast, or maybe just a screenshot of the podcast itself, posted to your Instagram story, make sure to tag me at Alex feed in and somewhere there, I want you to include the yellow hearts emoji. Okay, that’s how I will know like, that’s the gonna be the clue that you’ve listened to this part of the podcast is that it has the yellow heart emoji, okay, so include the yellow heart emoji, tag me post about the podcast to your Instagram story. And bonus points if you tell me what it is that you’ve loved the most about this episode. And I will be picking one of you lucky people to win a 20 minute phone call with yours truly. Okay, that’s it. Now back to the episode. So my next question is, I really want to hear how you balance flow and intuition and more of the feminine energy with hustle and making things happen and getting things done. Talk to me about that.
Brooke Shaden 33:15
Yeah. Like for
Alex Beadon 33:17
you in your life,
Brooke Shaden 33:18
I feel really fortunate because I think that those two things are 5050 in my body. So I’ve got like this need for inspiration and flow as everyone does. But I also have this innate sense of hustle that excites me that I see as an art form unto itself. And I think that the more you can see hustle as an art, then the more flow works into the hustle. So if you’re if you have a dream, if you have something that you love, you know, go for it. And that’s great. But ask yourself, How can I go after that thing with the most intensity, but also with the most heart with the most soul in a way that makes me feel calm, relaxed and inspired. So that’s kind of how I marry those two things. You know, I’ve got a dream, for example, to write a novel, and I’ve been writing it for years and years. It’s way, way, way too long in the making. But I have this dream, and I decided next year is going to be my year I’m going to put this novel out there. Okay, that’s going to be it. So I’ve got this sense of urgency hustle of doing it now I’m going to get it done. But I also recognize that it’s not going to feel like me, it’s not going to be my most authentic offering, if I don’t do it with a sense of peace and a sense of self and a sense of calm. So every time that I work on it, I sit down, I clear my mind I write I strategize, but I do so from this place of when I put this out there this is going to be the most me thing that I could pop Simply do, and that really helps.
Alex Beadon 35:02
So you mentioned hustles, and art form, which really excited me. Yeah. Because I love that you look at it like that, I think something that I see many of my clients struggle with is they’re like, I know what I need to do. And I’m not taking any action, because I’m afraid or because I have never done it before. And I love how you, you spoke about hustle as an art form, then you also spoke about knowing that it’s going to feel kind of weird and knowing that it might not feel like yourself, but you’re doing the best you can, and you’re not married to it being perfect. And I think that’s so brilliant, because and it’s something that professional artists, I think are really, really good at, because they just realize that like, put it out there, like just give birth to it. And it doesn’t say anything about you, it doesn’t represent you like a part of yourself is in it. But it’s not the end all be all. So it’s like you’re very detached from the outcome of it, which I love. So can you talk to me a little bit about that?
Brooke Shaden 36:02
Yeah, I’ve never been a perfectionist at all in my life in any way, which I think is horrifying to my husband. But nonetheless, it just never has been something that’s affected me. So when I and you know what this has been probably a great lesson in photography, because I’m creating a lot of images and putting them out there. And, you know, I’ve created an average of about 100 images a year since I started. And that’s a lot of imagery. So you’re putting it out there and you realize, especially on the internet, how quickly it gets buried, how quickly nobody cares anymore. And when you start to realize that you care about yourself, way more than anyone else is going to that is so liberating, to just sit down and be like, nobody cares, great, I’m gonna do whatever I want and take it or leave it, this is how it’s going to be. Because in five years, you’re not going to be defined by that in one year and one month, probably you’re not going to be defined by that. So the earlier you recognize that the better because that’s the barrier that stops people from creating.
Alex Beadon 37:11
I love that so much. That’s so brilliant. Okay, next topic, self care, and really nourishing yourself, aside from what you’ve got going on business wise, and always finding that piece of that center. What has kept you going? Do you have any practices that you swear by? Talk to me about that.
Brooke Shaden 37:34
I love self care, it’s so good, especially as somebody who very much ignored that for a long time, it’s really good to feel centered in that practice. So I do yoga every day yoga is my happy moment. And even if it’s just 15 minutes on the mat, I think it’s really important to do. I’m a firm believer in hot drinks, which is ridiculous, but like, but I always have a mug next to me, and it just makes me feel really calm. So I love drinking tea. It’s just kind of silly. And I mentioned earlier that I do this daydreaming thing. And that’s really my big, everyday thing that if I just spend five minutes daydreaming, as silly as that sounds for an adult to say, I feel so myself, I just feel like, like my best, most creative self is going to come out that day if I do it. So I do those three things. And I also
Alex Beadon 38:35
sorry to interrupt you, with the daydreaming do you fit because I feel like it must be also kind of very, like holding hands with your work because your work is very, you know, deeply imaginative, you obviously have a very rich inner world. So probably doing that really helps you to express yourself and just know yourself better, and be able to
Brooke Shaden 38:58
Alex Beadon 38:59
but my question is, how do you think that that would be just as important to someone who let’s say they’re a graphic designer, or they don’t consider themselves an artist, and maybe they are a coach of some sort? Or they’re a financial person or whatever. Like, how would you translate that? For someone like that?
Brooke Shaden 39:21
It is so hard because anybody who even anyone who’s listening right now, if you’re thinking, I’m not creative, this is really weird to me. I get it because I have plenty of friends who say that they’re not creative, but at the same time, I completely disagree with you. I think that everybody has creativity inside of them. And that might sound like hippie dippie and whatever. But it’s true. Everyone has this sense of creativity. And the problem is that we are taught not to exercise that or we don’t practice it. It is an exercise that you have to go through every single day to keep it up Then yes, I have a very active imagination, extraordinarily so. And I am so glad that I do. But even if you don’t, you have to think about daydreaming as letting your mind relax into its natural state into whatever it wants to be thinking about. So, while my daydreams might include me riding a dragon through a volcano or something, yours might not, you know, yours might be something seemingly mundane or ordinary, but it’s still so important to let your mind relax into its natural state to begin your day or to, you know, just have a have a more peaceful reality.
Alex Beadon 40:42
I love that. And I couldn’t agree with you more, I feel like creativity. I think the problem with many business owners is that they feel like creativity doesn’t have a space. Right? And I’m so glad there’s so I’m so grateful I was a photographer before because I’m, I know how important it is to be creative. Like, even when it comes to things that you wouldn’t think are creative, like coming up with what my price should be, alright, with, like, what often should be or whatever, like, my strategy, like I use my creativity, everything I do. And so I love that you say, you know, it’s really important to use it like a muscle and to use it.
Brooke Shaden 41:19
Yeah, it is. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve trained people before, who have come to me and said, I have no imagination, but I want to be a photographer, I want to do this thing. And just start there and watch somebody over the course of just a month Daydream every day. And then by the end of it be like, I am so creative. It happens all the time. You know, I run into people constantly who are like, I’m not creative, I’m not creative. But it’s never true. It has never been true of one person that I’ve met. So I know that it’s there to be cultivated.
Alex Beadon 41:53
Okay, so next question for you. If someone’s listening to this, well, my hair just flew into my
Brooke Shaden 41:59
nose good. I apparently got
Alex Beadon 42:02
overly excited. If so, there’s and there’s, they know what they want to do with their business. They know what they want to do with maybe artists, if they’re listening to this, because it is book shading, after all, but they feel like they just cannot figure out how to make money or like they just feel like they’re banging their head against the wall with figuring out how to become profitable. What would be your piece of
Brooke Shaden 42:24
advice for them? That’s a really hard one. Because there’s the logical side of me that’s like, I can’t tell you how to make your money. That’s too much pressure. You Alex would never think that because they’re like, No, I’m gonna tell you exactly how to make your money. But with the other side of me, this is, this is my truth, at least from day one. In my life, I grew up with not a ton of competence, I grew up thinking that nobody would care about what I had to say that I would never contribute anything that meaningful to society. And it was not a result of my upbringing or anything. It’s just a normal thing that I think a lot of people think about themselves, like, who am I to contribute something to the world. And at some point, I didn’t stop feeling that way. But I just started doing, I just started making things and putting it out there. And in doing that, I realized that my greatest and most unique form of expression is a business. It doesn’t matter if I’m a photographer, if I’m a writer, if I’m a speaker, what matters is that I am in any way that I can think of sharing my most intimate self. And that brings in revenue. And that might sound hippie again, like, oh, just do what you love. And that’ll bring in money. But I never thought that I could do what I loved and make money. I just I never thought that and yet it happened. And it happened in a really big way. Not like a ton of money, but in a lot of different small areas of success. I’ve been diversifying. I’ve been pushing myself, I’ve been sharing pieces of myself that I never thought I would let anyone see. And the more I do that the more success happens. And I think that that’s the key. People want to feel that connection. And people will pay for that connection as well. Not to put it in a to businessy of a way, but it’s true. I mean, if you want to be an artist, if you want to be someone who expresses yourself for a living, do that somebody is going to be there.
Alex Beadon 44:40
I love that. What is your sense of self worth come from? Do you feel like you’ve always felt this just innate sense of self worth? Do you think it’s something that you actively have to cultivate? Are there moments when you wake up in the morning even now 900,000 Facebook fans in and you’re like what am I doing? Who am I talk to you about self worth.
Brooke Shaden 45:01
Yeah. I have always felt that I’ve had worth in inserts. I haven’t always been confident about putting that out there. But I always felt that I was deserving of something, whatever, I don’t know what money or a certain lifestyle or something. And I know that a lot of people come at self worth, from a very opposite point of view where a lot of people don’t feel worthy of anything good. And I really sympathize with that way of, of seeing things. I think that if you have a unique perspective, if you are living your life in a way that is authentic, necessarily you have worth. And I’ve always put that mindset into how I operate. So if I’m creating something and putting it out there, that is authentically me, and I am sharing my message, I know that that message is worthy because I have felt it. So I feel something, then I know that somebody else out there needs to feel that same thing. And it’s all about connection. And it’s all about who can you touch and how can you better yourself. So this is kind of a roundabout answer about self worth. But I think that it’s a really multifaceted question. Just in terms of where does it come from? How do you cultivate it? How do you sustain it? I don’t know if I have all the answers to that. But I do know that everyone is worthy of it, because everyone has a voice. And that voice is worth a part
Alex Beadon 46:32
of it. Something else that I really love about you is how deeply you care about people, and how you use your platform not just to add to your own income levels, but also to help other people and you’re a philanthropist. Yeah, so I also feel like it’s just very deeply ingrained in who you are. Is that wanting to give back? Yeah, um, has that always been very easy for you? Is that something that you were just super intentional about from day one?
Brooke Shaden 47:07
It’s sort of I, I went into my career without thinking about other people at all. And I was very forceful about that, like, I went into it, like, this is my art, I’m gonna do what I want. I don’t care what you think. And I was really proud, because I felt like to be a strong person. That’s how you had to act. Until I realized that that’s not at all how I felt. And I actually really wanted to positively impact people. And I cared about what people thought, not that I was going to be brought down by negativity, but just that I really do want to help people on. And that is important. So I started to realize that that was something that I cared about more and more. And beyond just releasing images and hoping people liked them and stuff like that, I realized that there, there didn’t seem to be a voice of positivity in the art world that I easily found that I went online I went searching for, you know, like, who’s really doing good with their art. And of course, there are tons and tons of people. But at the time, I was thinking this feels missing, like something is not right here. There’s a lot of hustle. There’s a lot of putting images out there, and not a lot of heart. And I decided that I wanted to be somebody who could have that heart and that soul and really put that into what I was doing. And I realized that I don’t care about making money, about my career about anything as much as I care about even just one single individual person. So I started to change the way that I worked. And I changed the way that I structured my business so that I could travel to help people so that I could touch more people so that I could start a convention to bring people together and things like that. And that was the best change of my career.
Alex Beadon 48:58
What was most surprising to you, once you made that change?
Brooke Shaden 49:04
I think the most surprising thing was the hunger for it the way that almost other people were waiting for permission to do the same thing. I think that on the internet, especially any emotion that’s put out there is going to be exacerbated and pounded on like, if somebody puts out hate lots more people are going to start putting their hatred in that person’s vein. And at the same time, if you put out kindness, a whole bunch of other people are going to start sharing their kindness with you. So I think the most surprising thing was just you don’t have to act any certain way to have a successful business. You don’t have to be tough and you know, be all about selling and be all about this or that. You can simply put your work out there and do it in the kindest, most genuine way possible and people will echo that back to you
Alex Beadon 50:02
Speaking about hate, do you experience a lot of hate online?
Brooke Shaden 50:06
Not so much anymore. I mean, it started out as people telling me a lot, like, you know, your images are horrible, and don’t put them out there. And it’s offensive and no do that. And it took me, you know, a couple of years to really stop caring about that. And I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care at all. If somebody doesn’t like what I do, I’m just like, oh, well, that’s entertaining. You know, like, at least someone thinks something feels something that’s good. But I think that what, what hurts the most, and this is probably the biggest flaw I see in myself currently, is that I care so much about being loved. And I say that in a really authentic way, like, a really raw way. Because it’s something that I’ve been struggling with lately is not the amount of people that are following me or anything, but the people who do look, I want them to see me for who I think I am. And when somebody doesn’t, when somebody writes to me, and they’re like, I know you’re really a horrible person, or you know, something like that, it gets me because I don’t want to be misunderstood just like every other person on the planet. So, yeah, so that’s been that’s been interesting, I don’t receive that much hate, really, I think, over the years, putting more and more kindness out there really has done its job. And I get pretty much only kind of lovely interactions. But sometimes it happens.
Alex Beadon 51:41
That makes me happy that you don’t get that much that it does happen. Like if you put yourself out online, it’s gonna happen. It’s kind of unavoidable. For sure. So that’s good. Um, so I want to ask you, one main business question. Do you have an email list? Yes. And how important has your email list been for you to cultivate your relationship with your people? Or do you think that it really hasn’t been that important?
Brooke Shaden 52:13
Okay, let’s be honest.
Alex Beadon 52:15
Let’s be honest,
Brooke Shaden 52:16
it has not been important at all. I need to take the Alex Beadon. Course. 101, about mailing lists. That’s the honest to goodness truth. I don’t know what your life yeah, it’s not been great. And I think that part of that for me is because it feels less personal than posting on the internet. Because I feel like when I post online, it’s like me with my account number responding to people with an email list, it goes out, it’s in their inboxes. And then if somebody responds to my email, then it’s just a one on one interaction. And I want people to be able to benefit from my responding to people’s questions online. So I haven’t done it properly. You know, to have one
Alex Beadon 53:04
you should just send out like, if you write something on Facebook, or wherever your blog was, whatever, just send people there and just say, Listen, I’m not going to respond if you message me directly to my inbox, but please respond to my blog, or please respond to my like, just asked her. Okay, I’m gonna take that as a challenge. I’m challenging you.
Brooke Shaden 53:25
I know, you remember, when we first met, and you were like, Brooke, there’s so many things that you need to be doing.
Alex Beadon 53:33
That I haven’t learned. But that’s what I love so much about us that you’ve just like, you haven’t let your lack of knowledge of certain things hold you back from doing what you wanted. Like you’ve just done it your way. And in a way, that’s beautiful, because like, you’ve made it happen regardless, you know, you’re such a great example of just making it happen. If you’re not feeling for email lists that don’t do it. If you’re not feeling for Facebook, then don’t do it. So I love that you’ve made it happen. I think that’s brilliant. Okay, cool. So I have a series of questions to wrap up this interview. What is one thing you do that has been a non negotiable and keeping your business on track?
Brooke Shaden 54:14
Oh, I like that question. Oh, there’s so many ways that I can answer this.
So I think that one thing that I’ve done consistently is I have been very, I don’t know what the right word is, I guess, dedicated to wanting to sell my work through galleries. So one thing that I do every single month is I write to new galleries and I keep up my contacts and relationships. And I think that that’s something that a lot of people don’t assume that other people are doing, you know, like, you feel like you’re hustling but you’re like, oh, that person must just be so lucky. And and that’s definitely not true for me. So, so one thing that has kept My business afloat that I think is so valuable is just doing the work like putting myself out there reaching out to the people that I want to be working with and working for. That’s been one of the biggest things, I think, for me. And then also just at the start of every month, I reevaluate my goals in life, like not just what do I want to do this next month, but like, are the things that I have planned to do in line with the life that I want to be living? And I think that those two things are just massively important.
Alex Beadon 55:32
I love that so much. I want to ask you one, just one like baby question after that, how much time do you spend every month or every week? Or however often you do it really evaluating? Where am I at? How am I feeling?
Brooke Shaden 55:49
Not that much time, really. I mean, I think once you’ve already done the work, and you know the answers at your core value level, then you’ve already done the work. So at the start of every month, I just spend about 10 minutes, like writing on a little notebook page. This is what I have coming up. Yes, this is in line with what I want to do, or no, it’s not. And I’ve been making a lot of changes recently, based on that. I mean, I decided next year, I didn’t want to travel as much, because that was not in line with the lifestyle that I want to live. And I decided that I wanted to teach less. So I in the last three months have turned down 25 jobs next year, just right, like it feels so good. enough not to say the job’s just like rolling in, this is just a really busy time to get invited for things next year. But it’s it’s been such an incredible change to just say, You know what, these are my values. This is what I need to do to make those values come to life. And it’s scary, you know, to not have that job security of 25 jobs next year. You know, like, where’s the money gonna come from? How am I going to make it work? But when we start letting those thoughts and those questions of how am I going to make money interfere with the decisions that we’re making? That’s when we suddenly ended up in a life that we didn’t intend to live? Hmm, amen. Okay,
Alex Beadon 57:13
share one mindsets that every entrepreneur needs to succeed,
Brooke Shaden 57:18
that your story is worth sharing that you who you are at your core, that is what needs to be put out there. I don’t care what your business is what you’re selling, what you’re advertising. As long as it goes back to you and who you are and your message. You’re golden. So good.
Alex Beadon 57:36
Okay, fill in the blank, the world would be a better place if more people
Brooke Shaden 57:41
knew blank. Oh, if more people knew they’re worse, definitely. I mean, it. I think that if more people understood just how much of an impact they can have on other people. I mean, imagine how many amazing people and ways of living and ways of affecting people be mobilized. If people knew how much impact they could have, it’d be amazing. I love that.
Alex Beadon 58:15
The book that changed my life was,
Brooke Shaden 58:18
Oh, you’ve gone down a deep hole. Okay. Um, this is probably a really weird one, especially to tell you but so my favorite book is Dune by Frank Herbert. And it’s a wildly popular science fiction series from the 60s. And there’s this quote in it that says fear is the mind killer. And I have it tattooed on my arm. It’s my favorite thing in the world. And I grew up with so many fear issues, and I still have them, like, totally ridiculous, like, I’m afraid of zombies. Why do I spend my time thinking about that? Who knows? But I have all these silly, stupid fears. And I remember reading that book, and it’s about a lot of different things, politics and whatnot. But I remember reading it and they just constantly repeat this phrase, fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total Obliteration and all these things that that really resonated with me, like fear is at the core of humanity in a really bad way. And it’s at the core of me, and it’s how so many people connect. So if I can eliminate the fear as being the driving force in my life and the way that I feel connected to people, then what do I replace that with? And for me, the answer was passion and meaning and standing up for what you believe in and that was the best lesson ever.
Alex Beadon 59:53
That’s so refreshing. Okay, and lastly, I want you to challenge Change everyone who’s listening to leave this podcast and do one thing. What is that one thing that you want to challenge everyone to do?
Brooke Shaden 1:00:10
I want to challenge you to make something, just make something like ask yourself, Who am I at my deepest core, and then represent that somehow make something from that. I think the moment we take that first step to actually creating something in our lives, that’s when things start to take off. So ask yourself who am I at my core and it makes something
Alex Beadon 1:00:40
thank you so much for tuning into the on purpose podcast, and I really hope that you had as much of a blast as we did. If you liked what you heard and want even more, make sure you leave a review because it really helps support what I do here on the podcast. All you have to do is search the podcast app for the on purpose podcast, select it, then scroll down until you see write a review and then type away. I hope you really enjoy your week and I will see you guys again next time stay on purpose.