A little while back, Chris Cree of SuccessCREEations.com
linked back to my first article, How to Find What You Love to Do
, and it was through that link that I discovered with the help of that article, Chris had found what he loved to do â€“ helping businesses fuel growth through blogging.
Weâ€™ve been in contact ever since back and forth via email the last couple of weeks and in one of those emails, he pitched a great idea about me interviewing him about how he found his passion. I thought it would be a great way to share his story as well as to give some of his insights and findings he discovered along the way that could benefit other people as well.
The interview would also be a good platform for him to talk about SOBcon (youâ€™ll find out more about what that is in the interview), which I know will be of interest to the bloggers who read my blog. So all in all, a very good win-win situation here.
Because of both our hectic schedules, I thought itâ€™d be best if I drew up a list of questions to send to him that he could answer at his convenience.
Below is that interview. Thereâ€™s a ton of great information in there that I know will benefit those who are still on their journey of finding what they love to do so I hope you enjoy it.
But first, I want to thank Chris for taking the time to do this. Heâ€™s been incredibly busy these past few days attending to some personal items, but he still managed to find the time to do this interview and really go above and beyond the call of duty with it. When I got back the interview, I was floored with all the great detail so I hope you enjoy and benefit from it. Here it is verbatim:
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
First of all, Brian, Iâ€™m a guy whoâ€™s very humbled that you would take the time to interview him. I really appreciate this honor. Thanks.
When you get right down to it, I am an ordinary guy and like most people when you get to talking with them, Iâ€™m full of contradictions. I grew up an only child but I have a brother and a sister. I have done some interesting things in my life such as fly off of aircraft carriers in jets, but I generally followed the path of least resistance.
Most of my life I was surrounded by folks who loved me, but in their effort to help me do better were very quick to tell me all the things I did wrong and very rarely mentioned anything that I did right. The mantra on my report cards was, â€śChris has tremendous potential if heâ€™d only apply himself
.â€ť I vividly remember my father telling me, â€śIf thereâ€™s a harder way to do something youâ€™ll find it.
The net effect is that I carried an idea in my head that I was a loser whoâ€™d never amount to much.
Yet at the same time most folks consider me a fairly sharp guy. I have a track record of doing hard jobs really well. But, because of my habit of following the path of least resistance, I would find myself getting bored with that I was doing after a few years and move on. I could focus intently for a while, but seemed to have a bit of a short attention span.
Even as I approached 40 this year I still had a tendency to tell folks that I still donâ€™t know what I want to be when I grow up. Iâ€™ve long envied folks who have long known what they wanted to do career wise. The reality in my case is that I was good at a whole bunch of different things and could fit into the middle of the pack just about anywhere.
However I knew from all my reading on self improvement that if I could just discover something I was truly passionate about Iâ€™d tap into that potential those teachers saw in me when I was younger and I would really excel.
How did you come to read the article of â€śHow to Find What You Love to Doâ€ť?
Iâ€™d been a hobby blogger for quite a while. I started out on Blogger and then eventually graduated to a self hosted blog. But my blog was like my own interests and I tended write about a wide variety of different topics. Rather than try to focus down my personal blog, I chose to start a second blog and write about self-improvement, but with a twist.
Most folks who write on the subject are writing after the fact. Theyâ€™ve been there, done that, and are helping others find the way. Me, I was still struggling to figure it all out and get it applied to my life so I considered my blog to be an open source self-improvement project. I had sort of a â€śLetâ€™s figure this thing out togetherâ€ť mentality.
I had just found your blog via a Technorati search on â€śsuccessâ€ť right before you did your post, How to Get 105,934 Unique Visitors to Your New Blog Along With 2 Million Page Views in 45 Days
. Since Iâ€™d just started my new blog a couple weeks before, I poured over that article and was hooked.
I really appreciate your openness to share what you learn along the way, Brian. Your down to earth style really resonates with me. Most folks who write on the subject share the â€śwhatsâ€ť of self improvement, but you share with us the â€śhowsâ€ť as well.
Iâ€™m a fairly practical guy and I like procedures. Itâ€™s probably a hold over from my flying days. So I especially like your how to posts.
It was over a month after getting hooked on your blog that I got bombarded with this idea of finding what it is that Iâ€™m really passionate about. So I did a Google search on the phrase â€śfind what you love to doâ€ť and found that youâ€™d already written a post for me on the subject a few months back, before Iâ€™d even discovered your blog!
And then to add to the irony, that post was one of the examples that you linked to in that original article about growing readership that put your blog on the map in my mind. I guess timing is a big part of the process, eh?
(And as a side note you might consider adding some search functionality to your blog, Brian. Youâ€™ve got a ton of great content there. Do folks a favor and make it easy for them to find it. Your Archive page is a good idea. But so many of us just want to throw a keyword or two into a search box and see whatâ€™s there.)
What did you do after reading it?
Plain and simple I went through the steps you laid out.
Part of me was skeptical that it would work so I really appreciated your assurance in Step 1 that I WOULD find the answer. Understanding that, and then believing it, was a huge breakthrough for me.
Iâ€™d never cataloged all my skills and abilities before. Because of my attention span issues and the fact that Iâ€™ve had several very different jobs, Iâ€™ve become sort of a Master Generalist. Turns out there are a ton of things I do really well. Iâ€™d just never taken the time to collect them and write them all down before.
Seeing that list right next to the list of things I enjoy doing was a very clarifying experience. It helped me visually see why Iâ€™ve been so chronically frustrated in my various occupations, especially when they didnâ€™t have a good mix from both columns.
Then I simply thought about the question you posed. What would I love to do on a daily basis utilizing both my skills and interests that will add significant value to people?
Coupling that with your advice about focusing on the skill and interest items at the beginning of my lists and it didnâ€™t take long for ideas to begin to form.
When did you discover that business blogging was your newfound passion and how did you know that was it?
Well my passion for blogging was obvious even to me. I typically get up at 5AM every morning to write, read other blogs, comment, etc. Iâ€™ve kept that practice up consistently for a long time.
And for a guy who is decidedly not
a morning person to get up that early day after day for over a year, well, the only thing that can make that happen is passion!
Not only am I good at the writing/relational end of blogging, but Iâ€™m fairly well skilled at the technical side as well. I like making computers do what I want them to and I can be incredibly stubborn with a computer â€śproblemâ€ť sticking with it until I get it working right.
Iâ€™m finding that mix of communications/relational and technical skills is actually not all that common. Lots of folks can do one or the other. But it turns out there arenâ€™t nearly as many of us who can do both well.
While I was sorting it all out, I was reading other blogs that were saying similar things. I also talked to several trusted friends and advisors about ideas and they all confirmed what I was finding. My passions were obvious to them. And they all confirmed that there was indeed value to others in what I was looking at.
Iâ€™m finding businesses will pay a premium for experts who can help with their internet communications. It took me a while to get my head around that because what I do seems so simple to me I was doing it for free for my friends.
Can you give us some more information on what business blogging is all about?
Business blogging is about improving internet business communications, plain and simple. I help businesses fuel growth through a more effective web presence.
I help business owners and managers get their minds around the fact that business is about people, that the money their business earns (or doesnâ€™t earn) is spent by real people. And those people are relational beings.
People want to do business with folks they know, they like, and they trust. It often takes many, many contact points over a period of time before a new customer makes a purchase. In order to be successful, the business has to be accessible at the precise point that the customer is ready to make their purchase.
Blogging can help a business accomplish all that and much, much more.
How does it feel having found what you love to do?
It is wonderful and intensely frustrating at the same time.
It is wonderful because it feels natural. Being at that intersection point where my passion meets my skill set is exhilarating. Because what I do comes so naturally to me, I have to remind myself that it isnâ€™t easy for most folks. Otherwise Iâ€™d be embarrassed to get paid for what Iâ€™m doing.
On the other hand it is intensely frustrating because I still have a job in my old career field that Iâ€™m not yet in a position financially to simply walk away from. Yet.
I have to guard against getting angry or resentful when my day job interferes with my working in my business. And trust me it interferes plenty! Iâ€™ve been in an industry and a position that has irregular hours, calls me out at short notice and generally can make a mess of dealing with my own business.
And of course changes have caused it to get even worse and more demanding since Iâ€™ve become intentional about my own business.
I have to be patient, and gut it out, until Iâ€™m in able to make a clean break. Patience can be very challenging!
I also hear youâ€™re speaking at SOBCon next month. Can you tell us a little bit more about what SOBCon is?
SOBCon is a gathering of incredibly gifted speakers and bloggers who are coming together in Chicago next month to share what they know and help other folks take their blogging to the next level. The format will be highly participatory and audience driven.
It is a tremendous opportunity to network with very well established bloggers, to put faces and personalities with blogs, learn and share what works and what doesnâ€™t with other like minded folks.
The conference has been purposely designed to be incredibly valuable for the entire spectrum of bloggers, from those just getting started to experienced folks whoâ€™ve been blogging since Technorati was just tracking 10 million blogs.
Folks who attend the conference will
â€˘ LEARN how to write compelling posts that draw readers in
â€˘ SEE how great blog design can make a difference
â€˘ DISCOVER how analytics and other tools can help you maximize your blogâ€™s potential
â€˘ HEAR innovative and useful blog marketing techniques that will expand your reach and viewership
â€˘ GAIN valuable insights on ways to use blogging as a coaching tool
â€˘ CONNECT with other bloggers through our pre-launch activities and interactive presentations
On what subject(s) you will be speaking on at the conference?
I am moderating a panel discussion about some blogging tools which will include representatives from MyBlogLog, Evoca, and TheGoodBlogs. Weâ€™ll be sharing how each of these tools can improve the blogging experience for both the reader and the blog author.
I was offered an opportunity for my own timeslot on the podium, but I felt that there were a ton of top notch speakers already there. Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t speak well. I do. Iâ€™m even in that minority of folks who really doesnâ€™t fear public speaking.
But I felt Iâ€™d offer the best value to the conference by concentrating my efforts towards working behind the scenes and making sure things flow as smoothly as possible that day. My entire professional career to date has been in operations. I am really good at planning things out, making them happen and figuring out workable solutions to unexpected problems on the fly.
I jokingly call it â€ścat herdingâ€ť and it is another one of those skill sets which comes naturally to me that not every does well. I figure Iâ€™ll best serve the conference by focusing on my own gifting.
For anybody interested in going to SOBCon, where can they go to for more information?
The best place to learn more about the conference, who is speaking, what they will be talking about, who will be attending (and of course to register) is http://www.sobevent.com/
It looks like youâ€™re moving forward and making great progress doing what you love to do and it looks great! Any last pieces of advice you wish to give those who are still on their journey of finding what they love to do?
Folks who know exactly what they love doing are incredibly fortunate. I wasnâ€™t like that. I had to invest a huge amount of time working, searching, and thinking about the whole subject before the answer came to me.
My advice would be to give themselves permission to be uniquely them. What they love doing is probably not exactly like what anyone else loves. Or if it is, they would probably shine best doing it in a slightly different way than anyone else.
Choosing an occupation only on the basis of income is a big mistake. Finding their passion and then working at it with the deliberate intention of making money at it somehow will eventually pay huge dividends and get them further ahead in the long run.
Start by working through the steps you laid out in How to Find What You Love to Do
. Like you say in the article it is important for folks to actually put pen to paper and write down their skills and interests.
There was something incredibly powerful and crystallizing about seeing it written out before me. In my case my blog was a hugely helpful tool in clarifying my thoughts and intentions.
And if you are still stuck, I highly recommend folks get a copy of your book, The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich
. I didnâ€™t mention the book before because I found your post to be just the help I needed. But you go into so much more detail in the book. For folks who donâ€™t quite get enough from the post, the wealth of additional info I found in the book may be just what they need to get themselves moving forward.
And finally Iâ€™d encourage folks that it is never too late to make a change. Iâ€™ll be 40 this summer. And I still donâ€™t have it all worked out! Iâ€™m OK with that.
After reading through the interview, I wanted to make a couple of quick points before I end this post.
First off, I want to thank Chris again. Great answers, very detailed, and some sage advice he gave, especially at the end.
I also want to point out that 40 is probably one of the best places to be for a man and I quote from Napoleon Hill:
â€śI discovered, from the analysis of over 25,000 people, that men who succeed in an outstanding way, seldom do so before the age of forty, and more often they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of fifty.â€ť â€“ Napoleon Hill
Your best years are right ahead of you Chris!
I also want to point out that Chris has a great series on business blogging
if you want to see more of what itâ€™s all about. If you havenâ€™t read it, I highly recommend you do and if you currently have a business and wonder how blogging can help grow your business, I highly recommend reading that series and dropping Chris a line with any questions you might have and also to see what he can do for you and your business.
Second thing I want to point out - Writing things down. Hopefully through Chrisâ€™s own words, you can see the power of writing things down. I mustâ€™ve said this a billion times by now but I know that there are still people out there who read but never write.
How do I know this?
Itâ€™s because I was one of them.
I read hundreds of self improvement books but I never did the exercises in them because I didnâ€™t see the point.
If we donâ€™t put thoughts onto paper, buildings would not exist. Cars would not exist. Everything around you would not exist.
There is power in writing. Incredible power. Do it. Another reason why the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
Also heâ€™s told me that ever since heâ€™s moved forward with his passion, great opportunities have been coming his way that fit perfectly with his journey and it reminded me of this quote by John C. Maxwell.
"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from that decision, raising in one's favor all manor of unforeseen incidents & meetings & material assistance, which no man could have ever dreamed would come his way" - John Maxwell
So if you have
found what you love to do, commit to it and watch the opportunities come knocking on your door.
If you havenâ€™t
found what you love to do, keep looking. Donâ€™t settle.
Iâ€™ll end this post with a quote from Steve Jobs.
â€śYour time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma â€” which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
If you haven't found it yet (what you love to do), keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.â€ť - Steve Jobs