Last week I was at the Vocus Demand Success event with the likes of Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Kerry Gorgone, Tom Webster, Geoff Livingston, Chris Penn, Richard Binhammer and so many more. It was an amazing event with a fantastic line up and incredible attendees.
However, if I was to boil down one thing that really stuck for me it was one line in Chris Brogan’s session “Get Your Freak on for Success”: Freaks are “tattoo passionate” about the work they do. That really made me stop and think about all the times I wasn’t tattoo passionate and the times I have been. The difference between the two is pretty astounding.
What does being tattoo passionate really mean?
I interpreted this as being so passionate about your work that you would literally have a tattoo dedicated to it on your body. Yes, it’s a pretty literal translation, but it’s one that causes you to stop and think. Are you so passionate about your work that you would be willing to literally brand it on your body for life? There is a difference between loving what you do and being willing to ink it on your body permanently. It requires a different level of dedication and excitement. It would have to carry meaning that drives straight through the heart to consider such a permanent marking. And where I landed was that you aren’t likely tattoo passionate about email marketing, social media or (insert any other marketing focus) here. Being tattoo passionate has to serve a higher purpose, it’s a mantra…not a job title, not a product offering, and certainly isn’t a marketing channel. And I would argue that being tattoo passionate means that you would be doing this work even if there weren’t a paycheck or a financial pay out associated with it.
We do a lot of things at SME Digital to help marketers become business rock stars through marketing effectiveness, but for me what drives all of it is the elimination of bullshit or put with more political correctness I’d say being tattoo passionate about truth in business. I could probably write a whole post on the stories we tell ourselves to undermine our success or the utter nonsense that exists in business that we should be fierce about eliminating. That’s where I ended up after I thought about it, but the real question is what are you tattoo passionate about?
How do you know if you are tattoo passionate?
That’s a pretty big question and one I’m sure Chris Brogan has his own perspective on, but I came away with one gauge: whether your work is work or is it all just life? We’re always hearing about the need for work/life balance so we have time to spend with our families, our hobbies or whatever it is that we enjoy. I’m fiercely dedicated to eliminating the line between the two. You see, I think the line of separation is what holds us back from really finding the work we could be doing that holds the same fervor as our “life” does for us. In my view, when I’m doing work that I’m tattoo passionate about there is no line, because I love my work as much as I love my family. It doesn’t matter what time I’m working, how many hours I spend, or how little time I spend, ultimately it’s all just life and one that I thoroughly love living. I’m working towards getting to the point where every hour is spent doing things I love doing. I don’t want to have one level of enjoyment for work and another level of enjoyment for life. I want to set the bar higher and thoroughly enjoy every waking minute, all the time. If you aren’t, I’d say you aren’t doing something you are tattoo passionate about yet and it’s important to figure out what it is.
For the context of this conversation we are calling it being tattoo passionate, but another way to look at it is being in flow or living life in your flow state. Mindvalley Academy put out a fantastic infographic (included at the end of this post) called the Theory of Awesomeness that shows a clear picture of what being in flow means. At the end of the day, if you can focus on being in your flow state you will find exactly what you are tattoo passionate about.
What if you aren’t tattoo passionate about your work?
Rest assured you aren’t alone, but you don’t want to stay here too long. I mean with the choice between the two quite frankly who would? You might think you need to do “work” to figure out what you are tattoo passionate about, but what I’ve learned and continue to learn is that providing ourselves with complex puzzles we need to figure out actually leads to the opposite result. Instead give yourself some room to breath, relax, do whatever it is that helps you clear your mind and see what inspiration occurs naturally. The things you find yourself inspired to do after you’ve nourished your body and mind are the things that put you in flow. Another good place to start is to measure your energy level after you do certain activities. Do you have more energy or less energy? If you have less energy, then you are not in flow. Look for the things that give you more energy. Imagine what it would be like if your day were filled with things that continued to fuel an infinite amount of energy? Sounds pretty awesome, huh?
A big part of this is making a commitment to change your circumstances. When it’s clear what you are tattoo passionate about and what is in flow, don’t just sit there and do nothing. Be intentional about filling your time with that stuff. After all, what better gift could you give the world than to fill your time doing the stuff you can do better than anyone else? The crazy part is that once you are there you’ll find people pay generously for those gifts. That sounds like a fantastic life.
What are you tattoo passionate about? Leave a comment and join the conversation.
By the way, be sure to check out Chris’ new book The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth that inspired his talk at Vocus Demand Success. I’m reading it now and it is fantastic!