Figure Out What's Next

First Step: Finding Your Passion

career change mark gleason purposeful living values Dec 07, 2009

by Mark Gleason

photo by Fred Moon

How does a 55-year-old find his passion?

I am ready to move out of the high-tech business, and I read a lot of books on change process. However, I have not found the courage or the process to help me make the first step. 

Start With What You Don’t Want

Sometimes all this talk about “finding your passion” can be intimidating. Many people at midlife tell me they don’t know where their passions lie. Sometimes it’s easier for us to know what we don’t want than to know what we do. So it makes sense to start with what you DO know about yourself. . .

By asking the following, more doors to self-understanding can open:

 • What don’t I want to do next? 
 • What do I want to leave behind?
 • What were my interests growing up?
 • What part of the newspaper do I read first?
 • How do I spend my free time?
 • When I meet someone new, what do I talk about?

I congratulate you for reading books and researching online to learn ways to deal with this transition. You ARE taking the first step, but it can be a lonely and confusing process. That’s why I encourage people to work in groups or hire a coach.  

Uncover Fears and Disbelief

I would suggest the first place to look for your passion is inside of yourself. Many people fear the future and regret the past. I believe that looking inside, right now, in the present, you will be able to unlock what passions may be lying hidden from your view. They may be hiding because you don’t believe that they are achievable or realistic. That belief may keep you from exploring the possibilities and opportunities in front of you. Age is not relevant for pursuing passion. I have clients of all ages and backgrounds that block themselves by their own fears and limiting beliefs. A career coach can help you to remove those blocks.

Think About Your Heroes

One of the things I ask my clients/prospects to do is to remember who their heroes are, both currently as well as when they were a child. The reason: Just as psychologists say that what we find irritating in someone else is often our own most glaring fault, so too the values we admire in others we already have to some degree within us. This can help someone on the path to uncovering his/her purpose and passion.

Check out the What’s Next Advisor Directory for coaches and DIY courses on this topic.


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