Hi there, my name is Tom Yawney. I’m a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist.
Since 2010, I’ve helped hundreds of companies build their online presence through digital marketing and advertising. The plans I create typically include some combination of web development, SEO, local search, PPC, social media, social advertising, display, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, online review generation, email marketing, and video production. I really love my career because it falls at the cross-section of my skills, passions, and motivations. But figuring it out was a bitch.
It took years of research, study, and self-reflection. But I think I’ve cracked the code, and I want to share it with you. This is My Passion Project.
You feel better mentally and physically. Your relationships are stronger because your mind is in a good place, and you are generally happier. You feel a greater sense of purpose, ambition, and you’ll find a heightened level of energy. You will also feel a sense of fulfillment because your time on this earth isn’t being wasted.
It is reported that more than 80% of people dislike and/or hate their job. I find that statistic horrifying. It tells me that a large percentage of people are floating down the path of least resistance waiting for 5 pm each day, and working for the weekend. This is no way to live.
So how do people end up in jobs they hate? In my opinion, it’s some combination of timing, circumstance, responsibility, pressure, uncertainty, mindset, opportunity, and so on. Let’s put it this way, people aren’t deliberately choosing a career they hate.
Some people simply don’t know what they want to do. For others, life can get in the way of their dreams. But I have a theory I’d like to float out into the interweb…
Maybe we just aren’t receiving enough guidance.
Who teaches us to reflect upon market opportunities that satisfy our most passionate skills and motivations? Most people never receive this feedback. I’ll tell you one thing, there are no courses in self-awareness and emotional intelligence in school.
At school, we take classes in math, science, language, history, arts, etc. We are not trained to become “experts of self.” Instead, everyone receives the standardized education based on an industrial revolution world that needed steady, dependable workers who showed up and didn’t ask questions. It works for some people, but for everyone else it creates pressure. You know what I’m talking about. It starts very early in life.
From your first day of school, people start asking you the following questions…
What do you want to be when you grow up? What classes are you going to take in middle school? What are you going to take in high school? What are you going to major in? How are you going to afford school? Are there good career prospects with that degree or diploma?
Along the way, these are the questions you may ask yourself…
Do I really want to do this? How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do? Am I only going to school because that’s what everyone else does? Good god, how am I going to pay off this school debt? How am I supposed to get ahead when I’m making 35K per year and houses cost 550K, and I have 50K of debt?
The older you get, the more the pressure builds. It builds from friends, family, society, and from the bank. So how can you break free from the rat race?
Growing up, the only thing I wanted to do was play sports. I was a good athlete, but not good enough to carve out a long-term professional career. So after high school, I decided to pursue a degree in Sports Management. After completing that degree, I still didn’t know what to do.
Hmm… Now what?
Luckily for me, I had an opportunity to play hockey overseas. After a fun-filled three-season run, a recurring shoulder injury definitively ended my pipe dream once and for all. It was a harsh reminder that time waits for no one, and I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
Damn… Now what?
When I returned home, I got a job running a hockey store. It was a great opportunity to run my own business, and it bought me some time to think. That’s when I turned my attention to journalism. I always loved to write and present, and a career in sports journalism seemed very exciting. So I enrolled in a postgraduate diploma. After completing the program, I got a job at TSN as a scriptwriter, and I also worked in local television hosting sports shows.
This is perfect, right? I’m getting paid to watch sports all day. But something still didn’t feel right. I was always working nights and weekends and that caused my friendships and social life to suffer. I also quickly realized that journalism is a feast or famine industry, and without some major breaks (that were largely out of my control), I’d be in famine mode for a long time. I couldn’t envision a path where I’d reach financial freedom in a five to ten year period, and I’d be sacrificing important relationships along the way.
C’mon! Are you kidding me?!… Huh, now what?
After years of making deliberate and conscious decisions, I was back to square one. That’s when I cracked the code, and I figured out that I could leverage my passionate skills as a Digital Media Strategist. That played out in the summer of 2010, and I haven’t looked back since. Now I feel compelled to share the formula with the world. After all, can you imagine if everyone LOVED their job? The world would be a much happier place.
Here’s the 5-step formula condensed into very simple terms…
Identify your best skills, then identify which of those skills you are most passionate about. Why? Because it’s fun to do things that you are naturally good at, and if you are passionate about your skills the work ethic will follow. That’s a recipe for success!
People are motivated by different things. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Is it work/life balance, working from home, respect from co-workers, money, time off, vibrant office environment, or maybe you like to work alone? Perhaps it’s some combination.
Whatever it is, you gotta figure out what gets you excited.
Once you’ve identified your passionate skills and motivations, you gotta figure out the markets and industries that will satisfy those two items. Then you must highlight job titles within that industry that allow you to apply your best skills.
Find people that are currently doing what you want to do, and then reverse engineer the process.
How did that person end up in the role? What challenges did they face along the way? What “big breaks” did that person receive? As you start the process of modeling success, you’ll notice that habits and trends begin to form. Now it’s all about figuring out how to build these habits to your own life!
By this point, you’ve identified your passionate skills, your motivations, and you’ve identified the markets and industries that require and satisfy those two items. You’ve also done research to understand which jobs suit your skills and passions.
Now it’s time to identify a bold vision for your future, and to create a plan of attack.
This can be done by creating smaller steps and tasks to accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. As you continue to chip away at your dream you’ll feel a sense of progress, and progress is the root of happiness.
Depending on your perspective, what I’ve written above may sound overly simplistic, or maybe even impossible. But the real trick is developing your self-awareness. You will only be able to identify your best skills and passions through deep reflection, and by speaking with the people that know you best.
But I have good news! I’ve mapped out a program to help you work through this process. I really want to help people identify, pursue, and live their dream career. If everyone loved their job, this world would be a much happier place, and people would have a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment.