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Finding Strength

We are all strong in our own ways. There are plenty of ways that I am sure I come off as weak. For one, I’m scared of the dark. Yesterday I cried while reading a greeting card in the market, and then again when I passed the dead fish. So, perhaps, in some areas, I’m not the authority on being strong. In fact, I am quite a sensitive soul. But this isn’t necessarily what I’m talking about.

In a large part, I am equating strength to courage, and in most cases, I do see them as the same thing. There are certain things that take courage and strength and it is up to us to not only find that courage, but to understand when it needs to be used.

For me, the courage and strength needs to come most when I am starting a new challenge. And with the new year, so many of us are. I wrote yesterday about chasing dreams, and I believe in that wholeheartedly, but if we cannot summon the strength to follow through with those dreams, they remain clouds in our minds.

I believe that strength comes, usually, in these increments: 40% to get something started, 50% following through, and 10% to finish. Starting a project can seem like an impossible task. And isn’t it funny, the thing that I am most nervous for, the thing that matters not one bit if it gets finished, is a documentary that I would like to make this coming year. No one is asking for it. No one expects anything. And NO is the worst thing people will tell me. So why am I so nervous just to start it?

I’m nervous because I care so much. I have my whole heart wrapped in the concept and I would hate to see it not come to fruition. However, my very life is based on the idea that failure is impossible unless we allow it to happen. If someone says NO, I take that as the start on a new path. When we realize that an endeavor might not go as planned, we accept that our idea might be completed in a different way than originally conceived, and that is okay.

I learned this lesson twice with the books I’ve put out. The first one no one wanted to publish so I did it myself through Blurb. The second one had better luck but quite possibly the worst book release I’ve ever heard of. I did my best for both of them, but sometimes circumstances are out of your control, and the sooner you realize that a dream is still a dream even if the ending changes, the more grateful we can be.

Once a project is started, it can be easy to coast along. We’ve gotten over that first hump, so why not take a break or just go with the flow? The moment we go with the flow, we lose hold of the direction of our dreams. It is so important to see something through. Once a project is completed, we understand fully the extend of our dream and how many others it can touch. So I’m making a documentary. I haven’t even started. I’ve only written at treatment for it as to what it will be like. I haven’t pitched it, I haven’t talked to anyone about it. There is no reason to continue when I think about all of the challenges ahead. But if I didn’t, then no one could reap the benefits of the film, and I believe there are many benefits to be had.

Stick-to-it-iv-ness: Something I’ve never had a ton of. Now don’t get me wrong, I have started and completed many projects, but there are certain things that I leave behind after starting. I blame this often on an overactive imagination. I start, I get bored, I abandon. But there are certain things that I feel are worth sticking with. Will you guys please hold me to this documentary idea?

And then there is finishing. That is the easiest part because the end is near. Simple, and gratification is in sight.

So where does strength come into the creation process? The answer is that it is FILLED with it every step of the way – positively bloated with courage. If you lack the courage, you lack the motivation. If you lack the strength, you lack the follow-through. So where is courage found? There is nothing that I can say here that will absolutely convince you that your idea will work.

The only thing is this: there is fear, and there is strength. And the moment you realize that there is nothing to fear, you replace fear with strength. It is one or the other, and we have that choice. It is okay to acknowledge fear; in fact, without doing so, it remains a constant in your mind. There is a funny thing about fear – once it is seen, it is diminished.  Find strength in being willing to see these truths. Find courage in knowing that your passion is worth pursuing. And seek calm in understanding that every person will fail, and every failure is another road to something better if we allow ourselves to take it.

{ 9 } Comments

  1. Samantha Pugsley | December 27, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Brook, thank you so much for sharing this. It caught me at exactly the right time. I’ve just passed Day 265 for my 365 project. 100 days to go. It seems so surreal. It’s really hard for me to keep going only because when it’s finished, I have no idea what that means for me. Right now, I have something and the idea of having nothing terrifies me. I sometimes find myself skipping days or delaying a photo edit because getting closer is so scary. What it really comes down to is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to finish. Fear that I won’t feel changed by the experience. Thank you for helping me recognize this.

    Your words above: “There is a funny thing about fear – once it is seen, it is diminished” – really spoke to me. I hope I can reconciliation my fear now that I’ve seen it.

  2. Anne | December 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    When I said at your workshop that “the living begins when the fear ends,” it was not an empty phrase—I passed through that dark valley and survived a very abusive situation. At the moment you feel life leaving your body, a tremendous peace descends and the fear dissolves. No matter what you fear—lack of success, peer pressure, whatever—you have the power to make it disappear. Brooke, for such a young woman, you must be an ancient soul to have such wisdom.

  3. Paulie | December 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Brooke, your sensitivity is a strong quality, and your images are a reflection of beauty within. You’re stronger than you think. You know, it can be in the midst of weakest times that we find the greatest strength. Thank you for your transparency. You’re an inspiration.

  4. Becky | December 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Brooke, I hear so many of my own sentiment in your words.
    I’m a very sensitive person (I often hear the words “you’re just too sensitive.”) and want my creativity to one day be able to “do some good.”

    I have been through many emotions today, on is that I have been hit with breathless fear. My website/businesses, still in development stops me in my tracks. I have spent years (YES YEARS) dreaming, planning, and not moving. Why? Not because I didn’t care. But because I cared so much… and my dream and hope for reaching people and having it be a ministry to people rather than just a business… it is such a big thing, and I am just me. The struggle has taken years…and filtering through ideas absorbs so much time.

    This year, I’m going to move forward… I remind myself that even though this feels like it is SO much about me, I’m not doing this for me. I have a mission/purpose. I want people to be encouraged, inspired, and to feel they are loved, valued, and heard.

    Even if I don’t have everything figured out. I will move forward.
    “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT

  5. Natascha van Niekerk | December 28, 2013 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Exactly Brooke! Thanx so much for sharing your amazing blog posts with all of us, and we can’t wait for your documentary!

  6. Andy | January 27, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

  7. Rebecca Edmunds | March 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m at the stage where getting my dream off the ground still seems like an impossible task, but I still keep plugging away regardless because not to is just not an option.

    Reading your blog posts fills me with inspiration and a sense that the only thing that stands in the way of fulfilling my dreams are within my power alone.

    I wish that I had started along my path years ago but I honestly don’t think I would have been as determined and driven as I am today.

    I am constantly inspired by your art and your approach to life.

  8. Tricia | March 23, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Brooke,

    I am so impressed with you and your work. I am going to sign up for one of you online video tutorial classes. I have never used photo shop before, so had a question about it.

    Can I get along just as well with Ps Elements as I can with the full blown Photoshop? If so I would much prefer to keep it simpler to learn.

    Thanks for your inspiration. You bring so much more value to people than your beautiful art.

  9. Brooke Shaden | April 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

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