Have Passion in what You Do

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Recently I turned 30 and I thought about writing a blog post about the ‘event’. I offer a lot of advice on this site so I figured I’d post an article called, “30 Things I Learned by 30” or something like that. I wasn’t really in love with the idea, but it was the best I had. That is, until someone referred to me as a, “Disney Freak.”

I’ve been called a great many things in my life and most of them have been true! My favorite is when someone tried so dis me (this was the 90s after all) by calling me ‘Babe Ruth’. I know it was a shot at my weight, but I will take being called one of the greatest ball players of all time whenever I can take it.

Anyway, the common ones are computer nerd, geek (just generally), and Disney freak. I am not shy about my hobbies and interests. My normal response to these is some prideful reaction or a self-deprecating joke, but this time was different for some reason. I said this:

If you don’t have the same passion for something – anything – that I have for Disney, I feel sorry for you.

I talk about Disney a lot. I’m generally interested in the company and the man. They both operate on a different level than most. There’s a lot to know about both. Every time I ride The Haunted Mansion I learn something different. That’s usually the root of my passions: there’s a wealth of knowledge on the subject matter.

See, it’s good to care about something that much. It shows that you have a level of commitment beyond one of just surface interest. That comes through in more than just what you’re a ‘freak’ about. I bring the same level of commitment to my relationships with my fiancee and my family, my friends, my job, and my hobbies. I’m a pretty passionate guy.

If you’ve seen me speak, you know I exhibit a lot of emotion. That emotion makes me good at what I do. It drives me to do better, to be better, to make the best possible thing I can make. And yes, I love my job. Web Development is a profession and a hobby for me. But it doesn’t just have to be things you like. I’ll give you an example.

The Half Marathon

If you follow me on social media, you probably know I ran the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philly on Halloween. This is a big deal to me for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m kind of a big guy. Running is no easy feat for many, let a lot people who have some extra weight to carry.
  2. I do not like running – not one bit.

So running is difficult and I don’t like it. How could I push myself to do something like that for 3 hours (3:07:59 to be exact)? It’s because I had passion to do it.

Aside from my competitive nature, I told 2 people very close to me that I would do it: my fiancee Erin, and my good friend Dave.

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If you told me 5 years ago I would run 13.1 miles, I would have laughed at you. At that time my best was 3, and that was plenty. But I didn’t want to let them down, so I trained. I made time and stuck (mostly) to a schedule and got to a point where I was pretty sure I could run 13.1 miles in a single shot. When the day came, they ran with me. They helped push me, and we kept a good pace, and I never stopped to walk. I couldn’t have done it without them. They instilled a passion in me to finish that race and I’m very grateful for that.

“No Time” is a Cop-Out

You may have noticed that I said I made time to train. I think that saying, “I have no time to do X” is a cop-out. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve used it a lot. But I think if you are passionate about something, you will make time for it.

See, the great thing about passion is that it’s an emotional driver. Maybe it comes from you being angry enough about something to want to change it. Maybe it comes from seeking peace in an activity. Maybe it comes from the competition. Whatever it is, embrace it. Your passion makes you who you are.

So…am I a Disney Freak? Hell yeah I am! I’m also a computer geek and a cigar nut and a pen nerd. I listen to tons of podcasts because I want to know stuff. My passion enriches my life, my relationships, and everything I do. It constantly pushes me to be better. And I really hope it the same for every single person out there.

So if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this: You should hope someone calls you a “freak” or a geek or a nerd. It shows you care about something enough for them to notice. And that’s not a bad thing.