Finding your passion: Four questions that will show you what you love

by Nick on December 6, 2011

You’ve heard it over and over again.  It’s the biggest business cliché out there.  But it’s true:

“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” - Harvey MacKay

Well that sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?  I just need to find my freakin’ passion to turn my 40 (or 50, 60 or 70) hours per week I spend in Khakis and a button down shirt into fun time at the carnival.  Easy enough, right? 

Raise your hand if you found your passion (raise the hand that you don’t need to scroll down…).  I thought so.  Most people either haven’t or don’t know if they’ve found their passion.  Most people don’t even know how to find their passion.  There’s no passion diagnostic test.  No MRI can tell you that your passion is European basket weaving or farming or elevator repair (although imagine the money you could make if you could invent a machine like that!).  So how the heck do you find your passion?

Cliché alert.  I hate using clichés, but many times they’re clichés for a reason – because it’s true.  The problem with clichés is that they rarely provide useful clarity or action points for you to get to the next step.  Here’s the cliché: What would you do for free?  Now here is how you take it one step further and help focus on actually finding your passion.

Get out a piece of paper and pencil (yes, actual paper – it exists – and pencil – not a pen – a pencil).  Now sit down and write the following questions on the top of a page (each question gets its own page):

  • What do you already do for free?
  • What do you read about?
  • What websites do you go to on a daily basis?
  • What TV shows have you watched the last month?  (Yes, all that you can remember)

Why are these questions likely the solution to your passion-identity problem?  Because these are the things that you choose to do over and over again for free.  I bet you’ll find some one-off things you do for free, but also a pattern, like:

  • Well, I coach my son’s football team, read NFL rumor websites, read seven football-related books last year and good luck getting me out of the house on Sunday;
  • I go shopping three times per week, visit couponing and discount websites, read three books on couponing and comparison shopping, spent Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending most of the money I’ll make next year and watch extreme couponing and fashion makeover shows; or
  • I go to church weekly, visit daily prayer websites and read books and articles on other religions.

See the pattern?  What you choose to do for free is telling you something.  Now go to a new sheet of paper and write down what you think it’s telling you.  Try to be as specific as possible (but it’s OK to be general if you can’t yet be specific).

Now ask yourself “why” you spend your time doing that stuff.   If the answer is “because my wife makes me” then that one probably isn’t your passion…

But if the answer is I don’t know or because it’s relaxing or something like that you might be onto something.

So the above examples might look like:

  • football or sports;
  • shopping, couponing or saving money; and
  • religion or spirituality.

Great!  You’re on your way to discovering your passion!  Now what do you do if you have no idea how to turn your “passion” into “profits” (sorry for the cliché again… I should have alerted you, I know)?  More on that later, but here are some good first steps.

  • Sign up for swagbucks (because Google only pays Google and Swagbucks pays you!);
  • Search every keyword for your passion. 
  • Take notes on how other people are making money in that area.  Are they writing ebooks or blogs?  Are they selling their own or other people’s products?  Are they selling or doing other things with classic, public domain books in their field?  Are they starting a video or audio series commenting on new developments or products in your passion area?
  • Then do the same searches and include phrases like “making money by” or “making money in” or “products” or “monetize my passion for” and things like that. 

Read everything that looks like it shows you how other people are making money in your passion area.  And read everything that discusses how to make money in your area.    There are tons of ways to monetize even the most obscure passion. 

There you got it.  Now you have 4 questions to help you identify your passion and information about how other people (a) are monetizing your passion and (b) suggest how you can monetize your passion.  The next step is the toughest one – doing it!  More on that later.

So…. did you find your passion?  What is it?  Are others making money in it?  That’s OK.  There’s plenty of room for others.  No one can have as much penetration in a market as Yahoo had in search a while back.  But Google came along and the game has changed.  So don’t be discouraged about that either. 

Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

Like what you see here?  Tell your friends by sharing it with one of the buttons below.  Post this to Facebook or Tweet it to help your friends and family, too.  And don’t forget to send me an e-mail or comment to say hello.  I love hearing from you.

Image: digitalart /

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