A Career of Purpose and Photography
Dan Cumberland is on a mission to help you find where meaning, life, and work intersect. He then wants to inspire you to push into those places. Dan is the host of the Meaning Movement Podcast and blogs at TheMeaningMovement.com. He is a fantastic source for advice on finding your passion, calling, and life’s work
As an entrepreneur Dan has two main projects. He helps people find work they believe in at TheMeaningMovement.com, and he runs a wedding and portrait photography company, SparkflyPhotography, with his business partner.
Career Success Q&A
What do you like most about your job?
Helping people go from feeling stuck and frustrated to doing things that make them come alive.
What kind of formal schooling do you have?
I have a master’s degree in psychology and culture. I studied systems of meaning and how people find purpose and fulfillment.
What kind of experience did you have before starting your businesses?
I started college at 16 without much of a direction. It’s just what I felt like I was supposed to do. I spent a lot of years struggling to find my way.
After college I spent five years in a job that I was good at, but that I really struggled with personally. It took me to some dark places. I slowly began to see that the job was not a good fit for me and that I needed to find something better.
I also began realizing that I have a lot of energy around helping people discover what they want to do with their lives— so I decided to go to grad school and find ways to help people.
Do you have a guiding philosophy for your career?
You have something to say.
That’s the belief behind all that I do. You have something that the world wants and needs to hear that is uniquely your own. I believe that work is an opportunity to say it.
What excites you most about your career right now?
Getting to be a part of major life and career transitions with people. It feels like such a privilege to play such an important role.
What excites you about the future of your career?
There’s always new things to learn. There’s no map for the places that I want to go, so it’s a process of making it up as I go— which is really exciting (and sometimes terrifying!).
Are you an avid reader?
I am! But finding time for it is much more difficult since I became a parent.
What would you recommend to others trying to improve themselves professionally?
Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer is essential to anyone who is thinking about work and what they do. Parker Palmer writes from a theological perspective, but the ideas he shares are accessible to anyone. It’s such an important read.
I keep up with a few blogs and podcasts— more podcasts right now because they are easier to take in while on the go with the little guy.
It’s easy to get paralyzed with information. Don’t. Try to consume only as much as you need.
Do you have a regular routine or set of principles you follow to ensure you’re improving?
I have a preferred routine, though most of my days vary from it.
I work from 6 am to 1 pm most days and spend the afternoon with my son. I catch up on emails and such during his afternoon nap. I bike as much as I can and do yoga regularly. I consume some stimulating media (audiobook, book, blog, or podcast). And I get 8 hours of sleep.
I also enjoy meditating regularly, but I’ve been out of practice as of late.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
“You have to make your own way,” – from my college music composition instructor.
Would you consider yourself a goal-setter?
Yes. I set annual goals that I revisit regularly and reassess quarterly.
I’ve found that goal setting is most helpful when paired with reflection.
The best and most meaningful goals I’ve created have come from a period of reflection on what has and hasn’t worked and what I do and don’t want next.
What are a few of your current goals?
Long term goals— I’d like to do some extended travel; 6-10 months.
I’d like to get my businesses to a place where they could function without my active involvement for that time period.
I also have both short and long term revenue goals, but those are private.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the course of your career?
In 2015 I suddenly got sick, had a surgery, and was hospitalized for almost a month. My first child was born less than a month later. It was a really challenging time for our family.[I had to take] it a day at a time. It felt like everything was falling apart, but in the end things were more OK than I expected. I just needed time to heal.
What have you found to work really well for fostering professional growth?
Two things: Asking for help from experts and paying for courses and packaged solutions instead of attempting to chase them down and piece them together all the time (I don’t have time for it!).
What is a professional challenge you’re still looking for a solutions to?
Scaling my business.
It’s slowly growing, but I’d like to accelerate the growth, both in reach and income.
Has journaling had an impact your life or career?
Writing is an essential part of my process. I usually don’t really know what I think until I’ve attempted to put it in writing.
Are you currently working on any projects we should be aware of?
The Meaning Movement Podcast: A show all about work worth doing
The Calling Course: Find purpose and do your best work.
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
Feeling Stuck in Your Career?
I’d love to help!
Click the link below to see when I’m availble to talk though your current career goals and challenges.