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Happy New Year!!

It’s 2011, and I want to thank all of you who have checked out The Lemontwist in 2010. I’d like to call 2010 a year of discovery – of trying out different writing styles and topics, all within the realm of the human side of marketing. I was learning about what you like to read and learning what feels right to me. Not trying to sound selfish (nor trying to be) – but if what I’m writing doesn’t feel right then the result will likely be something you won’t like because it won’t be written from the heart – from passion.

In 2011, I invite all of you to discover, rediscover and develop your passion. Gary Vaynerchuk, in his early (first) book: Crush It! Suggests that everyone can “cash in on his/her passion”. Let’s be VERY clear. Gary does NOT suggest that as soon as you start working on your passion, you will be rich. And, he does not imply that working on your passion is easier than working in a 9 to 5 or corporate position. In fact, what Gary does say is this – if you’re doing this right, you’ll be bleeding out of your eyeballs while working at your computer at about 3am and you will monetize – how long it will take and how much you will get depends, but don’t expect anything in the first 12 months.

Here’s the challenge: what’s your passion? Your TRUE passion? That’s a really hard question, I’ve come to find. What makes it so hard to answer is that as humans we are innately conditioned with the desire to belong so independent of age peer pressure takes a toll and influences our choices. Remember ol’ Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Love and belonging is the 3rd rung in the pyramid. And, though I’ve previously disputed (Lemony Lessons) that you need to “achieve” the 1st rung before moving into the 2nd and so on – the fact remains: most humans really REALLY want to belong to something, to a community. Let’s face it – why else is social media the topic of 99% of all conversations? (I’m exaggerating, of course.)

So to help you discover your passion, another book I’d like to recommend is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. Simon presents the concept of the “Golden Circle” (discussed here) with a focus on business, but it is so easily adaptable to people and their personal brands. To paraphrase – the Golden Circle demands you to work from the inside out, to start with your WHY (your passion, your raison d’être) and then work outwards giving consideration to HOW you will live your passion and WHAT you will do to demonstrate it. The idea is simple – people don’t buy WHAT you sell, they buy WHAT you believe (your WHY) – not because of you but because of them. At the core, people want their appearance to reflect what THEY believe so if your product does that, it’s a sale! And if that’s true, it can also be said that people will gravitate to other people who believe what they believe, who have a set of values and/or reference points that are similar to theirs. Why? Because they want to BELONG.

Now, to go back to the original question: what’s your passion? And to go back to the original challenge: the human desire to belong makes answering that question difficult. Why? Because when you make and take a stand to say: THIS is what I believe, what I stand for and WHY I get out of bed in the morning – then you are also taking a stand in saying what it is you do NOT believe in. In making that affirmation, there are people who will not want to gravitate to you, to buy you product or service or to even talk to you at which point you realize that you do not belong with those folks. And this is why it is so difficult to answer the question.

The moment we need to internalize and accept that there are certain situations, groups, teams and communities we do not belong to is a scary one. And it gets scarier when it’s because WE chose a path (belief/passion) that doesn’t mesh with others. And where it gets really scary is when we have to internalize and accept that the only way to belong to those groups is to change what we believe.

On the surface, most people can create a façade. For a short period of time, they’ll get their wish to belong to those groups who may have shunned them before. But over time, those people will start feeling out of place. If you’re in this boat – I assure you, you are not alone. All of us, at some point in our lives have undoubtedly made this faux pas.

In 2011 – don’t make a resolution. In 2011, the motto has to be NO FEAR. Don’t be afraid of what you really believe; don’t be afraid of not belonging (you’ll belong with the right groups). Make a promise to yourself to find, to discover or rediscover, to truly develop and to take a stand for your passion.

What’s mine? Take a look at the Lemon’s Manifesto.


Photo: No Fear Retail Stores, Inc.