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Why start?


Why start?

As the founder of The Passion Co., I often get asked two questions: 1) Is your company a porn site? To this I say, “Not quite.” and 2) How do I find my passion? Which has a much longer answer.
I had been asking myself that same question until I was 27, often thinking that something was wrong with me, that I was the only one that didn’t have passions.
So I pursued the path that “made sense,” “paid the bills,” and eventually deemed me “successful.”
Until one day everything changed. I collapsed in my dorm-room, the first week of my MBA at Stanford, and considered taking my own life. I had worked so hard to get there, and along the way became a stranger to myself, never spending a moment alone or taking the time to connect with me.
Luckily, I got help, and the first exercise of connecting with myself was to write down a list of 20 activities and dreams that would make me happy. Writing was at the top of the list.  I knew I needed to get back at it. For starters, I thought, instead of a book, why not a blog?
After brainstorming with friends, Passion Stories was born: a blog where I would share 100 stories of people who are following their passions.
What happened next was far from unexpected. I slacked for  an entire year. And then I met Celeste, my coworker at Airbnb. She was a photographer on the side, and when I told her about my so called blog, she offered to do the photography. And just like that I had to get started. Celeste, without even knowing it, kept me accountable and supported me. We photographed the first interview with fashion technologist Alison Lewis.And within one week, we had 4 stories completed.

I tell you this story because of three things:
1) This fun blog on the side turned into doing what I love full time and running the company of my dreams. Did I know that would happen? Absolutely not.
2) I believed that I did not know what my passion is. Was that true? Absolutely not. I had the wrong definition of passion - and limited it to something that would make me rich from the get go.
3) Without the accountability and support from Celeste, I never would have started.
You see, the hardest part is getting started. And I have now received confirmation of this fact having taught over 5,000 people around the world. We have so much fear and doubt that we do not start. But once we start, and it could be doing anything that we truly care about, we change our lives.
Starting moves you out of fear and inertia, and into confidence and action. You break the cycle of doubt and enter the cycle of movement.

On October 23rd, starting will be easy and delightful for each one of you.

I am proud to announce start. It is the first conference dedicated to finding + hacking your passion. In just one weekend, you’ll be equipped with the skills to finally do what you love. Centered in the burgeoning Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, our 3-day conference will feature inspiring speakers, 30+ engaging workshops and several hundred fellow passion-seekers.
Speakers include Airbnb executive and Joie de Vivre founder Chip Conley, Terry Romero from Kickstarter, and various Ted speakers like Jia Jiang (100 Days of Rejection) and Omid Scheybani.

This is the first ever conference dedicated to passion, the first ever conference that is action and community focused. Watch the video, grab your early bird ticket, tell your friends and most importantly say YES to a new beginning: to living the life that you choose.



Are you the one?


Are you the one?

Over a year ago, I gathered 20 friends in my home, to talk about our passions, life purpose and fears. The evening turned into the beginning of a movement. A moment I did not start, but the hundreds and soon thousands of men and women who are taking part of our Passion Co. program, seeking to live authentic lives have created. What Passion Co. does today is offer the environment that provides the support, care and accountability to change our societies' definition of success from being about money and status to being solely about living the life that we want and choose. By helping every person pursue their own dreams and do what they love, wherever in the world they are, we make change.

We are looking to grow our Passion Co. family to take our program to the world, from Amsterdam to Zanzibar.

If you are:

- Passionate about helping others live their passions

- Care about the details and are good at getting organized

- Value openness and honesty in communication as well as self-awareness

- Think and act with an entrepreneurial spirit, and see roadblocks as opportunities

Then this job may be for you.

Passion Co. Chief of Staff

The Passion Company ignites people to reinvent their lives based on their sense of meaning. We believe in creating a better world through inspiring people to do what they love. The Passion Company is a creative and dynamic place to work. As a small and blossoming company there are many hats to wear and exciting creative projects to work on.

Our values:

Caring: loving and supportive relationships are everything to us.

Intentional: we think and act with purpose.

Bold: we leap into action.

Graceful: we put love into every aesthetic and detail in all of our work.


As a member of the team you will be a vital part of proactively developing the company's future. You will work side by side with our small team. This role is great for someone with impeccable communication and organizational skills who thrives in creating and maintaining important systems and processes as well as being a contributing voice for creative development and strategic planning.

  • Communications

    • Manage all communications to students throughout the program

    • Newsletter development and publishing

  • Events

    • Planning the most elegant and inspiring events in San Francisco

    • In charge of all workshop preparations

    • Shine event planning and co creation

  • Scheduling

    • Strategically schedule Passion Co. events

    • Maintain the company's scheduling

  • Web Presence

    • Maintain and update new content on website

    • General Support for Passion Co. vision and development


  • You are passionate about the role
  • Have a good sense of esthetics
  • Job is part-time or full-time 
  • Location is in the Bay Area - will be part remote and 1 or 2 days a week at Passion Co-op in the Mission, San Francisco
  • Have at least 1 year of experience in event management and / or office management 
  • Pluses: You do photography on the side, you love DIY projects
  • Pay is hourly 


Shine - A Passion Celebration (May Edition)


Shine - A Passion Celebration (May Edition)

THE PASSION CO. community gathered together for an elegant and inspiring Shine celebration last week, honoring the passion projects of a new group of 15 people, who recently completed our 5 week program.

The evening was a huge success and it was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces turn up to socialize, engage and support those who made a commitment to push themselves out of their comfort zones and reconnect with their dreams.

Maya Katherine joined the program to help her complete her debut documentary, Hasa Film, about her extraordinary journey to meet her birth mother in Bengal after being adopted by an American family as a baby.

She said: 

I loved being held accountable because it really put a fire under me and that’s exactly what I needed.

“I was terrified and having panic attacks all week, but being able to show the trailer to such a supportive and kind community makes me feel very confident to move forward and show it to the rest of the world.


She added: 

I would absolutely recommend the program. Everyone was super caring and kind; they were my biggest cheerleaders.

Initially uncertain about what passion project she wanted to pursue, Emily Ostendorf opted to flex her adventurous muscles in her own backyard by exploring Bay Area towns she only ever passed through on her daily BART commute, like Richmond and Millbrae.

She said: 

I just wanted to do something fun and not feel under pressure to do something that had a bigger purpose.”

“For me the unexpected thing about the program and what I loved was being able to give other people ideas about their projects. It just felt good to be in the community, share and help them achieve.

Designer Damian Madray signed up to help him reignite his passion project, an organization called TheGlint that hosts gatherings for creative individuals to share ideas and get involved in conversations that promote positive change within their communities.

He said: 

I think it’s great being around people who are doing. It’s also cool seeing people chase their passions; it’s really inspiring and motivating.

Entrepreneur and life coach Lucy Keoni’s project saw her explore her dream of spearheading a social innovation collective.

She said: 

I think the program spoke to this dormant piece of me. I always wanted to change the world, but life took a toll so I never really got around to doing what I wanted to do.

I broke a pattern that was keeping me from excelling in a lot of areas of my life. Now I feel there are infinite possibilities in front of me and as long as I’m connected to my passion and my desire to serve humanity, there is no failing.

More than 400 people have taken the leap and completed our empowering program to date, pursuing passion projects in everything from writing a book and making a documentary, to designing an innovative app.

If you want to discover or reconnect with your passion, join our next Find Your Passion Program.

Beginning on June 2, the upcoming session will be led by esteemed counselor and life coach Carla Bagdonas, who helps people answer important questions and believes there is no better time than the present to start living the life you've been waiting for.

Places are extremely limited so click here to sign up now and check out our Facebook page to see more pictures from our most recent event!

Written By: Aoife Anderson

Photo Credit: Ellen Wildhagen



4 Lessons on Passion from Paul Graham


4 Lessons on Passion from Paul Graham

Photo Credit

Last Wednesday, I took a peek into the OpenAir conference, to watch Paul Graham speak. He is one of my heroes for many reasons, including founding one of the world's best incubators that helped spawn Airbnb, Reddit and Dropbox amongst others. What is even more fascinating about Graham is that he is not just another investor, programmer, entrepreneur. Paul is a multidimensional thought leader. He lives his passion for painting and writing, he actually studied the art at RISD and in Florence and keeps a popular blog, where he writes thought provoking pieces with candidness as well as simplicity.

As Paul Graham was talking at the conference, it hit me that all the advice he was sharing applies not only to tech startups, but to anyone embarking on a journey to pursue what their heart desires.

Applying his words to passion, 4 main lessons came up.

1- Work on whatever interests you

Some people come to me worried that if what they desire is opening a coffee shop, it will not scale, they will not make it on techcrunch, and therefore won’t be “successful.” In Paul’s view, don’t do something just because it is hot, or because it can be big. Start with what really interests you. After all, pulling all-nighters and dedicating most of your time to something will require a passion and a big interest to keep you going and help you achieve true success, which is doing something that brings you joy. Another way of putting it: "Do something that does not scale."



2- Increase demand by focusing on your product

When asked how to increase demand in a marketplace, the answer was simple: build a product people want. Whether it is a blog you are writing and you are concerned that you do not have enough visitors, a tea brand you started and it is not selling enough, a yoga class you began teaching and you are not getting the class to fill up, this advice is for you: talk to those who are using the product or service and find out how you can make what you are doing even more desirable. There is nothing more effective than word of mouth.



3- Stop ideating and start doing

Ideation is a misleading term, said Graham. Before I started The Passion Company, I was very tempted to take the “consulting” route, brainstorm market opportunities, put together a business plan, build a presentation and basically spend months "strategizing."

Most successful startups were started on the side, or out of need. For example, Airbnb's founders needed to pay their rent, so they started a website to rent out their couch and air bed.

The point is stop thinking and start doing. You want to be the best selling writer? Start a blog now. You want to create an app for dating? Prototype your idea in real life today. You want to be a painter, sign up for a painting class this second.


4- If you are scared of your idea, you are in a good place

“The best ideas are things so freaky that you yourself don't believe them.” Be audacious. Don’t let fear stop you. Fear takes so many forms that go like that: it’s impossible, it’s a crazy idea, how come no one had done it before, who am I to do it. Learn how to recognize that voice when it comes up. I used to be embarrassed to tell people that my company is focused on passion. I could not find companies to compare it to, and it was not an app based product. It was scary. The truth is, a year later, having proven that what we do is relevant to many, and that we have a customer base and relevance, the same people converted to believers.



In conclusion

Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy it. It is easy to get caught up with what’s cool, what’s trending, what everyone is into. The reality is, you will only make a difference when you are:

1- Doing something truly unique, that solves a problem.

2- Doing something that gives you meaning and fulfills your soul. 

Ending with one of Graham’s favorite quote:

The qualities that made for success in a fighter-pilot seemed to be just those sturdy qualities that made for success in other professions; observation, initiative, determination, courage, including the courage to run away. In course of time it appeared that men who had a private axe to grind beyond the public axe of the King’s enemies were especially successful.
— - Jim Bailey, The Sky Suspended

Interested in finding your passion? Check out our programs.