Step Three in setting up your empire.

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This is the critical paso de pasión, the step of passion.

Here, you look at the, say, three subjects where you can make yourself indispensable. These made your starter list in Step One and survived the “If I had all the…” test in Step Two.

At this point most folks have already prematurely narrowed their list to one—and they’ll have to start over if the survivor doesn’t pass Step Three’s requirements!

Those requirements? Only one, really: passion. You care so much about this topic that it would take some catastrophic adversity to stop you, like a postman of yore, from finishing this round. Something inside you sees you playing a pivotal, perhaps even salvational, role in bringing this message to others. That sense and drive that motivate it (and that they motivate) are stronger than the time, energy, and money that will be required to create and position you indispensably in this field.

Is it possible to feel that strongly about three or eight or however many topics that could become roots of your new empire(s)? Of course, particularly if they are closely related or are close modifications of each other. It happens almost every time that a solid empire is created.

If one’s true love is rebuilding linotype machines, there are scores of models and different kinds of those revolutionary machines to embrace. If you are expert on a 1916 Mergenthaler model, you may well be as (or almost as) enthralled and expert on its Intertype counterpart—and on the whole concept of linotype casting and printing too.

It’s also possible to want to build an empire and be recognized (even heralded) as a master in unlike things, like the linotype, dirigibles, and Norwegian flatbrød. But it’s much, much harder to effectively do so the longer your list grows, for obvious reasons. You may have a huge heart full of passion and a nearly immeasurable well of knowledge and vision but you only have 24 hours a day. Even emperors—even empresses—have been unable to change that.

So first you must prioritize your list, if it is more than one love long. Your first priority would be the depth of your passion. From that, pick out the best of the best, the one that you simply cannot live without—mastering.

Then you must ask the harder question, having picked the true love of your empirical life. Do you really care very, very much about becoming indispensable to your co-lovers of that singular topic? If so, you’ve completed Step Three—and you have the core of your empire.

Are you yoked solely and forever to that core?

Solely, no. I had an acquaintance that loved Edsels and computer programming with equal fervor, and could move several times a day from one to the other. He was “the” person to know in specific areas of each field, and while he never made a living from either (he was also a mediocre lawyer), both of his avocational loves looked a lot like empires. So being yoked solely depends on you, but I suggest you focus and dominate one before you expand to unrelated others.

And forever? Nothing’s forever, and love sometimes dims, but it’s a lot of work and devotion to rise to the top echelon in any field only to abandon it abruptly. The best empires are the kind that you move into, up, and outward because you can hardly help yourself!

And if you find out that your passionate choice now turns out to be a bad choice later? Then come back and look even harder at number two on your list (or at a new choice since arisen), and start again. But take your time now at the outset or, like choosing brides, you’ll eventually run out of potential brides or for the process itself—and we will lose out on knowing that exceptional something you can later share. You see, we, who want you to succeed so we can too, have a vested interest in your careful and passionate choice now!

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