Blending Passions To Create Success

We all have dreams. Often, we desire to turn those dreams into reality. Part of what I do is help people take that dream and turn it into a business that not only fulfills that mission, but it gives them the financial freedom for the life they desire and serves a purpose for others. 

     So I always have my antenna up looking for others who have done the same. Often, it can be overlooked how someone took a passion- often from their childhood- and created a product or service that resonated with a segment of the population. When that happens, it’s a magical combination of generosity, creation and service. 

     Often they are found in the most unlikely of places. 

     A few months ago, Elizabeth returned home with our youngest son, Dylan, and he walked in with an armful of books through the living room. When I returned twenty minutes later, he was lying on his stomach with his feet up on the couch, fully engrossed in one of the books he had brought home. I walked over to see what he was reading. 

     I looked over his shoulder to see that it was an adventure book, yet this one was about baseball. I was surprised because Dylan doesn’t have much interest in sports. Still, he was totally engrossed in the book. I looked to his right to see a few other books that were obviously a part of a series. It caught my attention because they weren’t just about baseball. The books are based around two kids and each book is an adventure that takes place in a different major league baseball stadium. As someone who has photographed games in most of these stadiums, I got intrigued. 

     That night, we began reading them together before he went to sleep. As he cuddled next to me, completely engrossed and curious, I laughed to myself a few times. Each time I laughed, Dylan asked me what was funny. I realized that I didn’t know that I was laughing. It was just that the stories were not just interesting, but accurate. I had been in those stadiums, the press box, the hallways by the locker rooms, and the descriptions and specifics used were real. We finished the book and I went into the den after he fell asleep. 

     I grabbed one of the books and looked up the name of the author online. David A. Kelly is an avid baseball fan and also loved to read books to his two sons. Together, they loved watching and playing sports together, particularly baseball. Along with sports books, his kids loved reading about mysteries. Kelly searched and found books about baseball and mystery books but he couldn’t find any that were sports mysteries. So he decided to try and write one. 

     Like any new idea, it didn’t start easily. He learned quickly that he wasn’t cut out to write books for adults. But the idea of writing chapter books for children seemed intriguing. Would it be possible to write a series of books for children that could blend sports and mystery? Kelly went all in. Sitting down to write is one thing. But sitting down and writing well is a different story. He found that what he was writing wasn’t interesting. He was using too many adult words for a children’s book. There wasn’t enough going on in the stories. 

     Any author will tell you that the writing process is painful. In the business world, we use phrases like ‘return on investment’ or ROI. Meaning, I need to know what I’m getting out of this! But it doesn’t work that way in the world of creative writing. The only way to write well is to first write poorly. The lessons and wisdom come directly from the mistakes we make. And Kelly made many. He then signed up for classes on how to be a better children’s writer. He adjusted, edited and revised his stories relentlessly. 

The Ballpark Mysteries series has now sold more than 1.5 million copies. Kelly has now written more than 30 books for the series. 

     For creatives looking to build a business or career based around something you love, Kelly’s story can provide inspiration and insight. 

If you have a passion for something, invariably, other people will as well. Many creative entrepreneurs struggle with where to start. They might actually have too many ideas. I often ask my clients a simple question- one that most writers do without thinking about. 

     What would you do, even if you weren’t getting paid?

     For Kelly, Ballpark Mysteries wasn’t about ROI. I doubt, when he struggled with draft after draft, that he was writing because he was figuring out the best way to sell 1.5 million copies. Where we start is such an important piece of the puzzle. Not just where, but why? 

     For Kelly, he loved baseball. He enjoyed traveling to these stadiums. The detail, the nuance, the history. He has a passion for it. There was also the draw of reading to his kids. Could he create something that not only could he read to his kids that they would find interesting, but other kids would as well? And, possibly most important, how do you develop something unique by blending two seemingly different topics to create something uncommon?

     You might think your idea is silly. Nobody will pay you for that. But every great idea started that same way. For Kelly, he wondered if he could write a book for kids. He didn’t follow the money for what the algorithms said would sell best. And he didn’t do what everyone else did. 

     After all of the pain, struggle and doubt, kids all over the world- including ours- snuggled up with their dads to read a bedtime story that he wrote. And the uniqueness of it- the blend of sports and mystery- something nobody else had done, was a big reason why.

 Vincent

P.S.- Inside of The Total Life Freedom Community, we are doing a weekly challenge based around the concept of The Hour of Giving from my book The Wealth of Connection. This week’s challenge is Promote The Work of A Friend. It’s thrilling to see so many business owners actively going out of their way to support people they believe in. So, I challenge you to take that on as well. 

Who are you going to promote today? Either through social media, a referral or telling someone in person? I’d love to hear who you promoted! Please feel free to email me at vincent@totallifefreedom.com!

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