John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

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NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

How self-improvement inspired me off the ledge...


I never thought I'd be a proponent of self improvement...


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...that alone is a sign of it working, :)


If you told me 5 years ago that I would become a certified practitioner of Applied Positive Psychology, I would have responded, “why the f**k would I want to take that course?”

And that, in a nutshell, describes how I viewed life up until the last year or so.

Pessimistic. Argumentative. Stagnant. No purpose or meaning in life.  Fearfully allergic to risk and change.

I was resentful of watching other people succeed while I was languishing, trying to figure out my thing.

In other words, I was an angry dude, and had no vision or thought of changing anytime soon.

My life was flipped upside down when I decided to take the leap and go out on my own by starting my own photography business.

Once I was out on my own, I began to see the world, and how I fit in it, in a completely different way, and, I sought answers through self-improvement - not because I thought it was going to make me money, but, because I wanted to understand how to break free from all of this negativity in my mind and become the person I was meant to be.

Through a referral from someone I met at a networking event, I became a test subject for the Accomplishment Coaching school.

That created an amazing foundation of self improvement where I learned about self-awareness, defining a purpose and how to handle negative, mind chatter.  

Due to that groundbreaking experience, it was a groundbreaking year in my life - one for which I am forever grateful.  As these coaches asked powerful questions, it unearthed a lot about my mindset and rewired my desire to make a difference in life.

This training was an amazing introduction into understanding how and why people think the way they do.  Although I made great strides with the folks at Accomplishment Coaching, there was still a lot of work to be done.

And that’s where positive psychology comes into play, :)

My intention for taking the Certificate of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) course was built on the idea that I wanted to further understand what was holding me back in life - specifically, my fear and anxiety around change, my irritability over certain situations beyond my control and my general stubbornness in other areas of life.

Due in large part to the elegant design of the program, all of those self improvement questions were answered through a variety of positive psychology principles and interventions, employing the tenets of positivity, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement and vitality.

I ended up receiving way more in return - a reinforcement of my purpose in life, a deeper understanding of how humans think and act, and, most importantly, that other people matter.

Not to mention, discovering a community of amazing, self improvement minded folks who inspire and motivate me to kick ass on a daily basis, :)

Although the learning process oftentimes resembled trying to get a drink of water from a firehose, I can tell through my daily conversations that the knowledge, in fact, was retained.

For example, I recently had a get-to-know-you call with a resiliency life coach, and the moment that she mentioned her niche, that triggered a memory of a conversation in a CAPP onsite class about resiliency, and how to build it by feeling the fear and doing it anyway.  

So, I shared that with her, and it was at that moment that she already felt a connection between us.  And once we shared a little bit about our families, the connection deepend.

For at least half the conversation, I spoke about the positive psychology course, and not only does she plan to work with me, she might also take a peek at the course, as well, :)

You know, I’ve worked the past few years to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own skin, and be purposeful in my actions.  There was a time where I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to just be unhappy and be okay with it.

Needless to say, that shit is in the past, because I’m too busy trying to help those who help others.  

And, there’s a lot of work to be done!

What personal development techniques have you employed to get over the hump and define your purpose?  

Please share your thoughts in the comment section here.


PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you...because I care, :)