Give Contribution a French Kiss and Call Me in the Morning

by Craig McBreen · 34 comments · Breaking out

Today’s post is short, sweet and to the point.

Think about the following.

Whatever grand plans you have in this online world. Whatever framework you’ve developed, can you define the guidepost that will get you there?

Passion helps
Ya, it’s a fine and dandy emotion to push you through the tough spots. But I honestly, truly think this word is overstated, overemphasized and often leads many fine peeps on a wild goose chase to nowheresville. Plus it’s extremely difficult to align your passion with a pursuit that puts food on the table.

And how can a human have just one passion? Have you been led on a hopeless passion expedition? The kind that leaves your tank empty?

My solution? Stop chasing your tail trying to find that oh, so elusive some-special-thing you love. How can you have a love affair with just one pursuit, if you have many?

And what about money, bread, cashola?
Just about everyone I’ve ever met wants a bit more cabbage in their pocket. Hell, I’d be telling you a bald-faced lie if I said I wasn’t in this for the money. You like the O’jays, right?

I do have to put food on the table and I’m assuming you do too. But if you’re in this just for the legal tender, have a miserable old time of it, because that’s what you’re in store for.

Jeez, Craig. if I can’t have one daggone passion and being into something just for the cash is not gonna cut it, what in Snooki’s underpants do you suggest?

Well, let’s zoom on in to your beautiful little world, shall we?

Think about your business: Your writing. Your number-crunching. Your designing, etc. Even if you have fallen madly in love with one vocation, it’s downright impossible to maintain intense love of anything each and every day, unless your 14, female and said object is Justin Bieber.

But I digress.

What word translates to good feelings, success, a strong brand, a powerful presence and a bang on model that makes people come back to you?

And what will keep your master plan intact and your little old self on track?

It’s not about making gobs of money, being famous or chasing that elusive passion. Nope.

It’s actually really, super-duper simple and it’s based on what you can do for others.

And I truly believe it’s what will guide you, your business, your creative pursuits.

Yes, I do think you should love what you do, and yes, money is well, a necessity, but this little noun is your key.

And just like the title says, that word is, ta-da: Contribution.

Whatever you do, I truly believe working for purpose is the best damn way to go.

Contribution. Not money, not passion.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a forest ranger, a soup kitchen volunteer or an online entrepreneur, simply focusing on exactly how you are contributing is key. Helping the other good citizens of planet earth and fitting this into the grand scheme is a benefit to others of course, BUT it is also your guide.

So get jinky with it. Contribution, that is.

If you’re always shooting for a gold star, money or acclaim, you’re in for a letdown and a monster of a migraine.

If you instead focus on your value and define a purpose, you’ll be happy and you might just start to spread that influence, make more money and discover that ever-elusive passion.

You don’t have to be the second coming of Mother Teresa, you just have to figure out your “thing.”

Contribution is like your little present to others, and guess what? It’s also your guide. Fo shizzle.

Just think on it and you can thank me in the morning.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Hanley December 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Craig… buddy… Love this dude.

I agree with you on the “you got to have passion” thing. It’s so overblown. I might say, “you have to believe in what you’re writing” but passion… Passion can’t be contrived out of thin air because you want it.

Contribute. Awesome.

Ryan Hanley recently posted..How-to Generate Revenue from Inbound MarketingMy Profile


Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

Hey Ryan,

The you gotta have passion is certainly overblown. Yes, it helps, but simply can’t be maintained day in and day out.

Thank you, Sir!


Kaarina Dillabough December 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Is it morning yet? Thank you:) Cheers! Kaarina
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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 12:36 am


Well … good afternoon ;) You’re most welcome.


Erin Feldman December 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I think you know where I stand on this topic. People first, me second.
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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

Hi Erin,

Yes, I figured ;) Thanks for the visit.


Ralph December 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I thought you said this was going to be short? ;-)

“And how can a human have just one passion? Have you been led on a hopeless passion expedition? The kind that leaves your tank empty?”

Dude, my passion is Architecture & Design.

It has been for 25 years and will continue to be. Last time I looked I was doing pretty damn well. Singular passion, niche, whatever you want to call it. This is not the point here, I know, but I wanted to point out that contribution, for me, is bred from a singular passion; one that eventually can make you an expert just like Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour thing.

My post later this week is an exploration in this passion (through a series of questions). Focus and passion drives people to make those contributions to their craft from which they stand out. I agree that delivering value & purpose drives your need to share your passion with the world and that in and of itself results in residual benefits one of which can be financial.

I am not an entrepreneur but I don’t think that matters. My need to share my passion and experiences about the design world is what drives me forward every day.

Hey, who yanked that soapbox out from under my feet?

Cheers, Craig. Loved your post!
Ralph recently posted..What are designers missing when articulating a brand in their spaces?My Profile


Carolyn December 11, 2012 at 12:11 am

I agree, Ralph. That wasn’t short, but at least Craig made up for it with quality even though he misled us on quantity. ;-)
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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

I guess I did … ;) And, thank you!


Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hi Ralph,

I did, didn’t I … ;)

It’s more than great that you have a singular passion, especially since you’ve spent 25 years learning and practicing your craft. Think of all the folks who don’t even like their job.

You know this, but I’m all for passion. I just think it is way overhyped, especially in this space where many are telling people to jump ship and hit the passion trail. Now, if you are truly dying to do something and are consumed with thoughts of whatever it is day after day, that is different.

Love the little speech here, and I look forward to your post!



Barrett Rossie December 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Craig, contributing is the essence of teamwork. And I’ve never been happier than when I was part of a hard-working, effective team.

So two thumbs up, your post makes a great contribution. :)
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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 12:38 am

Hi Barrett,

Great point, Sir! Indeed it is.

Appreciate you stopping in too. Thanks!


Mary Stephenson December 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hi Craig

You are probably right about contribution first and foremost. Passion doesn’t necessarily have to play so heavy in the equation. There are a lot of things I am passionate about, but to transpire that into a business I don’t always see possible.

But contribution I can see as the major role of all success. I think you probably have to feel some passion for what that part of contribution is, otherwise it comes off quite apparently as a lack of concern for your audience.

This now makes perfectly good sense. As for example a manufacturer of locks, maybe he has passion, but the real thing is contribution. Do we care if he has passion and maybe the only way he will ever show passion in the business would be through quality control and customer service.

But we get up each morning and contribute to our readers and we have a passion to contribute well. Passion doesn’t need to be that we are obsessed with one thing to the point of nothing else matters. A driving interest in your subject matter gives the desire to deliver a valuable contribution to others. Probably better way than to referring to it all as passion.

I am extremely fascinated about many subjects and could talk for hours about it, but it could really not be defined as passionate. Of course I suppose it would have to be decided by the individual as to how they define passion.

Thanks for the great post and I feel that you have clarified what has been driving me crazy!

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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 3:03 am

Hi Mary,

I’m all for the passionate pursuit of anything, but I sometimes think the word is overused, especially in this space. Many can’t simply drop everything and go exploring. And like I wrote, contribution … well it brings a dash of passion along for the ride anyway.

You’re right. Someone can have a singular passion, but the part that helps you and your audience sing? Contribution, of course. And like you’ve stated, most people are interested (and sometimes fascinated) by a variety of topics.

Whether your in business or want to head up a charitable cause, passion helps, of course, but contribution really is what will guide you. That working for purpose thing really does work, me thinks ;)

So glad you enjoyed and thank you for the great comments!


Carolyn December 11, 2012 at 12:21 am

Hi Craig, I agree with you, contribution is important, but I think passion is important too. I know the word is used a lot, but if you have ever done something you weren’t passionate about, you will know the difference. If not, I suggest practicing tax law for a few years and then you will understand why I’m passionate for passion.

One reason I love writing my tech blog is because it combines a bunch of passions: tech, writing and the Internet. I just can’t get enough of any of it so it’s an ideal combination for me.

I’m glad you are able to contribute here, Craig. I hope you’re passionate about your blog too, you certainly seem to be and it shows!
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Craig McBreen December 11, 2012 at 3:09 am

Hi Carolyn,

I think they’re both extremely important, but I think people experience passion at different levels, and the fact that so many are in love with more than a few pursuits, can make it quite slippery. Maybe I just think contribution provides a more firm foundation.

Okay … tax law? I’ll be honest, I couldn’t do it, but I actually believe my accountant is extremely passionate about what he does. I’m sure my wife would agree.

I love this:
“One reason I love writing my tech blog is because it combines a bunch of passions: tech, writing and the Internet. I just can’t get enough of any of it so it’s an ideal combination for me.”
– Me too! The writing, the design, the community … and a revised business model. All fun and I love each, so I feel exactly the same as you :)

Thanks for the nice comments, Carolyn. Have a great night!


Sheila Bergquist December 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

Thank you so much for saying passion is overemphasized! If I’m told to follow my passion one more time, I’m going to scream. Your contribution idea is much more accurate. Thanks for the great, straightforward advice!


Craig McBreen December 12, 2012 at 2:13 am

Hi Sheila,

You are most welcome. (We obviously feel the same about this).

So glad you enjoyed!


Jack December 11, 2012 at 8:44 am

“Snooki’s underpants”

Damn, I was all set to leave the greatest comment ever left on a blog. It was going to be profound, wise and insightful and then that image killed my words.

So when you read this comment and wonder what happened you can blame yourself Mac for my contribution here. ;)

There is a balance to all of this or something close to it. We can chase work that touches one or more passions and use that to put food on the table. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough to keep you interested and willing to dig again.
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Craig McBreen December 12, 2012 at 2:15 am

Hi Jack,

Bad visual, huh? ;)

I blame myself, or better yet, Snooki.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough to keep you interested and willing to dig again.”
– I like. I like. That’s a great way to put it. Interesting enough to keep you coming back for more.


Krista Kotrla December 12, 2012 at 4:20 am
Craig McBreen December 13, 2012 at 12:48 am

Hi Krista,

It’s from Velma’s classic line in Scooby Doo … Highbrow stuff, huh? ;)


Tim Bonner December 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hey Craig

What I love about blogging is that I can impart my little bit of knowledge on the world and hopefully make a contribution (even if the world isn’t ready for it!).

I’m not sure I’m passionate about it. I really enjoy it and it keeps me out of trouble but I don’t think I feel passionate about it as yet. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either though.
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Craig McBreen December 13, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi Tim,

Exactly how I feel, Sir!

I’m passionate about bits and pieces, and just like you, it all keeps me out of trouble ;)

Thanks for stopping in!


Lisa December 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

Craig, I love your writing style! I’m definitely passionate about my online sites and blogs but can one be too passionate? Can that passion make you blind?
Contributing and helping others is a real plus and feel good experience for me. I just love helping others out along the way. It keeps me energized. So I would think contribution fuels the passion, no?
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Craig McBreen December 17, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi Lisa,

Thank you, Ma’am! Really appreciate that.

I definitely think contribution fuels the passion. You’re energized with purpose. Too much passion might blind you to certain things and sometimes that is putting food on the table ;) Thanks for stopping in!


Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur December 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

“Follow your passion!”
“Follow your heart!”
“Follow the leader!”
Hell, sometimes I can’t even “Follow Directions!” LOL!

If I followed one of my greatest passions, Craig …

I’d follow it straight to my blog and stay there all day, every day. But somehow I don’t think this particular passion is going to bring home many loaves of bread. So, for now, my feet are firmly planted in that work-for-a-living place. You know — that place where you work to make other people rich. And they seem to rather enjoy the fact I’m there. ;)

Grrrrrrrrrreat post!!
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Craig McBreen December 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hi Melanie,

“Hell, sometimes I can’t even “Follow Directions!” LOL!”
Well … me neither, really. In fact I hate directions :)

Yes, so true of blogging and it is indeed a slog. For most it’s a balance between that and that work-for-a-living place, isn’t it? Like many other pursuits, blogging can be an endurance contest, but I imagine you are in this for the long haul!



Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur December 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

P.S. If this is a short post, Craig …
My posts would be deemed miniscule! LOL!
Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Out With The Trash And In With The TreasuresMy Profile


Craig McBreen December 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Ha ha, yes! I’ve been called out for that misstatement :)


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