Spidey Life? Taking Your Passion and Making it Happen…

The thought crossed my mind when I read a story about Jonathan Kaplan. He’s the guy who brought the Flip Video camera to the world via his company Pure Digital and then sold the successful business to Cisco. Kaplan turned around and started up a chain of grill cheese eateries called “THE MELT,” where he leveraged key technology learnings to come up with a way to make a consistently good sandwich.
For example, he worked with Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux, they came up with a machine that combines two induction burners, a microwave and non-stick pads, which allow the bread to toast while the cheese melts – without squishing the sandwich as a panini press might do. Creative right?

I said to myself, that guy has a Spidey life that has become his full-time life.

When I watched “Finding Joe The Movie,” I was introduced to a number of interesting people who had Spidey lives that eventually became their full-time gig. Notable was Brian Johnson. He’s a guy who created and sold two successful businesses (eteamz + Zaadz) after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA (where he studied Psychology + Business), and then started a company called en*theos—that’s all about “changing the world by helping people optimize their lives so they can live with more health, happiness, meaning and mojo while making a positive contribution to their families, communities and world.” He also wrote an awesome book called “A Philosopher’s Notes” that contains nuggets of goodness.

Clearly, he had a Spidey life, which eventually became his full-time life.


Why did I glom onto the word Spidey? Because it was a visual I couldn’t shake after watching the 2002 version of Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire in the lead role. The scenes where he is discovering his new capabilities — swinging from rooftop to rooftop down Broadway, a surfer riding the wild tsunami of the New York skyline – seemed so exhilarating. For him, when he put on the Spidey mask, he WAS a different person and having a blast.


So that got me thinking about what I call the “Third Place” persona, which is based on the excellent book by Ray Oldenburg titled “The Great Good Place.”

— The “First Place” is the home and those that one lives with.
— The “Second Place” is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time.
— Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.

In my view, we all have a family persona and a work persona. And we also have a third persona – one where we experience pure joy and can truly “be” who we are meant to be, not who we think we should be.

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

Indeed! And somehow we need to find the time to discover who we are and what brings us the “lose track of time because we are having so much fun” joy.

Don’t let the fact that the two examples listed above are from successful entrepreneurs who shifted gears to make their passion a full-time pursuit. While that’s awesome, for the rest of us, living a Spidey life isn’t out-of-reach. In fact, we can proactively pursue our passion every day. The key is to be proactive and organize activities around priorities (Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a great place to start in terms of learning how to be smart about time usage).

For example, I balance out my family and work lives by reading, writing and participating in a number of athletic pursuits (running, boxing, and playing speed golf). Another person I know creates beautiful pieces of art from miscellaneous household items (like light bulbs). A client of mine who has worked in the digital/new media space for over 12 years, for both technology and content companies and co-founded Red Staple in 2010, has come up with a whole line of “on-the-go” totes for knitters (She knits in her Spidey life).

Take your passion… And make it happen!
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Jedemi really is about helping people engage with their Spidey selves. Our belief is that when people are enthusiastically pursuing their bliss, their joy and positive energy carries over into their family and work lives making those better and perhaps rubbing off on others.

Life takes on new meaning AND you become exhilarated, as you feel more alive.

A ponderable for sure!


Note: The movie Flashdance was about a welder by day who’s passion was dancing. A quote from that movie that sticks in my mind is the where Alex is told when you give you up your dreams, you die. Intense, but true.

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