A simple approach to finding your passion


Blog posts like this are hard for me to read. Not because of the dollar amount, but rather Chris has found his niche.

The term niche is overused today. But what I am really speaking to is passion. Chris Lee at RankXL consistently puts out great content and courses covering Adsense and creating a profitable blog. If you are into blogging and how to monetize a blog, I strongly suggest you subscribe to his blog.

The post about Chris reaching an impressive milestone on his blog is hard for me to read as I search for what really energizes me. Sure, I have hobbies, but I was thinking the other day that my passion and my hobbies don’t really line up.

How can your hobbies not feed your passion?

I have no idea, no answer, and I am still stumped by this.

I sat down and challenged myself to sit quietly and reflect on the past month. I tried to think about everything that I did in order to reach some of my goals. What did I like doing? What did I not like doing? Why was I still struggling to break through on some tasks that should have been done months ago.

Surprisingly, I felt uninspired by a lot of my work. Nothing aligned with my passion. I can confidently say that because I have no idea what my exact passion is. I am on a quest to find it. So I started thinking pragmatically about finding what really gets my blood pumpin’.

Surely a passion is driven by hobbies. If passion is the destination of life, then hobbies are the car that will get you there.

If you are list writer you will appreciate this next part.

I cleared off my whiteboard and wrote at the top.

What would I write about every day for 100 days and enjoy it?

Writing out what I want to write about
This is a great exercise to think about what takes up your free time and if it those tasks are things you enjoy doing.

Why the 100 day quantifier? Check out my post here.

I wrote a big long list of everything that I would consider hobbies, things I am passionate about, etc.

Essentially I was trying to find a niche.

If you are familiar with Seth Godin’s book Tribes, then you will understand that I was trying to find something I could write about, really care if people read it, and do everything in my power to fit into the tribe.

My list got really long but it had hobbies like

  • Coding
  • Blogging
  • Raspberry Pi – the $35 computer and not the delicious dessert
  • Harry Potter
  • NBA basketball
  • You get the idea

So, there I stand, looking at a big ass list of hobbies. But honestly, I couldn’t see myself writing about any of them for 100 days straight.

Mind you I would give it the old college try as I had done many times before.

In fact I have 3-4 blogs with 3 solid months worth of content…only to never be logged into again.

This approach wasn’t working.

Then I thought, where is my money going?

Mint's app is great for seeing where your money goes
Try this exercise to see if your hobbies align with your passion.

Write out everything you spent money on for the last 3-6 months. This includes bills, fixed costs, etc.

I will explain why I included bills later on.

For me, I use Mint.com which is super handy when it comes to looking at historical data. I just needed to log in and start looking at charts.

Pro Tip: Mint isn’t the greatest at categorizing everything correctly, make sure you periodically skim your categories and fix anything that is out of place.

I wanted to see what I spent my money on, including bills.

I included bills because if my disposable income was say $300 a month and I spent 80% of it on one thing, that should weigh more in my mind in terms of importance.

If my bills eat up most of my paycheck (which they do), then you can believe when I buy something expensive it’s because it’s a hobby I enjoy.

Write down a list of everything you bought in the last 6 months that fits into the category “hobby” or “travel” etc.

I found that I spent a good deal of my disposable income on travel.

travel-eats-my-budget

I doubt I would ever want to start a travel blog. There are so many of them already, and a lot of them do a far better job then I ever could.

But I found it interesting that when I wrote down my hobbies, travel was no where to be seen.

Yet that is where a good amount of my dispensable income goes.

Interesting…I think we are getting closer to an answer.

But what other data did I sleuth through to reach an answer?

I don’t know about you but I love my email address.

I chose it when I was in middle school. I picked my name. No numbers, no special characters, just my name.

I am so glad I did.

If I subscribe to a blog or newsletter, it is me giving you a badge of honor.

All joking aside, if I get a couple spammy, boring, or sales oriented emails, I unsubscribe almost instantly.

I regularly go through my inbox and mass unsub from marketers, brands, and products that I no longer connect with.

Knowing that I thought…

Who still has my allegiance and what do they write about?

Your inbox should give you a little indication of where your interest are aligned
Your inbox should give you a little indication of where your interest are aligned

To me, finding your passion by digging through your routine and what you already like makes a lot of sense.

I noticed that a lot of what was in my inbox was on my list above (the whiteboard list). I regularly open emails about.

  • Student loan news
  • What top marketers are teaching and saying
  • Real estate specific news
  • Investing strategies and tips

Again, I was a little stumped as to why little to no travel emails invade my inbox (unless you count the ones from airlines I fly, but no one reads those).

Time for some more reflecting

At this point I felt even more lost and confused then when I started. My Saturday of productive coding and blogging was ruined. But this is important so I wasn’t upset.

As Violet Vane said “Good things come to those who wait.”

So I sat, and I thought, and I tried to listen to my inner thoughts.

What started to bubble to the surface both excited me and confused me.

My passion really lies in learning about a LOT of different things and applying them to how I live my life.

This is ambiguous I realize.

But do we not travel every day? Sure it’s not to exotic beaches, or awesome hiking trails.

But we grow, spiritually, mentally, psychically, emotional, financially, etc.

Really my passion is growing in each of those categories.

I like to read, write, hike, code, explore, learn, teach, and all the other wonderful things on my list. And when I sat there quietly thinking “WHY” do I like doing this…it hit me.

Because what else would I do? Be comfortable with my day to day tasks and not look for something more?

Nah not me.

I love a good mystery, a good code problem that I solve, a good book and a bunch of other things.

My passion is trying new experiences, making up my mind about them and trying something new.

So what did I decide to write about everyday for 100 days?

The things I learn and in no specific order. I gave up on the idea of finding something niche, something specific where I can become an authority.

I don’t look for keywords when writing blog posts anymore.

I have no plans to show ads on this blog.

If no one reads this, that’s fine, as long as I continue to grow, that is what really matters, to me at least.

So there you go.

A pragmatic approach to finding what your passion is.

Here is a quick recap as this post is getting rather lengthy

  1. Write a list of everything you think you would write about for 100 days straight.
  2. Categorize your spending and see where your money goes. Does it align with the list above?
  3. Look at your emails and see who you open emails from…are they talking about what you are thinking about writing about?
  4. Last, give up the urge to find 1 specific topic. Because that is boring and honestly, who wants to be pigeon holed into a topic forever.

Happy Questing.

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