When you suck at what you love
P.K. Slater

I love stand up paddle boarding. I’m not the fastest paddler and will never be like the pros who compete in SUP races around the world. Nor do I aspire to that. But, I am good at teaching others how to do it for the first time. I’m so passionate about my SUP hobby and the physical and mental health benefits it offers that I want to share it with as many people as possible.

I’m also very passionate about life and career coaching, and unlike with SUP, I’m a pro at it. One of the many things that makes me different from other life and career coaches is that I sometimes conduct my coaching sessions on the water. I take my clients out on my spare paddle board and spend about 20 minutes teaching them the basics of SUP (since the initial learning curve to just do it recreationally is only about 20 minutes). Once they get the hang of it and feel comfortable, we have our regular coaching discussion while paddling up the river.

Taking clients out for a paddle accomplishes several things: it gets them out of their every-day environment and out of their comfort zone, it gets them moving, it helps clear their mind of clutter when they have to focus on learning something new (and focus on keeping their balance), it helps them see how learning this sport parallels with a lot of life lessons, and it de-stresses them and rejuvenates them physically and mentally.

I’ve found a way to make a living marrying my passion and my hobby. I’ve been able to take incorporate one or two small elements of the one I’m not as good at into the one I’m great at. So no, passions and hobbies aren’t always mutually exclusive. If you want to incorporate them together, you just have to think creatively about how to do so. Some people do this so well their hobby becomes part of their professional brand.

While you may never be good at skateboarding, you might be a great writer and start to freelance write for a skateboarding blog/web site. Or if your strengths are marketing and sales, then doing that for a skateboard manufacturer could be an opportunity to incorporate your passions and talents (like in the diagram you shared). Good at producing and editing videos? You could document pro-skaters’ tricks or create instructional videos with the pros in front of the camera or you behind it.

This is all assuming you want to blur the lines between passion and hobbies. If you prefer to keep them separate, that’s your prerogative too. Believe me, there are some hobbies I have that I would never want to incorporate into my work because then they would just feel like work and lose their fun.

Oh, but how much more enjoyable my already enjoyable job becomes on the days I get to do it barefoot in the sun and on the water surrounded by nature!

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