And 1 year on…

And 1 year on…

It’s been a year now! I cannot believe it but, yes, next week it will be a year since I quit the security of my day job to follow my dream!

When I was young, still learning at school, I was always taught that the world is not a place for dreamers and one will only fail at life if he/she keeps believing in dreams – one has to study hard and work hard and forget he/she is living so that one day one can be proud to have a 50,000 Euros job under his care and a nice car or 2 or even 3 of them and maybe a Villa in Beverly Hills!!

Oh how foolish was I to let people dictate this to me! For such a long time I failed to believe it and even thou I was forced to get a job like everyone else and work hard for “money”, money never gave me anything. I spent over 10 years in the “Job” industry and for a big stretch of that time I even tried to juggle a full time Job with over time and a further job and Photography…what a waste of precious time and LIFE!!! and all I can say that I gained was, a HUGE LOSS of life.

I LOST so much: I never got to be with my eldest child who today is 6 years old. I have spent the last year trying to make up for the lost time and it shows that I was not there for him for the first years of his life. I have almost lost my wife – on so many occasions! I almost lost my life for real on even so many more occasions!! and it is a pity to say the least!

But then again, these 10 years gave me the opportunity to man-up and become more responsible of my acts (don’t worry I am still a 13 year old kid somewhere down there :) )!! So around 14 months ago I decided that I am going to quit my job ‘once and for all’ and follow my dream – To be a wedding Photographer – and not just any wedding photographer; but the best wedding photographer!! yeah I know I am stupid and an idiot to even dream that, let alone to actually quit a secure job to follow this dream – after all it is just a dream… or is it?

I do not know if I am anywhere near “being the best” or if I am a total failure at this game, but what I know is that since I quit my job I have been the happiest man on earth!! I started to enjoy life and to enjoy what I do! I started to live for my children and my wife! and “The Best” or not, what I know is that managed to not only survive or barely survive, but me and my family managed to thrive on this dream!

For a long time I have read by other dreamers like me who preceded me in this quest of life, to DREAM BIG – and that NO DREAM IS BIG ENOUGH!! Today I can honestly tell you, that the way your dream will realize is only limited by how big you dream it to be. 3 years ago when I got back to photography I started to follow these BIG NAMES in photography all around the Globe and in my heart I got this dream building up that I want to be just like them – maybe in 2 years time?! And the more time passed the more I got myself convinced about fulfilling this dream. I took huge risks to achieve this but all were worthed – without risks there is no chance of success – ever!! The biggest risk was to Believe in God!! I never really believed in God except what I was taught in my childhood. For the first time in life I got to trust everything in God and at the same time risk losing everything I had! And look at me now, 2 years later I quit My job to be a wedding photographer and a year further on to today, I can proudly say that I am already almost fully booked both this year and next year and that is the way God blesses those who believe in him. I am not saying that there is no pain – as the saying goes – “no pain; no gain” – there’s been so much pain on the way to ‘here’ and so many times I failed to believe and sucked and other times I believed and leapt back on my feet and kept walking the hard way of life!

Some time ago I read a book called “The Science of Getting Rich” and I read it just because it was part of a course which I was following in photography! Little did I know that the contents of the book were exactly what I was learning on my own!

First secret: There is a thing about fulfilling your dreams: you have to believe that there is a power above you which created you and everything else around you! if you don’t believe that and instead believe that life is a here by mere luck or chance, then there is no sense in having a dream as the chance of fulfilling that dream would be 1:billion same way that the chance for life to exist in the universe are 1:billion.

Second Secret: Even more than believing in God you have to be Thankful! Thankful for everything around you, for all the gifts you have been blessed with – your family, your own life and the stories you passed through in all your life until today! If you are not thankful for what you have, how can you ever have faith to pray and ask? If you do not accept your current situation, how can you ask for a better one? if you do not know how to make the most of what you have, you will never make full use of what you dream of having and you will fail miserably at anything in life. So be always thankful – even for the bad things – bad things always make us grow into stronger beings and more mature!

Third secret is to stop being Negative! Stop grumbling and stop being with people who are negative! Stop from being fixated about why poverty and sickness exists in the world! Stop being so negative! By getting stuck in a negative situation you will never get to do anything to help erase poverty in the world for what matters! Forget about anything negative so you can get out there and dream big to create an environment where poverty is no longer an issue!! Do not be afraid to dream big: by succeeding in your dream to become successful from nothing, would be a testament to the other poor people who believe that they cannot help themselves, to go out and dream big themselves! The world does not need negativity!

Fourth secret: Stop being competitive! Stop thinking and believing that everyone else is there to copy you and out compete you! Each human is as unique as ever they can be and there is no need to compete. By being competitive you are only basing the fulfillment of the dream you have on a temporary basis, as in a competitive market one day its you with success, the next day it’s me! We are said to be created in the image of God, and God did not try to compete when creating the world!! Look at all the living things out there! All are unique and each has a role in the circle of life! So take on the role which God left us and be Creative! Do not limit yourself to be like the guy next door: get out there and create a dream which no-one else can compete with you in because it is just yours!!

So 3 years ago I believed that I can become my dream and with only 2 tiny weddings under my sleeve and 2 more booked weddings to come on the way, I decided that my toy camera was not enough and needed to own at least 2 professional cameras and at least 3 prime lenses otherwise I will only produce mediocre work and would have no backup in case anything happens! I believed in this to the full and my prayer to God was that if he wills, it can happen if not, then it means it is not for me right now! I seeked for financial help and incredibly enough found who believed in me so much to grant me thousands of euros on loan to upgrade all my gear and it was a huge gamble to say the least!

The thing about believing is SO REAL. A few months later, when I started getting my first bookings, I sort of did not believe that I could make it as a real wedding photographer because I let people around me fill me with negativity that I cannot ever make it, and and business was so bad – real bad – because I was not believing my own dream, let alone trying to convince others that it is for real! It was so bad that by the end of the first 2 years in business the net profit was -500euros (as in- negative/below zero/loss) for the first year and -40euros (as in- negative/below zero/loss) for the second year!!

A year later I was at my worst and was almost in a depression and sad to say, I was thinking daily about committing a suicide! I was in such a desperate state that in some unknown case of facts, I got myself up many nights to pray to God to have mercy on my, if He really existed. After countless nights the unthinkable happened, a new follower of my work from the other side of the world, just like an angel, started talking to me on Facebook and one thing led to an other and somehow the ‘then-present’ state of my life came to the surface. This person, to whom I owe my life and that of my family, made it its mission to remind me to pray constantly and be positive and every few hours I would receive a message from this person to see how I was and if I was praying! Slowly in a matter of a few months I started gaining a smile on me and the will to fight back! Finally after years of not ever opening myself to anyone, I started talking to my wife about my situation and the more I talked about it, the more I became positive about everything. Our marriage started to gain hope and to gain life in it. One thing led to an other and in no time with the full trust of my wife I decided to quit my Job (which Job I loved a lot by the way) and started believing that I can be myself right the way which I dream!!

Today I strongly believe that if you ask God to fill your glass with grace, he will oblige and fill just that much; If on the other hand you ask god to fill a swimming pool with grace, He will as well!! and so I tell you Be Courageous and ask the impossible while being thankful for the misery and goodness you might have right now and you will see that GOD IS REAL and He really answers prayers!

I am no saint and no super-man, I am a mere human who found out that this God is not a tyrant who hates the world but a loving Father who only wants all his sons and daughters to be happy and full of his grace! the only problem is that we fail to believe!!

So everyone, please go out there and BE THANKFUL of everything you have and do not be afraid to believe that you can ask the impossible of God. And if what you ask does not materialize, it only means one of three things; either it’s not the right dream for you; or you are dreaming to small or not believing enough; or else it is not yet the right time!! After all, Christ himself said “ ask and you shall receive” and elsewhere he even said “if only your faith was as big as this mustard seed, you would command this mountain to move and it will move”