Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation: What Should You Be Doing With Your Life?

Admin Monday Motivation 24 Comments

Working part-time at lululemon athletica a few years back was a game-changer for me. The first week of training, when I was expecting to learn how to sell the crap out of athletic apparel, I was taken down a completely different training track. I was asked to listen to (are you sitting down?) a series of motivational CDs from Brian Tracy entitled “The Psychology of Achievement.” Seriously. I remember sitting there listening and feverishly taking notes because I was on the brink of starting Balanced Bites as an organic, gluten-free meal delivery business. Who are we kidding? I’m pretty sure those hot black pants sell themselves. Somehow, lululemon had the notion that if they supported their people in following their passion, that they’d end up with a superior staff-base; some of whom would stay for years and go on to become managers, some of whom would “graduate” on to follow their dreams outside of the sea of black and brightly-colored lycra.

Everything this Brian Tracy guy said resonated with me and I was hooked. His voice reminded me of a trusted grandfather teaching me about life and how things work. He spoke a lot about things like mindset, choices and feeling in control of your life, forgiveness about things in the past, your relationship with your parents or partner and even concepts like the law of attraction and the law of expectation. My brain was on overload as I was finally listening to someone verbalize the way I had been trying to live my life but that always felt sort of against-the-grain. I was following my passion every step of the way, even if it took some time to find how that passion was going to translate into a career.

Next up in our training was an exercise where we were to write down answers to the following three questions:

1. What are you deeply passionate about? (This one’s obvious.)

2. What are you or can you be “best in the world” at? (What are your best skills?)

3. What drives your economic engine? (How do you/can you make money?)

Go ahead. Take some time and do the same – write down answers to the above three questions. Now draw a Venn diagram of three circles on a page that all intersect in the center (as shown above). You see that tiny spot in the center where they all intersect? Imagine a job that either exists or that you can create for yourself that would make those three things intersect. This is called a career hedgehog. I don’t make this stuff up!


I know this may seem a bit far-out, but consider this: this diagram may change over time. When I first completed mine, it solidified for me that I was doing the right thing with starting a meal business.

1. I am deeply passionate about nutrition and its impact on health.

2. I am “best in the world” at putting together healthy meals that tasted good and didn’t make people feel deprived or on a “diet.”

3. I have a market of people ready to buy prepared meals from me.



Tiny hedgehogs. Don't let them choose your next career. Just sayin'.

Now, clearly this isn’t where I am today, but I think that’s the beauty part: your hedgehog is ever-evolving. What’s interesting is that my passion has not changed, but what I’ve discovered about what I’m “best in the world at” (and that doesn’t mean other people aren’t also best at it!) and how I’d make money following my passion and skills would change. And that’s okay! Being honest with yourself about choices that may not be the best is what opens you up to finding out what the next step to take might be.  I learned rather quickly that, while I was good at cooking meals for others and could sell them, I was feeling unfulfilled when I was cooking FOR other people rather than teaching them how to do it themselves. I was also not going to be able to keep my economic engine afloat without a small business loan, and that wasn’t something I wanted to take-on. In my gut I knew that wasn’t my calling. But I wouldn’t have known it without trying.

What’s awesome about getting it a bit “wrong” with that previous hedgehog is that the next time I sat down to create one, I had that much more insight into the second and third questions.

So now my hedgehog looks something like this:

1. I am deeply passionate about nutrition and its impact on health.

2. I am “best in the world” at helping others to understand how food impacts their body and implement changes to create a new lifestyle.

3. I can coach clients 1:1, teach classes and write educational materials.

I asked some of the Balanced Bites fans on Facebook what they are “best in the word” at, here’s what a few of them said:

Alison B: “I am the best in the world at listening to friends and offering moral support. EVERYONE who is friends with me knows that I am always there for them!”

Valerie D: “Teaching math to those who find math awful, terrible, and dreadful”

Trina H: “I am the best single parent of 4 beautiful, healthy, very intellegent children!”

Tammy S.: “I’m good at seeing the problem from different perspectives and coming up with a viable solution and helping others to see the “other side” of an issue to be able to make an informed decision. I’m also great at following my intuition which is usually right. I read situations and people very well, for the most part.”

So, what’s your hedgehog?

Enjoy & be well!

Diane Sanfilippo
BS, Certified Nutrition Educator, C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach
San Francisco Nutritionist & Paleo Nutritionist serving the Bay Area and beyond via phone & Skype consultations.

Author of “The Practical Paleo Nutrition Guide Book.”
An 80-Page eBook guide to making a Paleo diet easy! Filled with tips, tricks, meal planning tools and recipes.

  • Wendy

    Well, I for one am SO glad you walked in the door of Lululemon!! God uses all things! Now look at how many lives you’ve impacted!

  • Jonathan

    Great stuff.. highly motivating. I like how you have let your evolve over time and that you’re cool with that. So many times I think we trap ourselves into thinking it HAS to be perfectly set up before we move forward on anything.
    Thanks Diane.

  • Squatchy

    Good stuff as usual Diane. You’re right about the hedgehog being ever evolving. We don’t have to pick something to do for the rest of our lives. Do something related to what your passions are now, that may change later, and it may lead you down a wonderful road. If it turns out it’s not what you want to do, then you’ve already learned a lot and you can move on from there.
    It’s a shame how much people seem to fight what they really want to do and what they are really good at. Fear is powerful. Fear of failure, fear of change, etc. One thing that motivates me is thinking about mortality. I’m going to die, so I better make my life what I want it to be and enjoy it the best I can, while I can. Life is too short to do crap you hate all the time :)

  • Adam

    Great stuff! Very glad you keep this site running! Oh and I wish I knew “Valerie D” I find math absolutely dreadful!

    Take Care,
    Adam Cantrell

  • AllieNic @ Frisky Lemon

    Thanks so much for sharing this story– I’m in the beginning phases of starting my business and it’s always nice to find new ways of positive thinking…this post has really reassured me. It’s much easier to follow your dreams when you know others have succeeded. Thank you.

  • The Lazy Caveman

    Honestly, I’m disappointed in this post. For all this talk about hedgehogs, there is an incredible lack of adorable pictures. Allow me to help:

    • admin

      Better now? LOL!

  • Christina

    Thanks for the post. I look forward to answering the questions over and over to see how they evolve!

  • Jos

    This post just came in time when I just recently got laid off from my full time job and now I’m wondering what I should do with my life. Unfortunately, both hub and I lost our job at the same time, so it’s really not a good time for me to start exploring what I really like to do now vs what my current skills are good at. Anyway, very inspirational post.

  • Tyler Wood

    Thanks for the knowledge.

    I’m a big fan of Jim Rohn – “Leading an Inspired Life” is a pretty good read. Thanks

  • Michele

    Love this post. Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is one of the best and most useful books I have ever read. It is neat to see how one person can influence people in totally different ways.

  • Crystal

    Thank you for this post …(btw love the cute hedgehogs!)… It is perfect timing for me, I have recently come to the realisaton that nutrition is also a passion of mine and interestingly enough had seriously considered starting a food business for paleo snacks. Now I have decided to go back to school and study nutrition post-grad and do something very similar to yourself. I am very excited and at the moment I am trying to soak up as much ‘nutrition’ as I can!!

  • Adam Kayce

    I always thought the Hedgehog Concept was from Jim Collins’ work…

    Either way, it’s good stuff!

    • admin

      Yeah, it wasn’t lululemon or Brian Tracy that developed the hedgehog concept, that’s just the context within I learned about it! :)

  • shalon

    This article was fascinating but also so interesting since I currently work for lululemon as a manager and the reason I do is to gain the best possible experience running a business so that I can start my own business again in something that I am passionate about which is nutrition. I am a fan of the Paleo diet and organic real food in general. I am still figuring out my hedgehog which is like you say ever evolving. Right now I know that I am most passionate about educating people on why organic real food is so important for health. What I am best in the world at is being unstoppable once I set my mind to something. Where I am stuck is how to make a business out of this that is online. Thank you for your article because it’s makes me realise Im not the only one who wants to make my own business out of something I am truly passionate about. And judging where you are Im on the right track just have a ways to go.

  • Michelle (Chasing Chelles)

    This is such a great post! It’s really something that I need right now. I pretty much know what my long term goal is, but I’ve really been needing some good insight lately. Thank you for posting this!

  • Scott

    “…but that always felt sort of against-the-grain.” Was this pun intended??!

    • admin

      Probably 😉

  • Cristina

    Hi Diane. Thanks so much for providing inspiration not just to become nourished physically, but mentally as well. These are exactly the kind of ideas to consider when trying to achieve a truly healthy lifestyle. Great work.

    • Erica Jones

      Thank you so much for this post! I can’t tell you just how much it has motivated me into actually pursuing what I am passionate about. I have completed the hedgehog and know what I am most passionate about. I know what I am “the best at” and what drives my economic engine. I am just stuck at what I should do next. I would love some advice from you on where to go from here and how to get things started.

  • Marni

    Thank-you so very much for sharing this. It fits perfectly with where I’m at and I needed the affirmation.

  • Leslie G

    Why did the food delivery business not work out!? Sounds awesome and right up my alley!!

    • balancedbites

      I have talked about this on my podcast a bunch I think!!

    • balancedbites

      I have talked about this on my podcast a bunch I think!!