One of the biggest challenges when I began taking my photography more seriously was not knowing what I wanted to get out of it despite continuing to invest so much time and money into it already. In hindsight my focused was more on wanting to improve my craft, developing confidence and learning to recognize my value. Not having a clear direction was not a priority which I eventually learned is not always the best strategy and neither is thinking that things will work themselves out on their own without you manually setting the tone first.
Fashion and portrait photographer Justin Bridges said it best on what the most ideal blueprint should be as it pertains to your photography career or any other creative endeavor:
Knowing your destination informs the motivation and helps set goalposts along the way. Owning your curiosity and chasing down answers whenever you hit a roadblock allows you to enjoy embracing a student mentality. Practicing patience with yourself and not relying on copious amounts of gear allows you to slow down, appreciate the journey, and build invaluable experience.