Follow your passion
Until a few days ago I was bothered when people said: “Just follow your passion". I am still not the biggest fan. I’m also guilty of saying it to others. I think this phrase has been making me upset lately because I could never really find my passion, until now.
I have always had a passion for learning. Don't get me wrong- I love what I do for a living, but I have always identified myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none. I have done and tried everything. Some of the highlights include ocean rescue, bartending, EMT in an ER, being a mechanic on airplanes, window tinter, designer, pizza maker, coffee roaster, and much more. I have enjoyed almost everything I’ve tried, but I wasn't overly passionate about anything on that list.
I always thought that the point of following your passion was to do something you loved. So I would think to myself, “What do I really love? Besides my wife, I love coffee, motorcycles, and surfing. Okay, what can I do with those?”. I could only ever think of general topics. I couldn’t find any real problems that needed to be solved- or at least that I wanted to spend my life solving.
“Launching a business is essentially an adventure in problem-solving”- Richard Branson
The other day my wife and I stopped into a Bonobos shop. I knew exactly what was going to happen when I walked through the door because it has been happening to me for the past 15 years. I will ask for a size, they will look at me like I am crazy, then tell me no or show me something that doesn't fit.
We walk around for a bit and a representative (under 6’) wanted to know if I needed help. I asked her if they had clothes that were tall-sized. She looked at me as if I was asking for the moon. Meanwhile, more than half of the staff was over 6' and clearly couldn’t fit into the clothes available in the store. After the dazed and confused look wore off she brought me a couple tall sizes. I tried on a medium and a large and they didn't feel great or even designed for actual tall people. I walked out as frustrated as always.
While my wife and I were walking away, she said “Why don’t you just try designing your own shirts? Even better, why don’t you design shirts for tall people?” Then it hit me. I always get upset when I can’t find things that fit me. I also get pretty upset about other tall people issues, but we will save those stories for another day. I have always had powerful emotions and feelings about this. That’s pretty much the definition of passion.
I am excited to say I have finally realized my passion. Tall people understand that we don't fit into everyday life but there's no reason why we can't simply fit into a shirt. The biggest pain point that I can solve for right now is to create great fitting shirts that are well designed for tall guys.