There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
- Nelson Mandela
Do What You Love;
Love What You Do
Four years after college graduation, I returned to my Georgetown University homecoming to find that most of my friends were seemingly unsatisfied in their professional lives. How could it be that so many intelligent and motivated young professionals were finding fulfillment elusive in the "real" world? Keep in mind - we're talking about graduates of the top business and law schools across the country.
Surprisingly, my career as a performer was all the buzz. "You're so LUCKY to be able to do what you love for a living."
I juggle plungers. And I'm the lucky one.
Further conversation revealed that although everyone agreed it was theoretically possible to create an enterprise based on passion, the undertaking seemed unrealistic and impractical to most. How are you going to pay the bills? How do you meet the right people to help you? What if you don't have some weird talent like juggling?
Clearly there existed a gap between understanding the importance of a career based on passion and understanding how to brand, market, and monetize that passion.
Today, the professional paradigm for most people bears little resemblance to the experience of previous generations. Platforms of business have changed. Traditional industries have soured. A typical employee might look more like an independent contractor, and the social media revolution has completely altered the way we communicate. In this climate of extreme change, there lives unparalleled access and opportunity.
Realistically, if one sat down to choose a career based solely on personal and financial fulfillment, we can all agree that juggling probably would not make the top-ten list. Yet I have been able to brand my passion for juggling in a way that affords me a very comfortable and deeply gratifying lifestyle...not to mention a ridiculously fun one.
What do you think of when you hear the word "juggler?" Clowns? The circus? A birthday party? You probably don't think of sailing on the Queen Mary II, bungee jumping in New Zealand, sky diving in Australia, getting inside the White House, the Kennedy Center, the Ronald Reagan building, visiting the Taj Mahal, Europe, and Malaysia.
Juggling has afforded me all of these opportunities - either directly or indirectly. How is this possible? I discovered my core competency, I packaged my services, and I positioned them in a way that was attractive to the marketplace. Remember - I juggle plungers.
After analyzing the branding of my juggling, I came up with seven pillars - Seven "Ps" of Success - that I believe can help anyone create the career, and lifestyle, of their dreams: Passion, Philosophy, Personal Brand, Power Team, Plan, Proactivity, and Performance.
This is not a linear, systematic road map of bullet points but rather a discussion of interconnected ideas. I don't think it is possible to create a step-by-step handbook for taking a hobby and branding it. "Branding your passion" is an art, and therefore needs to happen organically. When you understand the larger concepts at play, the daily to-do lists will take care of themselves.
When I talk about "branding your passion," I'm speaking not only about being an entrepreneur, but also being an "intra-preneur." You can just as easily brand your passion in your role within your company, within your school, or within your family.
Passion is the fuel that drives any e