Pursue the Passion

 Subscribe in a reader

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to My AOL

Enter your email address:

Powered by FeedBurner

Sign up for our Newsletter

CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Passion and Careers

| Next »

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

November 25, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

There’s a strong connection between childhood interests and a current career. It’s something that I’m a victim of.  My favorite video game was Crusin’ USA while growing up.  And you wonder why I toured around the country ten years later  

Those things that you enjoy as a kid, it’s amazing to see how they can come back later into your profession.  

Here’s a collection of people we interviewed who have taken a childhood interest and turned it into their career.  

Park Ranger: I’ve loved the outdoors since I was born.  Always have and always will.  

Tattoo Artist: I envisioned having this job when I was a teenager.  When I was 13 and handpoked the very first dot on my wrist and wiped it away, and saw there was still a dot, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  

TV Host, Wild Kingdom: If I can step backwards a few years, as a child, my grandfather was a forester.  My childhood playground was 3600 acres of trees and wildlife.  My entire childhood was in wildlife, and in wild places.   

Goat Farmer: When I was 15 I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. My mom asked me what I liked to do.  Because that’s where you always start.  ‘What do you like to do?’  

We had woods behind our house and I’d spend a lot of time out there.  I’d say well, the only thing I know for sure is that I like to be outside.  She thought a minute and said, ‘Well, we all like to do that.  You’ll just have to get over it.’  

So I decided to go into information systems which ended up being accounting.  I sat in an office for fifteen years trying to figure out how to get outside.  Then eventually I decided I needed to be outside.  Because what your passion is at 15 is more than likely going to be your passion when you’re 30.

President, Phoenix Suns: My passion comes more out of when I was a kid.  We used to gather all the cousins and relatives almost every weekend in a town north of Seattle called Mount Vernon .  All the cousins would use my grandparent’s driveway and garage as a stage.  The garage door would be the curtain.  We would put on shows for all the family every weekend.  Because I was the oldest cousin, I got to be the director and help put the show together and see the results of what we did.  I really think there’s as much as that drive in what I do today as there is my love of sports.

Director of Communications, Georgia Aquarium: For me, part of the reason of why I work here is when I was five years old growing up in Boston , I went to the New England Aquarium.  I picked up a horseshoe crab and touched it.  I still remember that and I love those types of engaging experiences that really register with you and stick with you.

Child Therapist: My parents got divorced when I was 13.  They forced me to go to a therapist.  For about a month I was totally against it.  Then I was like, ‘Wait a minute.  This person is totally objective and they’re just listening.’  I didn’t realize you could actually do that for a living.  That’s where it all started.

Jordan Footwear Designer: I started drawing shoes in the 7 th grade on little 3 x 5 index cards.  My teacher, her name is Mrs. Weathers.  She used to keep them.  I actually used to get in trouble because I was drawing instead of paying attention.  

But I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember.  I just had a gift to be able to draw anything I could see.  For me, as the years got longer, I just started to channel it more and focus on drawing specific things.

Accountant: When I was a kid I used to watch the old westerns that were black and white.  There would be the guys in the white hats, who were the good guys, and then the guys in the black hats.  They’d fight against each other.  Now that I’m a CPA, I help young families and couples.  I look at myself as the guy in the white hat, and the IRS are the guys in the black hat.  My job is to help them keep as much of their money as they can and help them out.

President, Phoenix Suns: I think if you can honestly think back about what experiences led you to where you are, there’s big influences almost always in your childhood or early teen years.  You probably found something that you were drawn to or incredibly interested in or got great joy from.  If you’re lucky enough to parlay that into your career, you’ll almost inevitably be successful.  

Brett Farmiloe wants to know what you think about presenting information using this type of writing style.  Does it peak your interest?  Make you want to read more?  Or does it just flat out suck?  Let him know by commenting below.  It will help him as he formulates a book about Pursue the Passion.   

Getting ‘it’ up for your job

July 31, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

I question I receive all the time is “How can I be passionate about my job?” There is no better analogy that will stick with you than what best selling author David Rensin told us during an interview:

In 1979, Playboy sent me into the adult film industry to see what was going on. I happened upon a guy porn actor and I asked him, “You gotta make it with these women in these films over and over and over again…what if you don’t like them? How are you going to get it up?”

He said, “Well, you focus on the one thing about them that you like. The one thing about them that you can be passionate about. Maybe it’s their lips. Maybe it’s something they said. Maybe it’s some other body part. And then, block the rest of it out.” That’s your method acting for porn, and I think it applies across the board.

Now think about it. We have to get it up every day in our job too. Day after day after day we report to work and have to get excited about what we are doing. And how often do we stay limp? What is preventing us from getting it up?

Oftentimes we allow all these other negative elements to creep into our job so that we stop getting excited. We lose sight of what we really enjoy when we focus on the negative. But by focusing on that one thing, that one thing that gets it up for us, that positive energy transcends into all aspects of our job. Then we can leave work feeling passionate about what we do.

Making the Record Skip

May 23, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

Our world is tiny.  Myopic.  A speck.  But only when we allow it to be. 

After I wrote this sentence I got a call from Adam, who saw a post of mine on Craigslist that sought out local music to be used in our Pursue the Passion documentary.  The documentary itself is close to completed with an ample supply of music to choose from.  The only reason I sought out more music was to expand my world outside of the daily routine I have been living in. 

Over the course of our ten minute conversation, I found that Adam is a landscaper by day and rock band organizer by night.  He is the poster child of our trademarked Pursue the Passion phrase.   I realized that in the small world I operate in; an office building with a hundred familiar faces, a twenty minute commute over Camelback Mountain, and living with two roommates, one of who has a girlfriend- my world is rejuvenated when learning, hearing, witnessing, or meeting people passionate about their life.  It makes me realize that in the routine, the passion can be muffled.   

The one thing I will do this weekend is make my world larger.  I don’t know if this is through art, opportunities, having a beer at a bar, or entrepreneurial cock-a-ma-mee schemes, but the next three days will be spent making the world bigger.   

The daily M-F routine stymies, but when the record skips, the perspectives that enter put us in a state of growth.   

Reason and Passion

November 8, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

I have been a fan of Kahlil Gibran since I first picked up the Prophet at age sixteen. Every once in awhile I pick up the book and flip through its pages. Yesterday I landed on “Reason and Passion.”

Here’s the opening passage on the topic:

“And the priestess spoke again and said: speak to us of Reason and Passion.

And he answered, saying:

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or you rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

That last line sums up the last year of my life. Reason (aka my risk averse accounting job), was my force that confined. My passion (aka the four month tour that I dreamt about executing for a year and a half) was unquestioned by anyone. Therefore, as the trip progressed, the end goal that I had in mind (a resource for people to turn to for career guidance) fell short of my expectations because it was driven by passion alone.

Which puts me in a unique situation now, proceeding forth with a book and documentary. If our crew approaches it with reason and executes with passion, I believe that we have the rudder and sails to lead us to land.

But for now, we’re at mid-sea.

Brett Farmiloe’s Autobiography

August 9, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Yesterday I came across Whitney Johnson’s “Dare to Dream” blog. She had an interesting point on one of her posts that said, “for all your readers know, you may be daring them to dream, without having dreamt yourself.”

This quote frightened me. I’m scared that you, the reader, think that I, the author, am just some 22 year old kid telling you to follow your dreams. I am going to share with you how, and why, I am pursuing the passion so you do not get the wrong impression of this site.

My Story:

I chose accounting when I was deciding what my major should be in college. My step dad told me that accountants made the most money and had the most opportunity out of school, and since I was insecure and money driven at that point, I chose accounting.

I never planned on being accountant, but that was the path I was led down by default. All of my classmates either were continuing their accounting education by obtaining their masters degree, or were accepting offers at Big 4 firms for fifty thousand dollar salaries in the fall semester of 2005. I was stuck in the middle. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

I had twenty interviews with potential employers that fall semester, and one thing became apparent. Not everyone had it figured out.

But that damn question of “what should I do with my life” lingered over the heads of everyone I talked to in the interview waiting rooms. Even after I accepted an offer with an accounting firm that fall, that question still remained on my mind.

In my very last interview, I got this funny feeling. I was overcome with fear that this would be my last interview. As I watched my interviewer ramble on and on about how much she loved her job, I realized that I liked interviews. I discovered that I liked interviews because I liked people. And what I enjoyed most about people was talking with them about their passion.

I went home that night and thought about what I would do during the summer between graduation day and my official start date in Corporate America. I got out a pen and paper and jotted down the things I wanted to do. I wanted to travel. I wanted to be close to sports. I wanted to better myself. Most of all, I wanted to continue having the feeling I had when I talked with people about their passion.

Desk of Thought

These desires that I wrote down is what you now see with Pursue the Passion. The RV came as a necessity because we had nowhere to stay, and I actually thought that when I bought Maggie Miracles (the first RV), that I was making a sound investment. Three hours into the first trip, broken down with green liquid spewing from the engine, I quickly realized that it had not been such a financial savvy decision.

Maggie Miracles Broken Down in the Desert

That summer I interviewed 75 amazing people. I traveled 10,000 miles by RV, my mom’s 4Runner, plane, and train for 2 months. I went to places like Nike, Microsoft, Playboy, many sports stadiums, the homes of welcoming strangers, and cities I had only read about. It was the time of my life.

Our first interview ever, with Lute Olson, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach at the University of Arizona.  Being Wildcats ourselves, this was huge.

The summer also had an inadvertent effect on my Corporate America experience. It completely soured it before I even stepped in the door. I knew, that after being exposed to all different occupations and possibilities, that I had made the wrong choice to go into accounting. I was selling out by going into a secure, stable, well-paid position because it just wasn’t me. But because I was contractually obligated to show up on September 4th, I was going to show up on September 4th.

On August 23rd, two weeks before my anticipated start date, I reported to a “real job.” The corporate lifestyle benefits came throughout the week, ranging from extravagant lunches to all types of corporate goodies. I temporarily forgot about all that I had gained and gleaned during the summer.

It's 5am, and I am off to my first day in Corporate America.  I remember this day well.  I woke up, went to the airport, and ran into a good friend from school.  He was flying to Las Vegas for business...his business.  He was so free.  It was a moment I would not forget.

But as the months passed, I began to revisit the advice that was given to me. I began to write a book about the pursuit of a passion, despite not working with a passion myself. This was troublesome to me, and even more so as I continued to receive emails from people around the world who were inspired by this site.

I felt not only like a corporate sellout, but also a hypocrite. I thought to myself, “how can I have a site that says to pursue your passion when I’m not pursuing it myself?”

I guess that was my “aha” moment where I said to hell with this. I started to get by on a PB & J diet, sacrificed Saturday nights, and saved up so I could go on a second PTP tour. I sent out over twenty carefully crafted sponsorship proposals to corporations, schools, and small businesses to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring the tour. No luck.

One day I received an email from the boss saying that she wanted to see me. I made the decision that it was now or never for me. It was time to quit the job I despised.

I walked into the office belonging to my boss at the scheduled time on the scheduled date with my heart pounding and my roommate’s co-worker’s resume. My boss was seated on the other side of the desk with two envelopes. Much like a classic western gunfight, I drew first. I quit. BAM!

I left the two envelopes on the table, one containing a raise, the other a bonus, and said goodbye to steady paychecks and corporate security.

Brett Farmiloe on his last day as an accountant, first day as an entrepreneur.

With no paycheck, I scrambled to get by. I hired my friend Jay, who graduated in December with a college degree and is now on the tour, and paid him minimum wage to help me get things in line with the Pursue the Passion tour. He crashed on my couch, and we ate free Hot Pockets and Stouffer’s products, given to us by Nestle, until we couldn’t take the taste anymore.

Jay's Sleeping Area.  As you can see, he had a long commute to work.

Every day I would rise at 5am, wake Jay up at 8am, and we’d work until 9pm or 10pm. Then we’d bounce back the next day, looking for sponsors, passionate people to interview, and couches to crash on.

It wasn’t until I focused all my time on Pursue the Passion did I start to see results. After all those hours of writing sponsorship proposals, we found a sponsor in Jobing.com right in our own backyard. We went from having four people visit the site a day to an average of two hundred people per day. We made a pact not to eat Hot Pockets again.

Things started to click and hit full stride come July 1st, the official start of the second Pursue the Passion tour.

The Pursue the Passion Team.  Jay is at left, Brett, Zach, who quit his accounting job to come on the tour, and Noah, our writer, on the ladder.

We’ve been on the road for over a month now, pursuing our passion, and the question that I frequently receive is “so, are you any closer to finding out what you want to do yet? What you going to do after this?”

People don’t realize that I am a passion pursuer and a crazy entrepreneur that will not stop until the bank account says zero. My goal is to turn this website into a resource that will help people who are in the same situations I found myself in as a student, and in the working world.

I am whole heartedly and no longer hypocritically pursuing my passion, and I invite you to join the journey as well.

Join the Journey...you know you want to.

Corporate Keywords: Pursue and Passion

June 27, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Is it me or is the “pursuit of a passion” popping up everywhere these days?

You have Lexus and their “Pursuit of Perfection.”

Lexus-Pursuit of Perfection

Excedrin says that nothing can stop you from pursuing the passion, while Monster.com says that when you find a job, you find a passion.


Will Smith did the Pursuit of Happiness. Dassault Falcon Aircraft apparently engineers their aircrafts with passion.

Pursuit of Happyness

Microsoft says that your potential is their passion, while Grant Thorton has a passion for the business of accounting.

As long as we are on the topic of drawing similarities, American Express and their “Members Project” logo looks very familiar, as does American Rights at Work, and even Shaq’s new “Big” project.

American Rights at WorkShaq's Big Challenge
What other companies use passion or the pursuit in their slogans?

The Passionless are Passionate too

June 20, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

What job comes to mind when you think of someone that has ZERO passion? The accountant crunching numbers in a cube? An insurance salesman? The garbage man? The janitor that cleans second grade throw up every day?

I’m going to go out on a limb to say that these professions, which are typically looked upon as “passionless,” are passionate too.

Now I know that there are more industries out there that could be looked upon as being more passionate about their work. But I want to meet the people who love the jobs that nobody loves. I want to meet the accountant that gets no greater thrill in life than when everything on the balance sheet balances. I’d like to meet the garbage man that takes pride in providing more than the standard garbage man service.

Do you know these people? They have to exist, right?

If you know someone in a job typically viewed as passionless, but they really love their job despite the societal stereotypes, email me at brett@pursuethepassion.com.

I’d love to use them as an example to show the world that the passionless are passionate too.

My Roommate Quit His Job Today

June 14, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

My roommate Zach accepted a job to accept a job out of school. As an accounting major, the natural next step for him was to take an accounting position. He reassured himself that the work would be temporary before he would move on to the next step.

I have been fortunate enough to observe his behavior as he continued to work as an auditor. I watched him flirt with career changes like becoming a coast guard, or a pilot, or a ski bum. I witnessed him get accustomed to a new city. I saw his long distance relationship fizzle, and stood silent as he spent money on things like a new car and expensive vacations. I also noticed that he constantly made himself busy by working out, going out, watching TV, and reading to take his mind off addressing the issue at hand- the question of how to get out of auditing, and find a job he could be passionate about.

Zach is the subject of today’s post because he is the stereotypical recent college grad trying to figure out what to do with his life. He is also the subject of today’s post because he broke out of the stereotype Monday, when he put in his two weeks to officially quit the job he never intended to stay in after starting eleven months ago.

Read the full interview »

Narrow Minded American

June 13, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

“I could line up two Africans, two Europeans, two Australians, two Asians, two South Americans, two Canadians, and one American, and still pick out the American,” a Canadian (but recently turned Phoenician) Amy stated to me during a poolside chat.

“No way!,” I said. “How would you determine that?”

“The American would be the one that’s narrow minded.”

Read the full interview »

Change the World

June 7, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

I love to do guest posts for other blogs because it allows you to reach an audience you normally wouldn’t reach. I don’t like to repost them to my blog unless I am proud of them.

This is a post that may be repetitive for the people that read this blog on a daily basis, but you know what, it’s good writing that I’m proud of. It’s about how I plan to change the world.

Read the full interview »

| Next »