I recently went all-in with my passion project, and it changed everything for me.
Since I can remember, I’ve always been a car enthusiast, and my very first words were car models. This love has stayed with me ever since. When I watched “Top Gear” on BBC, I envied Jeremy Clarkson for having the best job in the world. I still think today that he has one of the best jobs in the world.
I pretty much didn’t do anything about my car passion up until four years ago and a little after I moved to NYC. Almost every morning, on my way to work at Fiverr’s office in Soho, I stopped across the street from a cool parked car and took a photo of it, always from the same angle that I thought can be cool.
Each photo I took I uploaded to an Instagram account I started called “Wheels of NYC.” I was very consistent and gained likes and followers with time. I didn’t do anything other than posting an almost daily photo alongside a catchy caption. Within 3.5 years, I gained 10k followers, but still, I didn’t do much to grow it or consider this as more than a side hobby.
In my ordinary world, my professional life changed quite a lot when I left my job in the branding team at Fiverr, and it was an end of an 8-year-long run as a startup co-founder (Fiverr acquired Veed.me). I started to pursue a new career as a life and business coach after two years of training.
Being pretty much completely burned out when I left my long journey, I was convinced I was about to finally start living a much happier and more fulfilled, stress-free life. And I was, actually, for one month. Then, all the questions and self-judgments of not doing/being enough (good, smart, creative, etc.) came back from their short break.
My coaching practice grew nicely, and I had the privilege of working with brilliant startup CEOs in both group settings and 1–1s. Still, inside, I felt like I’m not always living what I was preaching, and I felt like my clients were doing much more than I was doing in areas I inspired them to do. It wasn’t a good feeling.
Like most people, I started and stopped doing many things I said I would do, and that’s OK. I constantly remind myself I’m human and need to see this as an opportunity to practice self-acceptance and compassion. Then, I try to start again. However, the one thing I never stopped doing all this time was my passion project — “Wheels of NYC” — which was the only thing I didn’t feel like I needed to do. It was just a pure and innocent sense of joy and love I was feeling every time I encountered a cool parked car in the streets of NYC.
As a coach, I’m pushing my clients to pursue the one (or more) creative things they’ve been wanting to do for a long time and had never started. As someone with a creative background, I knew that pursuing your creative passion will improve your wellbeing on so many levels and will contribute to your overall happiness and joy. I’ve seen it repeatedly with my clients: a complete shift in their mood, stress levels, and motivation, which affected their day-to-day work and life, made them better leaders and created a ripple effect with their immediate circles. Some examples of creative projects my clients did were starting a blog, creating a cooking Instagram and TikTok channel, developing a podcast, selling their paintings, writing and producing a one-man show, writing a play, building a street photography project, designing sneakers, writing a book, and more.
In the meantime, while enjoying witnessing my clients’ creations, I felt the urge to do something with my car account. Knowing myself, I knew I needed external help to kick-start it, so I hired a coach who specializes in social media. The fantastic Alex Goode helped me build a strategy and be more specific with the content I was looking to create (images of parked cars are great, but there was more than that). Accountability was what I needed, and Alex helped me.
“A bingo project,” as my therapist calls it, is when you combine all the things you love into one project. For me, the bingo was the cars and the curiosity for the people who drives them. The love for cars and the love for people. Over the last three months, “Wheels of NYC” grew from an Instagram page with photos of parked cars to a page that tells stories of drivers and their beloved cars where I’m using video as a tool to tell the stories. Video is another component of my bingo project. I love filmmaking very much. I also started a weekly Cars and Coffee event in Brooklyn overlooking NYC, where I connect my digital community in the real world. Everyone is sharing the same love and passion for cars. It feels great.
Back to the purpose of this post: Having a creative project outside my day-to-day work has painted my life with great colors. First, I am feeling happier and more fulfilled, and my wife can be my witness here. I have bursts of creative streams that send me back to my home office to plan and execute. Speaking on execution, I always struggled with it and was a great idea man but not so great executor. With “Wheels of NYC,” I can’t stop. I want to do more; I never felt like this. I also have more energy, motivation, and peace, knowing I couldn’t do anything else and that this is precisely what I was supposed to do. There are new challenges like anything in life, such as finding time to do it all — coaching, Wheels of NYC, and Coverr.co (a video startup I co-founded with my Veed.me partners) while being a first-time dad to Maya. However, my creative project is proof I can do it all while having fun and feeling accomplished because it fuels everything I do today. Having a creative project — a Bingo project — made me a better coach, better leader, father, husband, and most importantly, maybe, better for myself. I highly encourage you to start doing your bingo project; we all have one. It was a game-changer for me.