Brett Kelly has written a great post about defining your passion and making a living off of it:
“I obviously can’t say this for sure, but when I hear somebody talking about being passionate about composting, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in thinking that, maybe, they’re overstating it a smidge. In recent years, people have gotten into the habit of using “passion” as a drop-in substitute for “thing I like doing on a Saturday afternoon while I have my Mint Julep.” Passion implies (rather heavily) the idea of pants-on-head, might need a grown up diaper obsession, not enthusiastic enjoyment.
If you wake up in the middle of the night sweating bullets and thinking about turning your family’s garbage into nutrient-rich dirt, then yes, perhaps you are passionate about composting. I’d be willing to bet that’s true of almost nobody.”
“So, the next time you download that free eBook on how to turn your passion into a bazillion dollars, remember that it’s going to require two things: that you’re actually, legitimately passionate about something and there exists a market of people who will be willing to give you their beer money in exchange for your angle on that thing.”
Brett doesn’t know this, but I’m so flippin’ grateful for this post. For years, I’ve felt like a directionless loser because I don’t know what my “passion” is. I enjoy writing and the Red Sox and kayaking and nerdy accouterment very much. But do I “wake up in the middle of the night sweating bullets and thinking about” those things? No. And that’s OK.
I do love the fact that I’ve made a modest living over the last three years by getting paid to do or talk about some of the above. That’s been great. Like Brett, I’d say that I’m passionate about my family, but I still haven’t figure out how to make money off of them. Plus “my family” doesn’t really count. It’s too easy.
The point is I feel less like a directionless failure because I don’t know what my “passion” is. I know what I really, really like and have been able to survive off of that. I guess that’s good enough.