Jessica Semaan
Jul 7, 2016 · 5 min read

A year and a half ago, I left Airbnb to turn a passion project into more than a project : — The Passion Co. became my full-time gig.

Over the previous two years, my team and I had developed a method to help people find and pursue their passions.

The method is offered in the form of a 3 hour workshop, and a full on 5-week in person part-time program in San Francisco.

Earlier last month, we had officially taught over 5,000 people in over 10 countries.

For simplification,we divide the process into three stages:

In part 1 of this article, I will be sharing what we learned across the first stage:




Part I- Connect with your passions

Lesson 1 — We all have passions, we just have to dig for them

The first thing I tell my students is that passion is not a holy grail. You do not roam the world looking for it. It is within you. It is in your heart, soul, spirit or whatever word does it for you.

So how do you connect with it?

Your passions fall into the below categories:

  • Childhood interests (before you were fully conditioned to follow society and parental expectations)
  • Curiosities (Whatever subject, place, topic that peeks your interest)
  • Before I die I want to — — (All the dreams, hobbies, wishes you have, not always related to career)
  • Alter Ego (Your wildest, scary, impossible, shameful dreams and desires)
  • Any other current activities you do and fully enjoy, including chilling and watching TV

As you can see, passions do not have to be related to work. I met people who follow their passions as a hobby, and are fulfilled, although they are not passionate about their job.

As long as you are doing something about your passion that is more than enough. It does not have to become a job. And if it does become a job, that would be a cherry on a cake.

Lesson 2 We can have as many passions as we want

Close your eyes and imagine your favorite tree. The branches of the tree are your passions. You can have as many as you want. Some break along the way. Some blossom into flowers, then fruits.

Passions are branches.

At a certain stage in your life, you may focus on your passion for starting a family. Another stage can be on your fitness and health.

Some passions stay, some fade away. The more you are connected to yourself, the more likely you will feel what passion is true for you at this moment, and how much you want to invest in it.

Oftentimes, we get confused with too many passions sometimes because of the fear of failure.

We overwhelm our lives, as an escape, because what if we focused on one project and it failed? If we have many we do not go all the way, and we don’t truly experience either success or failure.

The good thing about focusing on a passion and it failing, is you can move on from a branch, or realize that is not what you want to do. The only way to find out, is to focus on a passion at a time.

Lesson 3 — Passions are dynamic: they transform, fade away, comeback, expand

Passions are an expression of life. And just like life, they change, die, are born, emerge.

When you think about your passions this way, you will approach them with an open-mind and experimentation.

Take for example George, who thought his passion was design, and decided to do a project to design a children’s book. As he was working on the book, he began realizing that he was enjoying more the storytelling aspect than the actual illustration. This lead to connect with a new passion: storytelling.

A passion can reveal another one. When I started working on The Passion Co., part of my job was to write content. I was able to reconnect with my love for writing that I thought was no longer there. I am today experiencing many of my passions through one job.

There is no right or wrong in trying to figure out what we love. It is a journey full of learning at worse, and fulfillment at best.

Lesson 4— There is more to passions

Close your eyes again, and picture a tree. Your favorite tree. The branches are your passions, but what connects all the branches is the trunk. The trunk is what brings you meaning in life. Your meaning does not change, it just deepens.

Simon Sinek in his famous Start with Why talk and book, explains how major brands like Apple connects the consumers with the company’s why. How can you connect with your passions deeply, if you are disconnected from your why?

How to get to it?

You pair up with a friend and invite them to ask you 3 to 5 times why about each interest or passion you have. Do this for at least 3 passions, and soon you will see themes emerging. For example, my meaning is to inspire others to live authentically. When I speak, write, or even dance I am doing it from a place of authenticity which inspires others.

Next episode:

How to turn your passion into reality.

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A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Jessica Semaan

Written by

Lebanese poet. First book, Child of The Moon, available now.

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

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