Looking for a unique business idea? Don’t follow your passion — use this 5-part method instead
Do you ever feel like you’re in the wrong lane?
You’re not certain your current career path is aligned with what actually lights you up.
You feel like your current workplace or industry doesn’t value what you like most about yourself.
You wonder whether you could make much better money in a more meaningful way — but how?
Then someone says: Just follow your passion!
Right. Not necessarily super helpful.
Because big, meaty philosophical questions about our life’s work require more than pithy comebacks. They require a reliable framework and process of experimentation to answer them.
Here’s why I believe “follow your passion” is poor advice when it comes to designing a business or career you love, and what to do instead.
Introducing: The Unstoppable Method
Building a successful business or career requires much more than just passion. We humans are nuanced and complex creatures: we have other needs as well as having fun and “doing what we love.”
So when I coach people to design a business that allows them to work from their strengths, stay true to their values, connect with their passions and strategically combine all of this into a highly profitable venture, I teach them my Unstoppable Method.
The Five Pillars of The Unstoppable Method
Our own definition of what Unstoppable success means is found at the intersection of 5 things:
1. UNSTOPPABLE STRENGTHS
Many of us ask the wrong question when planning to start a business: “What should I do?” instead of “who am I?”. But in life and in work, your greatest competitive advantage is your self-awareness. When we understand our strengths, we can take what comes the most easily and naturally to us and train it and hone it to make it even more powerful. Then we can use our intuition and imagination to apply those strengths to solving problems for people or contributing to causes we care about in really profitable ways.
How to get closer to identifying your strengths? Take the free High5 Strengths test. Notice what you are praised, thanked and recognised for most by people you respect and trust. Think of what feels light and effortless to you, what you’d give away for free.
2. UNSTOPPABLE MISSION
This is what you might call your purpose, inner compass, or cause. Your mission is the quiet voice of conscience that reminds you of your responsibility to your highest self, and the world at large.
How to get closer to hearing yours? What personal values do you appreciate and aspire to? What behaviours and duties are you committed to honouring? Think about the people you look up to and follow. What you admire in others is often a clue for how your inner wisdom wants you to show up in the world.
3. UNSTOPPABLE PASSION
Passion is the life-force energy of love that lights you up from the inside out, keeps you laser-focused on your vision, brings clarity to your communications, and inspires others to join your cause.
How to get closer to finding yours? Passion is not a light, feel-good feeling — it’s a devoted love that is fierce and generous. When harnessed, passion becomes the fuel to motivate you to do hard things, and the courage to defend your mission and message, sometimes alone. If you’re convinced that finding your passion is hard, start by thinking about what makes you most angry. Yes, our anger is the fastest route to uncovering true passion. All anger has love in it — we don’t get angry or upset about things we don’t care about. When we can find the love inside the rage, our anger and frustration can be alchemised into passionate purpose.
4. UNSTOPPABLE INTUITION
Your intuition is how you use all the above information to respond to real, unmet needs in the market that people are willing to pay to have met.
This is very often the concept people struggle with the most. Because the cold, hard truth is that few passions and missions can provide a good livelihood without an inspired imagination and skilful strategy. If your passion isn’t providing an urgent and compelling solution to an unmet need, it’s hard to turn into a commercial success.
How to access your intuition? Get curious and ask questions. Think about people you’d love to work with — your Soul Client — and ask yourself: what problems can I help them solve? What subconscious motives might be driving them? What value can I add?
5. UNSTOPPABLE GENIUS
“How are you weird or different?” Now there’s a question few careers advisors dare to ask, but really should! Because I believe that the hot spice that makes the Unstoppable recipe so potent is your unique brand of crazy: your genius.
Your obsessions, single mindedness, or idiosyncrasies — all the things you might be self-conscious about — can actually become your competitive advantage if you harness them in the right way.
How to remember your Genius? Try to recall the times in your own life when being yourself may have:
- Gotten you into trouble with some people.
- Made you feel weird, different or uncomfortable.
- Made others uncomfortable or provoked teasing or bullying.
- Made others feel small or lesser than when you were shining.
Most of us are conditioned to suppress our genius from childhood in order to not draw attention to ourselves, because the brightest light always casts a shadow. But to become truly Unstoppable and be able to step into our life’s work, we must learn to embrace the shadow with the light — they come together.
The Advantages of The Unstoppable Method
Most people build their business around just one, maybe two, of these five pillars, which can lead to a sense of unfulfillment.
When we’re only using our skills and strengths, we feel useful, but maybe also bored.
When we’re only following our passion, we’re excited, but maybe also broke.
When we’re only following our mission, we feel purposeful, but maybe also burned out.
When we only intuit unmet needs and follow the money, we feel wealthy, but maybe also hollow.
…But when we work at the intersection and incorporate all five, that’s when we are truly Unstoppable.
Becoming Unstoppable myself took time and many rapid-fire career changes. But once I got to work on incorporating all five factors into my life, using my imagination to make up a new role — Strategy Coaching — at that intersection, the needle moved significantly on my happiness, health and income.
Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of clients to use the Unstoppable Method to bring forth the unique business idea or career evolution that’s percolating inside them.
The most important ingredient is imagination
The Future of work and business
Turning a passion or mission into an Unstoppable endeavour requires a great deal of ambition and focus. But the absolute, most important ingredient is imagination. There are so many unmet needs out there in the world today, and there’s a million meaningful ways we can position ourselves to address them — if only allow ourselves to dream.
Finding our Unstoppable zone of genius at this intersection can feel hard. We’re not taught to approach our careers in this way from the outset, and it’s also very hard for us to recognise our own brilliance.
Why? Because for so long, there has been no need to encourage individual brilliance or quirks in the world of work. The industrial era of the last 200 years has required a steady supply of consistent specialists trained in managing repeatable processes and systems. But the world is changing, and fast. However, the process of education hasn’t and young people are still being trained to fit themselves into pre-prescribed job roles or task descriptions within those systems. The social conditioning runs deep.
That’s why, even when we do start to get creative at that magical intersection and imagine how we might use our Unstoppable zone of genius in lucrative and meaningful ways, many parts of us tend to go into rebellion.
We all have a huge number of fears — around failure, success, visibility, and vulnerability — that speak in critical voices, instructing us that great perils lie ahead if we dare break with the status quo (no matter how dissatisfactory it is) to follow our hearts and the money.
In fact, it’s this resistance, not lack of imagination, that keeps most people from ever pursuing their calling to become Unstoppable in life and business. You can’t be committed to the comfort of the status quo and your biggest desires at the same time.
Are you ready to become Unstoppable in business?
Unstoppable will mean something different for each and every person.
And it’s likely to be different for us at various phases of our lives, too. What you’re “meant to do” is something you orient yourself towards slowly but surely, like a sunflower following the rays. It’s an ongoing process that lasts as long as life itself.
However, there are a few qualities of the Unstoppable that I recognise again and again in my clients and community…
They know themselves: They break free of limitations and boxes to bring their most genius, unique qualities to their enterprise — nothing is left to wilt on the vine.
They choose themselves: They are so clear on their own vision of success, they have no time, energy or need to compare themselves to others.
They turn on their light: They understand that marketing with integrity is how they serve their people, and they don’t wait to be found, or for permission.
They embrace structure: They show up to do hard things, working with purpose and focus to do their best work without becoming a total workaholic.
They have unshakeable foundations: When the going gets tough, they locate and approve of their emotions, recalibrate, and keep moving.
And an Unstoppable Visionary leaves behind all the limiting beliefs we hold: about what we must do or have, or that success only comes after sacrifice. They hold on to the parts of themselves that others abandon in order to pursue a standardised version of success.
An Unstoppable Visionary recognises that she or he can tear up the rulebook, take that big, beautiful key of theirs, and open doors to rooms they never knew existed.
When you become Unstoppable, your success is almost impossible to prevent.