This weekend, I had an Ah-Ha moment over Macaroni & Cheese. As I excitedly put together my menu for Sunday dinner, I wondered why I had not enjoyed cooking over the last two weeks. Teaching myself to cook well has been a passion of mine. I’ve enjoyed learning the science behind different dishes and putting my own spin on them. A day before going grocery shopping, I would get my notebook out and decide what I would like to try in the upcoming week and what staples I wanted to have again. And lately, I’ve even gotten into couponing, amazed at saving no less than 50% on each grocery bill, one example being getting three boxes of cereal for free – what a rush! I’ve pondered over how different cheeses would create different tastes in the same foods or how I could infuse my own oils and use them on vegetables. I’ve lovingly picked fruits and vegetables, created my own sauces and spice mixes, bought new knives and kitchen utensils with glee, watched with satisfaction as my egg whites became glorious white snowy peaks that I would fold into a delicious batter. It is all so delightful and pleasing that a month or so ago, I thought well, maybe I could do this professionally. Maybe I could make dinners for people who do not have the time or the desire to think this hard about food. Of course, being the researcher that I am, I began analyze this idea. Looking at who’ve already done it, what their credentials were, how they ran their business, what were the demands and most importantly, if there was a market for this and how much would I have to invest. As I played around with this idea, two things happened. One, two great friends started to talk more about food, one suggesting recipes, another asking for recipes or suggestions on how to cook certain things. Two, my work became more demanding and I had less time to think about food and all of its intricacies. So, I backed away completely; Not only did I not want to talk about food to anyone, but I didn’t really want to think about cooking it. No excitement in planning, no joy in preparation and no happiness in presenting. It all just went away and I even became grumpy about it when anyone would ask me. I would even snap when my fantastic bf would just sit and wait for dinner instead of being involved. I went on a mini hiatus, but, then yesterday, I decided to make dinner, comfort food. And as I was pouring over what to make and how I would do it, the Ah-Ha moment happened. Cooking is a hobby of mine, it is a passion, but it is not my gift. I am gifted in solving problems, intrinsically knowing what will get people interested about a service, product or process. I am creative in business and I have the most fun, determining a visual and perceptive brand from reviewing a bunch of numbers and random comments. That is what I do, that is who I primarily am. Now, I am a cook and a baker as well, but I am also a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend, a partner, a woman and many other things. Recognizing that I don’t want to profit from my hobby is ok because it can maintain its joy by being my fun thing. I realized that by attempting to make my passion, my gift, I began to dislike my passion. This is huge lesson for me, even a big step for Branding Katina. What about you? Do you know the difference between your passions and your gifts? What are they? As many before me have said, we don’t have to walk in this life alone, so I’d love hear from and about you.