It is said that you are the average of the five closest people to you.

Before I started pursuing my passion, I was on the outside of the world of productivity and motivation looking in. I watched my brother-in-law Austin work hard every day, waking up early to get personal work done before he headed to his day job, staying up late to write a blogpost, and interjecting all of our conversations with motivational things he had learned from the latest book he was reading. I do not see Austin very often, but the times I spent with him during a family get-together, I was inspired by his hustle. Eventually, very eventually... I jumped on board.

What I have realized now, is that if I was more intentional about surrounding myself with more people that inspired me to pursue my passion and show up every day and work hard, I would have gotten to the place of productivity that I am now much faster.

Positivity is essential if you want to continue to grow and pursue your passion.

If you are surrounding yourself with negative influences, you will inevitably be impacted by them. No matter how strong you believe your mindset is, no matter how much you are influencing them with your positivity, their words and actions will seep into you in some way. Build your community with positive people and you will start to see a difference within yourself.

In order to become the person you want to be, the photographer you want to become, you must learn from those that are living the life you want to lead. You must surround yourself with people that encourage you, motivate you, inspire you, believe in you, and push you to be better. The more you surround yourself with these kinds of people, the more you will grow and the more you will in turn encourage and motivate others.

Think about the five people that you spend the most time with. Think about your conversations with them. What are you focusing on? What are you walking away with? Do you feel rejuvenated and motivated by the time you spend with them?

Build a community of positive influence:

How do you surround yourself with people that will motivate you? -- These are some ways I have transformed my community that has helped my path tremendously.

First, identify the kind of person you want to become. Identify the life that you want to be living. Then intentionally seek people out who are pursuing those same goals in life.

It starts with investing in one person:

When I was in school for photojournalism, I knew I wanted to learn more about wedding photography and running your own wedding photography business. I decided I was going to intentionally seek out someone with whom I connected as a person and as an artist. I started researching wedding photographers in North Carolina whose work resonated with me. I searched for hours through people’s websites and blogs and finally found someone whose vision and mission spoke to me tremendously. I decided to email Megan Gielow of (at the time Lime Green Photography) but now MorningWild Photography to see if I could intern with her. She was not advertising for an internship, but I decided to take the leap and see if she was interested. She took me under her wings as an intern as I second shot weddings with her throughout the year and she taught me anything and everything I wanted to know about wedding photography. She is now a dear friend and a huge positive influence in my life. Her amount of hustle and her passion for what she does is unparalleled. I consider that email to Megan one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Intentionally pursue one person that is living the life you want to live and become a part of their community. Create a relationship with them. Relationships are a two way street. Provide value to them as they provide value to you. Don’t become a leech. As you put intentional time into people that better you and your life, your positive community will begin to grow. It starts with investing in one person.

There is magic in community:

Create a small community of people, whether that be fellow photographers or creatives in other fields. Building relationships with people with varying perspectives in the creative field is invaluable. Seek out those who are hustling the same amount or more than you. Seek out those who inspire and love what they do. Seek out those who resonate with you and create a community with them. Start a monthly get together where you inspire each other and share your goals and dreams. Push each other and help each other grow.


I do a lot of driving, so I started listening to podcasts that motivate me and teach me. The ones I listen to the most are the Seanwes Podcast and the #AskGaryVee Podcast. These podcasts have had a MAJOR role in shifting my life to a more productive path where I am not afraid to follow my passion. Their amount of hustle and dedication to providing value every day motivates me to do the same. I am inspired by their words, their encouragement, and their examples of hard-working caring business people. I do not know them personally, but they have influenced my life and pursuits greatly. The beauty of the internet -- you can connect with the best of the best in a very real way.


The power of writing is invaluable. There is so much valuable content out there from which to glean. Find people within the photography industry who are putting time into teaching through writing and sign up for their newsletter. I have found so much value in following blogs outside of photography as well. It gives me a fresh perspective and motivates me in new ways. Writing is a medium in which there is great potential for exponential value because it is a very deliberate act. Build your community of influence through reading what others are thinking through and saying about their own lives. It’s invaluable.

Attract the Community You Want:

Start providing content that you would want to see. It will attract like-minded people. As you begin down the path to positivity, start sharing what you are learning with others. Start your own blog. Start your own podcast. Start your own vlog. Whatever the medium, share how you have been inspired and motivated. Let people reach out to you, and begin the cycle of pursuing and attracting the community you desire. In time, your community of like-minded people will begin to grow and push you even further down your path of creativity and productivity.


I’ve been blown away by how much intentionally seeking out positive, hard-working creative people has accelerated me down the path of pursuing my own passions. Seek out the best, and you will start to see a huge difference in your life.