Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) was a foremost US mythologist, writer and lecturer. He is remembered for some wonderful quotes – here are two in particular: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”

Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures

Why Passion, Pleasure, Profit?

Having interviewed over 20 portfolio careerists and elicited feedback from many others around the world, for my latest book ‘Portfolio Careers‘, I discovered there were consistent themes as to why people chose the portfolio career route. These are real-life case studies, examples of clients and contacts that now have a wide range of interesting and transformational working lifestyles.

Even though a number of the people I interviewed are achieving significant financial rewards from their work, not one person talked about money, profit, or any aspect of financial reward before sharing their main motivation to follow a portfolio route.

The power of Passion 

In every case it was absolutely clear the person was first and foremost passionate about what they do and why they do it. Now here’s the thing…something really powerful I have learnt throughout my personal development work that will put you in good stead for the rest of your working days and life. Once you understand your ‘why’, i.e. your purpose or reason for wanting to do something, this then becomes your key driver and call to action.

There is also a well-used quote to suggest that ‘passions drive pounds or dollars’, although some people might challenge this statement. However, if you work on the premise that ‘people buy people’, then if you are passionate about what you do, your passion, enthusiasm and energy becomes infectious. Therefore, as a result, people will want to do business with you and buy your products or services. It isn’t quite this simple as some of the case studies will highlight, but in essence it is usually very true.

Conversely, in my role as a leading career coach I have encountered many people over the years that have approached me for guidance in making a career change, often deciding to set up their own businesses. As motivation is so important when starting a business of any kind, I always challenge them with the $64,000 question: ‘How passionate are you about your business venture and how much do you really enjoy the type of work you are planning to do?’

Interestingly, the responses have sometimes been quite remarkable with common themes emerging such as “this is all I know”, “this is what I do”, “this is what I am good at” or “I don’t want to work for someone else anymore”. Stop for a moment to look closely at these responses. What do you notice? …None of them actually directly answered my question did they!

If you have to think about your answer, or your answer is solely focused on the rationale ‘this is what I know’ or ‘this is what I am good at’, then it is highly unlikely you will have a successful business. Why? Because, ‘people buy people’. So, unless you are really passionate about what you do, your work will seem like a chore and you are highly likely to be radiating negative rather than positive energy to people. Not exactly a recipe for success is it? Can you now see why your focus should be on the 3 Ps as, Passion, Pleasure, Profit being last?

How will you define your working lifestyle into the future?

What if you were to say, “I choose to build a working lifestyle based on what I love to do and what I am good at”?

By doing so, you give yourself a real opportunity to start a new career path and one that is built on passion, pleasure, profit. The concept of the 3 Ps clearly resonates with many people. Why? Because, by reframing your career in this way, you give yourself an opportunity to step away from the uncertainty of needing to have a ‘traditional job’. Instead, reframe the job concept so that it’s not about a job or a career necessarily; it’s about purpose, creating a working lifestyle and generating income in a way that meets all your lifestyle objectives.

Let’s now look at the 3 Ps and delve into why these are so important and powerful – how these can totally transform your thinking about the world of work and what you do. If we work from the basis that we are all gifted with natural talents that give us joy, then clearly the 3 Ps make absolute sense.

So, here is a simple but poignant example of how you might develop a portfolio career based on those important 3 Ps:


Focusing on what attracts, interests and inspires you. These are the magnets in your life, i.e. where you have a compelling interest, enthusiasm or desire for activities and work. This could be combining heart, mind and soul.


This is the emotional state derived when you undertake fulfilling work that you love and are passionate about. You may also achieve personal pleasure from charity, voluntary or other unpaid ‘giving’ aspects of your portfolio, which you may be passionate about. More about this later in the book.


This is quite simply the financial reward you derive from doing work you love via the different strands of your portfolio. This will vary depending upon the nature of the work you do. However, for many people each strand is likely to attract a different level of fee paying work. Your ultimate aim, as a minimum, is to be ‘earning enough’ to provide the working lifestyle you want.

My portfolio ranges from high fee earning work from coaching executives, to the other end of the spectrum; a few pounds or dollars at a time in royalties from my book sales.

I also give my time for free to speak at Business Libraries, Professional Associations and Executive Job Clubs. This is a way for me to make a contribution and give back to the community. On the other hand, I am also extremely well paid as a keynote motivational speaker at corporate conferences and major career events. Most importantly, it is my choice as to how I earn a living from my portfolio career; you have a choice too.

In summary, I’m sure you will agree that my sequencing of the 3 Ps of Passion, Pleasure, Profit is quite different from the approach others take in placing Profit first, as their main driver. Why? Because I believe that if you focus on Profit first, it is unlikely you will be working for your real Passion and therefore extremely unlikely that you will achieve real Pleasure from your job or career.

Such thinking is beautifully encapsulated by the wonderful words of wisdom from Confucius (551BC – 479 BC Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher) “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

From a portfolio career perspective, I would modify this to:

”You have choice. If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

So, what are you passionate about that will give you:

(a) The pleasure and joy that you are looking to achieve in your working life?

(b) The financial reward and profit to ensure that you earn enough to achieve the working lifestyle you desire?

Don’t worry if you cannot give definite answers to these questions yet; your journey may only just be starting. This blog has excerpts from Chapter 1 of my latest book. I’m confident as you read through my book, you will pick up many clues to help you gain more clarity and glean the answers you are seeking.

Is this the year to change your working lifestyle and create a portfolio career working for the ‘3Ps’ of Passion, Pleasure, Profit? Intrigued? You can find out more by visiting:

Steve Preston is a leading Career Coach to professionals and executives, MD of specialist Consultancy SMP Solutions (Career & People development) Ltd and Internationally acclaimed author Author of Winning Through Career Change and Winning Through Redundancy both endorsed by Brian Tracy, internationally renowned Speaker, Psychologist, Author of over 70 top selling books.