Figure It Out Friday: I Can’t Choose Which Passion To Build A Business Around

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Figure It Out Fridays’ is a new weekly blog series  where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do

Question:

I have a hard time choosing one business or area of focus and just going with it. Something else inevitably pop up and I think “Oh yeah maybe that’s a better idea, maybe that’s my true passion”.  Identifying my passion is hard for me. I feel like I could have several passions, but again, I don’t know which one to choose, which one will be the “best” business option. Underlying it all is probably a fear that what if it doesn’t work, what if I pick the wrong one? How do I choose?

Answer:

This is a struggle I hear about ALL the friggin’ time. From my clients, from my friends, from random strangers when I tell them what I do. It’s such a problem that I’m designing a brand new coaching package to help people discover their brilliant business idea. I’m already working with some clients testing out my system, and they are coming to some amazing a-ha moments and even more amazing creative business ideas. Super fun. So stay tuned for that.

Here’s my take on the whole “I can’t seem to choose” dilemma: “Passions” are different than interests.

 

An interest or a hobby is just that, something you like to do. “Passions” (if we must keep using that word), are deeper. They’re what you care about. A lot. They’re how you see the world, and what you want to change about the world. In essence, passions are things you really give a shit about.

A big shit.

 

So you need to drill down your ideas to the WHY behind them, the “give a shit” factor behind them. Why do you care about that idea so much? Why does your idea matter, to you and to the world? My friend and colleague Tad is in the middle of writing a great blog series about marketing your message, and I’d highly recommend you read it if you’re stuck in the “which idea do I choose” trap.

 

When your business is centered around a core foundational message, any of your ideas are fair game.

 

Picture a bicycle wheel (or a flower, if that’s more your thing): Your message/your WHY/your purpose/that thing you really really care about, is at the center of that wheel. That’s your bigger picture for having a business. Then, all the spokes (or petals) are all the ways that you can then deliver that message to the world. And there are infinite numbers of ways. If your message is about empowering women, you might do that through teaching them to manage their finances, or how to build their own website, or how to love their bodies more through dance classes, etc etc. There are literally thousands of ways you can deliver your message. So then it becomes about narrowing down the spokes/petals that fit your strengths, your skills, your interests, and equally important, which ones people will actually pay for. 

 

So in essence, being super clear on your deeper message is how you will be able to string all your random ideas together into one common theme, and that theme will be what you base your business around.

 

So then you don’t necessarily have to choose from your ideas, and they will naturally start to come together into one bigger idea. And, if something doesn’t work out or isn’t feeling like a fit, you don’t have to change your whole business, because it’s centered around your one foundational theme. Instead you can just start to switch up your services, as long as your message is consistent and clear.  That’s important.

The other thing I’ll say is that not every one of your interests/hobbies/passions has to be part of your business. Remember – you will still have a life outside of your business (let’s hope). So you’ve gotta build a business that lets you have the lifestyle that you want, so that you don’t start to neglect all those things you love and go batshit crazy because all of a sudden your whole life is work and whatever happened to the days you used to spend baking, and doing yoga, and travelling!?

 

Another possibility, and one I really love: you might even incorporate all your interests in really cool but small ways into your business.

 

For example, if you have a coaching business, and you really love baking, you might incorporate baking into your business by sending new clients really awesome thank you packages of fresh baked cookies. How cool would that be? (and also, can I be your client, please!?) It would set you apart from the crowd and let you still do what you love, even though you’re not getting paid for it. Another way I’ve seen someone do this: Amanda Aitken of Girl’s Guide To Web Design is totally intuitive. In fact, she’s actually created a whole new offshoot of GG2WD, Creative Bloom, where she incorporates her psychic abilities right into her brading and design business. Bad.Ass.

So… the moral of the story is: If you can get really clear about why you care about all your random ideas, and tie them together with a common theme, you might not have to choose just one. AND, you can still have all your hobbies and passions and interests even if they aren’t a main part of your business.

And that’s how you can beat the multipassionate/shiny object syndrome/scanner trap and actually get over the “But what about that! or that! or that!” dilemma, and actually CHOOSE something and get to work. Because trying something is always better than trying nothing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re someone who has a bunch of different interests, can you pull out a common theme or message that underlies them all? Share your interests and your theme in the comments (and if you can’t find the theme, maybe someone will be nice enough to help out :)

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Read 3 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. LifeCoachJess

    Great post!  Your designation between hobby/ interests and ‘passion’ is great.  When I think back to when I was caged – I often explored hobbies and interests like photography or cooking.  For someone else  (many other successful people!) photos or food can change the world. Not me.  I was more into consuming than producing either of those.   It wasn’t until I became honest about what I wanted to see change in the world and how I wanted to contribute to that change that the answer to ‘what should I do in my career?’ became obvious.

  2. ketaggart

    I love the idea that the “why” is the foundation you build on and the “what” can vary, change, and even encompass many different interests.  So helpful!

  3. I think the differentiation between interests & passions is super important – I had never thought of it that way before! Thx for the insight. So true though, our passion IS linked to something much deeper… our purpose. Our why. I tried to start a business making and selling hula hoops, which failed because it was only an interest, and wasnt fueled by passion… a much more powerful source of fuel!