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Finding the Work You Love: The Intersection of Passion, Talent, and Opportunity

finding work you love

Cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop

In the early 1990’s, Robert Tuchman was working at Lehman Brothers in New York City.  At the time, he dreaded Sunday nights because he knew that the next day he had to get up and show up at a job he hated.  Robert came to the realization that life was too short to stick around in a job that wasn’t for him.  He wanted to follow his passion: sports.

Here’s what Robert has to say about following your passion:

“I feel it’s essential that you are able to marry your work and what you love. This passion will ignite the minds of your potential clients and connections. Your business has to be a reflection of what you are already willing to pour countless hours into. Your passion and enthusiasm for your business has to connect to your why, be a part of your own experience, and is ultimately what will make you successful.”

Robert went on to found Tuchman Sports Enterprises (TSE), the global leader in sports event travel. He’s also a favorite commentator on the sporting industry, and the author of “The 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live”, and “Young Guns, The Fearless Entrepreneurs Guide To Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own”. (Source)

Finding the work that you love is about identifying your sweet spot: that place at which you love what you do and are well compensated for it. And your sweet spot is found at the intersection between passion, talent, and economic opportunity. Read more about this below.

The Three Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Finding the Work You Love

Intersection of Passion, Talent, and Opportunity

Business writer Jim Collins—author of “Good to Great” and co-author of “Built to Last”–suggests that you ask yourself the following three questions in order to find work you love:

1. What are you deeply passionate about?

2. What are you genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just “made to do”?

3. What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?

Find or create work that allows you to do the things that are located at the intersection of the three circles (the sweet spot), and you’ll have the basis for a great work life. (Source).

Being In Your Element

“The problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail, it’s that we aim too low and succeed.”  — Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson–an internationally recognized leader in the development of innovation and human resources–argues in his book “The Element” that most adults have no idea what their true talents are, or what they’re truly capable of achieving. They bump along the bottom doing what they’re competent in and what they feel they need to do, but without much passion or commitment.

Yet Robinson has met people who love what they do, and who can’t imagine doing anything else. The book is based on interviews he conducted with people in this second group: those who are “in their element”.

If you’re in your element, you’re doing something for which you have a natural capacity. But being good at something isn’t enough. You also have to love it; it has to be something that resonates with you. There are plenty of people doing things they’re good at, but that they don’t greatly care for.

Robinson adds that while working on a book in the eighties, he discovered that his editor was a former concert pianist. One day she realized that although she was very good at playing the piano, she didn’t particularly enjoy it.

The editor had spent her entire life meeting other people’s expectations: after showing a talent for playing the piano at an early age she had been sent to a special school to develop her talent and, following that path, she progressed to the concert platform. But what she had always loved was books. She loved reading, writing, and the literary world. She became determined to find a role in the literary world, which she did, and in this way she finally discovered what made her happy.

The element is that point at which natural talent meets a passion. It’s about being in love with something you’re good at. Most people don’t have the experience of finding this configuration. Robinson argues that, in a way, if you don’t know what you’re truly capable of, you don’t know who you are. (Source)

An Exercise to Help You Find Your Sweet Spot

Part of being “in your element” is also finding something that you will be remunerated for.  Here’s an exercise recommended by Arnold M. Patent in his book “You Can Have It All”:

  • Make a list of the activities that you most enjoy.  How inspired each of these activities makes you feel is more important than how many you can come up with.
  • Select the activity on your list that inspires you the most.
  • Now make a list–this time make it as long as you can–of all the ways in which you could express the talent you selected.  The idea is to come up with a long list of creative ways in which you can express your talent.
  • Over the next few days keep thinking of more things you can add to your list.

Examples of Turning Your Passion Into Your Work

There are many ways in which you can turn something you love into a career.  Here are three examples:

Suppose that you’ve always loved antiques and one of your hobbies is browsing through antique stores and collecting antiques. Some ways you could start a profitable business from this hobby are the following:

  • Become an Antique Appraiser, which would involve determining what other people’s antiques are worth and whether they’re authentic.  You can even create a niche advising attorneys settling estate cases.
  • Start an Antique Refurbishment business: take worn-out antiques home with you, transform them into something amazing, and then resell them at a profit.
  • You can even write a book about antiquing, advising others how to get the most value for their money.

I got the following two examples from this video:

  • Chris Elmore loves playing the guitar, and he knows how to teach others to play it.  So he started a membership site in which he posts videos and how-to manuals for those who want to learn how to play the guitar.  He’s on track to make $200,000 a year.
  • Bert Ingley loves sports video games.  He’s been playing John Madden Football since its release.  He hated his job and asked himself how he could make money from playing video games. He began visiting the Madden forums looking for problems that people were having.  Based on trends that he noticed–plus his desire to create a strategy guide for Madden football–he created an ebook of about 100 pages and created a web site to sell it. It started to sell well, and so he made more guides.  He’s on track to make $300,000 a year.


Set about finding the work that you love–in order to live your best life–by doing the following:

  • Set the intention to find your sweet spot;
  • Do the exercise recommended by Arnold M. Patent; and
  • Look for examples of how others have found their sweet spot for inspiration.

Here’s a quote I found on Sir Ken Robinson’s blog:

“Finding your Element is a two way journey: an inward journey of reflection and an outward journey of exploration. The first is a process of reflecting on the times and experiences when we felt most ourselves, most in flow, most absorbed and at our most authentic. Some people find it helpful to make lists of moments and experiences: others to collect images and make a dream board or collage. The second is about trying new experiences, of doing new things and finding how they feel and fit with us. So also make a list of things you wished you’d done or would like to do and ask yourself honestly what’s stopping you now.”

Related Posts:

1. 18 Powerful Tips for Overcoming Procrastination
2. Prosperity Tips – 18 Ways to Increase Your Wealth
3. Stop Procrastinating Tip: Practice Discomfort

I Recommend:

1. How to Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List
2. Make It Happen! A Workbook for Overcoming Procrastination and Getting the Right Things Done

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chantel July 3, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Marelisa, this is a great post. This expresses a lot of the ideas that I have been thinking about with my website, I’ll definitely be downloading your e-course. I know a life without passion is not worth living. We must always tap into something we enjoy, paid or not in order to get what we need to survive. Life is more than simply going to work and going home, it’s about LIVING! And we are simply not living if we’re chipping away at our own happiness! I am ready to start my journey as well. I figure it’s either now or never!